Bookends of life


Utterly random post. Most of my posts are random anyway. This one is being keyed in while am on a flight. Bored with music and the videos and the books.

So yes there is birth and then there is death. The two bookends of a book called life.

In between you have a total page turner.

There is a preface written by our parents. Their expectations – should it be a boy or a girl. What they want the children to be when they grow up.

The epilogue is perhaps written by our kids.

But what happens in between, every word and every page, keeps us turning the page with eagerness. Sure we all want to know how it ends but hey we don’t get to know that.

Every page unfolds the story line by line. We try very hard to define the plot. We try to force certain scenes to happen in a way on the next page. Anxious and eager to make the story happen as per our wishes. Doesn’t happen.

There are pages that make us feel all elated. The excitement that starts from deep within and the anticipation of what happens next.

Then there are pages which fill us with sadness. Sometimes even guilt and remorse. The protagonist could have… should have behaved or acted differently.

But here lies the fun. It is us and only us who make the book an utter page turner. Unknowingly we are writing what is going to happen on the next page. If you were to quickly move to the pages ahead, you will find them blank. Some pages could be blurry because the plot is taking shape on the previous pages. But we will never know how things turn out till we reach that page.

There are pages we revisit. Some are fresh and some are blurred. Some revisited pages make us cry and some laugh. Those are the memories.

But sadly, most of us don’t have the patience or the control to let the plot unfold on its own. We push and we force and we keep rewriting the pages to make the story happen way we want it to. Doesn’t work. It may seem that we have the plot in our grasp but it ain’t. There is always a twist that is waiting for us on the next page.

I say why guess or anticipate or wish for the story to happen the way we want? Let’s have fun with what is happening on the page you are reading. Let the next page be utter surprise. Build the anticipation for that surprise. Not for the way we want it to happen. Good or bad, it sure as hell is going to be a surprise and a twist. And that twist could be twisted or untwisted on the page that follows. FUN!

Climax, when it happens, we don’t know how it is going to happen but it is the culmination of what we have read, what we have formed on each page we read.

One thing I would have wanted in the book though (here is me wishing for stuff), as we read along, the pages that we have read, go blank. It’s like the story is only about reading ahead. No going back to read the back pages.

THE BOOK OF LIFE IS ONE TIME READ ONLY.

Happy Place


We all have our happy place right? Or we don’t? The place we go to when we want to get away from it all. It could be a physical space that we head out to (not possible often enough). Or it could be the mind space. Mind full of happy memories. Mind where we also look forward to a great time ahead and feel happy. The smile on our faces and people wonder if we are insane. Yes there is also a box in our mind which tends to get opened up. Of memories that are happy ones and yet create an ache.

For a long time, books used to be my happy place. I could totally get lost in words and the pages. Used to transport myself into the unfolding plot.

Off late though I have discovered meditation. Yeah a very late entrant into this. It’s been a week. Am still struggling to cleanse my mind of all the thoughts and immerse myself. But I think I have found my happy place.

Lot of people who know me, weird is what they will think. I do not come across as meditation kind of guy. But I felt I need to experience this too.

It has been a great experience so far. I am doing only 7 mins of chakra meditation. Hopefully when I learn to let go of all the thoughts, I might be able to increase the time.

I haven’t figured out the chakra part either. I am sure as I move through various chakras, I should be focusing on the body part that each chakra impacts. Will learn as I go along 🙂

So what’s your happy place?

Doomed to fail


Let’s face the truth. We all are doomed to fail. All the efforts that we put in towards what we call success in life, are nothing but efforts to delay the inevitable.

Let’s take an example. Example of life. Will death be considered our failure to live? If so, then since our birth till we die, all our efforts for a better health and life are nothing but efforts to delay the failure.

Business for example. Every business has a cycle. The ups and downs. A trajectory that almost always spirals downward. The attempts are made to stop the trajectory from flatlining.

Brands constantly reinvent themselves and make themselves relevant to new consumers so that they don’t disappear into oblivion.

Business and brands have a role to play hence they must keep on doing what they are supposed to do. What matters to me is life and living.

In our effort to delay the inevitable, we focus so much on all the effort that is required, we stop living. We are more bothered about death and afterlife that we don’t even realise we are putting this life to waste. What is the point of living to be 100? What are we going to achieve? If anything, we are putting pressure on the eco system and thereby whole lot of other people who have to work even harder to go on living.

Same thing with relationships. We all want our relationships to succeed. To end a relationship is to accept that it has failed. Hence we focus very hard on making it work. We don’t realise that the spontaneity that existed at the beginning, we have killed it by making an effort to make it work.

But I guess that is how we are wired by the social construct. We are not supposed to FAIL. The education system, the professional life… they all instil in is the stigmas of failure and we carry that into our personal life too.

This post is totally random and stems from something I read about failure.

Humans and souls


Right through my professional life, while I have worked with people similar to my age and experience, I have learnt the most from those who are lot younger. Have met some of the sharpest brains. And it has been my privilege to hone their thinking. Be their mentor. But at times (and the occasions have been plenty), the stuff they say and think, is very thought provoking. Yesterday, my young colleague told me how she believes in this rather profound quote – “too many humans and not enough souls”.

Made me think. It is perhaps an indictment of what we have become.

In the past when we said “be human”, it was in the context of being different from animals. Human was about empathy and understanding of other fellow human beings.

So yes, today we are 7 billion strong as a human race. Driven by culture, society, aspiration for all things material, running after every single desire. Killing in the name of race and religion. Doing anything possible to get ahead. It doesn’t matter who we hurt in the process. How many dreams we kill to get to our dream.

We now have a human form but it is just a physical embodiment.

We do not have a soul. We do not have depth in our thinking and understanding. We do not look at a deeper connect with people. We count the number of people who follow us in social media space. We do not even interact with even ten percent of our followers.

Soul is what defines us and yet we have lost it somewhere in our drive to get ahead.

Any person who is not materialistic, does not have ambition (the way world defines it), believes in building deeper relationships that go beyond the shallow, is considered weak, an abnormality in this world.

Of course the digital world is in a way the biggest culprit. It gives a sense of being connected but that is never the case.

Today, we lack emotions, we lack empathy, we lack understanding.

Soul mates is just something nice to say to one person till we find another person to say the same thing.

There just aren’t enough souls anymore. Only humans pretending to be humans.

Stumbling through life


We all like to believe that life is about stability. Life is about moving at a comfortable pace.

But do we ever get that? Do we ever lead a stable life?

Look around you. Look at yourself. Are you leading a stable life? Or are you in a big rush to get somewhere, whether as a physical destination or as a life goal.

We work ourselves to the ground in order to achieve the mythical stability. We put pressure on ourselves. We put pressure on people around us. We never quite get that stability.

Stability for most is rooted in money. Steady job. Steady pay check. Steady life partner. So we slog. At the job and at maintaining relationships. In this day and age, neither are stable. There are always undercurrents that keep us insecure.

We may feel we are stable but the truth is that we are stumbling through life. Towards what constitutes as stable.

Think about it. How much money would you need till you consider enough is enough. Now I am going to slow down. Relationships too. If things get stable, they become predictable and boring. But hey, isn’t that what you wanted? Stable relationship. So don’t crib now by saying that the spark has gone.

Maybe if we were to reconcile ourselves to the fact that there is no such thing as stability, we just might find it?

Why is it that we seek mundanity when life is so much more? Why should the next day be no different than today? Why shouldn’t every day be different.

Was working on something the other day. What if like the start button in many of the cars and bikes today, life also had a start button and we pressed a reset every morning over the previous day? During the discussion we were having, one of the people mentioned this movie “Fifty First Dates”. Haven’t watched the movie but the concept sounds interesting. Of course in the movie the female lead has a memory problem. But what if we were to reset every day. What will happen?

Now am not saying this in an absolute sense where it happens. But in our heads. In our minds we reset every day. Will our lives be any different? Will we live our life? Or will we prefer our life to pass us by in the name of stability.

Hope


Dictionary meaning hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen”

And that by itself is a trap! Hope is a trap because it has feeling in it. It has expectation in it. It has desire in it.

All of that totally irrational. Doesn’t involve head but only heart.

In our culture we are full of such dichotomies. We have been told for long enough “fal ki apeksha mat kar “. Desire is bad and yet we are also told that we must have a positive outlook towards future. Isn’t positive outlook based on hoping for a better future? And hope has expectation and desire in it?

How does any of this ever work?? I live a life without expectations and am berated for it. I have desires which I know will never be fulfilled so I bury them into an abyss of my mind. And yet there is another part of my brain that hopes. Hopes for many things to happen. It’s in constant conflict with the part that doesn’t have expectations and desires.

When I say I don’t have expectations, I get a weird look. When I say I have desires, I get weird look.

So why do people hope? What is it that they really want? And why do people give up hope?

I think it is a mix of the past we had and the current we are leading. It makes us desire for more. It makes us desire for something better (better is relative). It makes us desire for a transformation. None of it ever happens of course but we keep hoping.

This post comes from a mind that is tired of hoping. This time I am going to let the part of the brain that doesn’t believe in hope, to win.

Another Monday, Another Flight


The routine is down to almost perfection.

Enter the airport, get the boarding card, fidget at the baggage drop. Head for security and then it becomes an art. Taking the stuff out to put in the tray. Both hands operating to take the stuff out. And then put it back in. Unlike George Clooney, we don’t have the option to choose the queue to stand behind the right person for quick check through.

It is interesting to watch people. Earlier post was about people in the aircraft, this one is about people at the airport.

The ones flying for the first time or very new to flying. They have this look of uncertainty about them. Fumbling with stuff at the check in. Observing what others do at the security check. Still missing out on putting the wallet and phone in the tray. But soon they will become experts too. And it really is a wonder and nice too. Everyday new people are taking flight.

Then there are the suits. Always busy and on calls even at 5 in the morning. How much work do they do!! Consulting, marketing, sales or whatever… always the hustle. And yeah, they move around with the feeling that the suit sets them apart from the common people around them.

The bags and backpacks too make for an interesting story. Labels get defined here. It is no more the in thing to carry the backpack with the brand of the laptop across it. Now it’s all about practical stuff. The suitcase and the backpack or the bag match. They reek of people on the move. No time for check in bags. And yes, if they have time between check in and flight taking off, laptops come out promptly.

Amidst all the chaos, there will be some on a leisure trip. You look at them and you know. The clothes, the slow pace, browsing through shops. Books in hand. Envy them!

But coming back to the suits. They make me wonder. They are so focused on work and always have so much to do, that I wonder if something is wrong with me. I don’t have enough work or am I too laid back. And yeah I don’t wear suit or jacket for that matter. Why am I not on constant calls or sitting at Starbucks with laptop open. Is this about ambition? They have it and I don’t? Have I missed the bus by not being like them. Am I the exception to the way this whole corporate world functions.

Sure I have the hustle of life. But there is a time and place for everything. Making the most of every minute is not packing it with work. Am somewhere between the suits and the leisure travel people. Once am off the flight, I am all work. I will rather be bleary eyed post the flight due to the sleep I had rather than having worked my ass off at the airport and in flight. If reaching the top asks for these sacrifices, nah… don’t want to make those sacrifices!

One life. It has to mean lot more than the constant treadmill. One might argue that because I have reached a certain point in life and hence talking this rubbish. But I was always like his. Even when I was climbing up the so called corporate ladder. People get a sense about me that I don’t do enough but hey if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting at the airport and typing this right?

I have always liked Mondays. And for past couple of months, I have also liked these Monday morning flights. An added bonus to the super charged Mondays. But all that once I land 🙂