Category: Thoughts

List of boxes I wish to tick in the near future!

Picture Location: Jal Mahal (Jaipur) : Circa 2016

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, It’s the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln

Recently, I had this feeling of what next I should do. And then I decided to create a list of 50 things that I want to do before I die. When I was trying to create this list, I had so many things in my mind and for a moment it felt like, life is like a list of things you want to do.

I got curious so I thought let me also ask others. I got different answers from everyone but the interesting thing was that no one told me that they want to study or appear for some exams rather most of the people told me that they want to travel or do some adventure sports, create a small library, build their own home and do something for underprivileged. I don’t know what to feel about this. Here are my 50 things I want to do before I die:

  1. Want to work for the Government of India
  2. Help and guide 100 underprivileged students to appear for Civil Services Examination
  3. Want to write two books: one non-fiction and another fiction
  4. Want to work for GOOGLE and TWITTER
  5. Want to start my venture through which I can contribute to the society
  6. Start a small café where people can come and hang out or just read some books. The café should be green, full of art and beauty
  7. Do a degree from abroad
  8. Give a speech to an audience of a hundred people
  9. Visit all cities of India
  10. Travel whole India by Train
  11. Travel in a truck
  12. Want to go on a road trip from Kashmir to Kanya kumari and from Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh
  13. Travel solo without any planning; just start from anywhere and go anywhere
  14. Want to have a nice drink without any hesitation
  15. Sleep under the stars on a road or a mountain without any fear
  16. Build a small cottage home in Dharmashala (Himachal Pradesh) and also make it a homestay for tourists
  17. Climb Mount Everest
  18. Volunteer at Golden Temple, Amritsar
  19. Adopt a dog
  20. Adopt a girl and provide 100 % funding for her education
  21. Travel at least 100 countries of the world
  22. Ride a bike and go on a bike trip
  23. Learn a foreign language
  24. Go on an island and stay there for a month without any outward communication and internet connection
  25. Sleep on the Beach
  26. Spend a night in a Tree House
  27. Participate in Floating lantern activity in Thailand
  28. Want to go horseback riding
  29. Want to do zip-lining, sky-diving, scuba-diving and par-gliding
  30. Go on a hot-air balloon ride
  31. Want to participate in cycling
  32. Want to have a nice romantic dinner with my spouse on the Eiffel Tower
  33. Jump-off a cliff
  34. Visit a chocolate factory
  35. Make chocolate from scratch
  36. Buy a Mercedes
  37. Travel to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bhutan
  38. Talk to a lot of strangers and write their stories
  39. Volunteer for ‘clean river campaign’
  40. Participate in road painting/road cleaning exercise
  41. Plant 1000 trees
  42. Do farming
  43. Do something for my village
  44. Ride a bullet
  45. Learn guitar
  46. Go on a girls’ trip with some of my close friends
  47. Create/Direct a documentary ( A difficult one)
  48. Write at least 10,000 blogs before I die (This is my 93rd blog)
  49. Read 10,000 books before I die
  50. Stay in Varanasi/Sikkim for sometime

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go- T S Eliot

If you don’t mind, please also share in the comment what is that one thing you want to do before you die.

The Quarantine Tree of Happiness

P.C.: Minaxi; Image only for Representation Purpose

It’s been a while since ‘new normal’ is ‘actual normal’. Everyone is living a life that none of us had ever imagined. A lot of things have changed, and are changing along with each passing day, which makes me wonder whether or not this world is going to be better or the same.

Life in quarantine is difficult for many people due to various reasons yet for few this came as a blessing. People who never had time to live in the moment are realizing what it means to live in the moment. Students, who complained of shorter holidays are now enjoying a long break. Some are happy, but some are having second thoughts about the unforeseen future, yet each one of us is living, learning, or longing for things to be alright and back to normalcy.

A few years back, I met someone who gave me profound advice on how to be happy and grateful for everything you have, close your eyes and remember about a place, person or perspective that made you believe in something which you otherwise have never thought off, which made you smile even for a second or taken you somewhere, far away from your self. You are, what you make others feel about themselves.

And the big question is how to nurture your tree of happiness during this quarantine period? Why not all of us plant a sapling or bury some seeds and remember this lock down as something extraordinary, which happened to make us realize the importance of intangible feelings and emotions we have forgotten long back. I know, for some people this won’t be possible due to various constraints, but for those it is feasible they have this chance and can surely go for it and do it. Somewhere down the line, from now when we look back and realize what we did was something meaningful for the life and to mother nature, even when everything was gloomy and uncertain, the memory of our quarantine tree and its leaves would shine and beam through our thoughts and give us the feeling of sustainability worth cherishing.

Make a list of all the happy places you have been or planning to go gives you a sense of belonging to that particular place, time, and thought. Happiness binds you to the places you want to be. Rejoicing is a choice, a story which brings a tear of happiness in your eyes, a movie or play that makes you wonder, a child whose glimpse makes your day delightful, a cup of tea which brings the smile on your face, the smell of your garden, the fragrance of old perfume, the box of un-posted letters, the magic of invisibility of everything that you think in a day is amazing and is what happiness looks like.

The most important thing is to become “mindfulness of your thoughts and feelings”. If you are aware of your emotions and feelings, the process of being happy has started. There are no lesson plans, or theorems needed for happiness, or its learning outcomes, happiness is simply the treasure of your heart and how large it can be for others who can not do anything for you, a single stroke of happiness transforms everything in life, and the thread of happy feelings often weaves the best warmer to wrap around your thoughts. Taking examples of happiness are ways of telling you that nothing can deter your power if you decide What happiness means to you, and Where you truly find it, irrespective of its kind, that is Material, Behavioural, Intellectual or Experiential, based on Modal of Happiness as proposed by A. Nagaraj (1999). So the most important thing is to become ‘mindfulness of your thoughts and your feelings’

Humans have a significant capacity to transform their thoughts into invigorated learning and reach out to millions of others needing your help to be happy.

“Choose happiness above everything else, not because you have better things to do but things will be better, if you are contented and truly happy from within. Seeking happiness leads you to yourself and virtues of life which gives you clarity of thoughts and rationality of emotions.”

Stay happy and preach happiness.
Be fortunate enough and thankful for your happy thoughts which travels all through you.
Show gratitude, when you can not do anything else.
Stay humble and choose kindness.
Be buoyant.
2020 will bring out sanguine hope of thinking.

Guest Post: This blog is authored by Minaxi. She is a research scholar in education. She is a very close friend of mine. This blog has been edited by Ritambhara. All views expressed are personal.

Nowhere to go….

“As If I was tasting life for the first time, the magical side of it”

The year 2020 has turned out to be the worst year in recent times. There is so much grief these days around the world that it seems I don’t remember when the last time things were normal. A celebrated actor Irfan Khan died today and I felt heartbroken from inside. I felt like losing someone from my family. I couldn’t concentrate on anything for the whole day. He was an actor par excellence. His acting was effortless. I will always remember him for his magic created on celluloid. May he rests in peace.

People are dying because of the dreaded Corona Virus disease. Migrants are walking for thousands of kilometers to reach their homes. Some died due to hunger and exhaustion. Many people are stuck in some other cities away from their parents and family members. Some want to visit their loved ones but they can’t, because of the severe lockdown imposed in our country. People are depressed and lonely these days.

Many have lost their lives around the world also. This crisis has turned people’s lives upside down. I am sure many people have lost everything because of this crisis. We might be able to build our economy but we will not be able to bring back this lost time and people’s life. And if you listen to experts, things are not going to be normal so soon. This epidemic is going to be a long haul. Physical distancing/Social distancing is going to be the “new normal”. The world is not going to be the same again.

When people say time heals everything, I feel that they say this to console us. We never forget our loved ones who lost their lives. That pain never goes. Just that we don’t want to show it to the world and we want to look strong. We remember the person at every moment of our life without making any sound as if everything is going so smoothly. We don’t even want to tell our self that something is broken inside us. Sometimes we are angry with the person who left us in this cruel world to survive. We try to find out his/her mistakes so that we can say that this person was not good enough to deserve our love just to console ourselves.

But nothing really stops in this world. As someone said, ‘no matter how bad your heart is broken, the world does not stop for your grief‘. And we have to move on hiding that pain in the darkest and smallest corner of our heart so that no one else can see. Death is the truth. It reminds us almost every time not to forget that this life is ephemeral. We should live this life fully and we should move on and be hopeful in life. I will end with this dialogue:

“I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye”

Irfan Khan(Life of Pi)

#Be yourself this quarantine

Image Source: Clicked by me from my rented house in Bangalore and we didn’t choose the house,house chose us. There is a story behind it. Will tell later 😉

This post is for all those people who sometimes feel a bit low because one of their friends is having a great time with her partner/spouse/best friend, cleared a top-level competition, got a high-paying job, having a great love-life or got selected to some Ivy League University or having a great time in their life or it seems that they always look good and they are quite fit or they are visiting exotic destinations(though not these days because of corona epidemic and lock down).

Almost everyone has a story to tell. Everyone feels incomplete in their own way. Everyone has some painful moments in their life. But you know what I feel, people feel more comfortable in sharing their happiness than their pain/sorrow or painful moments or their problems. You need a lot of courage to share your pain, your guilt and your problems to the world. I also don’t dare to share my pains but I can easily share my happiness.

So don’t worry. Don’t overthink. No one is perfect. No one is completely happy. As Oscar Wild said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”. Accept your flaws because flaws are beautiful. It makes you a soul. Lastly, have a lot of courage and strength to say what you think, to express what you feel, to do what you love and to become what you want as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”.

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Migrant boat accident in Turkey

I don’t know how many people remember this picture but I did not forget till today. This picture is almost two years old. He is a three years old Syrian migrant/refugee who was trying to flee his country so that he can live a good life any where else. But the destiny had other plans for him. And just to inform others, in fact, I also don’t know, Is he a refugee/migrant? Countries have given different definitions for both the terms. A small child can be segregated in various ways.

I was totally frustrated after seeing this picture. Why a small child has to suffer due to Geo-political wars. What happened to the sacred “Human Rights”? We have ignored  that we are humans first . As Sapiens’s author Harari says, nation/country is a figment of our imagination. We created the nations, countries, religion, corporation, United Nations etc to bring about more cooperation and betterment of the humanity. But we just didn’t realize that day, these imaginations are going to hurt us so badly.

Syrian war is going on since 2011. The crisis started when the Arab Revolution was sweeping the Middle East. Western Countries wanted a ‘regime change’ in Syria by removing the President Bashar Al Ashad but Russia and China supported Syria. In this complex game of “power politics”, people of the region are suffering. We can also debate about various causes of these conflicts-some will say-Colonial legacy is responsible, Others will blame “religion” and some will say “ethnic differences”. We can find innumerable causes responsible for this horror. But the problem is that How to punish someone when perpetrator and victim are the same i.e. Human Beings. 

Why do we need  a shocking picture to realize that something needs to be done to solve the crisis. Loosing your loved ones is very painful experience. Every single person is important. And we talk about innocent children, every child is valuable. We can’t afford to hurt any child.

Bloodied Syrian Boy

Just look at this picture: The boy is alive but his facial expression reflects the emptiness in our ideas, our beliefs and our humanity. We need to realize that things can’t go like this. We as a humanity must come forward to do something. Until when  we are going to run towards chimerical ideas for the sake of humanity.

I am just leaving here with another moving picture created by famous sand-sculpture Sudarshan Patnaik.

Humanity-washed-ashore

Please see some links to know more about the issue:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/09/02/image-of-dead-syrian-child-independent-published_n_8077824.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/08/19/a-picture-of-a-syrian-boy-goes-viral-but-the-war-goes-on/?utm_term=.85366891a943

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/01/13/509650251/study-what-was-the-impact-of-the-iconic-photo-of-the-syrian-boy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Policy Boot Camp( June 3rd to June 23rd)

Policy-BootCamp

We had a great start of the Policy Boot  Camp. It was such a great experience that I am not able to make a decision from where I should start telling my experiences. Meeting new people from all parts of the country, renowned speakers sharing their experiences and knowledge to us. It seems that these 21 days of knowledge and experience will take at least one or two year to assimilate.

Every speaker was unique in its approach and they tried to tell their life time experiences within two hours of lecture. After listening to all stakeholders of policy processes, it seems that we need to understand any issue comprehensively and sensitively before giving any comment on that.

Every single day from June 3rd to June 23rd, every single delegate from various parts of the country was in hurry to attend the lectures of speakers. We had really inspiring peers during the Boot Camp. All the delegates were so passionate about the issues discussed there that they will start the discussion on Whats-app group itself. Then after, there was a “Reflection Class”. It was the best part of the Boot Camp. There were four classrooms: Vikramshila, Takshashila, Valabhi and Nalanda. I was part of the Vikramshila class moderated by Shobhit Mathur. Every single day, we had heated exchange of views. It was a great experience witnessing young minds debating about national issues with such a huge interest and enthusiasm.Vikramshila classroom

I really liked the idea of reflection class. Reflection about the discussion in a group gave me a realization how you can see an issue with a multi-dimensional perspective. Every single delegate had unique ideas, views and opinions to express.

It was predicted by various authors and researchers at the time of India’s independence, India as a nation will not survive. But India has survived and now It is thriving economy and a vibrant democracy. The idea of ” Unity in Diversity” and ” Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam” is responsible for India’s growth as a nation. I was aware about this idea but I never witnessed it in my life except in the Boot Camp. In the Boot Camp, we had lot of heated discussion, arguments etc. Even after, we sat together to have breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as we helped each other. We laughed, cried, played together. Differences in ideologies were not visible outside the classroom. That is why, My India has survived and It will thrive till the end of this universe.

Every single day was full of special memories and stories. Two days, we traveled to Teen Murthi Bhavan for other lectures. Bus journey was really interesting. I got opportunity to talk to various delegates and volunteers. I found that everyone has a story to tell.

One day, we also traveled to a nearby village just to explore and understand what is happening there. It was also very enlightening visit. We talked to villagers, children, working women in Food Processing Industries, owner of the Factory. Interaction with them taught us the gap between theory and practical, policy and outcome.

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I can never forget one of the delegates who was partially blind. His name was Rahul. He is a civil services aspirant. The last day when he was speaking about his experiences, every single delegate was giving him standing ovation. It was a breathtaking experience for me. In fact, all those 150 delegates were amazing. It is very difficult and impossible to write about all the delegates.

I am also not able to forget the moment when we all stand up for first, Srilanka’s national anthem and after that India’s national anthem. It was an incredible moment of my life. How much love the people of both countries have for each other? This should set an example for peace and cooperation among all the nations. Mutual respect and love for each other’s national symbols should become a cornerstone for all the bilateral and international relations.

Indo-Srilanka image

The most important thing which I learned here, is that a single person without any resources or wealth can make a great difference in the lives of others. Only we need courage and willpower. Start with the small thing and it will eventually become a big movement.

Last but not the least,  many delegates and volunteers have touched the chord of my heart. I will never ever be able to forget these co-delegates

IMG_20170623_130905255

 

In the last, I can say that Be the change and make the change.

BannerPlease find important links:

http://visionindiafoundation.com/

http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/Pathfinder-delivers-keynote-at-New-Delhi-Policy-Boot-Camp-131651.html