Thursday, December 15, 2011

That time of your life…

Sometimes, when you have actually reached a point in life which you always dreamt of reaching, you realize, probably you dreamt for a little too less. Probably you could have gone further by now. There are others who could realize that, this is not what they had imagined that dream to turn out to be. You would feel like rewinding your life by 10 years, and doing things in a slightly different way. Like choosing Arts over Science, studying Literature over Engineering, spending 1 million & 2 years to go round the world in place of studying Business Management, unleashing your hidden creativity instead of managing the sales of an FMCG company, spending weekends sitting silently with a dear friend by the seaside in place of majestic shopping malls & movies, having just 15k to ‘happily’ survive a month instead of not knowing where to spend a lakh a month and yet ending up with no bank balance by 25th of every month! Looking back, you might think, where exactly all this is leading to. What is the purpose for which you are working 14 hours a day, for what pursuit? Is it just to live a comfortable life, just to have a swanky home by the end of forty, just to be a part of the vicious circle of earning to spend and spending to earn more? Sometimes you feel you were born to do much greater things than that. You feel you must venture into a more meaningful & fulfilling way of leading your life – starting your own business, doing what you have always wanted to do – opening a restaurant, writing a book, being a magazine editor, or acting in theatre, or doing what you feel like doing, on that particular day!
Most people in the world live to just survive the pressures created upon them by the world & by themselves – just to prove to nobody that ‘Yes! I too belong to this place where you feel you belong. I have a life too.’ Very few people live a liberated life, free from worldly pressures. Very few people live with no benchmarks to reach & surpass. Very few people go to bed every night being satisfied about how the day progressed, having a blank ‘to do’ list for the next day. Very few people have absolutely no regrets with their lives. And very few discover their passions early in life, and just a handful of them are able to create opportunities to pursue that passion. It is that time of your life, when you are, simply put, confused! Some people call it ‘The Quarter Life Crisis’. It’s the realization at the end of 40% of your life, that – Life is short. Time is running away. Dream. Do whatever you want to do, fast. Make it a worthwhile journey, with no destination.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My experience at IAC-Chennai... Truly humbling!

It had been 2 days since I heard & read about what Chennai chapter of ‘India Against Corruption’ was doing. Had just managed to bump into the link of iacchennai on 16th Aug 2011, the day Anna’s movement began. Finally, on the night of 18th Aug, just when I was about to go to bed at 10.30 pm, I decided to visit the place at LB Road (Adyar) where the protest was on.

The place looked like it was an Art Director’s version of the current state of our country. An unfinished 15-storey building – was a true representation of a country that has strong foundations in the form of its cultural values & its people, but waiting to be ‘finished’ into a masterpiece. This movement is a fight to provide the right ‘finishing touches’ to our unfinished skyscraper! The fight against corruption – is nothing but an effort to put the right ‘checks & balances’ in place to ensure a fool-proof system of governance in the country, which will in turn help us to ‘finish-off’ or eradicate other demons existing in our society like poverty, unemployment, lack of basic infrastructure etc.

Coming back to my experience, was welcomed with a warm smile by one of the volunteers as soon as I entered the place. Was astonished to see a group of young volunteers busy on their laptops at 11 pm – probably trying to make the movement bigger & bigger, a group of 50-plus-year old volunteers – probably sharing their life experiences & how-can-that-politician-say-like-this-for-Anna kind of conversations.. And last but not the least, was amazed to know that 37 people had joined Anna by fasting indefinitely till the Jan Lokpal Bill was passed! It was already day-3 on 18th August, and day-5 today, as I write this. And among them were people who were victims of corruption in one way or the other – some who were denied a seat in college, some who, despite being graduates, had to turn to blue-collared jobs because of lack of opportunities, and some others who were fasting just to show solidarity towards the cause. The story of an 81-year old who was also fasting was extremely moving – a man who is supposed to receive Rs. 800/- as monthly pension, had to pay a bribe of Rs. 600/- every month in order to receive that amount! And a fool that I am, I had thought the scene in ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’ where an elderly man is denied his pension by a Government official happens only in movies!

The volunteers – perhaps are doing the most thankless job that anyone could ever think of. Doing everything possible to ensure that the movement is a peaceful one, leaving their professional responsibilities to dedicate a few days of their lives that they will cherish for their entire life, measuring the success of their own efforts by the number of registrations they get for the day, giving a spirited high-five when the hits on their website crosses fancy milestones, feeling on top of the world on seeing the growing participants with every candle-light protest – I am sure at the end of the day they can tell to themselves “I have done my bit for my country. I feel proud.”

Hats off to the spirit of the people who are volunteering for this noble national cause & the people who have the guts to forego food for days together hoping for a change!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

6000 feet high on foot!!

My first experience of trekking in South India... Velliangiri Hills @ Coimbatore it was... Though this one's supposed to be a religious trek, the aim for me was not to go on top and ask God something that I can ask him at a temple next to my house! :) The sole aim was to enjoy an awesome 2-day trekking experience, and more importantly, to get a nice break from the monotony that is slowly setting in my life.

The weather being just pleasant, and our guides geared up for making this trek a memorable one for us, the steep journey to the top began. 6.5 hours of non-stop trekking took us to our tent @ 6000 ft altitude! And this included a 2.5 hours journey post sunset, with the help of a torch. This was easily the best part of the entire trek.. An ultimate adventure! Hot n delicious upma for dinner amidst the clouds brought us to the end of a memorable day. Oh, not yet! With the mercury dipping to almost 10 degrees and just 1 jerkin to help you, a sleepless night was guaranteed! An unproductive sleepless night it was! The downhill journey started late next morning after people who had come for religious reasons finished off with their rituals. The return journey was as much exciting, which also gave us the opportunity to shoot some good desktop background kinda scenic shots from the top.

Overall, a good experience between the woods those were lovely, dark & deep indeed! I guess I must try to trek more often than I do...

Here are some pics of the trek:

night trekking...
view from the top
tent at 6000 ft!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Switzerland of the east - Tawang!

The week-long trip to Tawang was being planned amidst tension of 100% placement at insti. While a small portion of our hearts wanted to enjoy the last few days of our stay together through this trip to Tawang, the other larger chunk desperately wanted the final 2-3% of our battalion to find their destination soon. Finally the trip happened, 6 of us packed our rucksacks and took off in the tried-and-tested Tata Sumo for the much-awaited adventure trail to the Switzerland of the East – Tawang!

Breathtaking & amazingly picturesque landscapes, snow-capped mountains, tranquil Buddhist monasteries, inspiring war-memorials of the 1962 Indo-China battle, thousands of hairpin bends on stretches of annoyingly poor roads, are a few things Tawang is known for. And we experienced them all!!

The trip in a nutshell: (The numbers in between denote time in hrs)

22.03.10 (Mon) – Dep. from Shillong 1000 – Stopovers for lunch and Naariyal paani – via Tezpur 1700 – O/N stay at Bhalukpong (on Assam-Arunachal border) 1900

23.03.10 (Tue) – Dep. from Bhalukpong 0930 – Visit to Tipi & Sessa orchids – Photo-session at a river on the way to Bomdila – Bomdila 1500 – Visit to Bomdila monastery – O/N stay at Dirang 1900

24.03.10 (Wed) – Dep. from Dirang 0900 – Visit to Nyukmadong War Memorial 1100 – Sela Pass 1400 – Tawang 1800

25.03.10 (Thur) – Tawang Monastery 1100 – Tawang War Memorial 1300 – failed attempt to get permit to visit Indo-China border (Bumla pass) 1600 – Shopping at local market 1700

26.03.10 (Fri) – Dep. from Tawang 0900 – Stopover & photo-session at Koyla-famous water-falls 1000 – Visit to Jaswant Garh War Memorial 1230 – Another photo-session on top of picturesque cliffs 14k feet above MSL and below freezing point temperature – O/N stay at Bomdila 1900

27.03.2010 (Sat) – Dep. from Bomdila 0900 – Shillong via Bhalukpong, Tezpur 2100

Some of the things to be remembered from the trip:

- Food:

All along the way to Tawang from Guwahati, every village has got about a couple of so-called restaurants. Dimly lit, old wooden furniture, a kitchen boasting of the ancient Indian choolha to cook roties – describe these restaurants well. And these small eating outlets primarily serve good & tasty vegetarian food, with just one or two varieties of chicken thrown in for non-vegetarians like the ones we had in plenty! Otherwise, the menu consisted of Rotis, Mix. Veg. sabzi, plain rice, dal fry & maggi. Pretty much edible food and moreover, limited choice of items meant less time wasted in deciding on the menu!

- The long & tedious process to get permit for Bumla pass:

God knows why do Indians need an ‘Inner Line Permit’ (something like a visa) to visit an Indian state in the first place! (a visit to Arunachal Pradesh needs one). And moreover, anyone who visits Tawang has to spend more than half of a day in getting another permit from the DC office in Tawang to visit the Bumla Pass (Indo-China border). This has to be followed by a visit to the army headquarters in Tawang to meet the Brigadier in-charge in order to get his clearance to visit the border. One can imagine the amount of time one has to wait to get these clearances, given the speed with which Indian Government offices work! The wait is acceptable to an extent considering that this particular border is sensitive. But we were unlucky to have spent more than 3 hours at the DC office just to be told that the border would be closed for visitors for two days. And hence, our initially-planned two days stay in Tawang reduced to just one day, and as a result our trip consisted of 5 days of travel for a day’s stay at Tawang!

- War memorials:

It’s amazing to listen to the invigorating war stories, the manner in which the war heroes displayed remarkable valour while fighting the enemies. The visits to Tawang war memorial & Jaswant Garh war memorial raised Goosebumps on our skin surfaces! In particular, the story of an ordinary rifleman Jaswant Singh who fought a lone battle in the ’62 war with the vastly over-sized Chinese army for 72-long hours killing hundreds of enemies before sacrificing his life was truly inspiring! This photo taken near one of the war-memorials sums up all of it brilliantly:

- Trust the two!

Imagine yourself sitting in a car with your very good friends, driving on altitudes above 10,000 feet, the single-lane two-way road being in an awfully bad state, the condition outside being extremely foggy with visibility of less than 1m!! The only two people in the world whom you leave your life to – one is the God, and 2nd is the driver of your car! The drivers there are really skilled, especially those who are brought up in the hills. I am pretty sure they can be groomed into excellent F1 drivers with the right kind of training and support!

- Road Safety slogans painted on rocks by BRO:

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has indeed done a tremendous job making the road to Tawang motor-able. But for years of real hard work of this organisation, tourists like us would never have got the chance to visit this heaven-on-Earth. Hats off to the people who have given their lives while building the roads in this difficult terrain and extreme weather conditions!

All along the road to Tawang, one can find safety slogans painted on rocks by the BRO. The slogans are definitely worth a read, and a real good time-pass on the long n tiring drive. Some of the slogans that I can recollect:

· Danger creeps when safety sleeps

· Safety is as simple as ABC... Always Be Careful!

· Normal speed meets every need

· Have another day, by being safe today

· Speed is a 5-letter word, so is the word Death!

· Driving is risky after whisky!

· Better be dead sure, than sure dead!

· Feel the curves, but don’t hug them!

· (One of the best) Love thy neighbour, but not while driving!! J

· If you sleep, your family shall weep

· Drink n drive, you won’t survive

· If you are married, then divorce speed!

· Speed is a knife that cuts life!

- 3 GB of beautiful photographs from 5 cams:

We had the privilege of travelling with some incredibly talented photographers! Thanks to them, the essence of the place was captured in its true form and we ended up having 3 GB of sweet memories to take home with us!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What's this obsession with the future?

Why are people so concerned about the 'Future'? Whomsoever you meet, wherever you see, all worries of mankind are related to the future! Right from a 16-year old kid who is worried if he would be able to crack his IIT exam 2 years hence, to a senior economist who is already predicting the GDP of his country in 2020, everyone is concerned about what the future has in store! SMS Contests on TV Channels & Websites on who will win the Cricket World Cup 2011 have already started doing the rounds! The mother of a new-born starts worrying from day 1 (yeah! day one!!) about what her child would become when he/she grows big. Moreover, some insane people (who call themselves astrologers) make a living out of this belief of humans that this unpredictable thing called 'Future' can actually be predicted!

Infact, the whole of Financial World thrives on this profession of analyzing the past, understanding the present and predicting the Future... Wizards from top Business schools of the world form this so called 'elite bunch of intellectuals' of the Financial community... Where did these brains go when the whole world was reeling under financial distress?? Some asshole from this same 'elite' community must have researched in 2006 that the 'Future' of US Housing market is very promising, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Sometimes I wonder, why can't people live in the 'Present' and stay happy. Why worry about something over which you don't have control? Why to have expectations from the future; and then, when the future unwrap's surprises, things like misery, sadness and even madness start to creep into one's life. By living in the present, I don't intend to ask people to stop dreaming! Bcos, no dream in the world would have ever come true had people behind realizing those dreams not dreamt of it. What I am only coming at is, stop worrying about what lies in store in future; Dream how you want your future to be and work towards realizing it. Live in the moment, and enjoy every bit of it.

"Live as if today is the last day of your life!!!" (borrowed from Robin Sharma's TMWSHF)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Teach me how to cry...

Life makes one so emotionless, so cold that one forgets to cherish the small moments of happiness and forgets to cry for lost dear ones, missed opportunities in the past and also cry during times of happiness & nostalgic memories. Sometimes, one really wants to unleash the emotions within, but as time passes one becomes so hard at heart that it just does not happen.

I don't know how to cry. At times, you really want those drops to roll over your cheeks just to feel good. You really want to cry sometimes when you remember old friends, and how insensitive you were to them, how you have lost contact with some of your best childhood buddies after new ones came in, how you miss your dear ones who have always been so caring for you while you haven't, how you talk to your cousins only on their bdays now while you spent hours playing with them during your childhood, how suddenly trivial things in life become more important than those that actually matter, how your parents have brought you up by sacrificing everything they had and you still can take hardly 5 mins from 24 hours to talk to them from your so called busy day..

These might be small things but they are THE most important; these are things that will remain etched in your memory for ever n ever, that add life to your current no-life! While my quest towards living a meaningful and fulfilling life is on, I pray to the almighty to teach me how to FEEL.... and CRY!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

An event-phul week!

As I scribble this post, its almost dark here at 7 am in the morning in Shillong... thanx to the near total Solar Eclipse, a once-in-more-than-a-100-year occurrence ! I was told I am not allowed to look out into the sky, but couldn't help doing it :)
It has been an eventful last week out here, with lots of stuff happening... Firstly, the long-awaited 'Sports Management' course finally came to an end, after a splendid week-full of activites, presentations etc. It was by-far one of the best courses I had done! Then, there had been 'Bakar-unlimited' in the last few days... Not something new, but nevertheless, last week paani thoda sar ke upar chala gaya tha... :) Moreover, got the opportunity to eat Bombay Biites ka Veg. Cheese Burger 4 times... And trust me, Midnight is the best time to have these burgers... waah! mouth watering already!!! Exclusive Movie screenings for the elite: The classroom-turned-theatre, where night shows are aired is one awesome place to be in, especially when the movie is a pathetic one!!! Yea, you read that right! A pathetic one. And that's when the junta is in the best of its form and comments galore... A roller-coaster ride.. truly! That's not all... The cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake has been the post-midnight rounds of Table Tennis! 1 am to god knows wat time daily... when you start playing TT, time is something that just keeps running...
oh, by the way, I forgot to mention! the closing ceremony of the eventful week is happening today with a Cultural evening by a Rajasthani Folk Group & a Talent show by the Fachhas! the drama might just come to an end... only to start another one! :)

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