For me 2017 has been a year in the words of Keats a season of mist and mellow fruitfulness. A year of rejuvenation and condensed learning achieved via detoxification thanks to bitter gourd juice that was offered to me in this year. A year where I reinvented myself after coming out of a toxic relationship of seven years. A year where I kissed goodbye to friends who smelled business from my vulnerability. A year where I bid farewell to women who always lament about men from a myopic , sadist viewpoint and who want to get married rather than marrying themselves first by healing themselves from the ghosts of their childhood and other tumultuous experiences. A year where I embraced and opened my heart to new hobbies, verve, creation , new people who are creatively engaged ,genuinely know how to be happy  and flash a smile even when they are facing a storm within and giving up seems the most convenient option. A year where I cleared the dust to get back to old friends who add depth to my life. Most importantly a year where I made peace with the fact that I have not come to this world to impress anyone  but to dazzle myself with my crudity, my innate nature of being raw, outspoken and following my life purpose religiously.

Somewhere down the line I always knew that my life is precious but still committed the mistake of being complacent rather than giving my full potential. I knew the importance of being intuitive but still did not take the courage to honor my intuitions and walk out of moribund and mediocrity. I did all this because I was trying to fit in rather than standing out. I did all these because I was hungering for acceptance rather than accepting myself the way I am. These practical but difficult learning of 2017 would not have happened if I did not commit mistakes, painful mistakes which bruised my hand , burnt my finger , scalded me and scarred me but in the end it is these mistakes that created fine gold out of me. So my dear friends I wish 2018 to be your year of severe mistakes , year of gratitude, year of self forgiveness and above all a year of reflection because mistakes are not meant to be regretted but are meant to be cherished only to learn something from them. Happy 2018.neil-gaiman-make-mistakes-1a9j


How writing saved my life


We are all surrounded by noise; noise in the form of dogma, white noise of television , noise of people who don’t matter anything to us and still we give space to their noise and many more. With time we fail to differentiate between noise and voice which is our inner voice that matters the most and give strength to that voice. I would have also become one of these autumn leaves fluttering away from the tree of life devoid of any voice; but writing saved me from drifting away.

Rewinding back, I can vividly remember the day when I wanted to commit suicide. I grew up witnessing the holocaust of domestic violence that my mother was subjected to which led to her untimely death and the same legacy was passed on to her daughter i.e. me. Abuse does not take the form of only being beaten up with slippers or belt but also verbal taunts, derogatory words, rebukes of any sort can stir a feeling of abandonment and a sense of hopelessness in you especially when it is committed by your own parents. Each growing day you keep questioning your utility towards your family and even your life. You keep questioning your self worth and the fact whether your life is important.So one fine day I was badly beaten up for a trigonometry problem that I could not solve. It was devastating and that day I decided that enough was enough and I cannot go on living this life anymore. So that day I decided ending my life was the solution to all my miseries, but before ending something clicked me and I decided to write a suicide or farewell letter. Turns out that I ended up writing a 5 page letter, lashing out on my father, sobbing after every sentence which helped me to calm myself at the end of this ritual. It was miraculous ;how after writing that letter I decided not to end my life. That day writing saved my life and now it acts as my therapy to smile at life’s blessings. There was no turning back after this realization.

Writing helped me work on my self esteem, beauty, passions and skill. It gave voice to my inner demons and shone as a beacon to differentiate between noise and voice. It gives wings to my thoughts and keeps me grounded. This daily routine of parking my butt on the chair only to ask and nudge stories that are closest to my heart helps me form a deep connection to life, people and most important to myself. I guess this is my definition of spiritualism.

Now that I write on a professional level and when I see the kind of comments when people read my blogs, it gives me a sense of purpose to practice this art religiously. As a teacher the only advice I give to students who come from divorce families or face neglect is to write and have conversation with their writing. It gives me an immense pleasure when a student who once thought of committing suicide took recourse to writing to fight trauma and depression. This comes as no surprise why the pen is considered mightier than the sword.

Dust if you must

A poem very close to my heart-

Dust if you must, but would not it be better

To paint a picture or write a letter,

Bake a cake  or plant a seed,

Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there is not much time

With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,

Music to hear and books to read,

Friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world is out there

With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,

A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.

This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,

Old age will come and it is not kind.

And when you go and go you must

You, yourself, will make more dust.

S’éveiller… Qu’est-ce que c’est?

S’éveiller, c’est changer de perspective,
Voire le monde avec d’autre yeux….
Découvrir en soi même l’amour , la béauté, l’harmonie….
S’éveiller c’est faire de sa vie une oeuvre de béauté, un chant d’amour.
S’éveiller c’est danser la vie, une attitude qui
naît spontanément, faire d’amour, de respect,
de dévotion, de gratitude, qui provient du
fait que l’on a touché le coeur, la source même
de notre âme, la lumiere de notre Être et réalisé
la béauté de la vie…..
S’eveiller c’est s’émerveiller , remercier, donner,
partager, aimer spontanément.

Love and loss and their impact on my life

Loosing someone who bought me in this world at a tender age of 7 was something that impacted me a lot. It made me envious of all the children who had a mother to share their apprehensions, joys,secrets and the most coziest lap to rest their head. A major part of my growing up years went thinking of a single question ‘ Why me?’ Though I have accepted this fact of life and moved on ,her loss cannot be compensated in any way. I guess it is her absence and her sufferings that has given me the strength to be independent and deal with my problems on my own.

Loosing my childhood and the peace associated with it by growing up under the scrutiny of a strict patriarchal father instilled a sense of competitiveness and rebelliousness in me. I did not want to experience what my mother went through because of my father and I had promised myself that I will never marry a man like my father even if it meant going under the grind of being penniless. Thank God I did not have to experience such situation but yes I was brutally blunt during a major phase of my high school and early college days.

Growing up in such a situation makes you vulnerable to enter into a toxic relationship because somewhere in your subconscious mind the feeling of ignorance and neglect ,that you suffered during childhood, seems fine as you hope things will be fixed and will be fine.You face the phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome as you cannot detach yourself from the tentacles of slow abuse even if you are financially independent because you hope against hope, but things don’t become all right unless one fine day you wake up from your slumber. I was one of those who woke after a slumber of 7 years in such a relationship.

After going through all these soul shattering experiences I have ensured one thing which is this time I won’t give up, no matter what. I seeked help from friends, books and took shelter in spiritual books and of course my students. Life could not have been more of a blessing to me because now I am more calm and mindful. This time I won’t allow my emotions to take a ride over me. I have grieved enough , released my judgement and now I am ready to celebrate the small beauty of life and embrace life with whatever bounties that it has to offer me.

Three decades on planet Earth. Musings of a Tricenerian.

living life

‘For the first 30 years of your life, you make your habits. For the last 30 years, your habits make you.’  – Hindu saying quoted by Steve Jobs on his 30th birthday.

As I turn 30 today, I can’t agree more with this quote. Indeed our habits shape our personality. Now that the 20’s syndrome is over, what better opportunity can I get but to reflect and pass on my life lessons acquired over a period of three decades. Here goes my humble list in a random order -:

  1. Write – Never underestimate the power of a pen and your thoughts. Write not to impress others to gain admission in a university programme or to impress your better half and loved ones but for yourself as a reflection of your soul and as a therapy to freeze the essence of your thoughts. So whether you write diaries or begin you day with gratitude journal, you never know with time when your written thoughts can mean a whole world to you or to a stranger.
  2. Carve your own niche – People will discredit you for things that they don’t understand and that is absolutely fine. Parents might support you by asking you to do what you love but the moment you say that you want to grow up to become a DJ player they might get worried. Society generally accepts legitimate choices, but if you are one of those who harbor illegitimate or unconventional choices have the heart to nurture that dream and follow it. People die at the age of 25 only to bury their mortal remains at the age of 75. Don’t die yourself so early in this daily grind of life. This brings to my third learning.
  3. Trust yourself fiercely – Self doubt is an essential part of following one’s heart. It is perfectly fine to wake up with ‘ what if ‘ questions in your mind but I learnt that the leftover fear of ‘what if’ should always be bigger than the beast of failure. You can only try a new thing when you trust your guts completely.
  4. The Universe has a beautiful way of straightening things – Well I don’t want to sound like Paul Coelho, but yes there was a point in my life where committing suicide, running away from home and viewing the world with pessimism seemed a far better option as compared to now where I think of new avenues and dreams to follow for my lifetime. This change would not have happened if this cosmos would not have absorbed my worries. So stop worrying about future. It will be taken care if you make your present beautiful.
  5. Read – The first word that was uttered by angel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was ‘ Iqra’ which literally means to read. Nothing better could have been emphasized in Anton Chekov’s short story ‘ The Bet’. For me it served not only as an escape route into my fantasy world but also consolidated my thoughts. I guess our personality is a reflection of what we read.
  6. You are what you eat – The new one would be ‘You eat what you do because of who you are. Not only your looks but even your personality is reflected by your food habits. A chocoholic like me does not mean I am a very sweet person but it shows my volatile emotions when it comes to emotional eating rather than practicing conscientiousness.
  7. Run or exercise – “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle, or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start running.” Moral of the story ‘Shape up or shape out’ not only to stay healthy but also to feel accomplished in this race of life.
  8. You will find love – I was one of those who wanted to experience marital bliss by say my late twenties but life had other plans for me. When my relationship of seven years fell flat on my face, this is what I figured out after introspecting a lot which is not to fret for love. You already know how to love, so love will find you. Just be patient and marry yourself first before seeking external validation.
  9. Choose your partner, friends and habits wisely – You are an average of the five people you spend the most time with. So surround yourself with people who elevate and inspire you and not the one who have settled and stopped improving. When it comes to partner, don’t overlook the nerd or someone who is an avid reader. Romantic dating is thrilling but when it comes to parenting, a nerdy partner can be more stable and a better parent. Regarding habits people who become successful in their thirties are the ones who inculcated good habits or made good choices in their twenties. So at one point of time you might have to sacrifice your back to back movie sessions, late night Thirsty weekends with friends etc to make space for your dreams. Your early twenties is a phase when you make mistakes and even fail but your late twenties and thirties is a period when you sober up. So sober up soon.
  10. Mediocrity breeds mediocrity – How do we choose the best partner or friends? Well one thing I understood after overcoming a toxic relationship, which is you receive what you deserve. I cannot expect the most inspiring people to surround me until and unless I break the shell of complacency and push myself everyday out of my comfort zone. I need to eliminate my unhealthy choices, better myself everyday and with time a better version of me will definitely attract the best of people. It would be no less than dogma if I wish for a Leonardo da Vinci type partner without working hard to achieve discipline or match up to the skills of the great legend.
  11. Complacency is toxic – We are all born as artists but the problem lies with the fact that as we grow up we somehow forget to nurture the child in us. We accept life the way we are told to follow since childhood without questioning them and that’s when we start decaying slowly. Life moves on but then complacency won’t leave any footprint on the sand of human civilization.
  12. Self renewal has no expiry date – It is never too late to renew one’s skills or learn a new one. Also there is no age limit to keep honing them. It is a lifetime process and when you can Google out every tool you want to know then it is worth the shot. So keep learning and don’t let your failures in formal education robe you off your curiosity.
  13. Never question your intuition – Again I learnt this the hard way when I saw red flags during my relationship. It is just that I did not give my intuition my due share of respect at that point. Intuitions are a gift and why was I so imbecile to overlook them can be answered in my next learning.
  14. Heal yourself first – I have already mentioned this in point number 8 but I wanted to elaborate a bit more. The reason why I entered in a toxic relationship or ignored all the intuitions was not because I was emotional or hoped things will fall into place and everything will be fine, but because I did not heal myself from the childhood trauma or remorse that was pent up inside me due to emotional neglect that I felt from my family when I was growing up. I was looking for external validation, to be loved and that was my biggest mistake because it not only made me vulnerable but also selfish to seek love instead of choosing the path of self respect and love. There is one thing I learnt while fasting and that is not to gobble up food after a long day of hunger. Similarly just because you are hungry for affection does not mean that you grab whatever is offered to you. Finding balance is the first step to self healing and realization. It takes enormous patience and practice to heal oneself but it is definitely worth the effort to spare oneself from heartbreaks from people who are definitely not worth your time and energy.
  15. Age is just a number- Not because of anti- ageing creams that are flooded in the market or 60s is the new 40s quote that people quote so often, but because as you age we experience new learning and introspect life with a new lens. If someone can become the President of a developed nation at 70 in contrast to the dynamic and the current youngest French President, then I guess I still have a good opportunity to add some more feathers to my life.
  16. Maintain a good posture – Can’t stress on this more, thanks to students that I see now days slouching in their chairs. Well apart from the health benefits, it also portrays a more confident body language and makes you look slimmer and younger.
  17. At work you need to give more than what is expected – You can only learn more when you take up new projects and challenge yourself. This definitely does not mean working extra long hours on unproductive things just to impress your boss.
  18. When you have it flaunt it – I sounded like a true corporate geek, but guess what we are staying in a world where you have to speak up to make yourself visible. Classroom introductions are now a passé and shy people are just left out until and unless they learn to make themselves known in a world populated by extroverts.
  19. Keep networking – Networking is nothing but a life time investment and networking does not mean increasing the number of friends on your social media list. When you are in your twenties most of the people in that age group are struggling as they are broke. Some fake up and hide that aspect and leave everything on destiny and others are very passionate about their life and ideas. I learnt and still learn a lot from these passionate people and now even they are also in their early thirties but successful and happy.
  20. Inculcate financial discipline – I had to include this learning because I rarely see students valuing money and have negligible financial literacy. This is something people have to figure out on their own as schools and even parents now days hardly teach them. In my initial struggling days I purposefully used to wake up late to save money for breakfast and now before turning thirty I aspire to pursue my higher studies by financing myself. This journey was not an easy one but all that we hear about delayed gratification or Warren Buffet’s statement about saving half of your salary or more before spending was not wrong. Unfortunately we live in a society where people sell the concept of live in the moment and worship ostentatious lifestyle only to tag you as a miser if you don’t follow their footsteps. Just learn to smile and meander your way as you don’t have to justify your life. Like all forms of discipline this is also a habit forming exercise which requires a proper structure and does not come overnight. Consistency is the key and with time you learn to control your urge of spending money frivolously on things that gives you short term pleasure.
  21. Look for soul satisfying experience – People always ask me why I left my government job. Many people also ask me whether I miss Dubai or not. Honestly I find their questions quite amusing. Yes there are many experiences that I cherish about my past even when I was working abroad but at the end the flowers of Dubai seemed very beautiful and glamorous but had no roots. An identity or soul is what I believe in seeking. We might not conjure conspicuous memories of our birthday parties or presents that we received but I am pretty sure we fondly remember those memories which stirred our soul irrespective of which special day it was.
  22. Past is past – Nothing can be done about it. So learn the best lessons and move on.
  23. Humility matters – No matter how much you acquire knowledge it will fall short. It is always good to treat yourself as a beginner. There are many aspects of our life that we don’t have control for example the family that we hail from or the school that we studied because our parents paid our fees. I really don’t understand this false pride that students exhibit when they are part of an institution where admission is not on the basis of merit but by our parents bank balance. What I received after school is what makes me feel accomplished because getting into my college or my career choice and hobbies that I pursued where my hard work and I earned the merit to enjoy them.
  24. Time is money – Very common lesson but the most misused resource. Everyone will try to snatch it from you. Whether it is your office superior who expects you to work during ungodly hours, family members or life partner who will expect you to spend more time with them and call them often and friends who will expect more time from you to hangout. So with your limited resource, you should be spending it wisely and if required be a bit selfish about it to prevent yourself from exhausting your finite resource.
  25. You can learn something from everyone – Everyone has a story. Some happen to be the real Gladiators who have beaten the game of life and some are still playing the game. Choose whose story you want to remember and implement the learning in your life and whose you want to filter out.
  26. It’s OK to be angry or sad – Emotions sustain us. Never bottle them up only to sabotage them. This will only be toxic for people who matter to you as they will be targeted as your punching bags. Hence honor your negative emotions to heal yourself and honor them with your closest confidant or on your own because this world might try to find a profitable opportunity from your vulnerable situation.
  27. Forgive yourself first – At some point of life we have committed mistakes or hurt others. Being too honest or blunt can be cruel and I learnt it after a lot of self – introspection and perspective analysis. True redemption is when guilt is followed by good and how can you embrace a new beginning until and unless you forgive your troubled soul first? That’s the starting point on the journey of forgiving others.
  28. What you think, so shall you be – People believe in destiny. I believe we create our destiny .The only thing holding you back is YOU. You control your reality. So connect to yourself rather than ignoring yourself to create a better you.
  29. Break rules – Well this one is my favorite even though I am a teacher. It is good to break rules. Now I am not referring to traffic rules or university rules but stereotypes that plague our modern times. It is always good to challenge preconceived notions and set new standards. Crazy people are meant to change the world.
  30. Loosen up and be weird – Have loads of fun. Develop a sense of humor and sometimes make fun of yourself. You are still the child who has not grown up and you have the whole life to become an adult. Your teenage as well as twenties is meant to be enjoyed as you are full of energy. So enjoy without any guilt.

To conclude with my favorite movie dialogue ‘Babumoshai…..zindagi lambi nahi badi honi chahiye’ (Sir…..Life need not be long it should be big)