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?


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!


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 


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


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!


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?


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


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)


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


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!


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!

Confessions of a budding anthropologist


Being a perpetual student of life, I was sad when school got over. I was always hungry to know more, which was reflected in my full attendance throughout my schooling years. Teachers were always aware of my presence because I was never short of questions. That might be the reason why the science stream attracted me the most.

But the core science of high school left me disappointed. And I moved to humanities for my graduation.

Stories always fascinated me and so did writing some of my own. I could devour books like anything. When it was time for professors to take up a certain book, I had long left those streets and lanes and had to bring them back from memory.

But I was disappointed here too. I was a passive onlooker. I surely saw, felt, tasted, and smelled whatever the author did but, felt the need to discard the medium and have a direct rendezvous instead.

Ultimately, there was a void nothing could fill. Though I felt the existence of something that aligned my tastes but hadn’t discovered it yet.


So as fate would take it, I came across anthropology while I was leaning towards a Ph.D. in literature (having no other solution at hand).

Anthropology being an unfamiliar discipline (in the Indian context), didn’t promise any golden future as did various other disciplines. But I felt like the astronauts who first landed on the moon might have felt. I had found another world altogether. It was the ‘it’ career. It had all that I was looking for. It had tales of people, narrated and observed from a scientific perspective. All phenomena in the world were deconstructed from a humanistic lens. I got the answers of so many y’s just by reading some of the texts. Fascination was a small word to describe it.

To facilitate my initiation and to help me dive into an unknown area, providence sent me help in the form of a highly respected professor at the University of Delhi (Dr. S.M.P), to whom I owe my passion for the subject. 

After completing another post-grad, now in anthropology, I was set to conquer the world.


Being in academics for so long, I wanted a break and dug into the corporate world instead.

This time, I didn’t fail but the lack of opportunities failed me.

Anthropology (surprisingly) didn’t land me quite the type of career that I wanted, the opportunities I was looking for. It was more or less, an invisible degree and brought me no value.

This time it was more than disappointment because this time I was lost and felt defeated.

As a driver whose car if blocked by a fallen tree, usually puts the reverse gear, so did I. And I went back to the world of literature and content writing because words and stories were the only solace I had left.

I did well this time. But I felt cheating with myself. Every time I picked up something to read or watch, the word ‘anthropology’ would come calling. I kept pushing it back, thinking ‘I wish I didn’t have to leave that ‘once’ promising road’.

All this while, nothing that I did, satiated me. Not even writing did the magic anymore, because I had long since acquired the habit of watching people/behaviors and writing about them. How could I write in a void sitting in my chair and imaging what it is actually like?

That is when I understood how powerful this field is.


Once you have studied anthropology, the world opens up for you. Its like Mt. Vitruvius, which you just can’t handle. It overpowers you and engulfs you completely.

It’s like you begin to see what’s inside people, more clearly than ever. You don’t have the power to control your senses which are bent upon observing people in their silence. You just can’t help empathizing with people you hate! And you tend to understand the environment around you, like god gave you an additional sense. All this helped me understand more about religion, society, family, environment, nature, diversity of people, behavioral patterns, than I ever did before.

It’s like, you can take anthropology out of your life but anthropology can never leave you.

That is when I took a pledge of being honest with myself. No matter the path is difficult but it’s worth spending your life on.

What does it matter if my car was blocked by a fallen tree? I might as well pick up the tree, move it aside, thus clearing the path for myself and others down this road.

I am reminded of my peer Saumya(a visual anthropologist) who once said, “if not now, then when?”.

You have got just one life, why not fill it with risks worth taking?

So now, I am in an eternal bond with this silent science of observance. No matter what comes my way, I am all game! And I stake my life on the words of the Norwegian Anthropologist-Fredrik Barth who said,

“ It is my idea not to follow our ideas but to allow the world to dictate”.

Fredrik barth


Have you experienced the same in your practise? I would love to hear your comments!

Would love to have you back!

Would love to have you back

What I learned about the concept of flow

The clock struck 11 am. It was a cool morning, where the clouds were dancing to the tunes of thunder and the trees were enjoying a bath. And I, was numbed by the whole view. Alas, it was the best time to pick up a pen or rather open a word doc. 

That is the last thing I remember.

The clock had traveled past 3 pm. I suddenly realized I was hungry and thirsty. However, a sort of calming happiness dwelled upon me. Somewhat like you feel after a successful attempt at meditation. And I simply loved it.

But, I was confused.

What just happened? Was it normal? Where was I?

I got an answer to this puzzle when I read about the concept called ‘flow’.

I never thought of going deeper unless I read the book flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Being an Indian I was accustomed to the idea of nirvana or salvation but isn’t that what the highly abled hermits achieve? Maintaining your consciousness to a level where it remains in harmony with the surroundings, such that you don’t feel negative emotions due to external factors?

Well, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory taught me, that you could try to reach there without giving up on a comfortable life. Neither become a hermit nor a slave of the distracting world, but lie somewhere in between, having a perfect balance.

Mihaly defines flow as-

“ a state of joy, creativity, and total involvement, in which problems seem to disappear and there is an exhilarating feeling of transcendence”

The state of flow, when you are focussed beyond anything
The state of flow, when you are focussed beyond anything

It is where you lose yourself in whatever task you do and feel one with the universe. 

Well, that much is understandable, but what amazed me was the idea that this experience of flow defines the level of happiness in our life. It is much more than having flow at work!

To explain further, let me tell you the 10 lessons that I found revealing:

Consciousness is like a chameleon

Here, Mihaly debunked something that I truly believed in- the gut or the inner instinct isn’t necessarily your soul, it can be an output of social and biological needs. Your task remains to differentiate between whatever you actually feel/want and what sociological/biological factors influence. 

If you let your consciousness run amok, you might be led astray. 

So, you need to get hold of your consciousness, by paying attention. To focus on what matters and not what your body or society calls for. That is when you listen to the ego and not ID (biological factors) and superego (sociological factors).

Attention is the key

Once you are in control of your consciousness you know where to divert your energy and attention. 

While we use our tiny brain to process dinosaurs of data every single moment, it is impossible to process and retain much of it. However, what we do retain that data where we focused and held our attention to. Thereby letting meaningless distractions go to the bin. Hence, we need to learn to differentiate between what comes in and what goes in the bin, that alone can determine how peaceful our life is. 

If the bin comes in, victory goes out

Remember the time when you were worried about your promotion and burned the dish you usually prepare in a breeze? That is a fine example of how negative feelings-worries, fear, distract you and disable you to achieve the task at hand. That is when the psychic entropy(inner disorder) sets in and you are left crumbled with the weight of your emotions since you gave those negative thoughts maximum attention.

Complexity leads to growth

You must have been familiar with the fact that challenges lead to the growth of an individual. No, it’s not a plain motivational idea but has scientific reasons behind it. Our mind is designed in a way that it needs a constant dose of challenges, problems, hurdles. When you overcome those hurdles, it releases happy hormones like dopamine and you feel blessed. Often you must have seen people you often call ‘boring’; because they play safe; are more often than not disgruntled with life. That is because they lack complexity and stink in a stagnant personality.

Achieving flow is not a cakewalk

Overcoming a challenge like breaking your record at the gym or finishing a complex book often gives you a feeling of being a winner. Whenever you focus on a challenge with full attention, your mind indulges in it so well that you experience a flow state of mind where you stay until you have accomplished the task. After which you feel fulfilled. But for that to happen you need a task that aligns to your goals and skills (such that no negative energy disrupts it) and give it your full attention.

You don’t need coffee, but a constant dose of flow

Recreating every day to align yourself to a challenge and accomplishing it with efforts and attention, makes your self-confidence soar. You crave dopamine and indulge more in challenges that make you feel happy upon overcoming them. A happy state of mind, a self that stays boosted with accomplishment leads to a harmonious life altogether.

Pleasure and enjoyment have different souls

That might be the first time you read that. But it’s true. To attain pleasure your biological and sociological needs must be met. For example: while watching tv or eating a favorite food. But for enjoyment to happen, you need to go a step further and ‘invest yourself’ in the activity. For example: playing a game or taking part in fruitful discussions. In these activities, you invest your skills, often overcoming a challenge or finding something new to add to your psyche. You might lose your sense of self and thereby experience flow while enjoying but not while experiencing pleasure. 

But sometimes we don’t enjoy an activity that we otherwise do. That is because enjoyment occurs at the perfect intersection of one’s skills and the challenge at hand.

A challenge must lie between anxiety and boredom (copyright of the author)

If the challenge is too hard, you feel anxious and don’t enjoy it, while if the challenge is too light, you feel bored. So aligning the level of your abilities is necessary.

Leisure is a ghost of happiness

We all could agree on one thing, Friday being the most impatient working day. That is because we are waiting for our beloved ‘weekend’ where we are free to experience pleasure through leisure. Ironically, Mihaly’s study found that when people are involved in pleasure activities, they actually ‘feel’ bored, often sad (Okay, that might not be the 100% true, but a significant portion of the data pointed towards this fact).

On the other hand, when people are working, they feel happy now and then. They are always involved in completing a task, overcoming challenges and thus experiencing growth. But while taking pleasure; for instance in watching tv; we behave as passive receivers and hence don’t play an active role in our life. Most of the time happiness stems from circumstances under our control, where we are the main player!

More often, we waste our precious time while being involved in passive leisure. The author recommends using this time to perform your favorite activity. You might want to give your plants a visit, or pick that canvas up again! That is when your mind sends happy signals again.

Shed your human garment and enter the universe

We might assume that we are one amongst the many on this planet. We have to fend for ourselves and blah blah. It is this constant concentration on our self, the “consciousness of the self” that makes it impossible for us to excel. We forget that we are connected to the universe.

It is with the loss of this ‘sense of self’ during flow activities that make us accomplish the task so perfectly.

Our self is somewhat suspended, we merely become an agent in this huge setting, where we contribute to a task/work/skill/activity while merging ourselves with the cosmos. It is the feeling we often refer to as transcendence.

Be as light as air  

The word autotelic comes from the Greek word auto (Self) and telos (goal). It means that whenever we do a task for the reward inherent in doing it and not for an outward benefit, we achieve a greater result. For instance, whenever you are conscious that you should win the game, playing becomes anxiety-ridden and you often lose. That is because you focus more on the goal, more on your image, and less on the task. Remember our previous discussion on attention?

It also matters how you pick small bites in everyday life, give it your full attention and make the best of the circumstances. That is somewhat living with the world, and away from your conscious self. That is working for a greater good, for the joy in doing it, and not for some external output. This might mean, having a hearty talk with an individual while you stand in a long queue.

In short, finding hidden meaningful goals that make everyday life worth living. This is when you achieve an autotelic personality. You become someone who doesn’t need external factors to drive your consciousness because you are the sole driver.  

This all might seem hard to understand, but it’s not. 

So what is the crux? 

How to achieve a flow state of mind (copyright of the author)

Just keep your mind and heart in the right place, invest your skills in everyday challenges, learn to nourish an undistracted mind by limiting your attention to important tasks, immerse yourself in whatever task you choose, have a rendezvous with the worldly muse, come out victorious and bear the effects of happy hormones and a life of harmony.

If you think this book is worthy of your attention, you can find it on Amazon

Would love to have you back!

Would love to have you back

tHE CAT AKA mother earth?

Scientists throughout the world have been busy searching for the answers regarding the origin and spread of this highly lethal pandemic that has shaken the roots of the world.

We always have been a diligent population, proud of our abilities to progress and research. Little did we stop and look around as to what have we done to the world.

Corona might or might not have been originated and spread through animals like bats.

But what is sure is that it is nature’s way to cleanse the earth.

After repeated crying, begging and shouting, mother earth had to resort to a violent act to let humans know who wears a hat in the nature vs man equation

Human ecological footprint has been on rise, as species are going into extinction. But we haven’t learned. We are still busy creating more fossil fuel, cutting more trees, changing the course of rivers, investing in industrial meat production and what not!

It’s like the tale of the pigeon and the cat. It is said that whenever a pigeon confronts a cat, he shuts his eyes because of the fear and imagines the cat has vanished.

We are surely amongst the dumb pigeons.

But the cat is pouncing with all its claws.

If corona wasn’t enough, India has been struck by a cyclone Tauktae that again proves the sea is cleansing itself.

Corona held the air from our lungs and cleansed the earth by massive deaths, now the cyclone is cleansing the sea. Again, the hubris of human is being destroyed along with lives and infrastructure.

Isn’t it time we take climate change, global warming and overpopulation seriously? Or are we gullible enough to believe we will live through it?

Have we not seen how pleistocene and holocene suffered mass extinctions specially of large mammals?

We won’ budge, because have ‘conquered’ the earth and are fit to ‘use’ it, whatever way we like. Isn’t that so?

Before answering that we must remember, that we may die the next day but the planet still moves on. The mountains, the forests, the rivers. Remember Lord Tennyson’s lines-

Men may come and men may go

But I go on forever.

This Anthropocene epoch might lead to the destruction of anthropos itself.

According to Hindu religion, the human life is made up of panch mahabutas or 5 elements: prithvi (Earth), agni (Fire), jal (water), akash (Sky) and vayu (Air). The earth has been using all these to destroy the human life itself. We did bear the brunt of excess water and rain from the sky (flooding throughout the world), fire (Amazon/Australia wild fires), earth (droughts throughout the world) and now the air (coronavirus) itself.

So, we shouldn’t be so proud of ourselves because Darwin’s natural selection is always at play and our intelligence won’t help us but our subservience’s to nature might!

Or else, we might stay put like the pigeon and let the cat take its course.

A Quest for reason

I’am here for a reason

I’m still unfound for a reason

I crave knowledge for a reason

I’m restless, anxious for a reason

I’m stubborn, misfit for a reason

I’m rude, headstrong for a reason

I hear a call from within for a reason

I am antisocial, solitary for a reason

I live between dreams and sleep for a reason

I have an itch for far-off places for a reason

I reason a lot for a reason

The fact that the reason is yet unknown

Must have a reason

Is your ‘dream’, your ‘purpose’?

There are several ways to lead a life. Most of us live to breathe and do whatever it takes to breathe comfortably. We fill our days with endless drudgery, closed doors, stuffed desks, reaching deadlines, or going past un-ending days. If we are lucky still, then we reach home to someone who might have filled our role, in our absence and we won’t have to go through the unfulfilling, non-gratifying yet laborious, and time-consuming duties of maintaining a household. While some of us are not that lucky, and hence burdened with that too.

A tiny minuscule though takes a different route. This small number engages in something more than the simple act of breathing. They have enough time to count their breath, take a deeper one, or else question rather than taking it for granted or worrying about its continual. They spend their days in search of something more than ways to breathe. They have either gone past those desks or broken the unending misery of the unending days and have rather chosen the days to be shorter. This number often talks about DREAMS.

Dreams are all over the fantasy world of movies. Confusingly, the English language gave the same term, to two different concepts. Dreams are something that you see only when you close your eyes, have no control over and when you are asleep. However, they also are the reason you wake up every day and are rather thought out with conscious mind. While our Lord, Brahma, Allah or YHWH wasn’t there to tell us why we were born or when the science failed too, the world brought about a fantasy to put some amount of hope to live with. An ideal to live and aspire for. Something which will make our days full and our nights long and blissful.

But is it so? And what if this becomes only the liberty of the privileged who don’t have time to worry about taking a breath comfortably? To dream of being a star, a cricketer, a successful entrepreneur, a world-traveler etc. Let’s go a bit deeper.

Dreams. ironically, are never our own, they come to us from what we ‘perceive’. The mind is like a big stomach that digests whatever happens in our daily life and blurts whichever part seems indigestible to it. This is what we see in our sleep, according to Freud (the repressive unconscious and subconscious). And what about the dream of waking life? Is it too not the same? A fragment of our imagination and an ideal made or loved by someone we look forward to and aspire to be our own? A role model that we often have in our dream? Someone that embodies our dream and makes it closer to reality.

Dreams are more often ‘wishes’. Something that we want and like. Now the thing with wishes is that they change as we age, as the world changes, the dreams change too. They expire, renew and even end if we are so keen on achieving it. It’s a road which is meant only for the destination and, for which the path, as everybody believes, has to be leaden with thorns and mud which is a rite of passage. But it’s the end which is beautiful, they say, so keep on walking.

So, here is what happens- either you achieve it, or you don’t dare to go there, or you went there and failed, or you realized it was somebody else’s dream. Now what?

If dreams were the reason you were born then you must die when it gets fulfilled. You are no longer needed on planet earth. So why live? And those who don’t go on that path how do they live? The answer is no, they don’t. They fill their lives with a parallel reality, and have a mock identity where they feel they are empowered or at least more successful or gratified but, are dead in the real world, dead inside. The torn-out drinkers, the sad old faces, the irritating souls that when you see you get angry, rather than feeling pity for them. The majority around us are like that, it’s easier to spot the ones who get old and are full of regrets.

So back to our point, is dream ‘the it’? should we rely on dreams for a fulfilled life?

Well, I got a parallel too (I borrowed it)! This one sounds more real though. This one is called PURPOSE, yes the one Oprah Winfrey often refers to. Something that emanates from within you and is an extension of your natural self and something that serves the world at large. I came across the real meaning of PURPOSE when I heard Oprah Winfrey interviewing the author Gary Zukav. He said,

“You are a personality that means you were born on a certain day and you will die on a certain day.. When the personality comes fully to serve the energy of its soul, that is authentic empowerment”

What Gary means is that your likes, dislikes, way to talk, passions (though also shaped by the environment) leans you in a certain direction and feeds your soul. That is the direction you were born to go into. As for all the animals in the food cycle, our role is also defined if we are so keen to understand that and to find that. It’s that role that makes us closer to what we truly are. Its what makes the great people great, because they harvested that power, and out came the purpose of their lives. It’s not something you saw or copied or literally dreamt, it’s something that comes from inside you, it’s the real you, the real self. And when you get in touch with your true self, your purpose is brought to light. Its this ship, that takes you on a journey and don’t worry about the destination because you don’t feel you are on a journey.

Another great thing about following your purpose, not dream, is that purpose is made by the higher laws of the universe. Yes, it wasn’t made or dreamt by you. Its serving the will of your maker, because you were born in a way to equip you to be able to serve well to a task or an action. You made no plans, it sometimes is thrust upon you. Its when often interviewed, movie actors say, ‘I never knew I was born for it. It just loved accounts and thought I would be an accountant, I never thought about acting’. But someone did, god did.

There are times when your purpose drives you in a way or at least informs you of its existence but you feel you are smarter and will carve a path on the wings of your dreams rather than succumbing to the will of the world. No matter how brave it may sound, you might end up loosing yourself and feel lost. You don’t realize its all in you. In your subtle passions, in your ‘zones’, in your natural abilities, your apparent personality.

So what would you choose dream or purpose??

Would love to have you back!

Would love to have you back

Birthday in Quarantine: the introvert way

An evening before:

While the time was eager to run, my heart was still. I was sad, kind of hopeless. I was away from my parents who were sharing their lives through the threshold of their doors. 

Here, I lived amongst my new family the same way. So, there was little to cheer about. After all, birthdays are meant to be celebrated together with family and friends. But this time everything was ‘distanced’.

So, I thought maybe tomorrow would be an equally boring day. Nothing special. 

And something ringed inside me. I heard a whisper- ”I thought you were unique and wanted things a bit different than most of the people, isn’t that so?” 

And my mind answered back-” Well, why not. In Fact let me celebrate my birthday the introverted way”.

It was almost 2 hours for the clock to strike 12. So I switched open my notepad, jotted down a few things that I always hated (ok, disliked?) about birthdays and how I can spend this one, the opposite way!

My list went like this- 

sleep late (not rush for your birthday party)

Put on new but comforting clothes (not trendy chic, mostly uncomfortable types)

Spend time with your plants (not get stuck in the traffic)

Have a hearty talk with every caller who wished (not small talk as in, thank you, ciao)

Watch your favorite travel movies (rather than sit in a crowded café)

Have your favorite cuisines in a mouthful (not worry about others having had enough)

And the list went on….

The day began late, while I woke up with a lovely glow since I had snoozed a bit more in my cozy comforter. The day felt all mine. 

Oh, did I forget to tell you how I had cut my cake at midnight?

It was different too!

I pulled out the cake from the fridge, placed the candles, blew them, while my sweetheart stood at 6 feet watching me through the process. Not only that, I made sure I tasted every bite that I offered my family through a video call. I saw their eyes, I saw the endless love, the wishes, and the longing. 

I missed their hugs and kisses and warmth. But, the distance somehow added a bit more to all of it. The craving somehow grew the love inside our hearts so much so that it glowed through their eyes, their smiles, and their words clearly. And not to forget, I had a good share of the cake!

Back to the day of my birthday.

So, I took a break from the kitchen. My sweetheart pampered me throughout the meals with different cuisines. For breakfast, I had garlic breadsticks, mocha brownies, and a cup of hazelnut latte. Need I say more? I was blessed man! 

It was time for my plants. Little by little I went up to each one of them, talking, asking about their health, and checking whether they needed something. I smelled them, brushed by and took a leaf or two of my favorite herbs, and savored my mouth. And reveled in their lingering fragrances-basil, rosemary, lemongrass, mint. 

All this, while my well-wishers were lined up through calls. My phone surely had a busy day. But I poured my heart with everybody out there. From friends to relatives, to family, all of who were sad about the current state of affairs.

I gave them a laugh, had one too, they filled me with hope and I did too. Our hearts met, through voices alone.

Almost all my day passed in conversations- the deep ones I might add. 

It was time for a movie. That too in complete solitude. Browsing through the genre of travel, I realized I had almost exhausted this category. All through Netflix and Amazon Prime, I struggle to find one movie based in Europe that I hadn’t seen. 

And bam! I got one-In love with an Angel. 

An Italian movie, based in my dream destination-Rome. 

From the sweet and swaying Italian to the cobbled streets, the green-eyed Raoul Bova and the monument of Hadrian as a backdrop flew me all the way to Rome. (Who would want to choose an alley with countless heads and weary faces?)

Well, after my rendezvous with Italian charm, I had some chill in Rio de Janeiro too. Yup, in the comfort of my comforter again! While outside, the wind blew harder and the temperatures were low.

My love made sure to turn my room into a cozy green cafe, with soft yellow lights and my green children from the front yard. 

Together with a tray full of my favorite Chinese cuisine with that rolls. I savored all, with sips of red, while dancing to the tunes of Samba.

It was almost 12 and yes my special day had ended. But did I miss anything? Anyone?

No, I didn’t. Because I felt more closer to them than I ever was. This time there was no sham, no pretensions. The blessings were real and so was the love. 

Yes, it was different this time and some may say it’s hard. But hard times drive you closer, at least that’s what I learned. 

Do you agree? Let me know in the comments.

Would love to have you back!

Would love to have you back!

Lessons from my maid

You need not go to no school to study the lessons of life. You just need to keep yourself open with all your senses at work. When you are slowed down by some depressive thoughts, you often tend to look for motivations. Movies, biographies, self-help books or pouring yourself into some near ones. At other times, you just tend to divert your attention to some stuff that could take your mind away from trouble. Seldom do you try to understand and give time to your thoughts. Seldom are we able to shun away the negative being in us, bent upon gulping the positive side.

While luck is on my side, I happen to find an antidote in my house. I receive it from 10 am in the morning to 1 pm in the afternoon. It didn’t come in the form of a book, a television show or a diversion of any kind. It is what Indians take for granted and the west doesn’t have.

It is a person, alive and speaking. No, it isn’t my family, nor my brother, it is my maid. You often find Indian television portraying a stereotypical maid, sulking over the amount of money or work she is doing out of helplessness. She is often cited as a victim of underemployment, with long hours of hard work and little in return. However, my maid stands out from this prejudiced image.

As she rings the door bell, you sniff the positive vibes coming through, in her honest smile. She greets us all and begins talking. Talking! Not sulking. She always talks about what is good in other houses she works in. How she got delighted with a bowl full of kheer she had got in some house. How she has kept a fast today and went to the temple before coming for work. She begins talking to my dog and playing with her while she works. Even my dog could smell ‘the good’ smearing all over her being as she sits close to her while my maid is having tea. No matter how many times you tell her to sit on the furniture while having tea, she loves the floor, for its cool and she feels comfortable sitting on it.

She reminds me of a common phrase often cited, never really ‘accepted’ in India especially- koi kaam bada ya chota nahi hota (No work is small or great)She performs her task as if she got the best opportunity of her life. She sings while she works. When I remind her of the humid and hot weather outside, she says “Garmi ka kya hai, aj garmi hai kal barish hojaegi” (What is it about heat? Today it’s hot, tomorrow it might rain) which leaves me arrested. Keeping in mind the fact that while saying this I am in the most ‘comfortable’ and ‘cool’ surroundings and she is meant to work and walk long hours in this heat without any of the two.

She says she is always tensed over the well-being of her loved ones and this is the only time she is found frowning. Those that she works for, often get included in the category of her loved ones. She talks about a lady in that house and one in the other, whom she loves to work for. If anyone of them is ill or has been facing a bad day, she feels equally bad for them.

She delights over mangoes, no matter how the season has made them expensive, she buys them for it gives her joy and joy is what she lives for. A phrase almost always leaving her lips is “kya krna hai itna soch ke? Khao peo and acha kro, zindagi ka kya pata? Khush rehne se zindagi lambi hoti hai aur me abhi marna nhi chahti” (Why should I think so much? Eat well, drink well and do good. Life is unpredictable and being happy makes it long, and I don’t want to die any sooner).

And she leaves me thinking, what makes her so motivated. I even asked her once “kya khaa kea ate ho aap subah subah?” (What do you have for breakfast in the morning?) And she tells me “ek cup lal chai aur do roti, baki chai pee leti hu kaam krte hue bs” (One cup of black tea and 2 chapattis’. Otherwise, I do have tea while working sometimes). And I am unable to decide is it the tea or the chapatti that performs the magic?

In this rainy season, when rains often appear as an obstruction to work, she seldom believes that. Even while she walks kilometres on foot, she doesn’t fear that rain might leave her wet and unable to work comfortably. She enjoys the sight of rain and converts it into a reason to work with joy and with ease because the next house would not resent her being late because the reason would be rain! When I accidentally step on the wet floor she wiped minutes ago and apologize, she reacts unexpectedly. She says “Koi baat nahi, ganda to hoga hi jitna bhi saaf krlo, nahi to me kal kya kaam krugi? Koi baat nahi dobara lga deti hu ek bar” (It’s okay, it has to be dirty anyway, otherwise what work would I be doing tomorrow. It’s okay, I will wipe once more.)

No matter how hard you try to talk negative to her, she would use her magic wand and turn them into positive thoughts. When you wake up at 10 in the morning and feel you wanted to sleep more, she delights in the fact that she slept for long hours today. While she had to wake up at 4 in the morning today she got late and woke up at 7. She feels happy for those extra hours of sleep. Preparing her house since 4 am in the morning and working till 9 pm, never leaves her tired. All she wants is a cup of tea just so to keep her spirits full of energy while she works.

She has got nothing I don’t have while I have got plenty, she doesn’t have. And still, I feel so poor when she talks to me. She lives in a jhuggi, with one room where 5 people live and kitchen included. She works even when her husband assures her, she doesn’t have to. It is her delight to keep her body and mind in a sound shape with work. Often when I seem to have an intellectual or rather any kind of reasoned conversation with a member of my family, she is often found learning and keeping her point of view. She is overjoyed to be able to learn something new every day. She always has an answer for any question you might ask her. If not for a maid, she would have been a successful person all because of her will to learn, reason and absorb. I take her as a teacher of life. I often find myself so small in front of her when she says “Mujhe nahi pasand ye kehna ke mere paas ye nahi hai wo nahi hai, jo hai acha hai, jo nahi hai uske bare mein nhi sochti mein” (I don’t like saying I don’t have this or that. Whatever I have is good and I don’t waste time thinking what I don’t have). How I search for a glimpse of misery I could find on her face but she never allows me to indulge in any sadistic pleasure. Sometimes I find her inhuman because of that.

When the clock ticks 12:50 pm, my mood has already been lifted and she has performed her daily duty. And with this, she says, ‘bye bye’ in a happy tone and promises to give me my haemoglobin booster tomorrow and how I fear her absence at 10 am in the morning, tomorrow. 

Would love to have you back!

Would love to have you back

A Blind man opened my eyes

I don’t have a car.

I wish I could travel the world but I don’t have that much money.

I wish I could also have a flawless skin, oh and hair? A bit shinier and smoother.

And please can I have a Kylie Jenner in me? That’s it for now.

Aren’t we all like this?? Wanting one more and one more and cribbing about what god has given to others but not us? Greedy, yes that is what defines us.

Already late for my 8:30 bus, I ran when the clock stuck 8:23. I would have woken up early but bless god for my warm sleep, that I couldn’t. On the way I prayed, asking god to not let me miss my bus, just one more favour please, please. My footsteps matched my lips as I walked and ran. They could only rest when I finally reached before the bus could leave me. Looking up I winked at god thanking him for saving me yet again. Having a mischievous smile inside my heart which said, oh I think I would repeat that tomorrow.

While I was talking to my head and my heart (where god actually resides) I noticed someone walking past me. With slow steps he was treading the earth as if to find something. His long white stick was knocking the earth as if asking whether to turn left or right or walk straight ahead. While I immersed myself in his persona, I forgot to see the swarm of vehicles moving towards him. He was almost walking towards them and amongst them. Fear gripped me and I gripped him. Holding his arm, I tried to move him in another direction and walked him as far as I could go and set him free. After moving in that direction for a few meters, he lost direction again. While I ran again for him, another man near him, held him for me. At the same time, my bus arrived.

As I sat down, I felt an ache in my heart which soon reached my eyes. I had every thing, I was blessed. One of the things I deeply cherish is the grey clouds bursting with rain, the chirpy birds fighting on a branch of a tree, the orange yellow sun in the evening. And he would never experience that even if he could pray day and night for it. And I couldn’t even thank god this time, because I was ashamed of my profanities

Would love to have you back!

Would love to have you back

Do you know the difference between Loneliness & Solitude?


They are synonymous to many.

Many who don’t know what difference lies betwixt them.

Not everyone is alone not everyone likes being alone.

I don’t know how people work in a cafe, alone, drinking coffee for hours, without a word to anybody

For Rohan, an extrovert social bug, sitting alone amounts to loneliness. It isn’t his problem, our culture doesn’t get it either. Indian culture gives little value for liberty or independence. We are always in groups, celebrating festivals, weddings or dinners. Many of us still live in joint families where you don’t get a single breath alone. People don’t get why some of us like opting out of social circles, for good.

Well, my father too usually frowned upon this idea. He believes to live fully is to be surrounded by people because that’s the only way to live. You should talk more, express more and be ever-present in front of a long line of relatives because that is our tradition.

But I beg to differ.

For some of us, being surrounding by endless chatter of no greater significance than passing time, is a sheer of waste of time itself. Its probably for those who don’t seek something in life. Or for some who like to chill out while gossiping about a certain relative’s daughter or his son’s financial whereabouts. Its not wrong, its just a matter of choice.

Everybody has been given a limited set of hours, some of us like to LISTEN while some of us like to SPEAK. There lies the difference. Difference between Solitude and loneliness is one between listening and speaking.

When you like thinking and introspecting you like SOLITUDE. More often than not it brings out the best in you. You end up creating something- a rhyme, a rhythm, a sketch or a great idea. Its like talking to your self. Meditating on your desires and wants and goals and beliefs. Be it on a bench in a park, in a cafe surrounded by warmth or in a house with all family members away. Its like striking a cord with your heart. Only when the world stops speaking, your heart begins to talk. And so you listen.

However, at times when you want to speak and don’t have somebody, you call it LONELINESS. You feel scared, depressed, seek desperate help, some words to reach your ear. In short, you need an outward help. You need a company. You feel like sharing your thoughts but have no one. Unlike solitude where you ENJOY your own company, here you would like a human or two to be there for you, with you.

Its too simple to understand and yet too difficult for many. People start pitying others for their sheer need of staying alone, calling them “weird”.

Well for those who still follow this idea, take it this way- there are two occasions on which you don’t eat a lip smacking cake that you come across in a cafe (which happens to be your favourite) :

its expensive for your pocket and you can’t buy it (that’s pity) or

You are already full in your stomach (it’s a choice).

Now did you understand the difference?

Would love to have you back!

Would love to have you back!

The diary entry of an ambitious soul albeit in a modern world

Messy! That’s what defines me. I mess up when I am cooking or when I am getting dressed. You can see my cupboard full of endless piles of clothes or you can see my life! An endless pile of tensions, sorrows, stresses, fears and what not. What for??

All of it because I always wanted to be different, creative, perfect, one of a kind, making a niche space for myself and for my name. I have no interest in relationships other than the closest and dearest souls whom I called my family. I don’t have an interest in taking part in festivities or gossiping about somebody else’s life. I feel I am here for a purpose, for a reason, and I need to go after that. More so, I feel I am wasting my life, my time, I am getting old and haven’t reached anywhere yet. I have stopped counting my years because that makes me realize how less a time, I am left with.

I have this craving of seeing the world, experiencing cultures, talking and knowing different languages. Befriending people of different cultures, being in a stimulating environment. Something closer to nature, closer to different kinds of people.

I am a dreamer, I dream, I think, I write, that’s what I LOVE. But alas, I live in a real world, it requires survival, it requires money. I fear that this survival might just take over my dream. I feel I am lost chasing a dream that might erase in a puff of smoke from the pipe of a wealthy businessman.

I am here, sitting on my chair, not even a cubicle! In front of a computer, doing things I don’t feel satiated in, but I am. Locked in a space with no windows, or at least those that are covered with paper. I missed the rain yesterday, and that’s a huge miss! I didn’t even know what happened to the clouds while I was busy watching my screen changing colors.

Am I lost?? Or is it just because I am messy? Messy in a world where you need to pay for everything clean? So either earn or stay a mess. I would rather choose the latter because it was chaos from which the world was thus created.

All I hope is that I don’t die in this mess, I make my own space. A space filled with experiences, and story’s and fulfillment, a grave with a happy soul.

Would love to have you back!

Would love to have you back

Love and Loss: the story of an Indian bride-to-be

What were they thinking? Our ancestors? Where they trying to make life interesting in some way? Why marriage? Were women folk involved in this decision? Why did our culture create such a turning point in a girl’s life where she has to undo all that she had learned throughout her childhood, teenage and adulthood, and start all over again?

I am sure they weren’t involved. For only women know the fear, the anxiety, the loss, the pain, the anguish of leaving a part of their soul behind while trying to adorn a new space, family and a surname. The loss of her paternal last name is a sheer reflection of the loss of one part of the self she is made of.

She has to begin anew, afresh.

Did you say she must be happy because she is marrying someone she loves? Well, for loving one, she has to leave behind many she had been loving since she opened her eyes to the world. What about that? The very bed she sleeps on, the very sun she is accustomed to, in her window? The very moon who bids her goodnight, every night? The very birds who wake her up every morn? What about them? Will they come to her new house? Will they shine and soothe and call her ever still?

Well, well, she would be blamed the same. She was a pompous bitch they will say. She is too learned to unlearn the world. She has her aspirations too high to live with the one she claimed to love. For it was she who had chosen him.

Well yes, she did, but not his house, his beings, his ways. Love is a passion enslaved by the heart. What could she have done? She but loved him and him truly.

But here comes the house between them. Come and live in here with me he says, leave everything you ever had behind. And mind you! Leave your last name too, for your owner is now anew, for you shall marry me and marriage is what it is.

For men need to die to reincarnate, a woman need only marry

Would love to have you back!

Would love to have you back