Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Lessons from Life for the New Year!


Life would be pointless if it were not for lessons and learnings. As we enter into the timeframe of a brand new year, let us resolve to make every moment that we live meaningful and every breath we take blissful; smug in the knowledge that we have this unique gift of life bestowed upon us by the One Above, for which we must be grateful and to which we must have a deep sense of duty and responsibility.

With life as a fabulous teacher, here's my list of lessons to internalize and share along with 'my' world -

Lesson 1 - The biggest reminder came to me, piggy-backing on a viral, catchy message, almost at the end of last year. It simply says, "2014 will not be different, unless you are." I don't think I will need a sharper rap to put myself back into focus.

Lesson 2 – The most important guest that you should usher in is Opportunity. Opportunity, nay, opportunities knock on the mind’s door – loud and clear. You must be ready in your Sunday best to greet them and the brand must always be of hard work, calibre and perspicacity.

Lesson 3 – You must believe in yourself, your ideas and your skills. If you do not believe in yourself then how will others; after all you know yourself the best. What’s more, in times of doubt, complexes and depression it is this belief that helps steer your ship towards the shore.

Lesson 4 – On the days when your belief in yourself takes a beating, there will be a providential sign through a friend’s comment or a reader’s remark or family’s know-all declaration that will help you put back the belief in its place and carry on with zeal and zest.

Lesson 5 - If you know, then teach; if you don't, then learn.

Lesson 6 - The Universe, through its forces and elements, reflects your spirit. Sunny, solemnly downcast, stormy, sizzling, barren, breezy, peaceful, passionate, pouring, parched – the Universe and You are mirror images with the former feeding on your innermost fears and feelings, emotions and thoughts.   

Lesson 7 – The online Social circle of friends, connections, tweeple and the like are a far more charitable and philanthropic lot. They will not think twice before sharing information that could save a life, collect funds or help to eradicate hunger in the third world.

Lesson 8 – The very same group of people are also excellent networkers and active information-sharing community that thrives on adding to the knowledge bank, posting interesting features and tutorials, passing on useful links in general. It is because of them that there is so much to know, learn from and re-share in the dynamic world of web where nothing is beyond one’s reach any more. To be a part of this community is an enriching experience.

Lesson 9 – When the idea lights up like a bulb or when ideas flow, you must capture them on a pad or iPad, note it in your diary or save it on your desktop and get to it as soon as you can. If the a-ha moment of the idea is lost then it either flows away or stares you back as a boring piece of balderdash that is not worth your time any more. The point is to seize that moment and make it into a meaningful exercise.

Lesson 10 – When things go wrong with you, as they will many a times, it is family and then friends that rally around you. Nurture your inner and outer circle well, invest in it and see what a big difference they make to you and your life.

Lesson 11 – The best antidote to seasonal flus, moody blues, fevers, shivers, disease, moments of mental freeze, depression, feelings of oppression and anything else that you can think of are dogs. Period! Really so! Much more than rest and medication! Not much can stand up to the cheerful demeanour, wagging excitement – always, the unconditional licks of love and adorable hugs of  attachment, the desire to be by your side at all times no matter what; it indeed is a formidable bond and friendship that can help you withstand any concern or calamity.

Lesson 12 – The pet children do have a fantastic vocabulary and understand all the languages you use rather well. Their vocab seems to be growing with every passing year just as your need to spell out more and more words instead of uttering them out in their presence.

Lesson 13 – You have the power to make a difference to people’s lives, sometimes by your pre-meditated actions of kindness and sometimes by the unplanned, sudden acts that bring a smile to a stricken-with-grief face, that lift the heaviness off a sorrow-laden heart, that relax a reverberating-with-worries mind. 

Lesson 14 - In the scheme of things in our Universe, I feel 'gain' must come with 'giving,' 'success' with 'sharing,' 'wealth' with 'wisdom' and 'fame' with 'fairness.'  

Lesson 15 – It is possible to lose weight at any age – before 20 after 40, pre menopause or post. Yes it is. You just need to keep up with the effort. Just as anything else in life – when the stakes are high and the task tough, the efforts must be as intense – the same with weight.

Eating right and healthily is not for a season or two or for the period of time in which you wish to lose weight. It is a life-long process and should be part of your perpetual life-style.

Lesson 16 – More than anything else, more than wealth, fame, happiness and prosperity, what is really limited and reducing constantly is TIME. After every passing year, at every decade of your life, the truth is going to hit you even harder. The time to do something about it is NOW.

Lesson 17 – Just as you dive into the ocean of life and dig out bounties from the depths of the Universe, so should you be putting back into it  - to whatever extent and with as much ability as you can. Make no mistake about it – it IS a two-way process.

Lesson 18 – I first saw my parents live that kind of life; then years later I heard Oprah say it on her show. And I DO believe that you do not need money and certainly not large trunks of it to do charity. It should come to you as easily as your need to breathe and eat. It has to be a part of who you are.    

Lesson 19 – In whatever profession you may be, you must read – extensively and widely. There is no better education than that.

Lesson 20 – Whatever your craft – you must practice it every day. If you are a writer or wish to be one – you must write daily. I am enamoured by Stephen King’s passion – who wrote even on Xmas Day, Independence Day and his Birthday; you get the drift, right!

Lesson 21 – You must have a hobby – developing and maintaining a garden, taking photographs, travelling, singing, painting art, buying art, cooking, drinking wine whatever does it for you – you must have one or two or more.

Lesson 22 – Be dogged with your good ideas. People may call it pushiness, I call it perseverance. If you keep at your good ideas for long and strong, there will be a chunk of people who will see those things the way you do. The article that you think has mass appeal, the book idea that you believe is saleable, the job that you feel you are really best suited for, the strategy you have thoroughly thought out and are certain that it will reap the benefits – hold on to them, reinforce them amongst the significant publics and Voila! you will find support from the same quarters.

Almost in the same breath, I hasten to add, be ready to drop the bad idea at the drop of a hat, without any thought or emotion that may ride with it.

Lesson 23 – Age and the experience you gain with it are the best, lifelong teachers you could ask for. Be thankful for all of your life’s experiences – good or bad, trying or stimulating – they all leave important lessons behind.

Lesson 24 – Be grateful for what you have. There are hundreds of others who are not as privileged be it with money, cushy life, family, unconditional love, sound mind, healthy body and a lot other parameters.

Lesson 25 – Have a daily dialogue with The One Above – in whatever shape and form you see Him or Her. Yes you heard me right – it is a dialogue. You just need to be tuned enough to receive His or Her signals.

Lesson 26 – There may be thousands of people writing on food, or travel or PR or whatever - then should you be adding your two cents too? Yes, without any doubt; because yours would be a unique take on the subject, shaped by your unique set of experiences.

Lesson 27 – It IS possible to spend the whole day doing nothing of value, whiling away your time in inane, absolutely useless activities; but the huge sense of guilt thereafter is killing, brutally cruel and crushing. So, it is much better to accomplish your goal or at least a part of it every day.

Lesson 28 – Remember what all the Management Gurus have been telling us for long? They ARE telling us right. You must learn to divide a huge task into smaller, manageable portions and get cracking on those parts. In time you would be reaching the end of the big job itself. SO, go ahead and eat that mountain; bit by bit.

Lesson 29 – In the same vein as above, I have realized that I must tackle the most difficult job of the day first and then scale down to the simpler, easier, more fun tasks. It helps me be more efficient and effective and gets me to accomplish more in the day.

Lesson 30 – Just about anybody can become your teacher for a moment, for the day or for a long period of time. Over time, I have picked up valuable lessons from my caretaker, the Gardener, my young soul child, my old mother-in-law, the peacocks that came to eat their daily stock of grain in my garden, the rude neighbor  and of course my two pet children. Specially the last two, as their intelligence, kindness of heart, clever ploys and playful antics do not cease to amaze me.

Lesson 31 – With us celebrating a decade and three years of marriage, I realize that it is important to have an extremely understanding, kind and thoughtful soulmate who respects you for who you are and what you bring to the union. In today’s world of chaos, confusion, comparisons and conflict this is one of the most significant and sanity-maintaining aspects of my life.

Lesson 32 – With age and experience, I must keep learning to laugh a lot – at myself, at situations and generally in life.

Lesson 33 – Health is the most important asset that I can have. It can help me move mountains or compel me to stay withdrawn in the confines of my bed depending on which side of health I am standing on. Along with the physicality of it all, it is as important to have a beautiful, brilliant and sound mind.

Lesson 34 – Finally, I have learned the importance of developing role models – not just the towering figures of our times but also common people in our circle going about their commonplace lives with all that grit, gratitude, dignity and diligence. It helps me not get bogged down and pick myself up fast if I crumble down at times.

Have a wonderful New Year! And do create your own magic!!!  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mera Baap Chor Hai Syndrome! (My father is a thief Syndrome)


In the Bollywood blockbuster of yesteryears, a big goon, brandishing the worst shades of power and control over the weak and underprivileged, tattoos on the young protagonist's arm - 'Mera Baap Chor Hai' (My father is a thief); thereby incarcerating the consciousness of the young, impressionable mind scarring him for life. It was especially troubling to my mind and several others, that the young kid, in the film Deewar, was innocent thus far and had no reason to bear the cross for what his father may have done.

Currently, the Indian media spotlight and Drawing Room conversations are centered on a highflying, noteworthy media mogul who has outraged the modesty of a young girl, almost the age of his daughter. The incident, like many others of its kind, has sent a shock wave across the society - the perpetrator has been a highly respected man in his profession and seemed to be one of the most unlikeliest to be ever saddled with a crime such as this.

I have known Tejpals - both husband and wife - through the course of my career. I have worked with Tarun and his publishing company for a handful of book launches and grew to admire his intellect, charisma and leadership qualities. No, not even once did I witness shades of perversion or lasciviousness or impropriety in his conduct or demeanour. So, my first reaction was that of surprise, then shock and later anger. Why, he? Why must some people we admire stoop so low and fall so hard in our eyes!

I have known the wife to be a strong lady - great to work with as a sound professional and good to know as a fellow being. She has always been nice, wise and fair. And to top that, she is an avid animal lover. So, my reaction for her is of sadness. Why, her? Why must good people who have done nothing themselves to deserve this be punished so gravely by those they are closest to!

My thought then goes to the lovely daughters - I don't know them at all but I know that they are a very bright bunch with academic performance and qualifications to match. Moreover, they have been known to spend their free time rescuing suffering animals from the street, volunteering at animal sanctuaries and caring for young and old animals. To my logical mind, there is just no reason why such compassionate kids have to be made to suffer thus. I wonder what all I may have gone through - physically, socially, psychologically, emotionally - if I had to face an errant parent. That is a big punishment to face.

Given the sense of agony the family is already facing, they are being tormented by some depraved, deranged people who insist on tattooing 'Mera Baap Chor Hai' on the soft, slender arms that have so far seen the good times and that have stretched out to help man's four-legged best friends.

While, what the father / husband has done is absolutely unpardonable, there is no reason why our collective ire must turn on the family that is already preparing itself to bear the heavy burden of wrongdoing of its most respected, looked up to, strong member.

Along with the victim, the family is a big sufferer too. While the victim will experience a lot of pain, trauma, anguish and societal stigma; so will the family. And in this case, because the father is a well-known person, who has acquired quite a social standing of prominence, the matter will take a long time to die down for the family; with the scars threatening to stay fresh and gnawing for what looks like eternity right now.

Just as the victim must be shown respect, compassion and kindness; so should the wife and the young daughters of the accused. They are not to be blamed. They have done no wrong. They have not in any way brought on the situation.

In the larger scheme of things, they too are the victims. Please show kindness and empathy towards them. Please do not be that goon in that Indian film who, in representation of his own villainous, basal, despicable character or a complete lack of it, branded the unforgettable lines 'Mera Baap Chor Hai' on an innocent arm; permanently inked lines that served to scorch the soul of the chaste child; haunting the young mind so disastrously that they continued to shape the way the kid turned out to be!  

Picture courtesy - Google Images. Picture has been used for only representational purpose and is a stock shot.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

वो लोग कोई और होंगे!




वो लोग कोई और होंगे
जिनकी हंसी आसमान तक पींगे भरती हो
जिनके ठहाके बादलों में गरजते हों

जिनकी मुस्कराहट फूलों का रंग निखार देती हो
जिनकी ख़ुशी के फव्वार्रे अपनी बूंदों से
आस पास के सूखेपन को सींच देतें हों

वो लोग कोई और होंगे
जो अपनी उमंगो को साकार करने की क्षमता रखते हों
जो ख्वाबों का जाल तो बुनते हैं पर हकीकत के धागों से

जो इस ज़िन्दगी का एहसान समझ
हर बिताए पल को सजदा किये घूमते हैं 

जो उम्र की सीमा को
एक पल में बिताये जीवन से नापते हों

जो अपने लिए कम
औरो के लिए ज्यादा जीतें हों
वो लोग कोई और होंगे
जिनके अपने उनको समझ पाएं हों
लेकिन जो एक अजनबी में भी अपनापन देख लेतें हों

जो रिश्तों में रोष कम रफीक ज्यादा ढूंढते हों
जो खुद का अक्स औरो में देख पातें हों

वो लोग कोई और होंगे
जो आने वाले अँधेरे से नहीं डरते
न ही कल के सूरज से वो जल जाते हैं
जिनका कल उनके आज के हौंसले पे टिका है

जो मौज की लहरों में उतना ही मचलना जानते हों
जितना ज़िम्मेदारी के जोश से झूझना

जिनकी फ़िक्र सिर्फ अपना दर्द नहीं
औरो के रंजीशों ग़म का मलहम ज्यादा बनती है
वो लोग कोई और होंगे
जो ज़िन्दगी का सफ़र आनंद से भर पाएं हों
न की खुद का बोझ इस संसार को दे गए हों .


Picture courtesy - Google Images

Saturday, April 20, 2013

सोचती हूँ आज अपने को जान लूँ!




सोचती हूँ आज अपने को जान ही लूँ,
दिमाग का वो कोना जो कभी मेरी बात नहीं सुनता
और सुनता भी है तो बड़ी मुश्किल से;

दिल का वो हिस्सा जो सोच, समझ से परे
भावनाओं के माया जाल में उलझा रहता है;

शीशे में कभी मुझे पलट कर देखता वो चेहरा
जिससे शायद मैं कभी मिली ही न हूँ;

ज़िन्दगी के अनजान मोड़ पर टकराया वो अजनबी
जो कहाँ से आया मुझे खबर ही नहीं;

एक छोटी सी आवाज़ कहीं दूर से आती हुई
अपने कन्धों पर समझदारी का बोझ लिए हुए;

विचारों की वो फ़ौज जो अक्ल का बांध तोड़
मुझ पर हावी होना चाह्ती है;

कभी मचलता, ललचाता मन
जो संतुष्टी का संतुलन खो,
अपने पैर डगमगाने लगता है;

और रौशनी से छिपती
वक़्त के अँधेरे में लम्बी होती वो परछाई,
जो मुझे अपने आप से कभी बड़ी लगती है;

सोंचती हूँ जान लूँ आज इन सब को
जो मिले फिर दोबारा
तो मिले अबकी दोस्त बनकर!


****************
Note - Originally penned on 17th April 2013
Note 2 - Picture courtesy - Google Images 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

पुराने सम्बन्ध; नए रिश्ते!

                                                          Picture courtesy - Google Images

आज कुछ पुराने सम्बन्ध
तोडना चाह रहा हूँ,

वो घड़ी जो बीते समय पर टिकी है
वो तसवीरें जो ग़म में डूबे पलों की याद दिलाती हैं
वो पल जो आँसुओं में नहाये थे

वो ख्याल जो दीमाग में परेशानी का मकड़ी जाल बनाये हुए थे

वो दिन जो इतने खालीपन में रमें थे की
अपना वजूद भी कायम ना कर पाये थे

वो आदते जो रास्ते का रोड़ा बन
सफर को मुश्किल और बेमजा बना रहीं हैं;

सोचता हूँ आज नए रिश्ते जोड़ लूँ,

एक समझ की ओढ़नी 
जो फजूल बातों को बाहर ही रक्खे,

साहस का टिकाऊ मफलर
जो हर हवा का सामना करा दे,

उमंग के ऊन से बुना कोट
जो निखारे मेरी शकसियत को,

मोबाइल पे लगा रिमाइंडर
जो इस बात का एहसास दिलाये
की मेरे टाइम की पूँजी घटती जा रही हँ,

हौंसले और विश्वास का नया जोड़ा
जो मेरे मन को सवारे, मेरी सोच को सुन्दर रखे,

और जोश, जिन्दादिली के जेवर
जो मेरी ज़िन्दगी को अमूल्य बना दें। 

                                         Picture courtesy - Hidlight, Ziyafot, deviantart.com