Seeking Happiness

10

“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

Top quotes on life

We all need to be motivated in life. I feel that when we go to college, school, there is a curriculum at place. Strangely later in life you would realize that we all need a curriculum for life and it has to be designed by us. Much of what happens to us is a function of our decisions. We all are in this journey together and at the same time alone. We require a daily bout of motivation to carry us through our day. I keep small snippets of motivational quotes gathered from reading.

6

I hope you will like these, do share your favourite one on life.

  1. “Your life and how you experience it is entirely your making. Only if this absolutely sinks in, will you make the necessary changes”-Sadhguru
  1. उम्र भर ग़ालिब यही भूल करता रहा, धुल चेहरे पर थी, और आईना साफ़ करता रहा
  1. “The answer is good things only happen to you if you’re good. Good? Honest is more what I mean… Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I’d rather have cancer than a dishonest heart.”-Truman Capote
  1. “I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know.” Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  1. I’d rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who is reaching for a star. I’d rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; for a might have-been has never been, but a has was once an are.
    ~Milton Berle
  1. If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever.
    – the way of a peaceful warrior
  1. When you look into infinity, you realize that there’re more important things to do than what people do all day. – Bill Watterson
  1. “If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.”- Sylvia Plath
  1. “There is divine beauty in learning… To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth.”-Eli Wiesel
  1. “Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.”― Madeleine L’Engle

 

Excerpts from a random life of a guy…

“The full moon is silhouetted against the sea, smothering the waves with silver reflections. Sitting on a dune, we watch the continuous ebb and flow, each with our distant thoughts. ” Taken from Motor Cycle diaries.

I write this post listening to the songs of ,”Udaan”. Actually this is my life,  equally predictable and unpredictable at the same time. It is predictable like the big rock on the mountain , at the same place at the same time and unpredictable like the flowing river , taking any course and just flowing .A few days back i landed up in a unreserved coach for a 3 hour train  journey. I made friends with a guy sitting by the window and he generously shared the seat with me. Amidst the multitude of crowd in the compartment i managed to find peace as the train sped towards its destination letting in some fresh air. I completed the last 40 pages of the motor cycle diaries somewhat squinting at times just to find enough light to read. I was reading this for the second time and probably in a most appropriate circumstances totally empathizing with what was going on in their lives.

Few excerpts from a personal diary written last week at a quiet sojourn with nature at Kumbalgarh fort , Udaipur, “At this moment of my life , I am happy and contented. Happiness is something that cannot be attributed to a particular event for i feel that happiness always  comes with a summation function. I have been sitting here for almost two hours , oblivious to the outer world with the winds rustling , birds chirping and a picture perfect view of the Arravali’s” . My tryst with destiny is still on and once again i came out alive from a lake believed to have crocodiles.It seems foolish but this is pretty much symbolic of the impermanence of our lives which we take it for granted. God has brought me out of many precarious situations in the past and i hope he keeps doing so in the future.

shoes

You must see your life as a series of fortunate accidents and never ever try to predict it. What are the odds of meeting the same person , in the same compartment for three consecutive years. During my second year B-tech days I met Mr X traveling alone ,then the next year i met Mr X and his wife and in my final year i met them and the kid. I was having a conversation with a female junior yesterday post my football game and she was saying,” You never know you may find someone in a trek “. How true was that statement is something i would not write about here but i will definitely say that i have randomly bumped into someone who has made me feel that this world is a good place and if you have faith you will find yourself or the reflection of yourself  in the most precarious and unpredictable of the places. Probably it once again accentuates the belief which i have tested over time that,”When you really want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you achieve it.

Let your life flow , let there be no constraints , let that cool breeze blow on your face and purify you to the core , have random cups of tea with friends, pick up your bag and just travel ,start running today , treat someone just for the heck of it, pay a visit to a friend in the most unexpected fashion , sing aloud , whistle if you want , let that laughter come out gently, dance in the rain , take a stroll in the night , experience a sunrise and look up at the stars. Last but not the least start falling in love with someone , something and you never know you find your self there.

Below is a picture of a good cup of tea at a dhaba yesterday amidst rain .

tea

The Number Game

I always thought that it is tough to digest failure but today I found it really hard to assimilate a success and finally some smirnoff did the trick in evening.Ideally I don’t discuss academic things here at this blog because to me academics is much more than mere numbers.

To talk about some numbers :

100

99.53

99.27

These are the percentile scores in CAT 2011 with the bottom most being mine.The other two are my friends with whom i had shared a common wall at college

I am more relieved than happy.I posted this here to remind me of the fact that hard work pays.I remember my JEE result day when we wrote mains for the last time.The internet guy had opened 10 tabs and every tab he opened said disqualified until mine.A time when I did not know to use net and had hardly worked on computers.How life changes in some years when the first job involved a lot of coding.Yesterday was a different story ,I had internet but there was no BSNL service so I had to wait for morning.Morning came, I went for the 10 km run and at every temple,”Bhagwaan”.Returned back and prepared for office went to a net cafe and saw my results and my friends too.As i mentioned could not believe it until……

Still reading War and Peace a character rightly say,”We must believe in the possibility of happiness.”

On Kolkata, football and life

Kolkata:


I have been to Kolkata so many times but have never written about it, so I thought would pen down some thoughts.Every city has its own flavor and that’s what makes it difference. So if you are new to a city you must try and appreciate it rather than cursing about the facilities and roads and stuff. 
If you are landing in kolkata in the daytime you will be viewing the beautiful Gangasagar and if u approach by train you will see infinite number of small and green football fields.Football is in the culture here and is one of the many reasons of loving Kolkata. You must have seen the Howrah bridge in pictures  but it is fun to walk on the bridge something which I did this time. If you happen to be early in the morning waiting for a train in Howrah , just step out and come to this historical bridge and get treated by mesmerizing beauty.But you will get the idea about a city only if you walk by the streets. Famous for its almost 200 years old buildings and narrow streets it seems a trip down in the past. It was great to see the trams , rickshaw pullers , chandelier shops and many things which reminds you of a life that was .On different occasions I have been to various streets but this time it was College Street where I went book hunting. In fact  I must confess that it was book hunting and I was lost amongst thousands of books shops.I have never seen book sellers calling you out to come and see a few books. It was complete fun and a lifetime experience.

Food and Fun: If you happen to be here all you need to do is just go to any road side shop and have rasogollas , sweet just like the people here. I have been following this tradition of going to the Tea Junction (at both the City centers) and having the kullarh tea and samosa since many years and this time it was no different.On a different note this place is full of beautiful woman and simply a visual treat in a purer sense.

Football: It’s been a few months since I played my last game and the first thing I did today was to wash the dirty studs for evening football today. However the mood for return to game came as a surprise when I got a passage on football in the exam i was writing yesterday.

Life 
Sort of screwed up my exam but still life is great and luckily has always been fun.Looking forward to many reunions with friends this month and next. 

Music to ears

Like everything in the world, there is no good or bad music. Anything which makes you feel good is music for you. The good thing is that there is music for all moods and  it makes lives of people much peaceful. Thanks to mobile phones, today your choice of music is just a download away and added to that almost all the mobile phones come with good speakers.

So this is what is lately happening to me, there is narrow road just close to the window of my room and I have been a silent listener to the music of the people passing by. It’s amazing to see such a varied variety of music in such road which is scarcely used, probably another thing which makes India unique. I will be writing about few people who represent the users of this road. I know all of them personally and may be because of this I know about their choice of music and stuff.

Dhandhan , the cow boy cum entrepreneur :

Well, the name may make you laugh but believe me this is the name given to him by his parents, a irony because they had decided his fate right from his birth. But they may have never predicted that their son will be an entrepreneur some day. Dhandhan is an ordinary boy from the big cattle ground close to my house. Life for these boys is simple , they take care of the cows in the daytime and deliver milk to houses in the mornings and evenings. But this guy does is somewhat intelligently. On his way to the customer’s houses he has made many customers of his own and sells milk to them and compensates by adding water. One evening he finds me at ease and asks me the cost of a mobile phone. I show him my handset which is the cheapest Nokia set available in the market. However   he wanted the one with the music apps and I promise him to tell the rates the next day.
You can hear these boys with their cows in the daytime. The music is bits and pieces of some latest Hindi number which they happen to hear in someone’s mobile or in their customer’s houses. Their music may not make any sense but only this is something which keeps them going.

The Grass cutter:

“Munni ke maye” (Mother of Munni) , this is the name I have known of her since childhood and everyone calls her by this name. She categorizes the class which is the most desolate. Most of the times she used to come to our house to cut grass and later sell it as fodder for cows while her daughter worked at our place. But the love for alcohol has ruined their lives. So on many evenings you can hear ladies drunk and singing [A community still oblivious to the invention of mobile phones] their local numbers. Somewhere in their music you can feel the despair and just pray.

Satender the Mason:

Met him for the first time when he came to repair a leaking portion of our house. He turned out to be from a village closer to mine and so ended up having a cup of tea. However when all of a sudden when he turned up some days ago , I was totally amazed at the strong bond one cup of tea makes. He said,”Bhaiya idhar paas mein hi kaam par aya tha socha mil loon.”I remember that rainy evening when he was working and enjoying the 90’s music by Kumar Sanu. In the evenings when the laborers pass on the road playing the music from 90’s it always reminds me of him.[On this type of music : I have heard people play this type of  music in Chennai on Vishwakarma puja’s , in local trains , in buses and many places where it was the least expected.]

Rai jee , the prosperous milkman:

 I have known him since childhood. I have seen him work hard and set up a large flock of cattles.He has built a house and keeps his cattle at a place far from his house. He likes to get drunk on Bhojpuri music and on the nights he stays in the cattle farm is just an excuse to live life. Late in the night, you can here many gwalas returning back from their evening indulgence , with Bhojpuri music breaking the silence of the quite nights.
 “ On a summer evening in Delhi , you borad a crowded bus from Safdargunj to Munirka. The road is busy and you are stuck in a traffic jam. Someone just pushes you to get out of the bus and you have had a bad day. You are about to lose your cool when you hear a song(Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas ) being played in the local radio channel. You forget everything and just move on.”
I have many other stories to share on music and my life but may be some other time.
Some lines from one of my favorite songs called Age of Innocence by Iron Maiden.

So we only get one chance can we take it

And we only get one life can’t exchange it

Can we hold on to what we have don’t replace it

The age of innocence is fading….. Like an old dream

September Gyaan




I hope you must have been on a slide. For those who have not been on one ,


1)You climb up to the slide 
2) You slide 
3)You climb out of the slide.


So which is the best part ? Ya it is the second one when you slide. When you slide, you only enjoy the present and let every other thing go. That is what makes the ride so enjoying. 


The slide signifies our present which is very short lived and must be enjoyed. However we spend most of the time climbing up the slide ( Our Past ) and Climbing out of the slide (Our Future).


To Quote a paragraph from 100 Years of Solitude, ” In the shattered schoolhouse where for the first time he had felt the security of power, a few feet from the room where he had come to know the uncertainty of love , Arcadio found the formality of death ridiculous.Death did not matter to him but life did, and therefore the sensation he felt when they gave their decision was not a feeling of fear but of nostalgia. He did not speak until they asked him for the last request.” 

On long rides in rain

“The moments we enjoy most as they unfold, and that we treasure long afterward, are the ones we experience most deeply. Depth roots us in the world, gives life substance and wholeness. It enriches our work, our relationships, everything we do. It’s the essential ingredient of a good life and one of the qualities we admire most in others.” William Powers.


The title of the post may seem a bit weird after reading the post because this post is more about rains and my love for it than for the long ride from which I have just returned. Solitary bike rides and drives have become a habit now. It was never the same, I always loved to have someone as a pillion but somehow things have changed and I have started enjoying being on my own.

Rains have always a special place in my life; it has always been an event of liberation for liberation is something which happens to you without knowing it. To talk of liberation, it is something which happens to you when you forget the convention and just let it happen. So this is probably the reason why I can just sit and watch rainfall for hours oblivious to world around me.

The love for it goes right back to when I was a kid. Now talking about kids we call them ignorant and then make them more ignorant throughout their lives under the banner of education. So I was talking about being a kid and as a kid I had my superstitions, though I don’t have any now, owing to the education. The deal was that rains were a good omen for me and I never skipped classes on a rainy day. Somehow the same holds true even today because a rainy day is a happy day but I refrain for calling this as superstition.

Best thing of rains was that the drains are full and the flow is optimum for racing the paper boats. I had attained certain perfection in the same and most of the times I used to win the race with my brother( You may interpret this as the luck connection with rains.) Ironically when later in life I got the opportunity to design real boats and ships I never liked it. (Probably I designed good boats in childhood was an illusion and all those sailed because of the luck factor.)

If you have never   drenched yourself in rain, you will never appreciate the bondage I have with samosa and chai. Samosa and tea is happiness, [Happiness again a big word, though it has a definition in the dictionary it is something which is the least understood. I may give you an example here, you may have samosa and chai in a restaurant which has an ambience which makes you feel of rains and you may be stuffing yourself feeling all happy  about the place ,the service  etc. but that is not happiness. Happiness is drinking the same chai in somewhat dirty cup ( I don’t want to write much about dirt because again it is a big topic) ,having the oily samosas and shivering due to the rain.]

Rains remind me of the happy evenings with friends on the railway track near my school. [To talk about the railway track: It was walking distance from school. There was an elevated patch of land which we had to climb and there were three shops in the bottom. [Shop 1 : Samosa and chai again (devoured so many cups of tea here sitting on the wet  railway tracks feeling detached from the world in a world of my  own.) Shop 2: The foreign brand smoke shop : Our indulgence into group smoking mostly to check out different foreign brands and to keep the metal butts as souvenirs. Shop 3 : Don’t remember because it was not a part of our dream lives.] The hang out places have changed since then , the people also have changed but  the railway track has always been a place which was our own and no other place can take that place.

So the rains have been times of dance , for football ,  for jumping in water pools while returning from school,  of games of ludo with family , bunking tuitions and chatting , bike rides and so much more …………Probably the rains have been a time to take break from life for life.

Caption Contest

The video song of one of my favorite songs is playing (November Rain) and still I have just closed my eyes for the breeze today is cooler than what Chennai expects over the year. The train guy must have slept by now , i heard the last whistle around 11 and i again wondered what keeps him going day after day.

Have you ever been on a swing ? If you have been u will remember the moment when u reach to the the farthest point laughing knowing that you will reach that high again after sometime. It is the same feeling here , the cool breeze is sporadic i must say but every time it passes it mesmerizes me.I don’t whether i am happy now or sad though I have just watched for the fourth time the movie ,”The pursuit of happiness.” I love one moment when Chris tells his son , ” Don’t let anyone say that you can’t do something , not even me.”

I have learnt a lot in my life staying all alone for the last six months , just in a room in my flat with the winds changing its direction and moon changing phases. There were days when I could see the moon sitting on my chair near the window but it has also changed its course same as somewhat my life has . 

Its amazing that i am just writing down my feelings here , ideally i would have filled the title box first but somehow i don’t find an appropriate title to this post , i hope u will understand. 

I got Leh-ed

How does it feel to be in thin air.
How does it feel to attend no calls for 10 days ?
How does it feel to forget Google for sometime ?
How does it feel to be a road all alone hearing only the sound of your Royal Enfield trying to catch up with your heart beat?
How does it feel to meditate in a closed room and then share your experiences with total strangers.
How does it feel to be a place where nature changes its color every second?
How does it feel like sitting at a place and getting lost in the surroundings for eternity?
How does it feel to close your eyes besides a 134 km long lake and dream in a dream.

I don’t have words to express the beauty of Leh and i challenge you that no camera , book or painting can capture it. Leh is not a place it is an experience.  

“It feels great to wake up in a unknown land. “ This was my status message before the trip but i never knew that some of the mornings to follow will make me realize the importance of this quote.For the first three days we were on road for most of the time and we made it to the places of nice halt late in the night. Sonmerg was one such place and the only thing we knew about the place was that there is a river flowing by which we later came to know was Sindh. With 4 hours of sleep in the coldest place of the trip , when i looked out of the window I almost woke up in a shock . Oh is it real , am i surrounded by ice capped hills . It took 10 minutes to get ready and we were out in the cold to feel the beauty of the place. If you plan to or even if you don’t plan (as in our case) to go to Leh via Srinagar , plan a halt at Sonmarg. This will be the first cold place of your trip and you can buy cold clothes here if you are not carrying some.

People and their stories : 

18 X : The fifth guy in our group whom I met for the first time in Delhi. I am that sort of person who takes a lot of time to mingle with new people but this guy , the very first handshake had the feel of a friend. His stories , his bargaining and wins in the card games were the highlight of the trip. It took us 3 days to name him (nick : Mayur), his name 18 X not because he carried a 18X zoom camera but because he can can zoom through your heart or anything that comes in his way. 

Jimmy with a J: Our driver at Leh had a very unique style of wearing cap and a cool goggles. He was an entertainer , especially the way he spoke Hindi slangs was awesome. He helped us a lot in getting the permit and arranging taxis for our return to Srinagar.

English man in a world cup match : To quote him,” If you do 1000 sins this birth you will be born an Englishman in your next birth.” This was on response to the performance of the England football team. This man was on his tour to India and his next destination was Chennai ( I prayed , “God bless him.”). Was happy to hear that after traveling in India he was headed to Thailand where  he and his siblings had planned a reunion  after 35 years.

The short skirt French female during meditation : During my 30 minutes meditation experience at Mahabodhi center of international meditation i was twice distracted by her and I confessed so during another half an discussion after the meditation. Will never forget her blushing face:)

The man at K.C. Restaurant : K.C restaurant is said to be the most happening place at Leh(as told by Jimmy).So we met a guy here who not only helped us plan our two days bike trip around Leh but also enlightened us about Trance parties organized by him in July and August. 

Julia, nazeer , kulbeer , preet , the french woman at Orange restaurant were among the others whom i will always remember.

The Bargain mantra:  Sometimes saying that you are a writer always helps you get good deals. This was something we did to get a 200 per person rebate while bargaining for rafting 🙂

Million Dollar Pic : Every travel book you read will have an element which distinguishes his journey with others. If asked I think the half an hour football game at Kargil was something which everyone will not do . Hunger , thin air and time were no bondage for this spiritual encounter. A game in such a beautiful place with entire strangers was a trailer to what we were going to experience in Leh.

 

The place called Leh : 

The very fact that this place is cut out from the external world for more than half the year makes it so special. A place which has its own culture , a place having Buddhists and Muslims as the major religious tribe, woman with red cheeks , where sun sets after 8 and that too in no time , where  children go to school for half the year and for the remaining half have to rely on private tuitions, a place surrounded by barren and muddy hills .
Ideally if you are at Leh then you will surely visit the Pangong lake and the Nubra valley . Also you may see the Shanti Stupa , Alchi and Lekir monastery , Pather Saheb gurudwara etc. 

But this is something which you would come , contact tourist guides and do , feel that you covered some places and return . But this is not the way to live Ladakh . The market place , the dharma chakra , the topmost point near the city gate , the Women empowerment center , the Gol market , The tibetian market , International center for meditation , local food and tea, water refill stations where you will get wonderful apricot juice . These are a few things which you may probably miss but even if you miss these don’t miss the opportunity of biking and rafting. For rafting you will be tested in the coldest waters you have ever felt and biking as usual is an experience of its own especially if you are riding a Royal enfield.
If you plan a long trip to Leh , you can :
a) Rent a bike and roam around many places in and around Leh 
b) There are even 21 days treks to altitudes much higher than 6000 meters.
c) A cyclists destination to rise uphill in thin air.
d) A meditation paradise with a 10 day meditation and Vipasana camps all through out the year.
e) If you are planning to write a book come to this place you will be inspired.

The FIKARNOT Spirit:

Right from the Arunachal trip when mamme was almost drowning to many treks and this trip I have had close shaves and dangerous travel has always been a part of the trip. Traveling from Srinagar to Sonemarg late night and then the last stretch of travel from Karil to Leh was something insane and rational people would have not taken the risk. The 5 hours of sleep Bhale and me had in a shady dormitory at Kargil , reaching Srinagar airport amongst threats and my 5 minute extreme turbulence experience in the Delhi – Chennai flight have given more strength and added to the spirit and meaning of fikarnot.