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A new dawn awakens the soul

Wishing  you all an exciting new year.  May you live the rest of your lives reminiscing the moments that you experienced in the coming year.

The year has started off on a very interesting note with some very intriguing thoughts. After a lull in the past few years, there have been some renewed convictions to change the future course of our lives. IT has to happen this year. The signs are all there.

Yesterday, as I embarked upon making the 2 hour bus trip from CBD Belapur to the in-laws castle in Juhu, I left work around 6 pm. reaching the bus depot; I was fraught with a dilemma. The bus was just pulling out of the depot and taking the next bus would mean waiting for another 20 odd minutes. To cross the road and request the driver to let me in, or should I respect my hunger pangs by having a snack. It was a typical to-be-or-not-to-be kind of a situation. 3 seconds of confusion and I ran inside the store to pick up my samosa sandwich. As I grabbed the snack and came to the main road, I noticed that there was an intersection on the highway which the bus was struggling to get past. On the split of the moment, like Arjuna’s focus on the fish eye, I dashed across to the highway point some 200 mts away in a bid to get to the bus and beg the driver to let me in. My single-minded conviction paid off, while I did get in front of the driver’s view, he signaled me to go ahead about 100 mts where he could stop his monstrous AC bus. That was a good start where I did follow my heart and belief and it worked. Moral of the story: Focus and devotion yield results. You CAN have your samosa and eat it too 😉

This morning, reading the papers, it was quite depressing to comprehend the article detailing modern day depression cycles. The writer outlined the many factors which kind of puts a person through a series of events leading to a depressive state. Putting it aside, I left home for a walk on the beach. The sea was silent; numbing my skull and choking my nostrils. The low tide was draining my thoughts away. After some 20 minutes of leisurely strolling, I sat on the beach sands gaping at the cloudless sky and the endless sea horizon. Just then, I noticed a black furry dog settling itself down close to where I was sitting. The dog was quite a good looking dog and had a collar on its neck. It was obvious from the red band around its neck that it was somebody’s pet and now in a state of homelessness. The dog made me think of humans and animals. This dog had obviously seen some human affections and must have definitely also reciprocated the same. One look at the timid creature, and you would want to pet it. Yet in all its aged state, it found itself lying on a beach with no outlook whatsoever. It would watch the other walkers on the beach with their pet Labradors, poodles, Alsatians et al, loving tendered upon by their masters. The pain was very evident on the pooch’s face and it was clear that it was depressed to the core. Ironically, humans when subjected to a similar fate of homelessness, lack of love, zilch prospects of the future, resort to radical steps of alcoholism, drugs and even suicide. Animals, as I learnt this morning, learn that life has its ups and downs and the Lord will take care of them nevertheless. You don’t find monkeys, dogs and cats running off a cliff and throwing themselves down from the highest perch atop a tree. They know that times have changed; food and sustenance will be a struggle and that they must keep trying to survive till the Lord’s calling comes. As I left the seashore, the mind was stronger with the experience.

As I walked back from the sea, my mind also drifted on the similarities of the human and animal lives. Like the dog, there are numerous folk out there, who are no longer zippy and youthful. There is a mother out there who stayed back home to look after every need of her young hearts. There is a father out there breaking his hump day after day, sacrificing his time with his kids, in the hope that he will be able to afford his children a far better financially stable life than he lives in today. A time comes when these folks get a grip on reality that their youthful days are far behind, lost in their single minded pursuits of their goals for their children. That is the time they feel the vulnerabilities; older age, lesser incomes, insecurities of career, compromises on lifestyle due to affordability and more. Very similar to the dog’s experience, they are both swayed by the times and circumstances. But as humans, we are a very unique lot.

Parents are often relegated to the fringes and new fascinations take over. So much is our fetish with all things new, that these folks who have given their best to the children, often find themselves with uncertain future, despair and in many cultures, land up in old age homes as well. This year, let us not forget these wonderful people who silently gave you all that you ever wanted and more. Yes, they will not be always cheerful and agreeable, but remember, neither were you when they took pains to workaround your needs and keep you happy. Let them not have the dog’s fate in their golden years; give them the gift of your time and attention this year, and not those expensive gifts.

As I write these, I am told of unfortunate happenings to a friend of ours. She has been having the most trying times of her life. With a career in dwindles, income is a trickle. Fate has quite a humor and often plays ballet with her. Couple of months ago, her mother has been in and out of hospital due to illness and heart attack. Just when she found herself coming out of that shock, she finds herself confronted by a heart attack condition to her father. With severely impacted finances, such emotional turmoil can only play havoc with the mind. Like the dog, I would advise her to be strong and keep her faith alive. Times are tough but nothing that will not pass. There will be different times and different experiences. Hang in there, lady.

As I said the signs are all over and God speaks to us in many ways. My only wish to God this year is to help make me alive; alive to every thing happening; alive to not take any moment for granted.  May you have the most wonderful of experiences in your lives. Like the movie “August Rush” ends – “Music is all around; all you have to do is listen!”. Happy New Year.

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Life as a race

Life is like a race between cat and mouse. Mouse mostly wins bcos cat is running for food and mouse is running for its life. Purpose is more important than need!!

So be a mouse and win the race..

EXPERIENCE LIFE FULLY

Big idea: Why wait to get old to become experienced?

I want the experience of an old man while I’m still young. And I think I’ve figured out a way to get it: Collapse the timeline. Most people don’t take that many risks or have that many new conversations or read that many new books or take that many new travels. By engaging in these and other experience-building pursuits at a dramatically accelerated rate, I figure I could get 10 years’ worth of learning and lessons in a quarter of the time. Just collapse the timeline by doing more important stuff faster and sooner. Just stay focused and committed. Just put more living into each of your days.

We all get the same allotment of time. Each of us gets 24 hours each day. The sad fact is that too many among us spend too much time doing unimportant things. Living reactive lives. Saying “yes” to activities they should be saying “no” to. Drifting like a piece of wood in a river, moving in whatever direction the current happens to be moving on that particular day – all because they did not make the time to think about their priorities, about their dreams and goals. And to note what they want to make of their lives. People have lost 20 good years this way. Seriously.

By being clear about what you want out of life, you heighten your awareness around what’s most important. With better awareness comes better choices. And with better choices y ou’ll see better results. Clarity breeds success.

So don’t wait until the end of your life to become experienced. Collapse the timeline. Get clear on what you need to experience to have a fulfilling life, and then start doing it now. Meet cool people. Visit neat places. Read deep books. Seize opportunities. Fail often – it reflects an increase in your reach and risktaking.

Who cares if you win or lose, so long as you get another experience to add to the inventory. Even the saddest of times make your life richer. Benjamin Zander, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, shared the following line from his teacher, the great cellist Gaspar Cassadó, in his wonderful book The Art of Possibility: “I’m so sorry for you; your lives have been so easy. You can’t play great music unless your heart’s been broken.”

The more experiences, the better the life. The person who experiences most wins.

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