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From ZEE’s point of view -Anxiety

A feeling of worry or fear, especially about the future

Hypthetical human – MR. ZEE
Acrophobic- Fear of heights 

Zee was on ground level and I told him about looking up at the man standing on a high rise building. He immediately dipped his head low and ignored me. It totally unsettled his mind when I coaxed further. For Z bungee jumping and sky diving is a complete nightmare. 

(Now my sadistic mind HAHA) —I have this weird thought—What if someone would put Zee on a plane and prepares him to jump but not let him actually take the jump -for hours. What would that experience be like for him? 

That’s dwelling in the fear of height. Dwelling there in the fear is what aggravates the problem. 

What we do with our future is the same what Zee experiences with heights. The difference is that Zee can jump off some day with a parachute and overcome his fear of height. How do you land yourself into the future to know exactly what will happen and fix it? 


Yes, that’s exactly what we want. We want to know if anything will go wrong and we want to fix it before it happens. We want a guarantee for everything. “Subject to market risks and conditions” —Whoever thought saying that line fast is cool—(Major eye rolling).


You are not great because you can plan. You are great because your plan can evolve with changing times.”

For the longest time, I had this phobia of plans failing. (not atychiphobia exactly). It was like, nothing I plan should fail and my goal should be achieved in the way I had planned things. Seems so fanciful. The aim was to get to the destination, but I loved planning so much that I attached myself to the plan I chose. Knowing it’s all about the enjoying journey; but the need to obsess over my plans made me control the journey. Control Freeaakkk! 

Hehe! Not anymore.

Imagine someone falling from a chair! Wouldn’t you laugh out loudly? Plans failing should have the same reaction if we were not too attached to the plan. We are not our plans- plans failing doesn’t mean that we failed. We are still the ones who can plan better now that we know how not to fall from the chair. And we can still look back and laugh at it. 

Plans need to restructure as per every probable future. Even if your plans are flexible and you can adapt to any change, there will always be an unknown factor to the future. 


Keep it simple 😉 —Eyes on the prize! And keep checking your form(plans), correcting your form (restructuring your plans) and getting better on the way. Because no one likes an undeserving win, even you’ll hate getting your prize without paying the price for it. Once you know you cannot control the journey or fixate on one single plan —you will easily accept any future that is thrown on you. 

Now a lot of people just sit back and blame the situation (Arey corona aa gaya na, that’s why no gym) and give up on the goal. You failed to restructure your old plan. Locus of control remember the 4th week of Monday Real talk on insta. You’re responsible for your goals. Plans can fail as per outside situation, let that go and you still have to own up for the part you play in the journey. 


I’m no GURU and this really is a medical condition, which needs to be treated clinically or through therapy. My personal experience says any disorder stems from a habit we develop over time. When you’ve actually allotted a room to this fear in your head. It starts living in you. It affects your livelihood and relationships. 

Prevention is cure 

Having counter balancing habits before dwelling in the fear becomes a habit—is the preventive way. We sort of know where it stems from. We only need to battle it out with love and empowerment. 

—“I am healthy and fine and if something happens we’ll plan as per that.” Practical and assuring. 

—“I’m investing in this now it seems good, we’ll keep checking if it seems a bad buy we’ll let it go and take it from there.” Healthy attitude. 

—“I am doing my best, if I find a different way which works I’ll try that too.” No panic! 

Just like how Z ignored my request to look up at a high rise building—throw some attitude to your fears. It’s like an unwanted guest. It’s okay to have them at your door visiting dropping-off reality-checks. Just don’t let them come live with you. 


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The Flip side —Self-Righteous

“Enjoy the process!” —they said; “Don’t worry about the results!” —they said. It is nice to hear it; and to read it, but applying it in a reward-centric world is a different ball-game. We always want to make the right choices that lead to the outcome we want. Achievements have always been glorified in all of history because isn’t that supposed to make us feel good about ourselves? Being good at something and our laurels— they put us above others; give us an edge AND… on the flip side make us a little self-righteous.

A few days ago….

I was given two choices by my friend and depending on what I picked I would get rewarded. I picked the right answer and to my surprise the wrong answer was apparently more rewarding. Twisted right? It perplexed me, the idea of getting something extra for the wrong choice. Does that happen in real life? It could right?

You could reach faster, inspite of taking a longer route to a destination (less traffic); or wing-it in a recipe and it could taste fabulous. You could call someone by mistake and it could end up in a great conversation; or forget to save a file (happens if you’re technologically challenged like me) and get a whole new way of doing the work again.

What taught us to chase results and to get gratification from achievements then? I think it’s a generational curse! We’re praised as a kid for doing something good; given extra stars on our notebooks for good handwriting— glorified for good choices and reprimanded for bad ones. Some of us are still chasing those stars, a.k.a being self-righteous.

I always took pride in waking up early. Sure it has a great deal of health benefits but sometimes when I had to sleep-in late, I would begrudge myself the extra sleep that morning. Self-righteousness is like the card that sneaks in up the magician’s sleeve. You saw it but didn’t really look at it.

How do you catch yourself being self-righteous?

  1. Start acknowledging your pitfalls and rewarding them. Make the wrong choices look good too. I have started appreciating the fact that I break my routine sometimes. I woke up late the other day and decided to talk about it like it’s a great achievement, so that it felt as gratifying as waking up early.
  2. Self-righteousness can lead to being self-absorbed if not checked. You could end up talking about yourself a lot. (This I’ve covered on my Instagram handle @mycoffeeweather on Monday Real Talk highlights). When you start asking open-ended questions, it helps you learn that there is a whole word out there that you don’t know about and that can humble you from being too self-absorbed.
  3. Keep asking yourself- “Am I judging them/him/her?”; “Am I being too critical?”. Self-righteous people have high standards for themselves and they always want to live up to it. They can become too critical of themselves. It doesn’t allow them to be accepting of others. (Even if they’re not vocal they’ll totally judge you). Personally, I’ve come a long way from being judgmental, but there are times I slip. Tell your friends and family to stop you if you’re being judgemental.
So needed for a tolerant society

Each one of us can be self-righteous in some way. Self-righteousness is an attitude that can be fixed only by yourself. If you can’t see you’re being self-righteous, no one can make you see it. From high up there, anything anyone says feels like it’s coming from a noob, because you’ll have a ‘been-there-done-that’ attitude. All you need to see is how this attitude can affect your life?—

When you are being self-righteous, you’re probably pushing everyone away. You will stop you’re own growth by limiting your channels of learning. There will be a lot of anxiety of slacking, and keeping up might feel exhausting at times. You might not have a balanced life- investing too much into the things that make you feel above everyone. Confidence in some areas of life could be low, if you feel highly self-righteous in other areas.

If you know someone who is a little self-righteous—

Just know you need to appreciate their smallest efforts in doing things unconventional to their forte, (like if they are too obsessed with their work life and they put together a meal -clap hands);

Avoid glorifying the things they already gloat about. (“OMG! Samantha you’re beautiful!”-they probably already know);

Encourage them to be in social settings where they can learn something outside of their world (“Why don’t you meet the neighbours today?”)

Small things go a long way!

There is a Yoga Sutra by Patanjali which speaks about discrimination. Finding the opposite of what is too intense- “Pratipakshabhave”. I feel I somehow found this connection after reading that. Yoga isn’t just asana- it’s a way of life and it’s the google maps for life’s journey; and I’m “Enjoying the Process” —like they said!

Insta post!

If confidence is something you’re struggling with— Watch this TED talk below and know you got it! Brittany Packnett!

Even the self-righteoud need to know what is confidence.

Self Care‘ connected to this topic; might give you better clarity if you read!

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Rewriting Self-care

Thanks to social-media and what’s been told…a lot of people think putting cucumber slices on your eyes, putting some music on and stretching your legs while sipping on a colada on the beach is ‘SELF-CARE’.

I hated the idea of being so self-absorbed and giving self-importance. Yes, you do need your mental peace and me-time and you do need that spa day once in a while. But are you looking at the flip side to this mass accepted idea of self-obsession? I’m not against having a good time; I just see so many people stomping out of bad situations and walking out of their responsibilities by giving an excuse of ‘Me-Time’!

Beyond basic hygiene and healthcare, there is splurging on yourself. Even after all that pampering there is this extra bit we really crave as humans-Social connections. It comes naturally to us humans. Being accepted by the society we live in is wired in our genetics, or at least passed down from civilizations. Our ancestors I just read banished a person from the tribe for their crimes and they feared isolation as the worst-case scenario. Being an outcast can feel so demotivating and dejecting; then why glorify the concept of ‘Me, myself and I’.

(Going candid now… basically time for getting random and then leading it back to the topic.)

My brother just told me this morning, that I should calculate the amount of time I spend, talking about, making and eating food. I do love food. In all honesty though, every time I’ve cooked something yum and had no one to share it with, I didn’t enjoy it as much. As much as when my people have loved my food back. The feeling of just creating something for others is like getting a star from the teacher on my answer sheet. Same like, when you do something for someone and they give you a tight hug in return. Their happiness radiates into your bones like therapy. That boomerang effect of your efforts is what I call new age self-care. Show and pour your heart out to the people in your life. That feels like self-care! (Ripleys) Believe it or not- the new definition of self-care is caring about others!

Even if you got free spa vouchers for a month or a solo trip to a famous place- if you had no one in your life to share your happiness from all the rejuvenation it would mean nothing. So first maintain the relationships in your life then enjoy your tea party with yourself.

Now! Now! Don’t be naive and too giving to toxic relationships where there is only incoming calls but no outgoing. You will drain out and every time there is the spa day it will just be a short recharge. Not a permanent solution. Find the connections that mutually wants to send you back the love. That’s where you’d want to go. We go to the best of the salons to get our things done, then why invest in bad relationships? Why hope for good connectivity from bad networks?

I’ve been told I have a tough luck with love, because I’ve never really dated anyone. But hey! I do have many other connections in my life who want to see me happy and bounce back the love I can give. I feel cared for and trust me that just doesn’t come to you in a platter you need to invest. Give your time to your mother, (just a short hey also will make her super happy), hug your dad, help your brother trim his hair, cook with your sister, play the guitar and sing with your cousins, call your friends who stay away! Go out there COWBOY! and grab your people with the lasso. They’re all you need to feel good and cared about- then probably add some ice cubes in your colada as you chill with them on the beach! PRICELESS!

Self-care is in giving

A Previous READ! From October 2018 🙂
So well said! by Cloe Wade

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The Chest full of Nothings

A short story on “The Chest full of Nothings”

In a Victorian building, with a family of four, was living an old wooden chest; strangely never opened. He sat in the living room, accompanying the ornamental furnitures, royal carpets, chandelier lamps and expressively still statues. Everyone who passed by noticed everything except the chest. It feel disheartened and rejected. It tried its best to make some creaking sounds, but never got as much attention as his companions.

Sometimes, rays of light slithered in, through the edges and cracks; while the chest was busy looking outside and feeling demotivated.

Some time passed and the family had found a new place to move to and they began packing and loading everything in a wagon. They had tried moving the chest in every way possible; the stubborn weight made them leave it behind. For the lack of time they didn’t even try unlocking the chest. It truly lost all hope and felt deeply hurt. “No one wants me” this thought seeped in to rot it’s wood with feelings of unworthiness.

For a long time no one met the house or the coffer.

On a stormy night, the roof of the old building gave way; allowing the winds to displace everything that was left of the house. The coffer lay there hopelessly, awaiting its destruction in this storm.

The storm grew wild and let the branch from a tree fall on the coffer, breaking the lock. The winds screeched and rains thrashed the building. The building started to dilapidate and the chest slid to one side and hit the wall.

The next morning the storm had passed, leaving the quiet. The chest thought it didn’t survive the storm. It was lying open, facing the sun and the light was now throwing itself on every corner inside the chest. Rain drops like an alarm on snooze disturbed the chest out of the nightmare, to look inside. Filled with Gemstones, silverware, Gold and maps to places, secret books, letters of love and a peaceful stillness wrapping everything in velvet dense air. More than being ready for an identity makeover; it sat shell shocked.

A few days later a writer was passing by on the cobbled roads, riding on his bicycle and whistling to a tune. The gleaming rays of the sun shone off the gold and caught his eye. He rode to the building and made his way to the chest. It was finally going to be noticed and appreciated. The writer picked up the maps, books and letters. He felt enthralled to find these to be sixty years old writings. He rode off with the new reads.

The chest felt dissatisfied at not being accepted for everything that it was. He began to doubt his own value. The writer had not even notice the gemstones and gold.

Some days later…

A caravan came wheeling with hope to the building. The foreign traders stopped over, to find and grab all the riches they could. Leaving the chest behind bare, feeling used and valueless.

After a few months…

A humble carpenter was walking with his son and they were looking for some good quality wood to make a table to eat on. They saw the house and helped each other in, through the chaos. The chest was like a chameleon in all the dust and webs. The Father spotted the old wood of the chest and began to say—“Son look, this is a very rare mahogany wood for a coffer—see the grains and lines. It is very good and seasoned over time, as the colour has darkened. Let’s take this and add it to our table top to make it look rich.” The chest was carried away and it was now a part of a dining table in the carpenters house—staging three meals every day and merging into the background of their daily life.

What the Chest has to say to you—”What you make of yourself is how you value yourself. Everyone will notice whatever they can see of value to them. Don’t wait for people to see you and appreciate you. Look within and embrace the darkness as much as the light within; everything you’re made of.”

The story of a Chest
The Chest full of Nothings

Special mention to Tall Tales Story telling for being the stepping stone to write my very first story.

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Accept and Bloom

All your firsts are special—first day of school, first time using a pen or getting your hair coloured, first time frying or baking a bread, first time going on a date or quarantined, first …. (long list, fill at your own leisure).

First own hair cut.

Even saying that makes me happy. The sound of snip snip has always been therapeutic to me. In fact, I start getting warnings from people every year as summer approaches — ‘Don’t get your hair cut short this time’! So I decided to do it myself. Just took the scissors and snip-snip! To tell you the truth it was scary at first— what if I goof up? Luckily ‘stay-at-home’ made it easy; now that the lockdown is extended.

I’ll just pause here.

What if there wasn’t a lockdown, I messed it up and looked goofy for a bit? Would I be judged badly and would people not let me be? As I stood in front of the mirror, hair drenched and dripping- I was combing my hair over and over; I would raise the scissor to my head and lower it. This went on for five minutes. It’s just fringes man! (Go for It); No! If it actually goes bad…? YES! NO! YES, NO! 

Beep* it!

That’s it!! That moment when I decided for myself —that’s what self acceptance is. You own the goofiest decisions, you own your worst nightmares and you own your insecurities. Every time I do these impulsive things, my need for validation dies a little.

I am going to rewind back to 2009…

I am standing on my yoga mat, at a1000yoga; A chilly morning, at half past six, I’m profusely sweating all over my mat (my warm up sweat would be your post workout sweat). After the regular bout of Suryanamaskar, I found myself literally tugging my body forward holding my toes in Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold). My back is curved and I’m hell bent (literally) to get myself to reach perfection in that very moment. (This was my fight against complacency-clearly OTT).

My breathing was fast like I was on a treadmill and face contorted, like I could just deliver something on my mat. Dj my yoga teacher must’ve seen my little act; her soft and loud words still ring clearly in my head today- “Don’t fight with your body. Acknowledge where you are in the posture today and breathe into the posture.” 

(Deep breath and sigh) Acceptance right in that moment.

For the next few days I’d just be happy to hold my toes and stay instead of wanting my back to fold forward. Slowly, I eased into it, over time and now I can easily have my entire body fold like a clip.

Now I’m facing the mirror, feeling the small tufts of hair, no longer a part of me (I didn’t know my hair was soft). Looked up at myself I couldn’t stop smiling. I never really accepted that I have a problem with my self belief. I would doubt myself all the time, (sometimes it’s good to be a little unsure is what I was feeding on). I stopped believing what I told myself. For just uploading a picture on social media I would need two opinions, for the caption I’d ask my brother to read. What my mind told me wasn’t good enough until something outside validated it. 

Now that I accepted where I am (seeking validation), I knew where I wanted to go. Instead of putting it under the carpet acknowledge the flaws, breathe into it and let yourself bloom. I wanted to break this pattern of looking for validation from outside and own what’s coming from within. Acceptance doesn’t come easily to many of us, but owning yourself completely leaves you feeling responsible for yourself and that is freedom. 

Accept and Bloom
Pashimotanasana (Forward Fold –YOGA)

What are you trying to accept about yourself? Your physical body, emotional strength, skills you don’t have yet, pronunciation, social skills, you’re not where you want to be? Whatever it may be, just sit down with yourself, once in a while and check on yourself. What is it you keep fighting with? What are you holding yourself against? How hard do you make your own life? Are you accepted in your own head?

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Instant Noodles Personality- An Addiction

Living in the routine, sometimes we get so busy that we don’t even realize when and how our morning went and we’re already dressed for work and leaving home. Until we board the lift and (unconsciously pause to) take a deep breath of sigh (provided you’re not looking into your phone). I’m sure, staying at home in quarantine, this season, must be giving you a glimpse of slow-living. However, we still have access to everything at the tip of a button and our phones are glued to our faces.

Recently I was sketching a quote on my vision board and in the act of doing it with full attention, I lost track of time. This happens every time I’m cooking too, hence I seldom bake- Or I’d be burning a lot of things. When you are in love, or passionate about a project, the undivided focus makes you unaware of everything else. Why does this feel so satisfying? Some people call it ‘the flow (‘living in the Present’). Being possessed by something like that, leaves you feeling happy-high. You are constantly aware of everything happening moment to moment and forget about the world. This sharp awareness, gives you an illusion of having everything around you in control, almost powerful! 

The problem arises when you have nothing to be constantly diving into and there isn’t something you’d be engrossed in 24/7. The mind needs to be busy; it’s the way we are used to living. There is no pause, (unless you are on an elevator). We have got our power-hungry-minds, addicted to nibbling on something or the other. Idle minds are not necessarily bad, but if you don’t know how to handle the idle state of being, you’re sure to fall in trouble. Before you know it, you will be deriving power from controlling things that give you instant gratification. 

Instant gratification is when the reward for doing something is received instantly, just like how our world works- Instant Noodles in 2 minutes, Microwave heating in 1 minute, Fat reduction in 1 week with detox diets, and the list goes on. There is no time for delayed gratification. We no longer have the patience to work towards our weaknesses to gain the reward over a period of time. Rather we indulge in easier activities which provide similar sense of fleeting power. This is exactly how our minds get led to being addicted.

Anything with instant gratification sneaks up and lies to you that ‘you are in the ‘Now’’, ‘you are in control’, and leaves you with an infatuated sense of security. It’s very hard to find individuals who are not addicted to something or the other, in current scenarios. Be it Social Media attention, PubG or other video games, Pornography, Sex, Alchohol, Poker, Drugs, Chalk powder, Smells, and other sense abuses, even Attention; humans have evolved and are still evolving in addiction. We have some ground shattering statistics as a country.

Instant Gratification
instant gratification

People want to have control over something; to fill the void of lack of control in other areas of their lives. So, if a person working in a company isn’t feeling gratified enough, and if they cannot get to change their work, he/she will look to other sources of gratification in whatever time is left. At one point, from the constant use of this source, we are no longer in control of its use. The substance now is in control of interacting with our brains dopamine levels. We go on to increase the use of the substance because that’s how instant gratification works. Your mind gets accustomed to it and needs a bigger dose. We are in the sense of a ‘high’, because the void of control is filled up. Its almost like a symbiotic relationship. The substance has the real power over our brains and we are feeding on fake power gratification. 

How do we break up with this toxic relationship? Firstly, check if you’re addicted to something, by denying yourself access to it for sometime. If you feel you can’t live without it, you’re addicted. Get help! Speak to someone trust worthy and share that you need help. If you’re shy about it, approach a professional. It’s never too late to start all over again and its always okay to take help. 

It’s human to want power, but you just have to access the right kind of it. What’s truly powerful is, when you can control yourself. To know yourself so well, that you can maneuver instantly in response to any external changes. If you cannot control yourself, you give the leash to the the external environment to control you. If you don’t understand your own nature and learn how to manage it—waves will be formed as per the winds outside. Anger is the best example of one such wave—A compulsive reaction that occurs to the situation outside of you. 

In my earlier post of introducing Power (Power is always Free), I started off with a confession of being addicted to the internet. I feel powerful when I learn new information or have deep informative conversations with people. It gives me a sense of control. I have cut it down to balance it with my other priorities of health, family and work. I know I cannot live without the basic use of internet but I realize that I don’t need it all the time. People who have made a dent in the universe did it without any technology. Not going to be naïve but consciously use it to the limit of my goals and requirements. 

The objective, of using anything, should be to have the ultimate access to control of oneself, as a result. When the use of the the substance in itself becomes rewarding is when Addiction sneaks up! Keep him out! 

More Power to You OVER YOURSELF!

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Power Is Always Free

I keep scrolling through Instagram all day! (Honest confession to start with). The funny part is that, it looks like Instagram is scrolling through my life all day too. Is it ‘What you’re seek is seeking you’— sort of relationship!? Or have I let Instagram take control over my life? How do I know where my power is?

I hit upon this Information which said “If you’re not a powerlifter, Don’t train like one. Just because “power” is in the title doesn’t mean it develops power where YOU need it. Power is not a universal quality.” (This was under a body functionality building account) Dr. Andreo Spina!

Some bodies are short and petite an excellent requirement for Ballet or Gymnastic. Some are built and tend to gain muscles easily- great for weightlifting. Every human has different strengths and weaknesses. We don’t play on this because, we are firstly not taught how to be aware of it. Do you know what your strengths and weaknesses are? (Samosa is my weakness, but I’m talking about the characteristic weaknesses). That’s what controls most of our behavioral patterns. 

Stop here! ….mentally jot down only two of your strengths and weaknesses. If you play comfortable and make your weaknesses sound like strengths, then there’s no point. Being emotional in every situation can be a weakness, if it is coming in the way of making realistic goals. But if you put it like— “I’m in touch with my emotional sense” You play comfortable and make your weakness look good. So now if you see your list and your strengths are still coming in the way of a practical decision, then you’re not doing it right. 

Let me suggest here- I’d swear by this article to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Absolute best thing I’ve come across in a long time.

So once you’ve done some digging and discovered about yourself- It now makes sense to assess your power. Power is your ability to direct or influence others or a course of event. Most of us are control freaks in some aspects of our lives or the other- Why? Because Powerpuff girls/ Power Rangers! Power craving mentality was drilled into us from a young age. The acknowledgement received or pride in becoming captains or leaders in school, the limelight of being noticed in college, or the ‘making it big in life’, they call it “living the good life”. Everyone wants to be on top!

So you have to choose, playing by your strengths and weaknesses what power is accessible to you. If your strength is extrovert personality and your weakness is convincing people- Then if you choose to be a leader, you’re just going to sound like a rock band to Classical opera listeners. 

How do you then play your cards, without losing your power? A) You could work on your weaknesses and then harness the power from one source- say EFG. B) Meanwhile, harness power elsewhere from source JKL, where your weaknesses don’t come in the way. This way, you never run out of power and you’re always feeling upbeat. 

Harnessing Power from source JKL may look very lucrative but it’s not a great idea if you’re not equipped for its voltage. Let me tell you that most of the celebrities were pretty average all their lives before they made it big. Drop outs in school or a nobody at some point in time. They were busy working on their skill sets that would set them apart. Toiling and crashing and rebuilding like a phoenix. I have no better example than Mr. Akshay Kumar for this. Read about his life story to understand how he gave flops back to back and learnt from his failures to be one of the richest celebrities in India.

It’s great to be Power hungry or striving to be the best, and if you’re doing it right, you could even change your fate from a Chai-waala. Start by noticing your conversations that’s where we first lose our power. The whole concept of “I” and “me” is egoistic and coming from that space you’ve already given away your power. Since a person in power has an ability to influence; only if you are a person of “WE” over “I”, will others be open to the influence. I would trust someone’s intentions and allow them to influence me, if I know they want mutual benefit. 

I personally always attacked a situation with a Self-defensive attitude and protecting my interests. Most of my conversations in a conflict did not consider a win-win situation. This has left me stuck and powerless, because the other person becomes defensive too and we both want to grab our seats rather than meet mid–way. When I talk to my younger brother I tend to have this approach because of my ego not letting me see beyond my elder status and the gender bias is my instrument of defence. A win-win would be me being able to see the bigger picture where he gets his way (because I don’t use it to get my way) and I get my way because he now trusts me for protecting his interests.

Power is not achieved by feeding your ego, power is achieved by starving it. So Unlock your Power. Work on your weaknesses even in conversations (like mine was ego), to feel empowered by first empowering others. Power feeds power, just like I said “What you’re seeking, is seeking you!”

Power is Power within
Unlock your Power —it’s within.
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Pieces of a puzzle

“Pieces of a puzzle” — a poetry..

“Take a piece of me today,
I’ll give you my share of calm.
Sit with me if you want,
I’ll take your share of pain.
I’ve been there you know,
Watching someone in love;
Wanting how they care;
Wishing, to feel that way.

So take a piece of me today,
I’m all ears, for every word you say.
I’ll walk with you if you will;
I’m rooting for you, so don’t hesitate.
Because I’ve been in your shoes;
Standing under my umbrella in rain,
Wanting to let it fly, with imaginary lyrics,
Only to meet someone in life’s hurricane.

So take a piece of me today,
Till your heart pours from your eyes;
Till your mind falls short of thoughts;
Till you take a deep breath and sigh.
I’m doing this because you deserve to know,
You my friend, are a soul just like me;
And life’s not exactly perfect nor always pretty,
And if you’re feeling low, believe, it will be fine again.

Just take a piece of me; will you?
I’m extending my empathetic hand,
Letting it soak in your worries
To taste like everything you need.
Because I know who I am.
I may look only human to you;
I’m more than explanations can meet,
May be your modern day super hero.

Letting pieces of ourselves
Become a part of, the pieces of everyone else.
Listening, till the pieces cement to form a world
A world, where everyone is a super hero.
Because the world needs you;
I need you! And you need me!
We are the million pieces in a puzzle
That I’m beginning to solve.”

Pieces of a puzzle
31st December, 2019

Pieces of a Puzzle

For more poems and videos watch the space on Insta–

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Piecing Out Self-image

I was sharing the news of my friend’s marriage getting fixed, with someone and they went- “oh! Good things happen to good people!” I agreed with this notion until they said it that day. I thought to myself, what makes someone good or bad and who is judging us anyway? Does karma brand people with everything bad for a few mistakes? These ideologies can do so much harm to our self image and that’s exactly what the next few months should change for all of us (the new year hoohaa).

Self image
Looking in the mirror…

I look at myself in the mirror everyday and know that my self image isn’t about the way that I look in the mirror. That’s already been talked about- body image and body shaming is a thing of the past. Now that we know what it’s not; what is self image about then? Is it about what we do—the actions and our reactions to situations? To fill the vacuum; Self image is our own opinion of ourselves (what we think we are).

Our opinion of others are formed even before we talk to them or decide the relationship with them. Similarly, what we think about ourselves is being pieced and re-adjusted, with every thought in our minds (self talk). Our relationship with ourselves is defined by our mental chatter. What was the last thought that crossed your mind—and what does that thought speak about you?

The babbling we did as toddlers was the first conversations we were having with ourselves. It made sense only to us but just think of how happy and uninfluenced that conversation was. Similarly it’s important to tell ourselves good things, reassuring yourself is the best way to feel good. Remember ‘ALL IS WELL’ from the movie 3 idiots.

Affirmations is something that needs to be talked about at this point. It is said that the words we repeatedly say gets fixated in our minds and we get automated to believe it. People who are confident are babbling away some really good affirmations consciously or subconsciously. We are inherently good babblers but if the external environment makes us doubt in our goodness, it’s important to keep oneself reminded.

The people in our lives project their insecure views of this world on us, making us scrape through layers of perceptions. Self image is about knowing who you are under all those layers and knowing the sound of your babble over other voices. Self love then is not something you have to achieve by doing, you just automatically love yourself.

So the next time someone asks- ‘Who the hell do you think you are?’ You’ll actually be smiling thinking of your own voice.

I am _____________. (Fill in the blank with every word that only empowers you).

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A Window into Productivity

It’s 7:15AM and it’s my last window to quickly reach the gym; but the weather has gifted me a runny nose this Christmas and I just won’t stop sneezing. So I miss my workout fourth day in a row. I could die of guilt at this point or fret about losing muscle mass, losing momentum and progress I made so far. (But!! …the optimist that my heart is-) I’m perfectly fine with the idea of just sitting wrapped up in a blanket and sipping on lemongrass tea. So much for being productive?

So I’m already up and I’ve missed it, what do I do in the time gained. Yes, that’s how you look at it- “time gained”. I read, I meditate and check up on my work and blog a little earlier or just connect with friends on the other side of the world (time zone benefit). This is my way of ‘making hay wherever the sun shines’. Just be present to what is working, rather than what is not.

I think I learnt this concept back in school because math was my favourite subject. Yes mathematics! (haters going to hate #mathgeek) Writing a math exam made me high. To be your most productive at attempting the paper you had to attempt each question once; and when you were not able to answer something you just leave space and move to the next question. The time spent on pounding over a question that isn’t working out, can become time gained in the ones that you’re definitely going to crack. Optimum usage of time to get the most correct answers.

Optimisation is Productivity in my view. It is a prized possession in every field and in every aspect of life. The more productive we are the better the chances of getting the results. My dad always questions us about our productivity- especially when we’d be lounging around like Garfield. It used to pain me, until I read about the 80 20 rule of Pareto Principle. It is gold! This rule suggests that 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results. This changed everything for me. Being productive never felt less stressful.

So I don’t grudge not having given a 100% time to something. Strive to give my best in one goal; then if it reaches stagnation I let it rest and move to another aspect of my life. So if I’m doing anything I’m all-in, even if that’s going to be for 20 percent of the time I planned to do it for. This way it helps me accomplish more tasks and get more work done in the same 24 hours.

Very important fact!! Rest is the most essential part of being productive. In a time where everyone wants you to clock insane hours at work and be everywhere—remember we are humans and phoenix is a mythical creature. To come back from a complete breakdown and exhaustion, is worse than taking short breaks in between.

Productive burpees!
Burpee Life <3

While doing a set of 50 burpees you need to pace it. Break the sets into 5reps of 10 sets or 10 reps of 5sets. Short breathers and you’ll be more effecient than trying to go all out fifty burpees. So don’t grudge those short breaks in between work or workout or any aspect of life.

Make goals! More importantly achieve them with grace! And don’t forget to breathe.

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Chasing Beauty

Spinning on the dresser chair with half my body hanging in the air, I would eye my mother’s cosmetics, every time she was setting her room up: one of my time passing activities as a kid (because there were no gadgets and the television was timed). I loved fiddling with all her stuff, especially the musical trinket box, turning the key and leaving it to play some tune I don’t recall now. What I clearly remember is, there was a make-up brush stand with a porcelain face almost completely white. Every time she wasn’t around I would flip open a few lip shades and colour the porcelain face, my own master piece of work. I was pretty fascinated by it, ironically I hated any make up on myself. Maybe because my mom never encouraged us to use any products forget about make-up, or may be that was just a 90’s thing (things are pretty different with ‘kids these days’- saying that makes me feel older for some reason)

Introducing my childhood house helps and Tamil tutors, Jaya ma, Kuppu and Mary amma. Every morning they walked in with a bright smile flashing their crooked teeth, sporting a flower garland on their hair buns, and wrapping their ‘pallu’around to completely block any skin show. Sun-burnt skin, scaly palms and cracked feet, but they hardly ever let their difficulties show on their faces. They worked hard and toiled all day for their families, they made it look fun, chit-chatting and giggling away at intervals. I thought they were really beautiful people for all that they were. No make-up or style sense needed to impress. (Dress to Impress? really?)

There are more people I’ve met in my life, who’ve been such amazing sources of light by just their vibes; my Dad, he barely cares about his looks (I took that from him) and still manages to impress me with his confidence; my Yoga teacher DJ with her ‘haven’t you brushed your teeth?’ every time we frowned in a posture; My Gymnastics Master Gangadhar who made everything seem funny and still got us the results with his dedication; and the watchman uncle Selvaraj who always greets people like he’s younger than them. All these people didn’t make looking attractive their goal and they still got me feeling so happy.

Mr. Selvaraj captured in a candid moment

I guess that’s why my idea of looking attractive was not defined by the way I looked, but by the choices I made and the way I thought. Even those adolescent years never let me get used to the so called ‘girly stuff’. Until only recently the whole idea of looking presentable became an obligation. I still had this mind block that I didn’t want to make an effort to look attractive. Running after looking attractive is like living in a beauty pageant-cum-truman’s show where a panel of people are always scrutinizing and scoring us. Wearing powders and tints, I thought, was for the shallow and insecure. This thinking was so wrong. Some people look at it like art, like fashion can be art too; while some look at it as tool to achieve attractiveness.

Attractiveness and beauty are not synonymous because Attraction is more about physical features and not personality. Attraction is like an animal instinct that all creatures have, to fulfill sexual needs, however only human minds can appreciate beauty. Mobula rays (fish) fly out of the water and land on the surface creating huge sounds, which attract the opposite gender. If you’ve seen the Wilson’s bird of paradise and how the male birds need to work hard to attract the female, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. So if I’m trying to be like these guys I’d probably make an effort to look attractive. However, make-up is not something I would use to express beauty, because beauty is a lot more than that.

(Honest confession- I did buy some vegan make up only last week, but I’ve mostly got it all sorted now in my mind, that… ..I’ve just wasted my money)

What is the expression of beauty and how do you see it? Real beauty cannot be captured on camera, and the verdict of beauty cannot be passed by a few pictures on social media, print media or digital media or any virtual artificial medium. Remember? it is in the eyes of the beholder— and what if we all are blind? Hence it’s not literally about seeing physical beauty of an individual face. Beauty to me is a feeling of Godliness, like a fleeting emotion of belonging to this existence and creation.

Something like this..

Soul touching music, the sound of birds in the quiet of the dawn, cool breeze scraping your skin and that earthy smell in the air just before a heavy rain; stories and memories are beautiful they have such an impact on our lives; Hugging someone and sharing your thoughts can be beautiful. Watching the little sapling in your garden grow into a big tree is beautiful, we can’t create that but we are a witness and that’s the glory of it. When babies smile to a silly peek-a-boo, the red colour of the rising sunrise, a stranger ending up becoming your best friend, raindrops crashing on the ground, making of airplanes or even watches, creation of garlands, a simple painting, a poem that means something to you, culture and there isn’t a dearth of beauty so I’ll stop there. Something having the power to influence us to feel like the sparkling in a drink, bubbling with joy (oye bubbly bubble oye) and a jumpy heart—could be exclaimed as beautiful.

Are you chasing beauty? Good news, you don’t need to; you just need to own your raw self. The one who is confident, takes pride in their flaws, spots beauty outside themselves with ease, feels kindness in their bones and has an undying spirit to enjoy life with a smile. Make it rock solid by reaching that person inside yourself, everyone has a shard of beautiful inside them. The magic is if you put some focus light on it, it prisms on everyone who meets you. So what’s your new standard of being beautiful?

You is kind, You is grateful, You is ‘Beautiful’

If you haven’t seen this movie, watch it for good perspective- THE HELP

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Dive Deep

In one of those weekly fights with my elder sister (when we were really young), for a change my mom had taken her side. I was furious and not knowing how to channel my anger, I put some home-made scrub into the back pockets of her jeans, that were hanging behind the bathroom door. That doused my anger immediately and I went about my days and forgot, until it was found out. I have surely been as annoying as an alarm clock to my siblings, more than they deserved and I didn’t feel even a pinch of guilt. (**Asian Sky shop moment- I am a changed person now). Maisie Williams (Acted as Arya Stark in Game of thrones) had a problem feeling her emotions and facing them, during a short period of time. On-screen and off-screen, she couldn’t get herself to cry.

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark of Winterfell

The internet gets truck loads of posts everyday, telling you- how to manage your anger and control it; not be upset and how to find true happiness; remain calm and not over-react; and there is a one-sided opinion. We are biased towards different feelings; branding half of them to be negative and the others to be positive. The downside to this partiality in our mind-set is that, we are never accepting to the situation at hand and resist it just to avoid the ‘defamed feelings’. 

This makes me think of the black and white symbol of Yin and Yang. We need both black and white to balance out our emotional self and feel whole. Never are we always happy or always sad; that’s unnatural. Even when we are happy we do have reasons to feel sad but we have more reason to be happy. Even when we are sad we do have reason to be grateful and happy, but in this moment we are acknowledging the grief. The curvy line in the symbol signifies that there are no absolute separations between the two opposites. Similarly, I don’t think there is a defined line as to our emotions and we can switch over when ever we want. 

Have you ever gone scuba diving or underwater in a submarine? It’s a strange experience. Underwater the same colours are seen as darker or as a different shade (watch video- link for the same). We breathe through our mouth and cannot communicate except using hand gestures, in a dive. Even time seems to pass quickly when we’re inside. There is very little thinking and more observing; we almost forget ourselves for a bit. Synonymously different emotions make us see the world differently. Like the colours, the same people we love become our worst nightmares; Time flies when we are doing something we love and it seems a drag when we hate doing something; Anger makes us oblivious to everything, shortens the breath and we can’t focus on anything except ourselves, while bliss makes us want to indulge in things around us, breathe with ease and lose ourselves in the act. 

Staying underwater for long is not comfortable for new divers. Its takes time to understand how to manoeuvre and handle ourselves. We are not born with this knowledge but it’s learnt. It’s obviously not a mandate to learn to be a diver, but I see more people challenging themselves and getting coached to be professional divers. Why are we not diving deep into our emotional needs as a person? Resisting the discomfort of new and defamed emotions will never get us through. Validation and judgements, try and scare us away from being open to feeling everything. If we want to learn how to manoeuvre and handle ourselves through every emotion, we have to dive deep. 

We should wish that better things happen to us, but if it doesn’t then we might as well, get to know ourselves in the worst. When the situation calls for you to feel sad, angry, remorseful, unsatisfied, guilty, fearful, hateful, pissed off, frustrated, irritated, anxious and all those under-the-carpet feels; you be ready to feel it, just as readily we want to feel the opposite. That for me is being vulnerable to yourself first. If you can face your emotions, you’re better placed to manage sharing it with others. 

If we all hide our feelings and don’t express it, we wouldn’t be any different from robots. Vulnerability is defined as – “exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” However, being vulnerable is credited to empowering you and giving you strength. Contradictory? The crux of it is that, if you have been through the drama; and know yourself through and through— you know you can handle the worst that will be thrown at you. Knowing that gives you confidence and strength to be bare and not hide any part of you. This comes only when you have experienced the feelings (that we resisted); let it come and let it go, leaving you a changed person. 

To all the Hit-and-Run drivers out there- the seriousness of not repeating a mistake, is felt only after being ashamed about it the first time? The fire and rage to fight all odds again, comes so easily when you have faced your failures. I was down with some illness for a month and recovery took another; which got me really weak and drained. I felt the emotion strongly at that point of time; angered and frustrated not having trained for two months. Getting back in the game after the frustration of two months couldn’t be more sweet. Let us allow ourselves to feeling everything we can, to diving in deeper waters only to come out, seeing the same lands with different eyes. 

This is from the last season of the Game of Thrones.
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Camp Out

I was in my single digit years where kids normally want to be treated older than their age. However, I was very content with, age not being a ‘thing’. My heart was like this butterfly fluttering at the slightest fragrance of fun, nature and outdoors. All this and my mind somehow felt stressed as years passed and I was meant to clock my hours at work, take up responsibility, be safe as a girl and not take risks by stepping out too much and basically “grow up”. I was physically growing up but mentally it was difficult to suddenly dissociate from this inner child in me who loves nature. 

It’s not that I was locked up by my circumstances but you could say I wasn’t getting outdoors as much. The only thing I cling on to and that keeps me sane is watching the sunrise every single day. Psychologically I tell myself one day the sun will rise, till then discipline and perseverance. So this weekend turned out to be a complete spinner. For many this would be normal and not a big deal, however, for me it was my FIRST CAMP EVER.

I put up a tent guys! You won’t believe, the tent even had my house number on it. When you are a hundred percent involved and immersed, the simplest thing can be extremely exciting. The ducks were immersed in their own dilemmas, walking to and fro. Ebony, Emma, Brunch, Snuffy and Nawab (The pet dogs of fellow campers) chased each other and splashed around in the pond to cool off from the drive. Nikhil, the most enthusiastic child I’ve ever seen, was neck deep with the pups and the brown colour of the water didn’t bother him. As children we don’t have much inhibitions I guess. We could be tossing the world in our hands and not be worried about the weight of its fears.

By evening there were a few groups chit chatting, settling in with Pakoda and chai. And then there was basically “do nothing” time. Sanya and family got the party started (in a very smirn off way) before restlessness got the better hand. Sudeep sang, played the mouth organ and guitar all simultaneously as we sat around the bonfire and eyed the barbeque every few seconds. Just some music, good people, food and stars; we don’t need too much and carry so much we don’t need, even emotionally.

As an ice-breaker we were supposed to sing along but we didn’t do any justice. Wonder if it was just hunger holding us back or adult-ing. The things that stops us gets toppled off like dominoes, with the fall of the first tile, which is Abolut-etly what every one waits for, to feel free. Though the barbecue had turned to disappointing fried pakodas, we were happily rambling on about everything under the roof and sky. So what is that magic ingredient that could make you loosen up 24/7; bring the child out in us? Can we be the talkative freaks we all are, without any catalysts (and Biras)? Or have we completely irreversibly lost the child in us in the everyday crowd of work and duties?

Half of them retired and the remaining soldiers lay down on the tarp sheet and counted down stars, arguing if the biggest star there, was a satellite or a planet. When was the last time you had this kind of an intense controversial conversation? I could hardly sleep on that and was up again at 5AM watching the Full moon set, right in time to catch the sunrise on the other side. We saw a few birds and their behaviour, tadpoles leaving circles in the pond as the came up for air together. This is it, it’s magical for me, like life was a blessing to experience. It’s the one purpose we are all born for, to relish this beauty with our eyes and leave behind a better world. 

Wound up with a long drive on beautiful scenic Mysore road. There was hardly any time to frown or whine about all the things that didn’t workout. Lacking any filters and speaking our minds; going all out, acting as per will and hardly cribbing— aren’t these the very traits we should retain as adults, or is that not a part of growing up? As I’m lying on my bed at home thinking about this weekend, this moment (now part of my reminiscing files) feels like a drop of water in a dessert. I could live with this memory for a good few weeks till it gets doused out by mundane routines. Going back to doing what I totally loved gave me a breath of new air, along with fresh perspectives. I don’t know about growing up but I’m definitely going to let my heart camp out on feeling like life is worth every beat.

Special mentions- Best company -Shrishti Choudhary (friend and niece, can drive beautifully)/ Camp leader- @aashishcrezi(great job),

organised by- you have to approach them for a camp to know what I am talking about.

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Of Borders and Lipsticks: a case on vulnerability

Recently I was in a situation where I was so attached to the person, in conversation and obsessed about the relationship that I didn’t realise who I was being. I’m normally so chatty that I don’t realise I’m completely exposed emotionally. I give away too much of myself and only realise after I’m ambushed and my ego is hurt. Why do they have this power over my emotional balance and how did just a few words seem so important?

I was giving way more than asked for. There is a reason why people started having borders in countries, a fence outside their compound, a door to be knocked to enter their house, and the most important things are locked away in a safe, you’d probably never have any access to. Why do we have these checkpoints and boundaries that we don’t want a few selected people to enter? Does revealing everything about you put you in a precarious position? Bingo!

When people know me through and through, it makes it easy for them to say things to me or behave in a way that they know or think will tick me off. I’ve given that away in the past about myself; showed that I’m angered by something they did. Knowing that about me gave them the remote-control of my mood. Knowledge is power, I guess. The cosmetic industry has capitalizing on the knowledge of our body image issues, making appearance everything that matters about us. Everything had to be covered up: our dark circles, spot marks and pale skins. If I’m wearing make-up when I’m out with you, may be I still haven’t found reasons to trust you completely. Don’t tell me it’s to feel good, because then I’d want to see people wear it all the time. We don’t want everyone to know our flaws, though we know everybody is flawed, how ironical.

“…often others see you as you see yourself.” The Palace of illusion, Page 9.

Does being an open book with everyone and revealing your insecurities make you vulnerable? Yes, it does, and this makes it tough to be yourself. Even letting people in wasn’t easy for me, I still fear that revealing myself completely would be taken advantage of. Not everyone can be trusted, with our secrets, failures, insecurities and even self-worth. So there are cover ups for everything today. You put up something you’re not. How we hide our insecurities has become an art, to save ourselves the trouble of facing rejection. How do you really be yourself if you’re constantly worried about being accepted? You accept that not everyone can love your flaws and give you that space to be yourself. A few people may not love you in that way; some people will even make you pay for your mistakes. It’s the hard truth, the world is still not a safe place to trust blindly with your deepest insecurities.

After the recent Sri Lanka and New Zealand attacks, our safety is questionable? We have our national boundaries and national security, what’s going wrong then? How are these attackers getting an opening into our holy places and allowed the power to shake our faith in our own? Mostly we were not alert and the checking system is relaxed. Could be an internal political weakness, that they took advantage of. Any mistake from the securities would not be forgiven. 

Internally, if we are at an emotional conflict and always self-doubting, it weakens our alertness. We are constantly anxious about how we are being perceived; blinding us to noticing others’ actions and behaviours. They may disprove and over-react and we oblige with it. Red flags go unnoticed, we forget to a step back and do things differently. This sad event has opened up, that if anyone has the power to unsettle your state, no one’s to be blamed but we ourselves. We have to know ourselves better to protect ourselves better. If someone loved you or their country and even this environment, they’d never take advantage of their vulnerability. It can only be a selfish act to attack. Vulnerability in the wrong hands costs us our self belief and security.

Being vulnerable in a relationship is inevitable sometimes. With the right people it gives you the freedom of being yourself and having that space to make mistakes. We can set healthy boundaries but we cannot be fake and be too cautious with everyone. If someone really loves you, they will not want to take advantage of you for opening up about yourself or kill you for being wrong.

They might take from you but they will not forget to contribute. If they do, it’s your job to communicate. Get here with all your relationships, communicate what’s okay for healthy relationship and what’s not. Self-worth becomes dangerous only if, at the cost of the relationship. It is “we” over “me”. If you don’t get that then trust me you’ll be a lonely chap inside, however hard you smile on the outside. Draw your lines on your bad ego, while setting boundaries for your healthy self-worth, if you have to protect what you have to. Other than that give yourself to others as the sun gives its warmth to our planet.

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Are you Breathing?

Einstein’s theory of relativity states that light travels in the same speed in vacuum and air. It is not affected by the speed at which the observer is travelling. Sun being a constant and the biggest source of light, we took our relative movement in comparison to the sun and invented TIME. Earth is revolving and rotating and doing its dance around the Sun and the sun stands and watches; it’s light spreading constantly in all directions. If I say I’m forty years old, relatively I have moved that many times around the Sun.

What if I did not want to measure my life based on earth’s orbital show. What if I wanted to measure my life based on other things, being completely oblivious to time? What is the one thing constant in our body? Sun is a source of energy and we have a source of energy inside us too. If sun is producing light which served as a constant and common measurement for the entire planet system, then breath is the common measurement for our body and its microorganisms; the source of life. How many breaths did you take in the last hour? I don’t think you noticed.

There are at least five or six times I catch myself not breathing, in the entire day. Mentally so occupied that my involuntary activities stop being involuntary. That’s one way my body tries to get attention— “Let’s stop breathing and see if she notices the work that goes in to keep her alive.” Does that happen to you? Or is it just me who is being played at?

There was a time when I was meditating regularly, now I’m just not doing it (No reasons attached). Back then, I had very few moments of thoughtlessness and it felt awesome. It’s like someone put me on standby. My breathing would flow effortlessly and it was just that. Existing for a few minutes, no judgement. 

What if we are born to do just that? Breathe and exist. We have all been trained to— “don’t just exist, live every second like it’s your last.” I see now why our dogs are not as stressed as we are. Hours of lounging around the living room, under the bed, under the dining table and at the door of the kitchen. We don’t do this kind of lounging. We are hustlers now, ruled by FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

There is cost we pay to hustle which is not being promoted as much. There is something called the flight-or-fight response and we are subconsciously always on fight mode. We are so used to putting ourselves through stressful situations that our body forgets to turn it off. The body’s response to stress is releasing hormones that help you fight; which has a tumble down effect. Increased heartbeat and breathing, rise in blood pressure and more glucose goes into the blood to release energy which helps us fight the situation. Answer to diabetes may be. 

So is meditation the answer? To escape this ‘Fire-in-the-Mountain-Run-Run-Run’ attitude to life. Hatha Yoga has taught me so much and this too — being conscious in movement and to slow down; simple. Slow is the new fast, relax is the new hustle, letting go is the new FOMO. I still remember Dj’s(My Yoga teacher) words “Flow like honey”. A simple thing like brushing your teeth, you could bring your mind completely to it. The bristles dragging on the surface of your enamel and slow it down. Or chewing consciously every bite, feeling the samosa getting crushed and making its way inside. Just like how they talk your body into relaxing in Shavasana; you need to do that with smaller activities throughout the day, everyday.

Mindfulness is just that, to slow down life and let seconds blur out into minutes, minutes into hours. Going about your day mindfully will improve your concentration, save your brain from burning out, help you make better decisions and your reflexes will be better, you will also have more reaction time to any given situation.

While for the sages in mountains, who have given up worldly ways of living, days don’t even measure into hours. They are not dependant on the earth dancing around the sun. Their mind is focusing on the breath and its flow. In a world without ‘Time’ a recipe would instruct‘time-taken’as 79 breaths; the delivery will be done in 300 breaths and you have been using your phone for 154960 breaths. Would that make you more conscious of the way you want to use your breaths? Being unaware of our last breath, makes it even more important to salvage each one of them. We may not be ready to leave for the mountains yet, till then we should stop glorifying being busy and keep checking on ourselves ‘am I breathing?’ 

Sometimes you should just be:

Evdy Bawdy Chillax Maan

I’m not saying meditation can now be evaded. We may not be able to sit and do it everyday, as diligently, so instead of chasing perfection just slow down. I even came across an exercise (picture) you can do in between work. It’s very effective and it’s like a quick charging when your battery is about to die. 

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Break That

I was in my teens, when it was five in the morning, still dark outside and suddenly I heard someone’s knuckles playing a band on the door of my cupboard (90s kids didn’t have the privilege of locking their rooms). I woke up irritated and it was my dad, I don’t know if he was secretly loving it, watching us groan. My siblings and I were unaware that this was going to be a regular for a lot of months to come. ‘Wake up and do what?’ — people ask me that even today. Workout. Run up the stairs and come down twenty times. Really, you can imagine our reactions when we saw the movie Dangal. 

I was the most frustrated when my dad said “You eat? You sleep? You go to school? Then you can make time to workout.” All my reasons lost to his words and do I thank my stars for it. He gave us the taste of waking up early and getting that engine started—like dark chocolate, black coffee or Beer. Something about acquired tastes, you keep going at it till you’re hooked. Either someone else is making you down it or its’ your own thirst kicking you. Now I don’t even put an alarm. Don’t need one; my desperate need to feel fit gets me up and running. 

While I was on this spree I did get the habit of watching the sunrise and hearing the birds when I’d reach the terrace. You would be shocked at how disciplined other creatures are. A Barbet (bird) would come everyday at the same time to watch the sun rise. Wait on the same tree. There are other birds who follow the same pattern even today. The ancient “cock-a-doodle-doo” of the rooster crowing strong even today; if you have pets at home you’ll know they are mostly more disciplined than us. Some habits can be innate behaviours and don’t need training. The one’s that need to be grilled into our routine are the real mosquitoes (they are the new bitches), right? How do you reach a point where you don’t break it and how do you crack a habit? 

Breaking it down: 

MAKE BETTER CHOICES: I read in this book “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg, that you need to replace old habits with new and better ones. From smoking to chewing gum was a huge fad. Basically jump from one wagon to another healthier one. You can be creative in your own way, if you have the habit of using your phone a lot, then make sure you call people instead of text that saves screen time. Making better choices is a way of starting.

BE EXTREEMLY PATIENT: 21/90 days rule- It works, I’m on the other side of so many habits that they’ve become a lifestyle and I don’t even remember how I got here. When people ask me how did you control sugar cravings, I don’t recall because its so much a part of me now. So wait till it becomes a part of your subconscious routine. Imagine everyday’s task or practice as sticks; the more sticks you gather the harder it is to break the habit. A few sticks can still be broken. You have to collect all the practicing and training. Some habits do die hard and could take more than twenty-one days. Its how desperately you want it, its not magic, you should want that over other things.

STICK IT WITH A REWARD: Sticking to them is where people fail, because it doesn’t feel rewarding until you see the results. Until the results come forth, keep alternate rewards for every task that you complete (repeat: Complete). Don’t we say “good boy” to our pet dogs when they’ve done something nice, or give them a treat if they move the way we want them to. Our animal instincts own us in this arena of life. I was a weekend binger until I started rewarding myself with healthy alternatives on any day, that I felt I did a good job. My reward for finishing the staircase workout: I would draw a hopscotch on my terrace and skip around a bit. The book mentioned earlier has the same concept. Rewarding can be really motivating and you get to figure out your own reward, isn’t that great?

PUMP YOURSELF UP: So when people ask me to motivate them, I’m really not in a place to answer because humans are subjective beings. I look at Massy Arias on Instagram and drool over (my mom thinks it disgusting to pack those muscles). To each their own. I even put her picture on my phone-screen display. You choose your own motivation. 

DON’T BE TOO STRICT: You don’t need to be a perfectionist. The stricter you are the faster you will bounce back. We are influenced emotionally and mentally by so many things today that we may not be motivated everyday. Tell yourself “It’s okay for now.” Being nice to yourself is a part of feeling motivated. We always listen to people who are nice to us, so start by being that nice person. 

DISCIPLINE IS THE MAGIC: In spite of small failures, just show up and do your best the next day and the next and even after that. There are going to be good days and then horrible days, where you give up altogether. It may feel like starting from scratch, be willing to do it. It may feel like you don’t have what it takes, still show up. Keep showing up everyday. That’s discipline, I’ve dissected it for you. Then subconsciously the brain starts understanding “She’s Muhammad Ali, she’s a fighter, she’s going to keep coming back, so lets just give her this bout.” 

The idea is to create space for the new habit not beat yourself into it. Be creative at rewarding yourself and just make sure it’s a reward less damaging and a habit worth keeping.

Other Reads:

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Light Up

Recently a friend of mine asked me, ‘how she can make her fiancé feel special by gifting something non materialistic’. I had so many ideas and immediately sent her a list of things.

After some hours (it doesn’t hit me instantly, I’m a little slow) I had an epiphany after an argument. Yes, it takes an argument sometimes to get those realisations (Disclaimer: Argue at your own risk). I felt I’ve given away too much of myself in most of my relationships. Sometimes we give and give and give and the show of love is no less.

I’m not self praising, getting to the point. I haven’t done anything nice for myself as diligently as I’ve done for others. The discipline with which we all want to please other people doesn’t come when we should make ourselves feel important. I think I take a back seat when I’m given some attention by someone other than myself. When it comes from outside I feel satiated and stop working on putting some of my love aside for myself. 

What is self love then? Doing fancy things for yourself? It is whatever sails your boat but keeps you sailing everyday, through rough seas and calm. For me it’s sometimes me-time, sometimes seeing faces I don’t see everyday, music, everything about nature, dancing around my mom, singing till my throat hurts and obviously a lot of things make me happy. We all know what makes us happy. We consciously don’t make time for those things everyday. 

It’s like the savings account we were told to open to create a habit of saving. Yeah sure it’s an investment but it’s a habit more importantly. Why make it a habit? Why not just do it when you feel like? Because attention is like money; if you don’t set aside some for later, you might end up spending all of it and you want to spend some on yourself too. Too much attention given is overwhelming, and you have no idea how the subconscious of the other person is going to take it. Im not suggesting we become self obsessed, but consciously divide some attention for yourself everyday.

It’s helped me a lot over the years practicing this. You must know you’re an important person in your own life and you deserve some love in any weather. You don’t have to depend on the seasons, you can churn some snow for yourself anytime you want because you’ve made it a habit. Create compartments and reserve one box of love for yourself. No matter what, that box will never go out of luck. Because you can always give yourself a reason to be grateful to be alive. (Book Rec.: “Man’s search of meaning” by Victor Frankl)

Time-out an old post of mine; I had written on rest and break. May be sometimes we just need that—doing nothing at all. However, a void tends to fill back up, when we get back to our lives. Its important to fill it up with some good feelings. Unless we feel good we cannot make others feel good. We will keep going out there expecting the world to fill that void. We need to wear our own masks before securing other’s even on the airplane. Why not clap for small efforts that we put into our daily tasks? Appreciate and show it by words and by doing nice things when we have accomplished something, however small or big. I was a mathematics fan in school and every time I solved a problem I would say “Clap for me everybody I got the answer.” I need to learn so much from the old me.

Starting small helps, may be look into the mirror and smile (yes you can be a little looney), have personal journals, small notes of praises, buy flowers (this one not my idea but works), take yourself out for a coffee, buy plants for yourself. Then go all manic and throw some imagination, may be make yourself a garden, start a blog, make huge plans for yourself without worrying about how you’ll do any of it. Show yourself that you’re well deserving of the things that keep you buzzing. It doesn’t even have to be perfect; sunrises are my thing and I’m almost always late by a few minutes. Even then you just have to show up, for something for yourself. Your mind needs to learn that you are your best cheerleader and your first love.

All this and you’ll never be worried about attention not coming from outside. You wouldn’t even need it most of the times. People may be rude, lash out on you sometimes; the world doesn’t change. You do. You become this light bulb, always shining bright and that lights back up immediately even if it flickers. Everyone wants some of your light, but make sure you stay lit for yourself first.

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The Craving

When I was in school I would see some of my classmates clambering to get the teacher’s eyes on her. It was such a rush if you were told to read or get a special mention for just saying something smart. In college just flickering your hair around a lot or being loud would get you popular enough. Contrastingly, I even saw people who were so comfortable they didn’t care if people didn’t even know their names till the third year of being in the same class. I was on the other end of the spectrum. Too shy and mostly thought popularity is too much effort and the bargain wouldn’t get me anything interesting. Entering a room and turning heads meant to me that I was wearing something too blingy or I had to pull my hoodie on. 

Guess what? Not all of us want to be the hero. Some despise the spotlight because it’s just plain embarrassing. The idea that everyone’s important and a part of a bigger act makes it unnecessary to be the lead role. Everyone’s a protagonist in their own life, why should I or anyone want to be the centre of attention? Why should everyone be looking at this one person entering? Subconsciously projecting movies, novels and stories on to real life; making superiority a prized possession. (Personally, I liked Ron as a character over Harry) 

The price we pay for wanting superiority is a constant seeking of approval of the majority. Not seeking approval is hard in a world where every brand endorses attention along with their products. The famous Asian Paints advertisement “Wah Sunil Babu naya Ghar”; when someone gets a new coat of paint, they not only get new looking walls, they grab attention. Some ads even feed on people’s insecurity which wasn’t even there before they advertised it. I mean really, asking the men: do you really want a thousand unknown women running behind your masked odour; than not need to mask anything in the first place? People actually love themselves, whatever the marketing agency tells them just messes with that. Really get down to what they’re selling you? It’s mostly something we can live without, using as a bait our worst insecurity and using that to mask their products.

The social media—the new billboards of marketing, wants you to want people’s attention. I recently noticed that Instagram, being the most popular, has some sly algorithm going on. It waits for you to want people to notice your post and then somehow ghosts it, so you pay them to get attention. How are they existing in the first place, if not for our accounts? There are a lot of videos discouraging people from using social media, that says it’s a way of getting the dopamine levels to go haywire. Attention seeking is a disorder and companies like Facebook and Instagram are supplements to this damaging condition.

Attention literally means ‘the regarding of someone or something as interesting or important.’

In the light of this, attention is not a negative word. Getting noticed for the right reasons is definitely normal. We are social beings and we want to feel a part of the herd; it’s in our natural instinct to want to be accepted. Doing things solely for the purpose of grabbing eyeballs is something else. 

The world doesn’t revolve around us and we are like any other creatures—that’s why I love ants. How they live, their community and attitude to life. If someone needs an ego check please introduce them to ants. Toiling like the world rests on their contribution, even if that contribution isn’t being talked about. They can be squished between our toes and we wouldn’t even realise; they don’t seem to have the time to worry about being noticed. The neck joint of a common American field ant can withstand pressures up to 5,000 times greater than its own body weight. I don’t see the need to glorify our lives.

Being accepted turned to seeking approval and then crossed the line and became ‘wanting limelight’. All this because leadership was being sold to people like hotcakes. “Don’t be a sheep, following the herd”, somehow meant each of us need to lead the rest of us. Everyone was being encouraged to run the race of leaders. Everyone with experience wants to start their own business, with shortage of experienced employees to work. Everyone wanted to be the trendsetter, sadly with paid followers. Too many individual opinions which needs to outshine the other’s. This is not feeling like you’re a part of something bigger. This dived us, individually leading us into the whirlpools of our own washbasins- everyone going nowhere. 

The problem is not that you shouldn’t want to be a leader, you should lead the way if you know it. The problem is, not realising, that contributing in anyway is as important as leading. The geese flying in a V-formation don’t let just one goose lead the entire time and tire out, while the one’s flying at the back of the line honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. This team work leads to 71% greater flying range. If we all work to contribute than to just lead; if we all cheer each other than wanting to always be praised and if we all appreciate being accepted than just seek out attention, we could work like ants without stopping to look who is looking.

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The Short and Tall of Things

Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted something desperately and someone you know is getting it? A car, a new phone, materialistic things, a vacation, a good friend, a great life partner, amazing parents (especially when you’ve been grounded by your folks), friendly boss, an enthusiastic team, great network, fame and the list of the neighbour’s grass is endless. All of this you covet and feel like you deserved but was denied by some injustice on god’s part. 

Insecurity can hit anyone, I have my own insecurities and as per situation they keep surprising me. Everytime I’ve felt jealous I’ve only brought my whole life to the value of a single peanut size against someone’s mountains of peanut butter jars (that’s gold FYI). Why do I do this? ‘What makes me do this?’ is a better question to ask. What makes me think pitching my life against her and him and Jaya, Priya and Rahul, is completely fine?

It doesn’t feel any good when I’m thinking that way. I am usually content with what I have, it’s just tough when someone comes at me with their shiny new sword and pokes it into my eye. Even then, I wanted to be free of feeling so caught up in devaluing my own life’s journey. Was there a way to not get anxious? Yes! Don’t compare! Hitha Chandrashekhar my college mate, also a leading Kanada actress, said to me “Try feeling happy for them and try to be a part of their happiness.” That tip was worth trying when you’re conscious of you ‘looking at things in a jealous way’.

How do we land up in this feeling of quicksand in the first place? Can’t we be content 24/7 even when someone is trying to burry us in their heaps of glories? What’s this need to be better than the other? Survival Instinct? Competition is a debatable topic, there are so many perspectives to it. It’s not worth it when children are told to compare grades, height, memory power, dancing skills, other “good child” syndrome symptoms with other classmates or siblings. Its not survival instinct to use your neighbour as a yardstick to be better—it’s greed instinct. 

Imagine a row of ladders, every ladder a different height. You keep looking at the other person’s ladder and which rung she or he has reached. This observation is okay if it’s not an obsession. If you get hypnotised here, you may have a longer ladder reaching the clouds but, you will never reach it because you need to be at your neighbours level to compete with them. A healthier outlook would be to remember where you started and see yourself reaching out to the next you. 

On my first ten kilometre run I learnt that you don’t see the ten kilometres as your target you set shorter goals. May be a light pole, a tree or a dog lounging at two hundred metres and then the next and so on. Gradually you cover the distance, divided in parts using stationery object; not something which is running along with you. May be set goals and keep your old self as a light post you just run past. 

You could even be on the receiving end of jealousy. Some people are so transparent you can see they’ve worn jealousy for make up. How do you not be rude and tell them they need a touch-up. Please don’t underplay, you’re not doing them a service by showing them a rosy world which doesn’t exist. Get real, hand them a tissue and ask them why don’t they feel happy for you?

Reality is raw but life mostly just turns out exactly what you tell your mind about how you want it to turn out. So if someone’s telling you, you’re short or too tall, dark or too white, worthless or too pompous, ask them “who are you pitching me against?”, because I’m perfect just by myself. I didn’t do this when my friend’s grandmom made us stand shoulder to shoulder to check who is taller. I know of a few tall people who’ve had pills to stop their height I can imagine the trauma they’ve gone through. 

If you’re being this grandma then stop traumatizing people or telling their minds they need to feel small. If someone’s doing that to you then drown their voices out by reminding yourself- ‘your journey is your journey and you’ll get to be the dark chocolate peanut butter when it is your time’. Apna time aaega! 

P.S.missed watching Gully Boy, anyone coming with me? 

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To Woman’s Day or To Human’s Day

In India a girl child first fought to be alive; she faced a gender test when she hadn’t even taken her first breath. Then she faced Child marriage; forced arrangements at an age she didn’t even understand what it is to get her first periods. She fought for the right to education and learning. She fought for a right to work and equal pay, even when she gave results at par with all other genders. Where are we today? Where do we stand today? 

Once an old lady told me “a car cannot run with all the wheels on the rear end. A woman needs to do a woman’s job and a man has to look at the finance.” She didn’t intend wrong; she just comes from a different world. I come from a world where, as a teenager, I was asked to write my aspirations in block letters. From where I see “We can never be exclusively just one part of the car, role reversal and #sharetheload is the new normal. 

The idea of a woman fighting for a man’s right, in my opinion, is another burden we are letting ourselves carry. A man’s right is not a benchmark; I don’t mind better. I want to rise above this farce of treating woman empowerment/feminism as a trending agenda to be in the news. We are far ahead of the times when we had to fight only for woman’s rights. Injustice doesn’t work only in the light of gender inequality. Not just GIRL power, start cheering for each and everyone you think who is doing a great job. While appreciating men doesn’t make you less of a feminist; what does waiting for someone to pull your own chair make you? “Chivalry” should be dead anyway, pull your own chair. 

@masabagupta being herself not just a feminist

Feminism ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” by definition. – a concept which is hogging all the limelight, shadowing all other inequalities in our society.

What about all the other gender inequalities, the discrimination based on colour and orientation? Where is the tolerance India? We are not only a country of vernacular languages and cultures, we need to accept all skin shades, accents, body shapes, regional differences in thought process, standard of living and lifestyle differences. You could be body shamed by someone of the same gender. We are racists in our ways. The way we judge each other has stratified our society on so many levels and dimensions that, it feels like, we as a society think like a messed up Rubik’s cube which no one wants to solve. Technology may have everyone connected; but sadly, not altruistic. 

@sweatyswetha inspiring people everyday

Once in college I had taken part in a fest, it was a finance event. My team mate (who barely knew my name) causally said “Arey you won’t understand all this, its not up to your capacity.” I could assume he was “mansplaining” but I didn’t ask ‘Why did you say that?’; I didn’t stand up for myself that day. We need to start talking, sharing and confronting instead of assuming. 

We need to ask small questions, like ‘why?’. Is it safe to go anywhere we want at any time? Why is a house-wives’ job unpaid? Why is there a gender-role anyway? “Oh lady Driver!”: a passing comment. Eventually rise above it and ask bigger questions— ‘How are you contributing to a safer world?’, ‘What is the real impact of an objectifying item song on the common Indian psychology?’, ‘Why is there not an item song with male actors?’ and ‘Why was there a Maggi ban and no cigarette ban?’. I don’t celebrate Woman’s day, because I don’t see a day for any other gender. Or is it just a pacifier in all its glory? What in the world is ladies’ night? Why isn’t there a Gentlemens’ night at clubs? Why ‘no Stag-entry’?

If you’ve seen the movie Manikarnika, it screams of the power a woman possessed and how she changed history. She wasn’t fighting for body shaming and body image. She was fighting for independence. You’re not a boon by just being a woman; you’re not entitled to fame and recognition just for being a woman. You have to rise to the occasion and cause a change to be celebrated. “Because you’re worth it” only makes me want L’oreal to answer this- “Is it because of my gender that you think I am worth something and not because of my choices, my character, my thoughts and everything that makes up a human being?”

Feminists can be stereotyping too. “All men are ….” is a statement we have all heard. When we make such general statements we are saying something about ourselves. Shows who you are. Don’t go by the trend. What is beyond feminism anyway? Equalist?— someone who believes in equality at all levels, in every form and way that if someone asks me who you are, or who I am, the answer is only one: I am HUMAN. See beyond gender, see beyond stereotyping. 


World No Tobacco Day 2019- 31st of MAY – THAT’S worth it!
(Smoky Fact:There are approximately 120 million smokers in India. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India is home to 12% of the world’s smokers. More than 10 million die each year due to tobacco in India.)