The Digital Detox – How to do it?

As addicted as you and I are to the sweet updates that come popping up on our social media timelines every time we drag the scroll bar downwards, it’s a mystery to a lot many as to what exactly is ‘Digital Detox’. In its purest form, the digital kind of the detox means you cut yourself out from all things digital. Your laptop, your smartphone and with it all your social media accounts and therefore all your digital life – should be locked down for a few days, with the key nowhere within reach. Much like how your stomach needs to take some rest with plain non-spicy, non-oily food once in a while, your brain needs to disconnect from the digital world for some time.

Now, being in the field that I am in, it is next to impossible to not turn on my workstation every single day. So, instead of cutting it down altogether I’ve decided to make my own version of the digital detoxication process with the hope to follow it with sincere devotion.

The first and foremost culprit, the feeder of the toxic data for the brain, the one that tops the charts of ‘top 10 reasons of being unproductive’ for this entire generation is none other than our evil neighborhood – Facebook. That’s the first thing you have to deactivate. Next most used platform is email. I unsubscribed to many, many channels/websites/newsletters that would clutter all the space in my inbox. I now get only 15-20 emails a day on my multiple accounts, and each one of them is worth replying to.

I have never been much active on the mobile messaging platform – WhatsApp. People keep complaining about how I am not contributing anything in any of the groups. I pulled the plugged on that too. Left about 10 different Whatsapp groups that I was only a part of as a silent lurker. The forwarded messages would get to my nerves and the constant notifications are too much distraction. Another helpful tip for the readers is – Try to keep the data on your mobile OFF all the time. Switch it ON when there’s free time for about 10 minutes. Get the updates and shut it off again. If they really mean to reach you, they will call you or leave a message.

The whole point of writing this post is that if you feel you have a dream to do something apart from the regular job and studying and whatever it is you do on routine, you have to learn to let go of the things that eat your precious time and keep your brain occupied for all the wrong reasons. This is way easier said than done. Your dream could be to make a card, grow a company, eat good food, go running, spend more time talking or simply sleeping early. We have to remember – If you got a dream, you gotta protect it.

Signing off with a reminder for myself -

The-only-way-to-succeed-is-to-not-worry-about-what-anyone-else-is-doing

If I should have a daughter – Sarah Kay’s Spoken Poetry

I recently got introduced to the beautiful world of ‘spoken poetry’ and was absolutely mesmerized by it. Listening to a random TED talk landed me on the work of Sarah Kay.

The following words are the lyrics of her famous poem titled “Point B” that she presented at a TED event.

Be dazzled by her words -

“If I should have a daughter, “Instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.”

She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Sarah_kay_poetry

And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.”

But I know that she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boots nearby, ‘cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that’s how my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this my momma said” when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away.

You will put the “wind” in win some lose some, you will put the “star” in starting over and over, and no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

“Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier but your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.”

Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.

Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartbreak, slip hatred and war under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.”

Turned 23. Quit my job.

Some brilliant guy wrote these lines in a blog post – “Your hands have not evolved over 3 million years to type out memos. Or put paper through fax machines. Or hold a phone up while you talk to people you dislike. 100 years from now, your hands will rot like dust in your grave. You have to make wonderful use of those hands now. Kiss your hands so they can make magic.”

I turned 23 today and tomorrow is my last working day at the office where I am not sure how exactly I landed up. I am giving up a job and the perks that tag along with it to do stuff I really love doing. I toiled at a day full of dull and lull at work and realized that this isn’t my dream job. Then I realized -

dream-job

Finding a true passion in life has been a topic of great confusion for me and this entire blog is a testimony to it. And though it still stays unclear to me, I’ve decided to pursue a life that shall pursue this search for passion.

It is going to be a hard life – the one full of struggle to meet personal goals. But, it is going to be a 100% worth the ride. After all, the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Now, Headed Somewhere.

Routine is boring. Imagining myself doing the same things day after day, without even changing the sequence scares me. At first, the thought of moving to a new city was unsettling. So much, that the entire decision felt wrong. But now that I am thinking of moving again, I know it is the change in anything that disturbs. Shoving yourself out of one routine and embracing another one is what is dreaded. It only feels best when you’re moving towards something. Seeing people do something for the sake of doing it, makes me wonder if that’s what I really want. I know a few people who wake up every single day without knowing where all these efforts are going. We have to have small, achievable goals that change every day. Without it, if we look back, we won’t be able to tell a day apart. We have to be headed somewhere.

The bottom line is, we have to -

keep-calm-and-keep-moving

One point perspective. Always.

Being surrounded by two thousand people at a time is humbling. And when I use the word ‘humbling’ it is just making things as mild as possible. It is maddening, stupefying and at times blood-boiling (thanks to all the pushing and shoving). But then, it is all that as well as introspect-inducing. Weirdos like me get into the introspection mode and thoughts like – the insignificance of my life in this not-just-vast but the infinite bigness of everything there is – start popping up every now and then. More so, because you end up being in a room full of two thousand people every single day. And in all of this chaos, one thought happens to have made room in my mind.

perspective

It is amazing how each one of us looks at the entirety of the world from just one, single perspective. In a very materialistic, flesh and bone, hard-wood approach, of course. Wherever you go, you look at every scene in front of you from just that one angle. We can never see what the other is seeing. If you sit in one room, at any point of time, you are just looking at the one and only perspective that no one else can. We end up having just our set of experiences in the form of pictures captured from that view, on that day. Strange thought. We can never get into someone else’s mind and see what they’re seeing.

My inability to describe it further only forces me to say that – It would be just another super-power I would’ve loved to have. Having multiple perspectives at a time. I hope the wizards take a note of it & bless me soon enough.

The one between what could’ve been & what would be.

So one major decision and a frenzy of events later, here I am about to take the plunge. Unwilling, yet curious. Weary, yet impatient.
Now, most people toil in their lives as *employees* with dreams of having something of their own to work for. While I, having tasted a startup life, am truly swimming against the tide (called norm) and doing what seems bizarre and the *Why would you do that?* kind. I have some reasons. And I am hanging on to the hope of this quote -

its-never-too-late-to-be-who-you-might-have-been

Only a few decisions are lucky enough to be called 100% right before they are taken. Rest, as they say, we take them first and strive to make them right later.
That said, I am here in a new city – to enjoy the ride & to make things work! :)
Signing off wondering what the next blog post shall be about.

Being Unconquerable – “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley

At the age of 12, William had a tuberculous in the bone. He had to have his leg amputated to the knee and doctors told him he would have to have the other one amputated if he were to survive.
He did not pay heed and kept going with his life with one leg, only to become a famous poet and lead a successful career of a literary critic.
To this day, you can look at people and see what separates men of character from spineless wieners is the difference in the way they face challenges.

Henley was truly the captain of his soul.

Invictus

And this one from him won’t fail to capture your heart -

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

PS: Came across some poems that I thought had to find their way on my blog. Making a post about them so that I can come back later and read and know what I felt, once, while reading them.

Master_Shifu_by_Purple_Twilek
Aside

It’s all in the mind.

Human mind works in mysterious ways.
If too much good is happening with a person, his/her mind starts conspiring ways of
finding some small speck that is going wrong and makes a big deal out of it.
A good yet simple example is that of mega-rich brothers quarreling over property matters.
Because every single time a fight resolves or a tear is wiped – you look back and feel how could I make such an issue about this!
Emotions like – Respect or Gratitude or Sense of Belonging are conjured up by this mind only and can be altered with a snap of a hand.

Image

At the end of the day, if you really think about it, it feels really very easy to stay happy and spread happiness. It’s all in the mind. And when you put the other person before everything else, it just feels easier! :)

Comfort outside the comfort zone. Whaat?

The comfort zone is a comfy-fort, a fort of relaxation. Inside I feel all cozy and at peace. Out of worries and free of any tension. There is no thought pushing you to do stuff. Comfort zone is a place where you are OK with yourself & you do the things you know you’re good at. There is peace in there.
And then it strikes you. Or somehow, someone or something tells you this -

wherethemagichappens

And you want to set out to do things you have never been comfortable in.
It is awkward. You have a throbbing heart. Your head goes blank. You stutter. The legs are all shaky. The once smooth forehead has sweat running down. The calm turns into fear. The warmth turns into despair. Every decision feels wrong. Before you start to think why you are here, it’s already too long. You have all reasons to give up, feel down and be unnerved. But you have to still keep pushing and kicking to be out there. Because no matter how uncomfortable you are, you soon see why it is here that the magic happens.

If you do make frequent trips outside your comfort zones, let me tell you, you my friend are fantastic!
For me, even taking the first step out is scary. Every single time. But I have been there and it is definitely worth it. :)

comfortzone

Little Miss Sunshine Turns One Year Old

An year went by since the Rise of the Little Miss Sunshine and today we celebrate her very first birthday. An year that was full of her cries and her smiles. An year that was filled with setting our schedules in accordance to hers. An year that saw her crawling and taking the first baby steps. An year that didn’t need mood brightening-up, because her presence shooed away any grumpy face. An year spent in tucking her up in the baby hammock and whispering to each other making sure she won’t wake up. An year where we tried to figure out what every ‘Mumm Mumm’ or ‘Tya Dya’ meant. It was an year we will never forget.

Here goes a little dedication to my dearest miss sunshine and her parents who spent sleepless nights to make you sleep alright -

We give you a bath and dress you all snug,
We read you a book and give a kiss and a hug.
We smile as we bid you a sweet goodnight,
We blow you a kiss and we turn out the light.

A move, a whimper, little cries,
We wait then go to dry your eyes.
We smile as we watch you rest your head,
We bid farewell and head to bed.

A shout we hear as startled we wake,
We slowly head to your room, “Boy is it late!”
A little while later we finally find sleep.
We pray that the restful silence surely will keep.

Our attempts to sleep are to no avail,
As we wake to your whimpers, cries, and a wail.
A midnight feeding, a binky, your boo,
We drag ourselves back to bed hoping all that will do.

Not so much. You’re up once again,
Babbling as if to ask, “Where’ve you been.”
We drag our worn-out bodies back to your room,
Mommy’s secretly wishing she could put you back in the womb

We rock you awhile and sing you a song,
But we know that you won’t be asleep for long.
It’s 3 AM as dad heads to bed.
But instead of sleep it’s work up late.

Mom comes out to say, “No sleep for me.”
Instead she dusts, washes dishes, and folds laundry.
And little baby all snug and safe in her bed,
Smiles as she rests her sweet little head.

And so I don’t have favorites.

I love acting more than the actors. I love the sport more than the players or teams. I love the stories more than the protagonists. I love the taste and never a particular food item. I love the overall song’s composition more than the one who’s singing it. I even love the feeling I get when I am with friends more than the friends themselves.

I have no idea how people categorize things into favorites and semi-favorites. Lately, I do have some favorite people, but calling them just ‘favorite’ is too big an understatement. Ok, so am I confused between people and things here? I guess yes, but don’t try to find logic here. Lately, most things that are happening with me are beyond logic and rationality. <End of Post> Go, list your favorites in comments!

Calling These The ‘Happily Ever After’ Times

That image pretty much sums up what I feel today. I have always refrained from certain things for I was afraid of feeling grown up and didn’t want to let go off the stupidity and clumsiness masked under innocence, that I felt I always carried around. But, I had no idea that breaking free can be this beautiful. Looking forward to the future with twinkling eyes and oodles of crazy dreams.

PS: The title of this post is inspired from the new theme of the blog titled ‘Ever After’. This new phase called for a new look. :)

Blinding *Flash* of the Obvious!

So, recently there have been these series of events that had the slogan shouting in the background ‘Flash of the Obvious!’ and still I couldn’t take them in. The definition of what I call obvious is changing with every passing day. Statements like, ‘It is only natural.’, are being thrown in the wild more frequently than usual. Though they are not absolutely sure about anything, every friend seems to have a reason supporting their course of action. How can everyone make things feel this very obvious?

New thoughts are taking more time to sink in than what was the norm. Being brought up as a person who is supposed to have a clear-head, the unnecessary clogging up of thoughts is turning this mind’s focused aims into hazy views.

Sudden change around me in people, whom I expected to persist as they are, made me write all this, I guess. I didn’t find time to think that things would alter anytime soon. If things are so obvious to you, you and you, why don’t I find them apparent? – Well, no obvious answers for that.

Why is this post so vague in nature, you ask? Well, no obvious reasons as well.

Is self-promotion your cup of tea?

Last december, a friend shared this article from TOI with me and it immediately sturck a chord. I wanted to blog about it then, but didn’t for umpteen reasons. And now I think is the most apt time to scribble about it. I always thought ‘self-aggrandizing cacophony’ would create chaos. As a kid, I used to look up to anyone who was soft-spoken, candid and down-to-earth and felt this is how one is supposed to be. Later, as a just-in teenager, you could say I had a lucky fairy standing over me, because I never had to push myself to be in the limelight. Everything happened naturally. I was blind to the fact that the kids around were not getting the attention they could be deserving, be it in curriculars or extra-curriculars.

downloadBut soon after we reached high school, I stopped wanting to be in the limelight. I suddenly started seeing that everyone is busy selling themselves aggressively. Fighting, pushing, pulling to be heard or to be seen. And they looked ugly. Why would anyone want to be like that? Standing on the table and shouting, “I am the best!” made people look worst. Wasn’t that obvious? All my little experiences told me that if you have the talent, it gets due recognition; what then is the need of the competition?

Well, back then whomever I talked to always told me the opposite. They would stress over the point that one has to shout and gather attention, or else your voice will be left unheard. I could see that what they said made sense; because I knew so many people who would lay on the couch and throw tantrums at the reality shows or stand in the auditorim and hoot, when they were the ones with all the ability needed to outperform the idiots eating all the footage! Somehow, ‘marketing and promotion’ – these words started feeling increasingly important in the times that followed. Selling oneself to the world became a common phrase. And though it looks unfortunate to me, people have become damn good at it!

Are they wrong? Are they right? Is leaving your mark really significant? I am clueless; but I know one thing for sure, I have mellowed down. Even today, I prefer being back-stage. Pulling the strings from behind somehow looks more appealing than being a part of the maddening crowd.

Can you die of happiness?

Tears of Happiness. They happens to all of us. But sometimes happiness comes in such enormous forms that you can’t contain it all at once. You can’t even shove it in a container and contemplate about it later. It is such an emotional moment that you are not sure if you are most alive in that instant or you are about to die, because you have never experienced such a thing before.

For the music by Ajay & Atul. And for the Lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya. And for the Essence of Happiness. Listen to this:

Why I Love Google Animated Videos.

Well, just like http://www.google.com home page, these videos have white backgrounds and bright colors on the objects used. The white color makes everything look bright. It helps the viewer focus on the important things being shown. Whosoever creates these videos, makes sure that the language and the concept is understandable to the layman. I am amazed at how easily they put things across in the most simplified format.

Here is an example:

The real ingenuity lies in making things easy. Just because they make it look easy, we think it is easy. The way they explain stuff is hassle-free and not boring at all. I wish school teachers used such videos to teach everything from geography lessons to number theory in the primary classes. Remember what Mr. Einstein said,

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Check another one:

To the team who creates all these videos, you guys make the world a better place. I hope the marketing teams & the creative people across the big companies learn from them. The bottom line : Simple is Beautiful, Friendly and Catchy. ;)

A Mentor, A Guru, A Godfather

The greatest of the stories ever told and those which have been able to become immediately appealing to us all have one common thread. All of them have: a mentor, a guru, a godfather. Be it Dumbledore or Gandalf or one of those numerous guides in Robin Sharma’s books of greatness. Be it the tales of the overachievers from the countless sci-fi books or even the mythological stories where there is Lord Krishna for Arjun or Chanakya for Chandragupta.

images

There is always the one who brings solace to the distressed. There is always the one know-it-all; the one who has all the answers. There is always the one who has the experience and the forbearance. The one who will look you through thick and thin; and the one who will take a back seat and let you enjoy all the glory. That someone who is watching over you during the dark and miserable times and becoming your sole guiding light. In short, that one person makes you and your life ‘awesome’.

Just imagine, how awesome it would be to have such a person in your life, in real life. In times of unreasoning and confusion, you have someone definitive to look up to. Someone who may not give you direct answers, but tell you where to look them up. Just imagine for a moment.

The Unpleasant Uncertainty

Writing is becoming difficult by the day. For penning down your thoughts you need clarity of mind and unruffled thinking. With a clutter of things inside the brain and no outlet to the mess, expressing things has become inevitably tough. :(

Life is at a major turning point, though thank god for its not taking its toll. Now is the time to take decisions. Decisions! Something I am not very good at. (I just remembered my post – Choose or Lose. It was written in 2009. Not much has changed ever since.)

My state of mind

Having no idea about what the future will hold or which way to go next is something occupying moi mind 80% of the time. It is in our nature to fear the unknown. So many questions remain unanswered. I like to believe that the truth behind this uncertainty is simply a disguise, albeit an unpleasant one, for opportunity.

Rise of the Little Miss Sunshine

The Day is 18th November 2011. We rushed from my hometown to another city in quite a frenzy of events. The Granny-To-Be & Papa-To-Be are excited & nervous at the same time. I am trying to keep the mood cheerful, but I am the nervous-est of all. After reaching the destined place, as the clock seems to move at a slower pace than usual, we try to fake patient faces and try to tell the Mom-To-Be that everything is going to be fine. Minutes turn into hours and finally its 3:30 pm in our watches. The nurses & doctors are busy preparing the Operation Theatre. They rush the mom-to-be in. I close my eyes and offer silent prayers.
I have never seen the dad-to-be getting so frantic with anxiety. We are taking hurried steps across the passage next to the OT door & trying hard to listen to any kind of sound from inside.

At precisely 04:05:20 pm, I hear the sound of little cries from inside. And she is born.

Tears trickle down my eyes as I can’t control the extreme emotions. I hug her father and in silence, we both realize what ultimate state of happiness means. All eyes set on the OT door – her both grannys, great-grannys, aunts & father are on their toes to see her face.

Just then, the doctor appears with her all cuddled up in his hands & announces, “It’s a baby girl!”. And almost forgetting that we are in a hospital we shout cheerful cries!
I have never seen anything more beautiful in my life. She is a brilliant color of white & pink. As the doctor lands her safely on a cozy bed, she blinks eyes to her first ever rays of sun and glows in merriment. She looks calm & serene, as if she knows she is in the safe hands.
I lay down beside her & see her perfect profile face. It makes me realize what they mean when they say divine. She is one of God’s best creation ever.
Without anyone noticing, I whisper in ear, “You are going to be a apple of our eyes. The most beautiful, the most perfect, the most successful, the most knowledgeable that there is, is all going to be you and yours. You will always shine brightly in everybody’s life like the sunrise.”
You are my little miss sunshine & will always be. :)