Thoughts on my Birthday

Yesterday I completed another trip around the sun. I celebrated it with a small 100km round trip on the bike. For the past few years this has been the ritual. Being on the bike clears my mind a lot, especially it helps me channelize my thoughts. For me birthdays are a mix of both fun and reflections. It is a day which offers you the prospect of a fresh start to achieve your goals in life and also to assess your on-going life and make necessary changes for the better. So here are some musings:

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  • On love and relationships: The best relationship is when you can lay next to each other and just talk about anything and everything. I am so lucky to have found the love of my life and luckier enough to have married her. These are the good days, every part of it; I wish it remains like this forever.

  • On Health and Fitness: I ran a marathon in January and decided I will run the next one when I am more fit and lean. So started the phase of healthy food and regular exercise. I have already begun the journey and I am enjoying it so far.

  • Meaningful Work: Few years back I quit a well-paid job in search of something more realistic. I wanted to make an impact, become a change master. I started working for a great cause. Imagine a family of 6-7 with an average annual income of 20k vs the prospect of earning 12k per month. I work for an organization which addresses this cause and our target segment is the poorest of the poor of the country. I wish to associate myself in meaningful work in future rather than making rich corporates richer.

  • On meaning of life: It’s a question that mankind has long struggled to answer. We’ve built philosophies and religions around it, gone to war over it, and debated it for centuries. I feel that we need to find a meaning in what we do and it more or less drives you through. As far as the meaning of life goes, it is quiet dynamic. For me I think the current purpose of life is to inspire people.

  • Skills and good practices: I want to focus on a few limited things for this year, primarily do 3 things: 1) A certification in photography 2) few certifications in Microsoft Excel 3) Driving. Apart from this I would like to continue on my journey with meditation, I did around 40 hours of meditation last year.

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  • Travel:  Last but not the least; travel has changed me as a person. I have travelled and would like to continue to travel. After all have stories to tell not stuff to show.

You can read on a similar post written last to last year here.

 

Seeking Happiness

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“Happiness is the state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.”– Taken from Atlas shrugged.

If there were a rule book for happiness we would all be happy but happiness is about an experience which varies from person to person.Your idea of happiness can be different from mine but essentially the essence is the same.I am listing down some points which is neither exhaustive nor would be appeal to all.

1) Good health[I love the writings of Khushwant Singh and in his autobiography dedicated a chapter to happiness and the very first point the 95 year old mentioned was health.I sometimes wonder how we blatantly overlook the the basic values  taught when we were young.The old adage,”Health is wealth” is probably the most important words to look forward to.For me Fauja Sing[Completed a marathon at the age of 100]h is happiness personified.

2)Enjoying everything without being attached to it and seeing it as a manifestation of the supreme power.[I feel this is a very positive attitude for happiness seekers and whenever I feel that I am getting attached to something I do a check and remind myself of the importance of detachment.]

3)Complete independence or lesser dependence on others.[Don’t depend on your happiness on others even if that other one is your loved one.]

4)Financial stability.

5)Putting a cap to your desires.Actually there are three types of desires:

  • Natural and necessary desires[food,shelter..]
  • Unnatural and unnecessary desires[Excessive wealth,power ..]
  • Natural but non-necessary desires[Exotic food]

[Of the three the second one is inculcated by false beliefs that having everything will guarantee happiness.The third one should be avoided because it increases our dependency on good food.]

6)Reducing the clutter in life.[It is very important to see the usefulness and purpose of things and once we start identifying this we will definitely reduce the clutter in our lives.]

7)Understanding and valuing the purpose and goal of life and also saying a,”no” whenever required.

8) Speaking the truth and living in the present.[Living in the present is a very effective method of being happy and equally a difficult one too.Whenever your mind takes a tour bring it back to the present and practicing this would certainly help you value your present.]

9)Selflessness

10)Getting the right emotional balance.[We live in an emotional world where everyone right from the marketing guy to a beggar on the street plays with your emotions.Love is one of those emotions which is highly hyped.It always helps to remember the fact that in the end self comes before anyone and so the concept of love is an entire myth.

11)Remembering the fact that your sojourn here is for a limited period.

“No matter what gets in the way or which way the wind does blow… I’ll just sit here and watch the river flow.”-Bob Dylan

Yet another bike ride from one year to the other

“One must try to make one’s life as pleasant as possible. I’m alive and it’s not my fault, which means I must somehow go on living the best I can, without bothering anybody, until I die.’
‘But what makes you live? With such thoughts, you’ll sit without moving, without undertaking anything…’
‘Life won’t leave one alone as it is.” – War and Peace

I am in a very interesting phase of life, a stage where one looks forward to a million possibilities on the professional front. I will be completing my MBA with two months and probably will be the end of college life . I will talk about college life later but at this juncture i want to think of what lies ahead for me and us . Read a very interesting article by the editor of Mint on get a life. A friend commented on one of my pics telling that probably the next year would turn out to be mostly working in a company. What I see from here is that most of my friends who graduate now and others who are in job are already married. The transition from group pics with friends to couple pics has already started. In a few years from now there will be a secure job , family , receding hairlines and increasing waistlines for most of us.All the interest in our friends job, affairs, rat race , success will just disappear and will shift towards getting a good house , car , children , health etc. College life was one phase of life when in spite of all the halla bol there was a lot of me time. Probably what will distinguish you and me in the next 10 years from now will be how one handles these years and how much is one closer to doing the me thing more and more.

2013 has been an interesting year for me. I have traveled to  many cities on job and also for leisure and the bike trip to Utrakhand was probably the epitome of all the trips.I would like to list down the places and cities just for personal memories:

1) Mumbai : Tournament at S P Jain ( Will remember tearing my ligament here and also the old monk ride back to Delhi in the cold)

2) Rishikesh : (Will remember it for the tent house stay , the rafting and hitting long sixes in a match with the locals)

3) Intership : Chandigarh, Kolkata, Bhubhneshwar ( Chandigarh was very impressive, a planned and peaceful city, at Kolkata had an awesome time with cheta and rawat, Bhubhneswar was fun with tuktuk and mama)

4) Utrakhand : Bike trip to Badrinath and other places ( Just one thing , ask me about my bike trips and this will top the list)

5) Sikkim : Sikkim was a solo trip , wonderful experience and will be remembered for walking in the rain under an umbrella.

6)Rachi : Was at home for diwali and the run to catch the train will always be remembered.

7) Mcloudeganj bike trip : This was a recent trip which witnessed the transition from 2013 to 2014 .

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I had always wanted to visit a hill station in peak of winter but had never thought that the trip would happen on a bike. We had rented the bikes from http://www.stoneheadbikes.com/ and I must say that the bike and the service was truly great.One aspect which raised eyes was that we were riding in the cold winter but on a personal level there was one more thing which was very challenging. I have succumbed to a hair line fracture of which i came to know lately and still managed the trip. The best part of Mcloudeganj is the trek to Triund and in winter it includes a stretch of 1 km where you walk on the snow.

I look at 2014 as a year of possibilities and a year to travel.I will be free post February until the joining date arrives. In between i plan to something really really big. I ran over 640 kms last year and i want to drastically improve on that. 2013 will also me a memorable year for all the fans of Arsenal FC as the club ended on the top by year end. I did read few books in 2013 and the most interesting one was Born to run by Christopher Mcdougall.

Whatever the new brings I am sure to take care of a few things. I will be conscious of my health, eat a lot of fruits and veggies, run , read , travel among whatever life brings to me.

Happy New Year dear readers.

Books to buy this winter

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them.

I had posted a similar list last November , hope you would have picked a few and read.Here is a list for this winter.Most of the books are on travel,some autobiographies and the remaining on life and philosophy.Trust me these are some wonderful reads and if you have read some your comments are most welcome.

1)Education of a wandering man by Louis L’amour .[ This book is mentioned in the book Into the Wild.]

2) Call of the Wild by Jack London.[ This book is mentioned in the book Into the Wild.]

3)Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky .[This book and War and Peace have been referred to be the greatest books in some autobiographies I have read.]

4)Himalayas by Michael Palin.[ Lots of references of the same in Into thin Air.]

5)Out of my comfort zone-Steve Waugh[I am a great admirer of Steve especially his sixes on the leg side.]

6)Freedom in Exile-Autobiography of Dalai Lama

7)Of human bondage-Saumerset Maugham[Have read a few short stories by him.He is one of the greatest authors of all time and would start off with this book.]

8)The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkein [I read The Lord of the Rings by him and this is considered to be even better.]

9)Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  


10)On shortness of life by seneca.


So what are you planning to read this winter ?                                   




Was your favorite moved based on a book ?

On a rainy night in Chennai I had tears rolling down  my cheek.I was watching the movie The MotorCycle Diaries.and there was this intense scene which brought out those tears.I felt so because I had read the book and could appreciate the feelings portrayed in the movie.Into the wild  is one book and one movie which I would carry with me always.The book is so awesome and the movie is very well made.But the movie remains with me just because i had read the book and could link to every small event in the movie.Here is a list of some 15 movies based on a book.If you have not seen one of these , do read the book and watch the movie, remember you will be reminded of the movie all throughout your life.

I would also rank the movies and books according to my liking :
















Among these I had to wait a long time to read the lord of the rings.It was too bulky a book and somehow i found time to read it in the Christmas and new year period last December.

Khushi

Making choices in life which are less dependent on others will always give you greater happiness.

Books to Buy this winter

If you are planning to buy some books , here is a good list which is currently my TBL (To Buy List.]


1)Chasing Daylight by Eugene O’Kelly [KPMG CEO’s tryst with brain cancer .. ]


2)The very thought of you by Rosy Allison [ Romantic]


3)Arrack In The Afternoon by Mathew Vincent Menacherry[Arrack is a drink]


4)Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna


5)Three cups of Tea : Inspirational 


6)Zeitoun by David Eggers : Adventure novel [A person stays in a Hurricane with his family where others flee, winner of 2010 American book awards.]


7)The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver : Travel story


8)The history of love by Nicole krauss


9)Eat pray love by Elizabeth Gilbert


10)Girls by Lori Lansens


11)The outsider by Albert Camus 


12)Don’t ask any old bloke for directions 


13)Snow – Orhan Pramanuk.