quote

“The greatest creative challenge is the struggle to be the architect of your own life. So be patient. Do not compromise. And give your destiny time to find you.”

-Wade davis, canadian anthropologist

QUOTE

“Wonder-which is the seed of knowledge, is the reflection of the purest form of pleasure”

Sir Francis Bacon

That time when I lost a loved one…

I had spent many nights in prayers. I started believing the unbelievable, just for the sake of some magic that could help her survive. 

There was a pain I felt, a deep shattering pain of what might happen when she will leave. How the lives would change. How that house wouldn’t be the same anymore. How her voice reverberated in my ears, how her sweet chiding became even louder. How the innately inconsequential moments became too important. How it seems her going away will scoop out life from a family and all those who are connected with it. 

It’s amazing, how we are so averted to change. It was not only her departure but the change that her non-existence would bring around. How insignificant we feel someone is in our lives until we see her go. How we take people for granted unless they are about to leave. How confident we feel that they will wake up every day when we know it’s not true. How we surround ourselves with lies of eternity. 

It is difficult to accept how inescapable pain sometimes becomes. How those sweet memories serve as warm cosy cushions for you to lie onto them and feel happy and blissful again, only to open your eyes and again and feel those very cushions gone cold and pale.

How you feel you should have talked a little more, spent time a little more if you had known she will go away one day. We didn’t know that you know? Or did we? 

Why do we fool ourselves into believing all those who are around us, will be with us for the rest of our lives? We become habitual of them and forget that they are just co-travellers on this journey to life and we never know where they might disembark the vehicle, leaving us all alone. They will completely vanish in existence, leaving several hordes of memories to live by and love. 

You are just left with this pain squeezing your heart such that sometimes it feels difficult to breathe and sometimes tears are the only warmth you need. Sometimes being in bed is the only way to hide and believe maybe this is all but another bad dream. 

I was a part of her family for merely 3 years. But somehow the pain that she left inside me was unwarranted. I don’t know how much she loved me. But certainly, it must be her love that has left me so shattered..

A rainy day- dog on my lap and a book

It’s raining, and I am sitting in my front yard with lots of plants. There is a smell of burning wood in the air. The smell I always associate with mountains and hills. The smell makes me nostalgic about travel. Thus, turning my attention to it. 

It’s a normal working day. Working from home gives me the liberty to work according to my own schedule.

I am a market researcher so analysis and reporting and understanding human beings is what I actually do for a living.

Yes, I like my job, it does wake me up in the morning. Some days are stressful, and some are not. I guess its true for you all.

But, it still isn’t what I want to do.

I miss the outdoors. I want to be out there, amongst the trees and the leaves, the unknown cities and the unknown treasures. The narrow road with an end to civilization, people nobody has heard of, places people have long forgotten, lanes still virgin from tourist traps.

I am sitting, I should rather move. 

Right now I am free, with nothing to do in terms of work. But I still don’t know how to find the opportunity that my soul craves. I feel restless and unsatisfied. When the weekend comes I crave working days while during workdays I want to throw back my legs and lie down and wish for weekends.

I have it all, yet I feel I have none.

I have stopped telling people about it. About my dreams, my cravings. They make fun, and they feel it’s not practical. But do I care?

Well, sometimes I do. I feel it’s a fantasy I have grown accustomed to while reading and watching movies, the two things I do so feverishly. 

At other times I feel motivated to work towards the goal in my free time. 

But now I am free, straining my mind to involve myself in exploring what I want.

But what are my next steps? Should I resume my office work? Should I continue reading Paulo Coehlo? Or should I read the e-book about past civilizations that I had been reading? 

A pilgrimage of self-reflection with Paulo Coehlo

Many of my articles have begun as a result of a good movie or a good book. Yes, that is the kind of connection sometimes you build with a book or a movie or should I say vice versa

Today I am in the midst of my favourite writer Paulo Coelho’s autobiographical novel by Juan Arias entitled- “Paulo Coelho: Confessions of a pilgrim”. 

I don’t remember the first time I met Paulo- I mean the year or the date. it seems like an eternity. It seems I have known him all along.

Though I do remember it was with The Alchemist.

I had always been a spiritual, introspective person. Thinking and rethinking my life. I could say I am the biggest critic and analytic in my life. Maybe that is why Paulo’s works impressed me so much. Though, I won’t lie when I say I love only a few of his books like The Alchemist, Hippy, The Pilgrimage and now his autobiography (which of course is a series of his words captured by another writer).

Anyways, I should stop digressing here and come to the point!

So, the autobiography of Paulo had me look into his life stages and reflect on mine.

One would say we have one life-one soul- one body right?

Wrong.

We die many times and are reborn many times in the course of our lives. Our childhood often dies when we are transitioning into youth, our youth dies when we act like adults and we often kill our adult side in the end just to have a glimpse of that childhood back in us. More so, we transition from innocence to practicality, to a rigid set of ideas, to loose and rigid morality and so on. 

Lately, I began wondering whether a new wave in my life, a new turn of events is changing the way I am living my life. 

My life has been driven solely by others. My father has been a dominating figure throughout my life. He took decisions for me and told me what to wear, and where to go. And I as a strong rebel kept on fidgeting with his ideas, fighting but in the end, the parent is always one. I won’t say I didn’t try at least!

Lately, as I began to get older, I depended on him completely. I had and no longer have confidence in the way I am because I am afraid of errors. And you know what? I do that. (Oh yes, it’s called self-sabotage, I read it somewhere). I am not confident. And slowly, just gave in. Now other people decide what I wear, where I go or do. I am left with little, what you call ‘authority’ in my life. 

Though I chose the man with whom I had decided to spend my life but with him too I lacked authority. You know what? He is exactly like my father. Yes, yes, I read this too- women often fall in love with their father figures. 

Back to the point. So now, he takes decisions, I influence yes- but I am not confident you see. I rely on him for APPROVAL. And what I am doing that way? Living a life according to him? So where’s my rebel spirit? Alas, dead!

That was up until now. 

Now a new wave entered my life. A person. A series of events made me fall in love with myself. Some people as they say are mirrors in your life. They act as your reflectors so that you could realise what exactly you are and want to be.

I want and have always wanted a life of my own choice. I will make mistakes, I will fall and get up and get hurt but the journey would be mine. I am not afraid of adventures! I love life itself! I am curious. I am spiritual. I read signs, I know things, and I am intuitive. 

No, I don’t like parties. No, I hate getting drunk and sleeping. I like good movies. I like romance. I like honest and pure souls who I can read to their very last drop of blood. I deserve to be loved- truly, madly, deeply. Enough of serving others for life. 

I am a slow lover. I don’t like fast-paced life. I am inquisitive. I don’t want to settle. I don’t want to lead a sedentary, drudgery life. I am alive every moment. My head is full of ideas. My heart is full of love. I am young. No, I am not practical. I am a dreamer. I am a creator. I am not a materialistic. I am words, I am stories, I am rhythms and seasons and blossoms and rains. 

It is my time, to rise again.

It’s the turning point of my life again.

It’s me vs me, it’s me alone, on my path- to what they say, what Paulo will say- a journey- a pilgrimage of self-reflection. 

Would love to have you back!

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO walk alone?

The world believes unity is strength, but I beg to differ.

This world itself made me realise, that I am strongest by myself.

I am strongest when I walk alone when I am vulnerable, prone to harm and injury and exploitation.  

When I have no one to ‘lean on’ I feel confident in my abilities, my choices and my actions. 

I feel liberated and free. I feel I can conquer the world, and I can conquer the world according to whatever stupid fantasy or desire I have. 

I could sleep if I want to, wake up if I want to. 

Spend money in vain activities or save like I am getting bankrupt. 

I can look at the sky and find crazy patterns and not care if people around me feel I need a psychiatrist. I can plan for holidays around the world without having the possible means at hand. I can live in my mad mad world and not care a dime about people’s opinions. 

So I walk alone 

Because….

When I am with others I am weak. I am weak in love

Because..

I heed what others want. 

I have a desire to fulfil ‘their’ desires. 

I mask myself for them to outshine, I live for them as a sign of my love and in the end, I forget who exactly I was. 

I start drinking if the person I love wants company, I stop drinking when the person I love hates drinkers.

So much so that I start shaping my personality, my words my ideas my pursuits according to their wills and desires. 

Perhaps I want acceptance? Perhaps I just want to be loved. A simple, basic need.

So does love make me weak?  Oh yes, it does. 

It weakens who I am.

It weakens whom I want to be.

It weakens my love for myself.

It weakens my desires, my fantasies.

It weakens who I am to myself.

Because I kill myself in loving others,

My love is the all-consuming love

That is why I have a small cohort of people I truly love

Otherwise, I would have used every vein of my heart till it drops dead.

So, the only way to survive for me is to walk alone. 

Would love to have you back!

Ruthless heart

A heart is a heart it has no rules

A name, a bond, a custom is for fools

Bind it, conceal it, or close it tight

Will leap out to a glittery sight

Consume every vien you hold so true

Until you are left with a shadow of you

A shadow with a dripping heart

Be careful for its not an art.

jAISALMER:THE CITY OF GOLD

history

Jaisalmer is the west end of India where she shares a border with her neighbour Pakistan. In terms of size it is the largest city in Rajasthan, but in terms of population it has a handful. Weather patterns form one of the major reasons. Thar desert bears a scorching summer, where temperature reaches up to 50 degree celsius and winters are cold and windy. Apart from the Muslims, two Hindu clans of the ‘Bhatti’s’ and the ‘Rajputs’ reside here. They call themselves the descendants of Lord Krishna. The city is named after King Jaisal of the 12th century, who chose the highest point of the city to build a magnificent fort (Jaisalmer Fort), on which the city was named afterwards.

ARCHITECTURE

The city of Jaisalmer is a small area that seems to have arisen from the sand. Aptly named Golden city, the entire area is built with naturally occurring yellow sandstone. It’s as if the sand dunes have risen high to accommodate its residents. The only colour you can see is the huge branches of pink, white, red, bougainvillaeas in several nooks and corners. But fear not because the even when the houses are monochromatic these have one of the most finest, delicate and minute carvings you would have ever seen.

Passing by the road if often come across new facades being built where an expert hand is busy carving the stone in lingering rythematic moves.

It’s like every house seems to have been an abode of a king. 

Stone carvings in Jaisalmer

STONE CARVINGS, SOURCE:PEXELS.COM

This was my first experience of a golden city which resembled some of the pictures I had seen of Egypt and Jordan. Beyond the sea and the mountains, a desert city had a historical charm to it. The buildings seem to have been there since the beginning of the time but didn’t bear any grudge towards the past. The heritage seemed sleeping calmly within. Time had only added the necessary strokes to their elegance. Sometimes it seemed as if you have travelled back in time and might even come across some king or his subjects strolling somewhere in their ancient rags.

jAISALMER FORT

Jaisalmer fort stands as an example of the timelessness of the city. One can see a 360 degree view of the city while walking through the fort. Like everything else in this desert, the fort too had a winding path with narrow lanes leading up to the entrance.

JAISALMER FORT, SOURCE:SELF

A SNEEK PEAK FROM THE JAISALMER FORT

The area cohabits several other monuments including some Hindu and Jain temples.

CARVED JAIN TEMPLE, SOURCE :SELF

The narrow lanes are full of artisans, painters, book stores and souvenir shops. You could get fridge magnets, camels made with mud and lots of Rajasthani jewellery. I bought a hand-painted shirt of a Rajasthani man (often called ‘tau’) with huge moustaches. Couldn’t help, I am a sucker for souvenirs.  

THE SOUVENIR LANE, SOURCE:SELF

A SNEEK PEAK INTO THE LANE, SOURCE: SELF

THAR DESERT MUSEUM

THAR MUSEUM, SOURCE: SELF

After visiting the fort, we stopped at the Thar desert museum. The space was too small to be called a museum. However in an area of approx 800 square feet, a huge collection of historical artefacts awaited our attention. It was single handedly owned and cared for by L.N Khatri for whom preserving the past was more important than planning the future.

Among his preserves were an opium machine, wedding bangles, old letters exchanged between kings, huge brass utensils, an ancient refrigerator, grain storehouse and whatnot.

He told us how Jaisalmer was an important trade route that made these people rich. Because of the intense heat, houses were made of mud and cow dung because they have the ability to stay cold during summers and warm during winters. Certain old villages still use the technique. Married women were seen as a good omen, often dressed in several white bangles which they wear for life long. The most celebrated festival here is the Gangaur festival which is celebrated by married and unmarried women. 

PATWA KI HAVELI

Our next stop was Patwa ki haveli. A set of five beautifully carved houses built by five Patwa brothers. The Patwa’s were rich 19th-century merchants who traded in opium, gold and silver and therefore had left a similar mark on their houses. The 2-storeyed havelis had separate spaces demarcated as guest room, kitchen, toilet, storeroom and bedroom.

PATWA HAVELI, SOURCE: SELF

As you enter the house/haveli, you feel as if it is dressed in the wedding lehnga (dress) of the Indian bride. Carvings, mirrors, frescoes, and paintings have left no corner untouched,right from the walls to the roof. Most of the mirrors inside the haveli were known to have been brought from Belgium. The architect seemed to have compensated for the monochromatic yellow throughout the city. 

INSIDE PATWA HAVELI, SOURCE:SELF

THE END

While we retired to our hotel, again a yellow beauty, it was time to bid a goodbye to the city. It was hard to go back.So for a final treat, we dined on the rooftop restaurant of our hotel that had a view of the entire city and amongst the darkness, standing tall and unmistakable Jaisalmer fort in the centre.

The vast emptiness of sand still appeared dominant with few lights signalling the existence of man. Here man is still at the mercy of nature. Where she holds power and spreads magic all around, the poor man is unable to tame her might. That is what makes this place the golden age of the past. 

I had never been a desert lover and always opined myself as a beach or a mountain person. But somewhere along, the golden hues of the sand changing colours as sun rays filtered through them; the sandstone buildings having an eternal charm and also the simplicity of its people, had me enamoured.

Here’s a short-cut guide to our trip!

Would love to have you back!

I found God

I never believed in religion. 

But I always believed in God. 

I was wrong both ways.

I thought he/she/it is something that is either inside us or maybe in the sky, what we often call heaven, jannat, swarag or the likes. But actually he isn’t.

Remember he can neither be created nor be destroyed? Every scripture talks about it.

Remember that time on a chilly morning when you had to get out of bed because you already overslept. You were almost shivering and hating every bit of it. While rubbing your eyes and adjusting to the reality, you find yourself drawn to the window. It’s cloudy, but somehow behind those clouds a soft ray of sun falls on your face? What did you feel then?

Remember the time that you were heavily burdened under your work. Your eyes pain, your headaches, the day feels dreadful and suddenly your dog comes closer and looks at you. What did you feel?

Remember the time it rained heavily and you were walking on the grass, barefoot. It seemed sticky at first, but then the pointy edges trickled your feet. What did you feel then?

Remember when you got out of a party? Everybody was drunk with ecstasy but you still felt sad inside? You got out and into the balcony, and heard a bird singing. Soon you see her, her round black eyes looking at you while she flutters her long yellow tail while singing. What did you feel?

Remember when you were sitting near a pond, thinking about your life goals.  There, on a log of wood appears a stone like figure but it seemed to move. People around you start noticing a neck beneath the stone. The turtle is standing still and everybody starts trying to get the turtle’s attention. But you don’t budge but silently watch it from your place. And somehow the turtle turns his neck and straight towards you. How do you feel?

You feel ‘him’, you feel the ‘energy’, you feel the ‘universe’ and you know everything is that divine energy. And everything else is just a distraction, just noise, meaningless worries and meaningless words. It is your mind that is actually causing all this ruckus. The universe runs through the veins of your heart. It connects you with every living being that surrounds you. It is then, that you finally know that the search for him/her/it is over. 

Where you able to find him?


Would love to have you back!

cozy new year’s: introvert’s NOSTALGIA

Everywhere around you, it seems the celebrations have begun. Messages of happy new year pouring in, people putting up status on Instagram and WhatsApp for hoping for a fruitful and happy new year.

Inside, well my house I mean, another party is being planned. A barbecue it is supposed to be. Families and friends are invited for a cozy dinner in the front-yard. What is to be cooked is already noted and extra stuff has been brought from the market. The house has been swiped clean and the crockery is shinier than ever.

But inside my little self, I am already feeling so tired. This tiresome event where everybody seems to be shouting, calling, amusing, partying and creating a hell lot of noise. I feel angry at all this. This isn’t how I imagine my new year to start.

I like it slow, like my mornings, with a spiritual sway, leaning in on to the day, gradually like the movement of the sun. I don’t kick start my day, why should I kick start my year?

And then, nostalgia kicks in and I am reminded of the best new years I have had, my kinda new years. So, I sit back and travel in time. 


It’s 6’o clock in the last day of the cold December evening of 2012. Mommy is all set for the night. She has been telling us to wind up our work because we are to go to a gurudwara for the new year celebration. There would be a lot of food, a lot of people and a lot of religious music to help us enter the new year with blessings. 

(Yes, we are a devotional family. My father is utterly devotional. We have both a religion and a guru to follow. )

So anyways, she comes to my room and my mind is already powered up, gathering reasons I will put forth, for not going.

When I start blurting the same, my brother stands across me, besides my mother and gives me that ‘weird’ ‘disgusting’ look that asks me why the hell are you choosing to stay alone Vs going out?

He doesn’t understand I don’t like all that noisy stuff. He believes I am a spoil sport. So, there’s a lot of crying, a lot of shouting and I ran amuck to the only person who can save me now, that is my grandma!

She is almost 75 now, cooks great food and has always been my shield. She lives just beneath us. Her old age has taught her all about peace which to my luck I already know at this age!

So, I ran upto her, convince her to take my side and she is all set for it. After that it becomes easy to give my mother a stronger version of ‘I am not going’. Now only my father is left to be faced. He is still not home so I have plenty of time to prepare.

So after a while, I head back to my refuge- that is my grandma’s house. The kitchen smells of lentils being cooked. I move upto her sit on the kitchen slab while she makes chapati. I could never understand how delicately she makes every ball of that dough as if she adds a bit of her love in it. I couldn’t resist so had to taste her love.

After having a sumptuous dinner, we decide to grab the cozy blankets and just cocoon ourselves in the bed. It’s almost 8pm now and my family is ready to leave. 

My grandma feels cold and needs a bit more warmth so we warm our blanket with a heater too. I lay by her side while she tells me stories of her childhood, my childhood, my father’s childhood, stories about partition and so on. As I lay my head on her shoulder I realise she is so warm and has that woody warm smell that I have always loved. My eyes are closed and I find myself in the space and time she is describing.

Suddenly my father arrives and asks me to get up and be ready since they are too late already. Filled with dread, almost shivering, I say no, I don’t want to. And he starts shouting. While I prepare to remove myself from the blanket, and to leave my grandma’s side, she steps in the conversation. After all she is the mother, my father couldn’t stand a chance.

And so I spending the night lying on her shoulders while the window bears noises of firecrackers being lit. People are dancing to freaking loud tunes on their roofs, some in their balconies while some are looking at others dancing away on their TV’s. The air itself feels so crowded.  Thankfully, the window was easy to shut. 

And there we lay, content and happy and peaceful and warm. A slow start to a new beginning inside my comfort zone doing what I love.


And the bell rings, I guess the guests have arrived. The new year party is peaceful no more. 

Would love to have you back!

Would love to have you back!

i DON’T KNOW WHY IT HAPPENS

Something strange happens with me. It’s been a while that I am noticing this.

It started with a puppy

It started or so I think, when one night I heard a puppy crying. It was a cold night, with dense fog, the kinds that lets you fall back into bed, every time you think of stepping out.

I tried and tried to ignore the longing cry of that puppy, thinking maybe it’s a new born, and is crying for his mommy. A part of me was still curious to confirm my assumption. 

So I kept my blanket aside, grab hold of my scarf, and came out of my balcony to look for the source of the cries. Somewhere in the dense fog I spotted a ragged drunk man kicking a small puppy. Fearing he might be too much for me to handle alone, I called my father, got rid of the man and saved the puppy. 

A terrified little creature who trusted me after an hour or so and became close to me until I had to give him for adoption.

I wonder whether that kicked the turn of events.


then came a plump cat

A winter afternoon again, I saw a plump black cat lying curled on my freshly grown coriander basket. Horrified and angry, I tried to shoo him away. But he wouldn’t budge, he was basking in the sun. Everyday, at quite the same time, at the same spot, I found him. He never asked for food, never called out, never felt scared of my presence, he just lay there. And like that, he disappeared. When I discussed this with one of my family members, she said, “didn’t you see he was ill, he came here to die”.

……

Dipped in heavy reading one day, I was taken out of my fantasy land by my 8 year old Lhasa Apso. She has been barking consistently, and strangely towards a cardboard in the storeroom. I asked her to shut up repeatedly, but she was adamant. I trusted her too well to understand something is wrong then, for she was an intelligent creature. 

After shifting aside the old pieces of cardboard and extra stuff, I found a sad little squirrel breathing heavily. 

I had never held such a tiny little creature in my life. I was hesitant, afraid and had chills down my back. Somehow I used the same cardboard to slide it in and brought it out in the balcony. I prayed for god to revive him. I googled but couldn’t find the solution nor the problem. It seemed like a new born baby somehow got lost or hurt. Our house was on the 2nd floor and it was unlikely that she came here for a stroll. She might have been lost and god knows for how long she had been buried beneath the cardboard boxes. 

My father suggested giving her a sip of aloe vera. It’s a miracle plant after all, who knows it might revive her. But it didn’t..

…..

I got married. This time I was living on a ground floor house. While working in the kitchen, that faced our front-yard garden I heard a cat crying. I kept my apron aside, slowed down the flame and moved out to find her. I could hear her voice but couldn’t decide where it came from. This was around the darker part of the evening. Somehow, I found a pair of eyes glittering behind the pot of my bougainvillea. It was a pitch black cat hidden in the darkness of the night. I rushed inside for a cup of hot milk and bread. As I called her, I saw she limped. It seemed so cruel for a kitten to be swaying her leg behind, to walk. As she moved towards the bowl of milk, I saw how hungry she had been.  Even after she finished she kept crying, she seemed to be longing for her mother. 

This routine continued for some days. She would come right when the day was dark enough to hide her, stayed for the night, cried all night long and disappeared before the morning came. Whosoever I told about her said he wouldn’t survive. Limping animals never survive. Or so might explain the reason of her final disappearance. 

…..

And there was a pigeon, with a gush of white beneath his right wing, which inflated it to a level that it looked plump from one side and slim from the other. He too stayed. Ate and disappeared.

And now this. I had been nurturing her since she was such a small white kitten. Newly born, unable to walk, she accompanied her mother just as the black limper did, near the darker hours of the day. 

It was a while since I had seen her. I thought maybe she found a new house for herself because she didn’t accompany her mother anymore. 

Its as if, she had heard my longing for her. She came today. But not like she had left. She came with bruised eyes and a sicken body. She looks slim, afraid, calls to me when I call to her. Doesn’t eat, doesn’t play. Just sits tight, with a swelled body that means she is afraid. 

I prepared a cardboard box for her, she slid inside to sit and relax. I don’t know what might have happened to her. She breathes shallow, with difficulty. I hope I could revive her or at least help this one survive!!


Would love to have you back!

ARE WE AFRAID OF THE FUTURE?

The world it seems has come a full circle.

It’s like we are in the last Yuga according to the Hindu cosmic cycle, after which everything is going to begin again.

Never before have we stopped and looked back, as feverishly as we do now. 

And why shouldn’t we? It’s a matter of life and death.

The world seems to crumble down from all sides. Where should you focus?

The renowned historian Yuval Noah Harari outlined 3 major causes- nuclear war, climate change and Artificial intelligence.

The world it seems has lost its nerve upon us. And we are worried about all there is in the news. Never before have we been such ardent devotees of the news headlines, because we never know where it might lead to. Where was the latest destruction and how soon will it reach us?

That is when we stopped being optimistic about the future.

We rather started to cocoon in the past.

The political leaders of the world are the first to acknowledge this. That is why they have turned their backs to the problems of the future and rather moved their attention at home. Nationalism is the new global agenda. ‘Our nation’, first, and let the others die out. All this, when the very impacts of globalized world-leading economies have created all the problems in the first place.

Therefore, the easiest way to live today is to talk about ‘your people’, ‘your religion’, ‘your area’, ‘your biodiversity’ and hence being a patriot as if that is going to solve the major problems looming over us.

Let’s turn to those who are trying to find solutions to environmental problems. Surprisingly, they too have found its solution backwards. The root cause of environmental degradation is our greed for having it all, without giving it back to nature. 

Finally, we realized that this ‘Biosphere’ (K. Milton) existence is no longer helping us persists, rather it has led to the destruction of ecosystems worldwide. Therefore, the best bet is to try to be sustainable and turn inwards such that we become what Milton calls “ecosystem people“. That is when we rely on what grows local and not global. And if possible, start becoming self-reliant in growing veggies and fruits in your yard.

Aren’t we sounding like the primitive people who ate whatever their local environment provided?

Speaking of primitive people, we have been calling them names because they weren’t civilized or tech freaks like us. Their treasure full of knowledge was long forgotten, ignored except by a few social scientists who became their voice.

When the ocean full of technologies is rather draining the very oceans, we are again turning towards the forgotten knowledge of these people.

The way they lived with nature and had more knowledge than each of us individually possess. If we try to be honest with ourselves, we have little ‘real’ knowledge apart from what the internet allows us to know. Keep the technology aside and ask yourself simple questions and definitions and you will find amazed at your inability to answer them despite their simplicity.

If we get lost in the forest, with no technology whatsoever, we will likely perish since we have no knowledge of the real world. The larger the pool of knowledge we possess, the more we find ourselves hollow, swimming on the surface level.

We have developed complex languages but we find our expressions incomplete without motifs, Gifs and smileys. Inside us is that primitive man who drew ancient hieroglyphics and Sumerian codes.

We have that urge to be with nature, be it by planting trees and plants uprooted from their natural environment just for us to decorate our homes. Since we are not going back to the jungle, we might as well bring the jungle in.

That is when I say, we are turning back because the unbearable present and unpredictable future give us only the past to nest back in.

But the big question is, do we have a choice?

hEARD OF MULTIPOTENTIALITES YET?

Multipotentialities have an endless curiosity, they love diversity and have an ability to adapt and transition, in a fast-changing, volatile environment like today.

People say to me all the time, ‘What are you? You need to focus.’ Maybe so. But for now, this smorgasbord of activities is working.”

Baratunde Thurston (FAST COMPANY)

This is what a multipotentialite sounds like. In my previous article-“ARE YOU ONE NAME & SEVERAL TITLES? HOLA RENAISSANCE PERSON” you have a fine idea of who a multipotentialite is.

But do you think they are a lost cause? Another set of ‘different’ people trying to create a sense of normal for themselves?

The answer is no because they themselves are the new normal.

Why does the world need people with multiple specialities?

Well, it’s the 21st century and every word you say should be backed by research? Yes?

Let see…

According to Fast Company

We are the Generation Flux and we are the new normal! It is because the world is changing so fast that putting all your eggs in one basket is as risky as learning a single skill or talent to feed on for the rest of your life.

The new reality is multiple gigs, some of them supershort with constant pressure to learn new things and adapt to new work situations, and no guarantee that you’ll stay in a single industry. It can be daunting. It can be exhausting. It can also be exhilarating.

-Fast company

The instability that shakes people from their bed, is one thing the multipotentialities can easily handle. That is because they thrive in new environments that foster creativity. And there are several other traits that make us more than suitable for what today is called a VUCA environment.  

VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. The current state of the world is easily defined by these 4 terms that demand you to be on the run if you want to survive here.

But how is that connected to multipotentialities?

WHAT MAKES US IRRESISTIBLE?

Are you wondering why does the world need us?

For one, We ADAPT too easily, yes we are like water. We learn fast because we have the ability and the experience of diving into different fields and learning the ‘Hows’ and ‘whys’ quickly.

We are always learning and have an innate curiosity to know more and hence go a step ahead of what our role might demand.

We think out of the box because we have the exposure to do so.

We are the bridge builders between different fields, cultures because we have seen both sides of the coin and hence are more tolerant. We can combine fields and create new spaces that have a different take on the usual scheme of things.

We look at the world through a broader vision, since we have multiple interests and therefore knowledge that surpasses strict boundaries.

All we need are 3 things- a life of meaning, with variety and sustainable income!

This love for variety often makes us an ambassador of what Sarah Sarah Ellis and Helen Tupper a ‘squiggly career’.

Remember the often-quoted ‘ladder of success that defined your career path? It seems that the ladder has become more of a maze now.

This maze lets you tackle different opportunities one after the other. In roles that make you more productive and are in line with your abilities. The whole idea of this career path is to make you a productive, wholesome individual who is far more different than where he started. He learns quite a lot in the different roles he/she played and has turned out to be excellent in all fields.

An example of a modern career path

Life is never a straight line, nor are you defined by a single role or interest or job. The different abilities, passions, skills and hobbies we all have to make us a wholesome bunch.

Like a true traveller, we embrace the journey, not the destination!

Would love to have you back!


Would love to have you back

A CITY GIRL IN LOVE WITH A TOWN

I was born a city girl. Having that typical access to renowned brands, famous restaurants, premium quality stuff, everything at the click of a button or a call. A city that has so much hustle that it is difficult to hear anything but the noise of endless horns or people fighting over nothing. Crowds swarming the streets and the endless wait for getting anything you want because there are several in line for the same.

Whenever these streets clogged my mind, I would sit back and watch a movie where the girl enters a jungle or somewhere in the middle of nowhere and could hear her own heart pump. Or else, a novel, a similar setting for a similar escape.

A new town

One day I got a chance to travel to a small town called Vidisha in MP. I had never heard of it but from a friend who was lucky enough to have it as his maternal hometown.

We reached there by train, what I saw in front of me was a world where things had a slow pace. The streets were narrow but not empty. And there was a silence that made the birds speak out the loudest. A chirp here and a flapping of wings there. I saw sparrows that had long left my city, jumping across the street for some bits of food. I saw jackals on the way too. Nature seemed to like this place.

The houses were old. The colors were dull. Nothing fancy, nothing proud. But what you actually call authentic. People still mingled around. Neighbors basked in the sun together and called out if they needed help. They were still living in the past I thought, but in reality their social lives were still preserved from the degradation we suffered, as city people.

The next day a friend took us on a town-tour. Who would have thought a town this small could hold such treasures?

The hidden treasures

Sometimes little things make big differences. Likewise, travelling on the bike, smelling the air mixed with the scent of flowers, was a choice that fate brought on us.

The drive itself was liberating. As the town unfolded, a whole new area with virgin expanses of green came our way. Trees making canopy on the roads, as if to provide shade to the riders in the heat. The air was soft and fresh. The people had a curious but a simple quality to their faces. Not the kind of pride and disgust you come across in the cities.

We visited Udaigiri caves and resort. It was like travelling back in time when people used to live in harmony with the nature. Nested besides the forest it contained several Hindu and Jain relics dating 5th century AD. Magnificent, as if untouched. You could explore it, on your own accord without the hustling of tour guides or people incessantly clicking pictures. You could see how those that came before you lived and worshipped. Even peacocks and peahens found it suitable to reside in.

Udaigiri caves, Source: Tales of a nomad

Our next stop was Bijamandal. A whole new whole world of the gods opens up and you sense something sacred in the site. A temple and then a mosque, the site still holds the memories of the past, afresh. Walking a bit further we found a small water harvesting pit that one can mistake as a magical place much like Game of Throne’s House of Black and white.

Water reservoir aka house of black and white, Source: Self

The whole area is unexplored and still so pure from people who trade history. It numbs you because the vast expanse of the site is such that it makes you look so little and so unimportant, thereby humbling you.

On a 15minutes drive from Vidisha was another unexplored gem called Sanchi stupa. Yes, the picture that you find on a 200 Indian Rupee bill that is a symbol of Buddhism. The vast expanse made by King Ashoka in 3rd century BCE still holds huge idols of buddha but with the kind of calmness that he always preached. We even trekked a bit down to see if we find some unknown relics residing in the overgrowth surrounding the area.

Sanchi Stupa, Source: World heritage journeys

An enthusiast of history or shall we say, a proud lover of his humble town, our guide was a friend with whom we were staying. He had a passion for things only heart can see. He made the journey alive. We travelled several other places, discovered hidden temples and known farms all through his eyes.  His passion was pure and his love for his town, quite clear.

Sometimes, when I sit back still, try to hear those sparrows or the rustling of the leaves, I am reminded of the town and its passionate eyes and I almost forget if I was a city girl ever! And my eyes feel the bitter-sweet longing.

Did something like that ever happen to you?

Would love to have you back!

Are you ONE NAME & SEVERAL TITLES? hOLA RENAISSANCE PERSON

Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Oprah Winfrey, René Descartes, Isaac Newton, Aristotle-What is common between them apart from being famous personalities?

They are people with multiple specialties, talents, and interests, they are called ‘Renaissance men’.

Renaissance man: A person who has wide interests and is an expert in several areas (MERRIAM WEBSTER)

lET’S START FROM THE BEGINNING

I use to call myself messy!

No, I wasn’t shabby looking or unclean but because I had a shabby idea of who I am. I was unable to juggle between different identities and interests that I often had. I had a deep curiosity in a field, I pursued it for a while, became good at it, and felt it become boring now. As a result, my resumes always changed.

Yes, it did change because I was now looking for a new role but it also changed because I had developed a whole new set of skills that were to be added to the resume.

When people asked me what do you like I had a list of endless different fields some of which didn’t overlap or connect in any way.

Yes, I had many and I have many. The list goes on every time I check it.

I remember my anthropology professor telling me,

Beta tumhari problem ye hai ke tumhe sab chahye ek sath, ye possible nhi hai” (Dear your problem is that you want everything together, that’s not ideally possible)”

Do you wonder what I said?

I said I wanted to study cultures, have a running income, write a book, work in the open, pursue Ph.D. and serve society in some way.

If you don’t identify with these feelings, you must be thinking she is fickle-minded! She is lost! And I am thinking, how blessed you are to have one true purpose known to you.

The world is full of people who figured out either a calling or decided on a job meant to serve them for the rest of their lives. Aren’t they blessed? They wake up without confusion, sleep without anxieties, don’t appear lost!

Having too many interests is tough! Really! That is what gives you the feeling of ‘something isn’t right.

self-sabotage & ‘something isn’t right

I had lived a life full of self-doubt, self-sabotage, and the feeling that something is wrong with me just because I wanted to be taken up so many roles.

I have ‘N’ no. of dairies and digital files with endless diagrams of Ikigai’s and purpose and goal and ambition and what not! But I could never have one single answer.

If you are a researcher and have made user personas, imagine multiple personas living inside of you! Which one to go for?

Maybe my professor was right, but was it wrong? And why? Just because I am curious and want to immerse myself in a lot of things? Just because unlike others I never get bored! Rather I am overwhelmed with so much to do in such a short time?

the answer from beyond: The multipotentialites

But, the universe has always had my back. Years before it had brought a message saying “if you enjoy the solitude that is because you are an introvert” and now it brought me a message saying you are a ‘multipotentialite’.

It happened so that while scrolling through Youtube for some motivational videos (felt dead low then!) I came across a TED talk and immediately on to a book. It was called, How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up by Emilie Wapnick

We are what Emilie Wapnick calls ‘a multipotentialite”. A heavy term for someone who doesn’t possess one isolated quality but has several feathers in his/her cap.

So, I came to know that we are a kind of career superhuman!

And the Hollywood superhuman flicks have already told you how difficult it is being so!

I am sure many of you agree. We like arts, sciences, nature, cultures, people, music, theatre, mathematics and so many different stuff all at once. We value freedom, are innately curious (my website name agrees), have endless ‘will’ to learn, and are busy either learning or creating something! That is the reason no one role can define us! We are but many in one package!

You’re someone who’s going to shake things up, create something novel, solve complex, multidimensional problems, make people’s lives better in your own unique way

-EMILIE WAPNICK

I realized even my father is a multipotentialite. He is an entrepreneur, a Plummer, a carpenter, an electrician, a philosopher, a spiritual guru, a motivational coach, a gardener and there is an endless list of things he can be relied upon!

I guess, being a multipotentialite is a rather a blessing, that I realized like just now!!

We have a creative drive that wants us to follow several paths the world laid before us. We are blessed to be inspired every now and then. We are those who can be employed for many roles at once. We are those who ditch the mold and create a niche of ‘multi-talented people.

You may like photography, playing guitar, sketching, painting at the same time!

Everything said-but is it practical?

I had been a believer of ‘one’s true calling’. Though I still believe in the ‘calling’ but no longer believe it to be ‘one’. But having multiple callings is sometimes not practical.

But that doesn’t mean we should doubt ourselves. Remember that we were born in this way, we didn’t create our curious hormones! And if the maker intended us to be this way, he must have a plan (or wants you to find one!).

Emilie Wapnick happens to have found one. She cleverly defines the 3 of our crucial needs and how these 3 can be had, even with multiple roles, without any compromises!

MEANING+VARIETY+MONEY

These are the 3 main ingredients that an innately curious multipotentialite often seeks to have. But, we often find meaning in a particular field, money in another, and variety in a yet different field, so how to balance these?

You may like playing guitar, painting, photography, sketching all at once

Emilie Wapnick has found 4 ways to do so:

CAN TAKE THE “GROUP HUG” APPROACH: choose an interdisciplinary field or role so that your curiosity gets satiated by yet new roles you play at work.

CAN TAKE THE “EINSTEIN APPROACH” where you can invest time in hobbies like many of you must be doing right now while working at a full-time job.

CAN TAKE THE “SLASH APPROACH” where you can do one or two jobs simultaneously if you can handle it!

CAN TAKE THE “PHOENIX APPROACH”  where you can take up a career, and switch whenever you feel you have earned mastery in it!

No matter what career, job, passion, interest you choose, let one thing settle down in you first- you are a multipotentialite and not a fickle-minded freak that ‘traditional’ systems of the economy might convince you to believe.

I remember being asked in an interview:  “You took up a master’s in English literature and then in Anthropology, ”from arts to social sciences, why? 

Because of a whim? No! because I thought having experienced people and emotions in a book, I can now move on to experience them in person! It’s not like mood swings we have career swings! It’s just that, we can never settle on something mediocre! And sometimes when you have mastered a skill, a career, a role, you do find yourself capable of experiencing a yet new field or space!

To all the multipotentialites out there, say out aloud-

We do have a plan, and that is to progress forward.

If a role delimits us, we are bold enough to move forward and get hold of the next best thing!

We are career nomads, polymaths, lifelong learners, RENAISSANCE people

we are COCOONED in curiosities!

I am sure if you have reached the end, you are one of us, what are your thoughts and which approach would you choose?

Would love to have you back!


Would love to have you back!

Quote

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.

—Maya Angelou

Ethnography-collecting data and memories in the field

They say you don’t choose your memories, but life itself provides you with certain unforgettable events. A series of events unforgettable happened to me while doing fieldwork for my Masters dissertation in Anthropology. Apart from merely observing people around (ethnography in anthropological terms), I also undertook unstructured ethnographic interviews as part of my research methodology. I conversed with tourists-both Indian and foreign at two historical sites in Delhi.

I happen to have an acute interest in other cultures (the very reason I studied Anthropology) and that made me more enthusiastic in talking to foreigners.

of cats and commodities

On my first day I was reluctant, often shivering, practising what to say, full of anxiety and fear of getting dejected. The first thing I had in mind was that people might just swear at me or give me a straight look saying “See I came here to enjoy, not give you data” (I did get those too). So, I took it a bit lightly. I thought I would collect my data in a way that would be more like sharing their experience of the place.

Little did I know, I would fell in love with the whole research process. It had to be the rite de passage of my life.

For getting into the action, I started by talking to those who came alone and were found sitting near the site, in profound thoughts or perhaps loneliness. I came across Maria from Poland. She was a teacher, unmarried and a travel freak. For rapport building, I started asking about her life and she shared with me her love for cats and how she rescued many of them. She said she doesn’t own lavish furnish because she spends all her money travelling. She didn’t have much knowledge about art or history, she just came there as a student of life. She wanted to see the world, no matter she understood it or not.When I accidentally bumped into her, at my next site of fieldwork, she almost thought I was following her. Nevertheless, she shared with me much more than merely data.

hola! google translator

An acute anthropological problem, of language during fieldwork, brought another interesting encounter. Having learned Spanish and forgotten 4 years back, the language came back to me in the form of Daniel. A photographer in Chile, the man had a taste for art. When I had exhausted the residue of the language (Hola!, sí, No se!, bonito, mucho gusto, entiendo) in my head, I was at a loss of words. It was then that Daniel smiled and opened his translator app and the conversation kicked off. Not only was I able to interview him but I came to know the places he had visited and how he became teary eyed when he saw his dream come true in visiting Taj Mahal. He called me lucky having been born in a “a magical place”. Though our conversation lasted half an hour, bidding him goodbye felt like leaving a friend.  

‘the true’ heirs of the place

After meeting a photographer, I got acquainted with a filmmaker too. While trying to get an Indian tourist to interview, I found 2 people who I assumed to be Indians. But to my surprise, their as-salamu alaykum (in seemingly Persian accent) told me they are not. Ahmed F and M Uzbek, a writer/filmmaker and journalist duo, from Uzbekistan, were so passionate about history that they almost made me visit their native land. When they spoke Hindi with the influence of their native tongue, it actually felt like poetry. Their words, their phrases, sounded melodious. They gave me an Uzbekistani soʻm (currency) and their visiting card as a token of remembrance.

when i cried with a stranger

Not only did I have some lively experiences, I had encountered sorrow too. Nazim, was a PhD student from Kashmir shared with me the woes of his land. While he appeared all gay and enjoying the scene, he had a terrible tale of his hometown. He told me about what goes back in his home town and how they suffer a lot at the hands of influential people. Sitting with him, on the verge of tears, I gathered the empathy of my anthropological persona and helped him put himself together.

conversations till sunset

Of all the experiences I had, one amongst them stood out. With Patrick, from England I had a different kind of experience. He was a middle aged, cab driver who had the heart of a writer. He marvelled at the place, the people, the air. He meditated upon his life, in the presence of so many and made me meditate on my life too.

At first, he was sceptical and thought I had come to mince money from him (might have been his experience). After convincing him otherwise, I started having a conversation with him. The so called interview went on and converted into a discussion on life. We began talking when the sun was at its peak and stopped only when we saw the sun set right before our eyes. The time did fly and the experience was cathartic indeed.

I had but gathered enough data, but my heart still wanted to go back and talk to many more who are willing to lend a voice to a stranger.

It is then that the realization dawned upon me.

The world and its people are full of love. They may wear different clothes, have different color, height or hair but deep within all they want is to be heard. And I was blessed to be a part of such a discipline that seeks to observe the ‘other’ not in a lens to CRITICIZE but to understand how beautiful and unique the cultures of the world are. And so are people and their stories.

Are you a student of anthropology or an anthropologist already and did my experience ring a bell? I would love to know your comments.

Would love to have you back!

This article was originally published on Linkedin

Would love to have you back