Monday, 22 February 2016

There's more in reading - it has a lot!

The love for art and literature is not something new. Looking back, rather long back, I find the most enchanting tales having been articulated in the most inspiring manner – yes, I am talking about Indian mythology. The character building, narrative styles, dialogue exchange and the imaginative tour they take you on – well they are the love of every reader!

While everything here begins with Once Upon A Time.. and not too much to our surprise ends with Happily Ever After, the grandma tales enabled visually with our Disney Experience made our childhood not any less magical. They spurred not only magic but several fantasies with the magical weapons, the Arabian castles, the fairly lands journey; how could I forget – the rat and mice that became family to most of us – that’s the power of tales!

Time has moved forward- things have evolved; almost everything changed I must say, except this one – the power of tales. 

As passionate as a car racer, a computer game freak, a scuba diver, a football player or a reader – being any of the above is truly a wonder! And you would realize this, just as soon as you became any of these; life feels light - as if you carry no baggage and that’s wonderful! Shifting back gears, let me tell you what’s my favourite of all these – being a reader and a writer.

There are somethings I live by – if you do not read you live just one life, but if you read – you live thousands of lives! Isn’t the choice easy! I am a mad traveller – it gives me goose bumps each time I see airfare sale and I choose to believe that world is my home. Well travelling is nothing but newness. And so is a book – it brings a new vision, a new live, new feelings, new characters, new situations which are not really your own, but surely they become yours as soon as you find yourself falling in love with the scent of old paper books. It’s addictive!

My love for more newness didn’t end with traveling or reading; it made me go ahead create a world of my own – A world in the middle of seventeen hills, where I lived with Nanu and Gauri for several years. Nanu and Gauri who were siblings, they worked at the tea gardens of Conoor, Tamil Nanu since the day Father left them. Nanu was scared of monkeys and he would hide behind like a scared sheep. They looked at the ‘conestillations’ and went to the Tara Mandal.

I stayed there. I walked with them, ate with them, slept on the old cot with them, heard water falling down the old white tap – dip dip; oh! That sound still jingles loud in my ears pulling me back into the green cover of tea gardens all around.  Life was different in the seventeenth hill – ‘Just like Ma was Ma, Nanu was Nanu, Gauri was Gauri so not going to school was not going to school’

Nanu’s pointy shoes, his blue box filled with marbles – I never knew life could have this face as well until I met Nanu. 

I had felt, seventeenth hill would just have a handful of life – but when I lived there, I realized that it had much more that what I had thought. It had answers to all my questions of life – the quizzical life that I had been fighting with, ended gracefully.

Nights and days passed by – my life became matured, evolved and philosophical in the seventeen hills, until I walked out of the place with a last tear justifying my true sense of patience and imagination.

That is when A Handful of Seventeenth Hill Happened – I lived in a world of my own, the world I created.

I embraced newness.

Nevertheless, no waiting for the flight low fare sale!

Write – if you love to write! It sheds off your emotional filth, making you a wonderful person, it makes you philosophical. It makes you share your feelings with the world, probably help you change a few lives – well even if you change one life for the better with you writing, you are doing great! Write if you observe the tiny things as ants moving in a row, or trajectory of a drop of water on tulip near your old house, may be the tiny line in the frame of your grandfather’s old glasses – well the literature is calling you! Imagination, observation and persistence – if you have it in you, go ahead and the world is your battlefield.

Website –

Book – A Handful of Seventeenth Hill

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Self respect or something more?

Yesterday my friend Amrita dropped me a note. She said I read your blog and I had a realization.

“When we write something, it happens because we want to share our feelings,” she continued.

 I really wasn’t surprised until she threw her last few words, “probably because we want to have at least someone to acknowledge how we feel – it is a means to share our happiness and sorrow with at least someone,” she said.

“Why do you write?” she asked. 

I shared a secret of my life with her yesterday. So, shall I do today.

I have two notebooks – one is bright pink and the other is dark brown in colour. I preserve my happy moments in the pink notebook while I pen down my hefty thoughts in the brown notebook. Which one is my favourite? Both.

And when I realize I have understood a new shade of life, I blog.

Today, I am sitting out in my old house, again trying to locate the tiny twirls of the money plant somewhere; or may me my own childhood, my dead grandmother in those twirls and in her slippers.

I wish we could get them back; those who are gone.

Kerela is my favourite for two things – monsoons and the malabar whistling thrush. I spent August 2012 and July 2014 in Kerela. People call it God’s own country; I feel it could be true. The evening wine and dine in the middle of a forest, perhaps with a book to take you into a literary tour, the morning mist and tea with sweet bread on the rocks, water timidly touching you and absolute wildlife existence around you – Kerela is more than just the back waters.  

I made friends with Arpan in Kerela.

Smart, intelligent, strong headed and awesome – that is how I would describe Arpan.  But Arpan was not happy!

“I am unable to understand what is right and what is wrong,” he said.

“I have given up on my own sister and I have started to disown her to find happiness. Now, I do not know if I am doing right or wrong.

My sister has something which she calls self-respect, but to everyone except her it feels much more. People call it ego. She has humiliated so many of my friends just because she felt she was not getting as much importance as she deserved.

 If she is home, I should not make any plans with my friends, if she is home I should wait for her so that we eat together, I cannot talk with my girlfriend on phone if she makes our plans for the night- even before asking me, she wants bigger and more royal rooms in hotel if we go with friends and relatives, she describes what are good manners and what are bad – all as per her convenience. And then after all this, she calls herself  humble, matured and learned!

She thinks she knows all right ways of living and if you do not live as per her, you are a moron!”

And then, Arpan sighed.

I tapped on his shoulder. He shed off all emotional liabilities at once.

Arpan's sister was not bad – she was just a simple human as all of us. Probably, with an additional attribute – ego.  There is something special about this attribute – all egoist people are always blind to it because they are self- satisfied by naming ego as self-respect. If you ask me whether it is difficult to bring out that difference, I would say absolute NO. I feel it is very easy to see that difference, provided we are not blind to it. 

His sister’s ego took all happiness from Arpan’s life – who did not just run away from home but also began to stay depressed. While she wanted to be respected like a king, superior to all, she was deprived of everything – of what Arpan could have given her and also of what Arpan could have not given her. By demanding respect and seeking that forcefully – she not just failed in her desires but also lost the only one chance that our life gives us – to love and be loved.

Today, I write this post in memory of my grandmother, I realize what it means to live life really. We just have a few years in hand – may be not even few. Either lose them all in forcing respect, love, power or be so that even when you are gone, these remain back as your memories. Look beyond what your brain makes you look – if people are hurt with your actions and words, begin with the first step of accepting than explaining.

If explanations mattered, nothing would be called a sin!

After reading this story probably you would have the same thought as I had - "I am not as Arpan's sister. She was too egoist. Off course, she was.

But we too have bits and pieces of her in us. Sometimes, it comes out before our parents, sometimes before our boss or colleagues, may be before your junior who is performing better than you, or before your friend who is filthy rich!

She it off - you will see how most difficult situations just vanish! 

Arpan tried talking to her sister for the sake of his parent’s happiness and for the sake of not letting her go from his life. He even continued accepting his sister’s bad behaviour and in process started to become a depressed man. He had no friends, his girlfriend left him, he started to hate having dinner.

When he returned from Kerela, his sister said – “You have made so many perceptions about me. No body called me egoist till you except you. I think you should move on!”

I hope you and me both know what was good for Arpan to do. Relations should be well preserved and nurtured. But if they start biting you till death, either relations should change or people should!

P.S –

I planted some new money plants today and had an extreme sense of elation. Do not really know the reason but I feel nurturing them feels like taking that smallest step towards kindness.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Your expectations someone's compromises?

Entire last week I have been feeling quite heavy - as if something concrete and massive had accumulated in me; I start my day happily, but by noon I feel some emotional fatigue as if somethings is missing; I count on my fingers one by one all that I can think of - my job, workplace, food may be, am I missing music, do I need to talk to old friends or may be not,  may be I have too little work or is it more work...Sigh! No concrete answers - but a web of answers leading to questions and questions leading to answers. Finally, I realize I was not so happy!

Having shared the last post with you, this state was not very new to me. I tried thinking a bit, which reminded me of November last year.

November last year I had visited Hampi, Karnataka - I am sure many of you would have either heard - heard a lot about it or may be you already visited that place. It is a place of diversity and art - diversity in people and art in stone. When you take the first ride from Gangawati to Hampi, what comes your way is an absolute bonus - early morning sun, rarest of the birds and massive rocks left and right. The rocks look familiar to anyone travelling from South India - for they have the same colour and form; what differs probably is the air which is clean, tender and calms you. This place known to people as the Heritage site, Hampi definitely has a lot more to lure you.

During those three days there, I saw a man. And I saw him daily.

I had been wondering why this man was all alone, why he looked at the sky every night with smoke in hand, why he stared at everyone around but never spoke, why he looked so lost - this man who was fair, had stubby fingers and he was our neighbour at the cottage. When everyone around was doing either something or nothing - meditation, reading, rope walking, yoga, cycling, trekking or just lazying around, this man did both - unmoved but always thinking. 

And then one evening while on phone, he spoke! And, He spoke a lot!

"I understand that I am the only one for you in the city but damn it I have many people around me. You make me calls and so many calls each day trying to monitor every minute and not just that - you make sure that you rule every minute of my day. Unlike you, who has nothing, I have many friends..

...silence for sometime after which he screamed again

Exactly! That is your problem - that you tell me things frankly. Now, I am telling you things frankly - if you don't see your phone getting answered please understand that I am either at work or having beer with friends - where I really do not want to hear from you! I cannot have fixed time to come home and you better do whatever you have to. All you need is me - me imprisoned with you! Why can't your understand that I  have a life outside of that home in which you stay..I realize it was my mistake to marry you - mistake that big which makes me run away from you and come to places where no one knows me, no one bothers me."

I quickly gathered myself and went inside my room shutting the door - realizing it was a personal moment and I ought to leave it personal for the man.

This made me think - what could be so wrong which made him so immune to making his personal moments public; as if he didn't care about anything at all!

I realized why I had been not so happy for that entire week!

Expectations - trust me, they kill everything, relations, feelings, confidence and even you. They make you worse than what you think you could ever be. Break ups being our favourite table topics, I feel how much so ever we drill down, the only cause is expectations. We begin forcing our happiness on compromises of other people. And then, we feel that emotional fatigue - a strong emptiness, similar to what I had been experiencing last week.

Over time, we see people change, things change and then we begin to panic - because people and things are not as how we are used to seeing them. One of my friends said something that I would like to share with you - He said  - "Look at everyone as supposed to play a part in your life. When their role is over, they move on. Do not try to hold them back, for the moment you feel you don't have them - they are already gone!"

Some people believe that if we have feelings, we are ought to have expectations. If we kill expectations, feelings weaken! Well, that sounds true!

I do not blame you for saying this; I myself thought alike in the past. Now, I think different. I am willingly sharing this secret with you today - how I managed to give up on expectations. And trust me, this one too is very simple.

Tame your mind; tap to tell it one simple thing - if my happiness resides on demanding something from a person which takes away even the tiniest bit of his/her happiness, things are going wrong. Every one who I love, value or respect has the right to stay they way they want to. What's the use if I start charging for all I give?

Look at everything just as it is - no preset requirements. Whatever later exceeds the preset limits, treat it as bonus.

There is another way to deal with this - do not be too greedy for your greed. Sometimes people not behaving the way we expect them to, does not only make us feel good but it also makes us find newer sources of happiness.

Have the power to your happiness in your hands and not in the hands of people who you love. If you start questioning their actions, all you get in return is a strained relationship.

But, who will teach me not to be greedy for my own greed? Especially at this point of my life - when I have learnt so much of life, seen so much of world and experienced so much of time.

Sometimes and many times when I experience things like this, I sense the irony in how we grow up. We grow up forgetting the most simple things - really, the most simple things!

If there was a teacher who came to me and scolded me by telling I should not be greedy, I surely would have understood but I think we are all a bit too old to understand the simplest things of life!

Taptrospect - this time to shed off the emotional fatigue.

P.S - When I spent the evening all alone on one of those high rocks watching sunset, I felt like a good human being. When I shared this with my brother, he repeated his question - "Is travelling that important to be a good human being?"

I am still thinking!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Looking around to compare? Hold on!

Last week I was travelling to Gokarna. Late night while in bus to Hubli, I couldn't sleep. This was also the day when I made my introductory post of Taptrospection. I was fighting whole night with several thoughts on what should be my first post intended to meet the promises I made to you. With so many of you liking the blog and waiting for the real stuff to come soon, I could sense myself struggling with thoughts. I wanted to think from all perspectives - good and bad, real and imaginary, great and not so great! I was still wondering over Gautam's questions and comments on my last post. Honestly, I didn't find the answer and gave up when we finally reached Kamath Cafe for the morning tea at Hubli.

Last evening, it was raining and I was on the 13th floor of a skyscrapper. The strong urge to write took over me but I couldn't find more than just the first sentence flowing in. I think I was not happy! And I wanted to be happy..

If you remember, in my last post I asked all you readers to join me as we talk about very simple things from daily lives to solve most complicated problems. I leaned something recently which I thought should make the best first post to this blog -  I realize that as we grow up, irrespective of whether things around us change or not, we definitely shape up in ways to fall for depression. Confused? Let me tell you the entire story.

Gokarna is a place of beaches. It has some of the most fierce beaches in India. When water rushes in with force of a million bulls running together, you sense the anxiety and fear and feel how petty you are standing before the mercy of nature - the creator. You would find this surprising just as I did - the turbulent and wild waters there make make you feel really tranquil and calm; as if the power of those rising waters scared off all emotional filth that had accumulated within you, as if you feel so petty before the reality of your existence that you give up all your principles of self esteem, ego, struggle for more, jealousy and more..

On those rocks, I had thought as if I am the only one feeling free from my own emotional filth. I was wrong. My friend - was silent for long. I assumed it was the beer effect. When he was even more silent - I thought it is the beer + sea effect. When, he spoke out I realized it was taptrospection happening and I got my first post for the blog.

"Last week I was very troubled," he said. "It was one of those Friday nights when I was in highest of my spirits and was planning movie night with friends. Just then, I happened to see one of the old friends post a link on his Facebook - Feeling proud - Coolest CEOs of Coolest Start Ups, Economic Times . I quickly opened the link and read the complete article. Somehow, my heart was pounding fast. I sat there still for sometime and finally saw myself unsubscribing myself from his posts.

I took out my bike and went to  my friends place. With beer in hand and some viral videos on TV screen, we spoke and spoke. When the conversations ended, I think it was morning 3am or so, I realized I had spoken so much on my own start up ideas, team building and plans. I had also gone into the nitty gritty of the news that I read - found more links and news on my CEO friends' startup, even more until I got some where I read the challenges they are facing - improper talent, not enough funding and more..

Next morning when I came home - I was having a giddy feeling. I suddenly checked my pay slips, my travel plans for the next full year. That full week, I was either reading more on start ups or finding new jobs. The same office, same workplace, in fact same work that I had enjoyed for so long suddenly felt so lame; as if I was not getting what I deserved!

And trust me the giddy feeling stayed in me like a parasite eating me bit by bit till today.."

I smiled and tapped on his shoulder.  I also understood why was I not so happy sitting on 13th floor of  the skyscraper. 

He said I don't know why but I feel so lighter today as if I am free of that parasite. He took several deep breaths and spoke - shared his childhood tales, how he enjoyed watching documentaries on wildlife and universe, his old teacher who took him to church first time.

Comparison is the biggest enemy one can have - it is like a parasite that can kill you bit by bit even before realizing that you actually lost yourself - completely. My friend had chosen to run away from updates of his CEO friend because he couldn't accept to see and applaud at the success of others. It is very easy to applaud for things which don't matter to you - for example, if someone is awarded as the best cook, it won't disturb me because I have no fascination for cooking. I pass the real test only if I am able to applaud for my friend who gets the Booker Prize. He had suddenly started to feel dissatisfied with his own things - job, money, life and everything. He had started to become not so happy!

Not comparing is not so easy! But it can be made a part of your personality with constant tapping. You have all within you - the only thing that needs to be done is telling yourself - " Well, I see that I have started to compare. It is no sin, after all I am a human being. But the sin would surely happen, if I do not keep a check on it now". So, each time you compare, just tap on your shoulder making yourself introspect and at once stop from doing what's wrong!

There is also one another way that can help. See all that is good in you. Keep reminding yourself of the good things you have, good relations, good deeds that you do, happiness you spread, all good days and moments that you have had, may be good family that you have, good health and so much good around you. Just find it! 

What I shared with you today through this post is not a moral science lesson - it is one of the simplest ways to keep off stress and impatience, lack of peace and tranquility of mind. If you don't trust me, try it for yourself. When  you shed off that filth from within you, you will feel lighter and stronger.
We lose so many friends, acquaintance, relatives and well wishers only because we are trapped in this ill manner of comparison.

Am I wrong? Do you feel as amazing about your old friends from school, college, office as you had felt when you had met them and when they were just as successful and happy as you? Don't you shy away from their calls, messages and more when you sense yourself inferior in some way!

If we had the mind of a child and a teacher to tell jealousy is bad, we would learn but I guess we have all grown up a bit too much to learn the small things of life.

Taptrospect - It will make your shed off the emotional filth!

P.S: Few minutes of meditation by the beach with not even a single life along the beach outline made me feel like a good human being - when I shared this with my sibling, he asked if travelling is that important to become a good human being?

I am still thinking!

Listen to audio blog

Friday, 7 August 2015

Around five years back, I started this blog - then named as Nuggets of Imagination.

Oh my! When I look back now, I see a full lifetime led in this span of just five years.. Much happened, I wrote blogs...more blogs.. stories..more stories..books..more books..

Weather changed, my home town changed (I could no longer see the old grille with money plant rolling up on the windows of Mrs Sen's house), computers changed, airplanes too changed. Now, I see startups, apps, new era of you tube videos, fitness bands, diet charts, people counting their steps, newspapers talking about % of bad air we take in every day. So, the changes have been bad. But good too.

With all these, some other things too changed - my thoughts and the way I see life. 

Well, and what better way to express my thoughts if not through a blog - no publisher required, no marketing, you have only readers and more importantly - interested readers!

Today, I deleted all posts in my blog. Because they were reflections of what I thought of life then. Today, I have newer, wider, deeper definitions of life which is new and hence this new blog with a new name. 

Taptrospection - What's with the name?

I tried getting creative, less complex, audience oriented, innovative and then I chucked it all! 

Names comes with intent,I thought, And intention of this blog is simple - I will just share with you some simple short stories. Oh! Pardon me - this time they won't be stories, they will be petty realities. That's not a typo - I will share petty realities of everyday life which mean nothing but mean everything. Confused or irritated with this confusion?

Don't be. Let me explain. Over these five years I met so many people, conducted stress relief sessions, for some counselling like a friend for some counselling like a guide, traveled, cried, got frustrated, was confused with life and ambition, desires and obligations. and more than all - I saw my grandmother die. 

With all this and with my learning from them,I realized one thing which is not new to you - We all should have a fair purpose of life - a good reason to live some tiny number of years that we are destined to live. There are many of these reasons but I choose the simplest of all - to take away confusion, distress, stress, confusion, negatives from you and from me, together. 

Almost, every day I observe some very simple things. And trust me, those very simple things give me answers to the most difficult questions - What do I want, yaar? Should I join a start up? Kuch naya karna hai - bada karna hai, should I be myself or change to fit to others at times, is it justified to do the right things always or we take up wrong things at times to avoid troubles, how do I manage work and life, how do I manage stress, I am not happy, I love being alone but I envy people who are enjoying..

Yes, honest confessions - some of these are common to me too.

But, I feel I find the most effective, unbeatable solutions to these with those small things that happen to me daily. Let me talk with you through this blog - tap on your shoulder to make you introspect too, as I do. 

Money, movies, trips, biking, hiking, games, beer, poker - is life. And there is one more to life - to be in a state to do all this - a happy state. And this blog will possibly help you to be in that state.

Lets tap to introspect - let's taptrospect!

Subscribe to the blog if you want to join my team of finding simple answers to difficult questions. 

P.S - Mrs Sen' house doesn't have a climber because the house is gone and so is she. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Been long since I wrote..

Been long since I wrote
With the pages of past seeming to get hazy so speedily
Feels like ages have travelled past me with arrogance
Spelling out the rule book of life so loud, so clear
So frequent..
Ringing bells of prosecution, calling out loud
My mistakes and faults, of letting the feelings flow
Blaming me for feelings not in accordance to the rules
Feelings which I had when I was a kid
Even those when I was not a kid
Oh! So much my heart pains to carry the same feelings
Which make me feel alive
Which make me see life as a road without destination
Which make me feel I have a heart, a humble one
Which make my heart fly, even higher
Gathering the clouds of happiness, mist of friendship and droplets of love
Oh! Why this rule book..
Seeing life beautiful isn't a sin, its a bliss
But art is to attain this bliss only with purity of heart
Been long since I wrote