The nature of upset: How we choose and want to stay upset!

Jayadev did not like his colleague Bala because Bala would never share his work with others. Be it sharing about what he was working on or the work itself. Bala would finish his work and share it directly with his superiors. This set Jayadev off. In fact Jayadev hated Bala.

Days went by. Jayadev grew frustrated.

Step back and look at upsets. There are many kinds of upsets. There is the kind where you get sad, the kind where you are angry, the kind where you are heartbroken, the kind where you are depressed and so on. Many to list.

Whatever upset we are upset about, we want to get out of it.

In that direction, we are going to look at one kind of upset – the kind which takes too long to get out of, the kind when you don’t know why. This upset annoys because it persists. And its hell when you don’t know the reason.

After couple of weeks, Jayadev confronted Bala on his `misdoings`. Jayadev asked Bala – “Why are you not sharing your work with the team? Why are you keeping me in hostility?” Bala was surprised and shocked to hear this from Jayadev who was his close friend.

Bala replied “Nothing has changed. I am doing things the way I do normally.”

Jayadev didn’t like it.

That evening he went to meet his mentor. He shared how selfish Bala had been and other events in detail. His mentor listened to it all and finally asked –

“Tell me Jayadev – why are you really upset with Bala?“

And Jayadev repeated everything again. His mentor waited for him to finish and asked again –
“Jayadev, listen. I really want to hear the real reason!”

Confused, he left the place.

It was dark and he was walking alone in the deserted road. He started thinking.

His thoughts raced and then after sometime slowed down. After going through everything that had happened it hit him – Bala was always like this. Bala did what he did in this particular way. It was just his feelings that was not right.

So why was he upset?

Normally like Jayadev we stop there and continue to stay upset. This upset shows up for sometime, then goes, sits in one corner of the mind. Later becomes a pattern, then becomes a way of life. We think we have forgotten, but it rarely happens. Anything about Bala, Jayadev will always stay uncomfortable.

The nature: Upset is always the result of some kind of resistance, some kind of denial to what is.

There is your morality and there is you. When what is right (according to you) is not want you feel like doing or not what you are doing, then there is a fight. The internal fight. You are upset.

Creative commons photo by Jammie (https://www.flickr.com/photos/15609463@N03/)
Creative commons photo by Jammie (https://www.flickr.com/photos/15609463@N03/)

With both sides equally strong in the Tug of war, the center of the rope is a bad place to be. Tension will be at its peak. Your morality fights your nature. Your morality does not wants to see the ugly truth.

Morality is about right and wrong. We are in that horizon more often than we think. And I think I understand and probably would be better at talking about morality. But it is hard to think about and talk about nature.

You see, the problem is of the morality. The idea of right and wrong becomes your idea and your identity. Your natural being is clouded by the right/wrong.

Your strong attachment to what is right against what your nature is, limits you.

Nature does not know the correctness or the wrongness of the matter, it simply is. It simply exhibits what it exhibits. This to many of us is a problem because we don’t understand it. And the more we try to understand it, the more stronger is our inclination to fix the right and the wrong. Back again to morality.

The above paragraph is ambigous and could not be understood. Because that is what it is. Natural with no `right` understanding.

And if you haven’t yet figured out – Jayadev was jealous of Bala and instead of looking at it and finding himself at fault, he saw faults in Bala.

Jayadev getting jealous of Bala – is it wrong? No. Unnecessary, but definitely not wrong. Because that was Jayadev’s nature. He felt jealous. Period. Nothing right or wrong about it. And Jayadev’s idea that it is wrong to feel jealous is the entire problem.

The purpose of this blog

That one reason why I do everything I do has always been my consideration that I am the center of the universe. That makes me lie, that makes me twist people I talk to, twist the posts I write, fake and what not. Just so that I get to be at the center and get to be important and get to not look bad.

In that context blogging is so amazing for me. There is proof about my lies, my manipulations, my inauthenticities.

Every post for me is about peeling off that layer of inauthenticity and moving ahead towards a liberated, lighter form of myself. This free space that gets created is for everyone to see me as me and that is all this blog is about.

Declaring my goals for the next year

Declare

Couple of days after I quit my job, couple of years ago, I said I want to live a life without goals. I tried it and it did not work. It actually would have worked I guess. The correct statement would be – I did not make it work. It turned out be an unfulfilling venture. But, hey, in my defense I learnt many things about myself, like they talk about discovering yourself and stuff. My breakthrough learning about myself was that I didn’t like getting committed to anything. I confused living without goals for not being committed to something. Given my extremely high ambitions I couldn’t stick to something deciding that I am missing out on other things. Not sticking to something long enough kept me hanging and always in the waiting mode for the next better thing to do. People around me observed it. They tried telling but I wouldn’t listen.

And then it is today..

Without commitment there is no contribution. Without reaching the end of what you said you would there is no point in talking about success or failure. So today I declare. I declare what I am going to do for the next 365 days what specific things that I am going to produce. Think of this like the annual goal setting exercise except that this is a lot more personal. I am going to try to make this a list of things that are important to me.

I am scared that I am doing this in public. It makes me accountable, yet powerful!

Here is my specific ambitious yet achievable list –

  1. Writing: Given I am my best critic, this is known to grow me, known to challenge me. The best of successful people are writers. Writing clarifies thoughts. It clarifies life. Simplifies life. Helps you become a good communicator. You are better equipped at listening to people. Irony is that knowing all these advantages has not helped me write enough.
    So my declaration: I will publish 100 articles on my blog in the next 52 weeks.
  2. Making videos: The art of crafting, editing, bringing together music with the images and videos. It really excites me. My knowing of it exciting me has made no difference.
    So my declaration: I will publish 10 videos in 52 weeks on my youtube channel.
  3. Reading: I am a slow reader. Attention span has drastically reduced. Not doing much of reading. How about I become a cause in it and read?
    So my declaration: Read 20 books in 52 weeks
  4. Business: This is something that I have been avoiding to start for no reason.
    So my declaration: Start and run a profitable business
  5. Education: Learning and teaching excites. I have been having this idea of writing a book about programming. But have not made effort to really write it.
    My declaration: Complete the first draft in 52 weeks
  6. Travel: This is something that I have not done enough.
    My declaration: Travel 1 foreign country, 5 states apart from Karnataka, at least 10 districts in Karnataka in the next 52 weeks.
  7. Music: I love music and somehow feel that I could create great music.
    My declaration: Compose a song by end of 52 weeks
  8. Money: Though money is idealized as something that is worldly-kind and all, but right now I feel I don’t have enough of it and it is something that I need. I need it so that I can stop worrying about it.
    My declaration: Save up an amount of Rs 20lakhs at end of 52 weeks.

Huff, this looks like a lot of things to achieve this next year. And this list I must say, is not a try list, it is the list which is going to dictate my life. No matter what. I repeat, no matter what!

Hereby, I declare.

And the universe is saying – so be it!

Surviving 2 Years of Business in India

This is an article written by this guy that I respect a lot – Sameer. I am reblogging this from his website. Two reasons (a) I want everyone to not miss this (b) I think this will add a lot of value here. So here goes Sameer
—-
Of all the things I have done after my graduation; founding, running a business and sticking to it for a sensible amount of time is one of the greatest achievements that I have done so far. I am a co-founder of an Interior Furniture Manufacturing firm Bonito Designs which has been providing interior products for the past year and a half. I can happily say that the business is flourishing and has been growing at every opportunity.

Before Bonito Designs, I used to do internet marketing and owned web properties; before which I worked at Motorola and parallely ran a Tuition Agency to provide kids with qualified tutors. In between somewhere I was a real-estate agent too I guess; and a few times freelance writer.

Having done all of the above; there are these common threads that connect them all together and makes them work the way they do. Hang on to these and you will see yourselves sailing the wind of uncertainty; be it any business.

Tuning to a more specific frequency; I’m going to share with you what it is to be a business owner in India. What it takes to create and run a business in profit. Pick up whatever business you like; and do the following to ensure your survival.

Nobody gives a shit about your business

Having gathered balls to quit your job and to be pursuing the long awaited passion of yours; you might expect a plenty of back pats, congrats, praises and appreciations… Expect none. Cos nobody gives a shit unless you are an overwhelming success/failure. Dig your head two feet in your work and never look up.

Family is your first hurdle


If you are planning on telling your business idea to your family or sharing the happiness of resignation from your job; Dont!. Believe it or not, the very first villain for your business will not be wearing a black leather jacket with ugly look on face.. Its gonna be your girlfriend, your mom, dad or brother or sister or your entire family. You are even more stupid if you are asking them for advice. They will eventually accept the decisions you take. Just give them time.

Your idea is worth nothing when you start


You might be sitting on a possible cure for cancer. But unless you have figured it out already it has absolutely zero value. The idea alone without execution will not even sell for peanuts. So dont sit there plotting graphs, filling up excel sheets, drawing charts and piling up bookmarks. Its what you do with the limited resources and the kind of results you pull off are the things which interests possible investors.. Execution is what goes to show your mettle in the real world.. And your mettle is what an investor invests in.. And not the idea alone.

There is no ‘mahurtham’ for your venture


There was no ‘right’ time and there will never be.. Sitting there in the cubicle if you are praying for stars to align, or to gather that magical amount of money to start off or waiting for that ‘experience’ to come by.. Just remember; with the passing time, your commitments and problems will only increase. So there is no perfect time for what you want to do. Its the time when you decide and say “chuck this.. Let’s get it started.”

Become a Faker and get cracking with those first sales


You don’t have to have ACified wall cladded five star office to pull in sales.. The first sales of any startup can always happen from a coffee shop. You wouldn’t believe for Bonito designs, we closed first few sales with my home address set as office address. “Sir we are renovating”, “Sir our office is currently occupied”, “Sir We still have to receive internet connection at office” and what not are the reasons that we have given to our customers just to have that discussion in a coffee joint and skip showing them our office which was basically my home with 3 bean bags thrown in. So stop giving bull shit reasons like “I need to register for running a business”, “I need a website to be launched for my business”, “I don’t have the necessary experience yet..”, “Why would people pay me if I don’t have an office”.

Reverse engineering investment – Fetching from market


After we friends decided to start off a manufacturing plant; there isn’t a single business magazine that we haven’t read and not a single Govt run SMB institute that we haven’t visited in order procure funding for our idea. Not only that, we approached numerous so called ‘investors’ with our idea with a hope that we’d raise an amount of Rs. 25 Lakh which would cover our Manpower needs, machine, rent, registrations etc. That funding never ever came; and almost half of it was coughed up by our own pockets which we had saved up from our job.

  • Banks will not give you loan unless you have an ITR of 2 years (by when you would bloody not require any loan from anybody)
  • Investors are interested to see sales; and numbers which won’t happen unless you get the capital.
  • Once you quit your job; Banks won’t even provide loan on your properties (lands, home, vehicle) unless you have salaries going on. (Mortgage won’t work without a solid third party assurance).

Probably the above will be the 80% of the reason why a lot of young start-up will collapse even before they get started. Trust me; 2 years down the line; the very amount is a meaningless sum that exchanges hands from your firm to another. This is the very first hurdle that you need to get across all by yourself. So the lesson as below..

Get Funded from Market. Its as simple as that. Its always a good idea to get started in a consultancy model as the cashflow happens faster and you have high chances of receiving cash advance for your orders which you can utilize as a temporary investment unless you receive further orders whose cash can be rotated.

Survival Mode – Taking up all that comes to you


Just have it in the corner of your mind that you are starting as a low level scavenging parasite in the business world (no-offence) and how much ever you think you know about business; you still have thousands of things to learn about nuts and bolts of doing business; so for god’s sake get started with whichever small order you get and start rotating cash. Not only does it help you with the running capital but it also gives you that practical learning edge which you can NEVER EVER receive from an institute about doing Business; so when you are placing bigger bets in the future; you know what to bet on for sure.

Cutting the advertising slack – Kick Justdial, Sulekha, AskLaila and everything else in the face


As soon as you have your phone numbers on classified sites or on your own website; the very first call will not be from a customer for a query or from your friend to congratulate you. It will be from one of the sites above. Just a note from my end here. “These don’t work for you when you want them to; with the budget that you have”. We refrained from doing a paid advert on these websites; and as much as they make you feel that they are an indispensable tool for your business to survive; you still will flourish. Even to-date we haven’t advertised on these. Go for PPC campaigns on AdWords and Facebook and start with the amounts that you are comfortable with.

Forget you are the boss


Before I go in detail about this; I highly suggest you read this book a title=”E-Myth” a by Michael Gerber. This tells you how to visualize your entire organization like a fortune 500 company and yet how you need to slog your ass of the way a daily wage labor does in a construction site; for your company to see the light of the day.

When you start up; you are the security guard, you are the coolie, you are the cleaner and janitor. Don’t shy away from even a single task; as there will be times when you will have sufficient money but no people to get the job done and the job NEEDs to be done in a business. Me & my partners almost got perfect biceps as we had started unloading plywood of 30 kgs each and 50 sheets almost every 3 day as we didn’t have labor when we started; we then would go back and work on the laptop. Each of us did every imaginable task that had to be done to provide the customer with the promised product/service and throughout we learnt so much that none of the employee could fake his/her work and it gave us this amazing scale with which we could not only teach our employees but also appreciate them right in time when they did an amazing job.

Everything is a problem when you start.. So forget about targeting perfection


Oh… how would I tell you about this little dialogue that I keep hearing from so many of my friends who aspire to to become a great businessman. They keep telling me “I’m just trying to perfect this; its just across the corner, I will get this done and make it public”, “I’m learning this; I’m almost complete, and as soon as I’m done I will startup”, “I’m waiting for a perfect idea”.

There is nothing called perfect and as Seth Godin says in almost every book of his; emstart shipping; start delivering them. Get started; Its a journey towards perfection and you can’t achieve perfection unless you haven’t figured out all the mistakes that could happen along the way :)

Evading the Taxmen, Chanda Collectors, Chakkas, Sanghas and Samitis


Roll your shop shutter up and you’d have at least one of the above people standing to suck your pocket inside out. They don’t care if your Q3 sucked and you aren’t yet done sobbing; they don’t care if you have mortgaged your only home to come up with this business; and they never will. You can never fight these people; you fight and they keep coming back in hordes. This is what you can do.

Evade.

When they show up; just remain calm and say that “Boss is not here Boss”. This is the reason why I always have my old disconnected number handy so that it is always switched off or not reachable. Ring that up and ask them to come back later. We have an old saying in Kannada which goes like this.. “Beeso Donne Tappisikondre Nooru Varsha Aayassu”. Evade that donne :)

Don’t you dare Delegate


Once you have gone through the book I mentioned above.. It will be more and more clear to you that the first thing you shouldn’t be doing in your early days of business is Delegate. Consider your employees as infants who need to be taught how to walk before you expect them to work. When you yourselves aren’t clear with the type of responsibilities that he must be doing, you can’t expect them to take them helm the very first day. So never ever start by saying “Get this done”, you always say “Let’s get this done” and by that they know that you have their back when they do it.

Pampering Yourself is a Must


“Love Yourself” is the first statement that any self-help leader or motivational speaker gives. It has its own benefits and is the ultimatum in personal happiness. Whatever you do all day; if you aren’t happy by the end of day, all that you did was in vain. So go out; pamper yourself a bit; buy something that you love; go watch a movie or two if you like doing that, get yourself a pedicure or manicure, dance to death in a pub. You have earned it. Don’t be crumbled by those expenses; it might be hard for you to afford those luxuries sometimes; but it is going to come back in multi folds when you work even harder the next day.

Labor Pain


There is no bigger pain in business than the ‘labor pain’; the acute pain your labor force will give you if your business involves works that needs to be done by labor. You don’t have a degree in this world which shall teach you how to handle labor well and efficiently, in fact if you have learnt to do this; you could bloody do any business in the entire world as this is the force that constitutes 70% world population and is the force that gets things done. This is the force that got the Taj Mahal done, Egypt Pyramids and Hanging gardens of Babylon.

You might think that its the money that gets the labor moving. You are grossly mistaken. They look for compassion, leadership and trust in their owner. You should be harsh and strict on them, you should also end up shouting on them badly when things aren’t going your way; but also treat them when they get a job done nicely, offer them bonuses in time before they ask, get them that biryani and eat along with them when they would have worked all day long and yet work more till midnight cos you said that work was to be done urgently. These are the people who value family more than money; and the moment they consider you family, you shall fulfill all responsibilities of a family without them asking.

You’ll get kicked, jabbed, badmouthed, bad reviewed, pushed – but never be not humble


Even though I’m not from an interior design background; I loved doing interiors as I was much more careful with everything I did and there were lesser chance of mistakes as I was never careless. I did a lot of designs which my customers fell in love with. There was this one customer who had a small space that need to be designed and her requirements couldn’t fit in her given space. I pointed out to her that I could very well accept to do that but it will not only be an expense on her end; but it will end up ruining an already perfect space. But she insisted that she needed it; and ultimately I had to refund their fees as I just couldn’t accept something that I strongly felt wasn’t right to do. There was good debate while all this happened and there were good chances of conversation ending up badly; but I conveyed what I believed and both of us departed ways with a smile on face.

You will make mistakes – and you will learn from it. Many a number of times, the customer is the one who is funding those mistakes. When we do business; we always have at the back of our mind. We have done gross mistakes in our early days but what we know for sure is, being honest with your mistakes with your customers will not only clear your mind for better things, but will also serve for a longer and better relationship with your customer. They will hate you for doing that mistake, but they love you forever for having admitted and corrected it; and these are the truest evangelist you could ever get for your business which even money can’t buy.

I’ve been there in that firing spot where I knew it was my mistake and I could have avoided it with little care and I would go stand in front of the customer with a puppy face and say “Sir I know its my mistake, and I’ll get it rectified” and in many cases the cost for fixing isn’t as much you would think it is. And to be honest; it will NEVER EVER work if you try to convince/promote your mistake as the intended final result.

Go make a family out of strangers and see how you discover fame and money are the last thing you will want out of your venture.

Thank you Sameer for being who you are.

Find the original article here

How influential your family should be in making YOUR choices?

Below is a 10 minute family discussion. I saw this happen, yesterday, in an episode of a famous TV series.

This conversation is about choices.

Walt has lung cancer. A middle aged family man, a non-smoker, a chemistry genius teaching at a high school, has a son with impaired legs. His not-so-well paying job and his son’s condition add to the heap of financial woes of his family.

They say, when a catastrophic event hits you, you change. Significantly. The day Walt got to know about his condition he changed. This change in behavior, in his activities, the choices he made against all the conventions stood out. His family was frustrated by it. They dint like the new Walt. They wanted him to remain the same.

His wife Skyler, a nice lady, after a lot of effort gets an appointment with a top doctor in the country for the treatment. The chemotherapy treatment, as the doctor says, is more about surviving. Plus the ton of side effects with it.

He decides against the treatment. His wife is devastated. She simply can’t believe why he would do such a thing.

Tension is in the air. It gets harder by day for his wife Skyler and son Walt Jr. To deal with this ‘unacceptable situation’ his wife asks his sister and her husband to join her for a family meeting! Where everybody gets to say their opinion and discuss.

Next evening, everybody (Walt’s wife Skyler, his son Walt Jr, Skyler’s sister Marie and her husband Hank) are waiting in the living room for Walt to arrive. Around 8PM he enters the house and is surprised to see everybody sitting around. He is slightly taken aback.

Walt

Skyler looks at him and sternly says – “Walt, please have your seat and join us”.

He sits.

With a pillow in her hand – “I really need to understand your thought process… because clearly I don’t… I feel that this decision you’ve made is…. not only, not in your best interest …. it’s not in the best interest of our entire family.”

Walt interrupts “Look Skyler…”, but he is not allowed to.

Sklyer – “Not yet, please…. I.. I have the talking pillow. Everybody gets to speak their minds.. Remember.. And then you’ll get your chance.”

SkylerSkyler

“Money has always been an issue for us, I’ll give you that. But now that Elliot is more than willing to pitch in…”

“Walt, I know, I understand that it’s hard for you to accept help. Maybe it’s the way you were raised. But honey… it’s okay to lean on people now and again.”

“You need this treatment. And nothing can stop you from getting it… except you.”

There is silence. Mr Walt waits. Silence…

He calmly starts – “Am I allowed to respond?…”
“In a minute” – his wife snaps back – ” I think we need to go around the circle first. Hank would you like to start?”

Hank – “Yeah.. Okay, well.. What I would say is.. ”

Skyler interrupts – “Here.. Take the talking pillow.. ” and hands it over to Hank.

He takes it and begins to talk – “All right, look, buddy.. I know I don’t get to tell you this enough, but I care about you. A hell of a lot.. And this cancer thing .. Lets just.. Let’s face it, you know, you were dealt a shit hand. But.. sometimes your luck can change.. I mean.. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I was.. I started with a shit hand.. and I ended up with a full house.. Okay? I mean, the key is you gotta hang in there.. Man, you gotta keep placing your bets, keep placing your bets.. Boom..”

Hank’s wife Marie – “Hank.. what the hell are you saying?”. Skyler, Marie’s sister comes to Hank’s support to say “Please, Marie, let him talk. That’s what we’re here to do. Please. Go on Hank..”

HankHank

Hank – “Alright, look at it this way, okay? It’s bottom of the ninth, bases are loaded.. you’re up. But you’ve gotta bum arm, right? There’s no fricking way, you’re gonna hit a homer, okay? So you can either let the pinch hitter take the bat.. or you can hold on to your pride and lose the game. You get what I’m saying? ”

Walt – “No”

Hank – “You’ve got your pride, man. I get it, okay? I get it. But this Daddy Warbucks wants to chip in, man. I’m with your old lady on this one. I say take the money and run, man.”

A pause..

“Somebody want to take this thing? Here.. ” – Hank holds the pillow for someone else. He passes it on to Walt Jr.

Skyler – “Yes.. Walter.. Walter, Jr., I’m sure you’ve gotta million things to say, probably. And now is your chance. Go ahead. Just let it all out.”

Walt Jr – “This is bullshit”

Walt – “All right, come on”

Skyler – “It’s alright. Talk. Tell your dad how you feel.”

Walt Jr – “I’m pissed off..”

Skyler points to her husband and says – “Tell him. ”

Looking at his dad Walt Jr, – “I’m pissed off. Because you’re being.. You’re .. You’re a pussy.. You’re, like, ready to give up. You’re… God.. What if you gave up on me, huh?”

Walt JrWalt Jr

“This here..” holding his leg support sticks, “.. all the stuff I’ve been through.. and you’re scared of a little chemotherapy?”

A pause..

MarieMarie

Now, Marie takes the pillow from Walt Jr. She says – “Me, personally .. I think you should do whatever you wanna do. ”

Skyler is shocked – “What?!”

Marie – “You told us to be honest about our feelings. Walt’s the one with cancer. It’s his decision. It’s not up to any of us.”

Skyler – “Why in the hell would you say such a thing? ”

Hank’s wife Marie – “Hey, Hey…. I wasn’t planning on agreeing with Walt. But after sitting here and listening to you all talk about his future.. like he has no say in it.. I just think.. ”

Skyler snaps back – “He’s not gonna have a future.. if he doesn’t get treatment..”

Marie – “I’m a medical professional. I x-ray people in treatment everyday. I see them everyday. And you know what? Some of them are absolutely miserable. I’m sorry, but it’s true.”

“And some of them don’t wanna spend their last weeks or months .. being picked at by doctors.. But they got talked into it by their families.”

Hank – ” Can I get the pillow back? Because I agree with Marie here”

Marie – “Thank you”

Skyler – “Hank!”

Hank – “What? Maybe, Walt wants to die like a man, alright. ”

Skyler shouts – “I don’t want him to die at all. That’s the whole point of this. So either help or leave. ”

Marie – “Skyler, I just wanted to do you the courtesy of giving you my honest opinion”

Skyler – “You know Marie, this is not a debate club. This is my husband’s life”

There is a war of words between the women in the room, Skyler and Marie, when finally, Walt intervenes with a loud whistle and stops it.

He starts in anger – “All right, I’ve got the talking pillow now. Okay?”

He exhales and calms down. “We all, in this room .. we love each other. We want what’s best for each other.. and I know that. I’m very thankful for that. But what I want.. What I want, what I need.. is a choice.. ”

Sklyer – “What does that mean?”

Walt – “Sometimes I feel like I never actually.. make any of my own choices.. I mean.. My entire life.. It just seems I never.. you know, had a real say about any of it. Now this last one, cancer.. all I have left is how I choose to approach this. ”

Skyler – “Then make the right choice Walt. You’re not the only one it affects. What about your son? Don’t you wanna see your daughter grow up? I just.. ”

A pause..

His heart is heavy, tears in his eyes, Walt says – “Of course I do.”

“Skyler you’ve read the statistics, you.. These doctors.. talking about “surviving”.. one year.. two years.. like its the only thing that matters.”

“But what good it is just to survive if I am too sick to work?….To enjoy a meal? .. To make love?”

WaltWalt

“For what time I’ve left.. I wanna live in my own house.. I wanna sleep in my own bed.. I don’t wanna choke down 30 or 40 pills every single day… and loose my hair.. and lie around too tired to get up.. and so nauseated that I can’t even move my head.. And you.. cleaning up after me.”
“And me? What?.. Some .. Some dead man.. artificially- alive .. Just marking time.. ”
“No .. No.. And that’s how you would remember me. That’s the worst part. ”

“So that is my thought process, Skyler. I’m sorry.. I just…”

“I choose not to do it.”

Knowing that this is the last time you will ever

OMG, such a long post I’ve written, after such a long long time. A documentary. Over 1600 words :O

LastTime

I play badminton on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On that day, we were two of us so we had to play singles. Rigorous matches, one after another. It was a one hour slot and I barely lasted 40 minutes. The ride on my way back to home, was unusually chilly. I felt cold, the kind where you know fever is waiting to happen. I passed 2 hours in sleep. Waking up I see that weakness hadn’t gone and the body was dissipating heat. Fever was on.

This past one and half year (from the day I started my exploring journey) I had decided against taking medicine for ‘non-life-threatening’ ailments. Body is supposed to be able to handle such kind simple invasions and take care of itself. Ain’t it?

Who the hell am ‘I’ to intervene in its natural healing process anyway? I pushed the next two days without any medication. Weakness increased. Appetite reduced. Fever was still on. My mom was down with fever too with similar kind of symptoms. There were rumors of dengue in Bangalore. Add to it the high density of mosquitoes in my residential area, it was likely that me and mom were infected. Dengue had claimed one life in our family last year. So I decided to give a break to my resolution to ‘let the body heal’ thing and we went to meet a physician.

After talking to us, the physician advised my mom to go undergo a few tests, to me he prescribed some medicines. I was asked to visit again if my fever and weakness don’t reduce in two days. Weakness did not reduce much the next day, nor did the fever. In her tests, my mother was diagnosed positive for dengue. This increased my fear. My desperate self dragged me to the lab and had my tests done. Lab reports showed I was infected. The platelet count was 1.15 lakh/mcL (Normal: 1.5lakh to 4 lakh/mcL). One symptom of dengue is the platelet count decreases. It decreases and decreases until the body fights back and immunity takes control to increase it or decreases and decreases until the patient dies.

Next day I visit the doctor again, this time with the test reports.

“If your platelet count further decreases and you feel weaker, then get admitted” he said. I get my tests done again. The platelet count drops further to 96k/mcL.

I was feeling weak. Apart from my need to go to loo, my body did not want to get out of the bed. I did not want to talk, nor move, nor eat. I preferred isolation and wanted people to let me be. I was dizzy and would call it a puking mode where every step you walk the world turns around and it would not stop doing that until you puke. I was not feeling good.

Around 9PM, we decided to get me admitted to the hospital. I was monitored in the emergency room. They checked my BP, body temperature and once again samples of my blood was taken to check the platelet count. After two hours of waiting in the emergency room around these scary noise making tall machines, the test reports arrived. It showed my platelet count dropped further to 89k/mcL. The attending doctor waved the green flag for the admission. I slept that night in the hospital room feeling weak and tired.

Day 1 (Hospital)
After breakfast, a smart middle aged doctor visits me. He asks me a lot of questions about my condition. I answer them all.

After I was done, he takes a moment and says:
“There is no medicine for dengue. You are here so that it is easy to monitor you. No doctor anywhere in the world knows how the dengue virus or the platelets behave. So we will monitor you. These drips will be your lifeline. These should be running 24*7. Drink lots of water. We will not transfuse blood unless absolutely required. We will wait till the platelet count goes to 10k. And even if goes to that, we might decide against any transfusion”

I was unaware of the fact that there existed no treatment for dengue and this doctor tells it to me like it is no big deal. I was shocked as hell!

Thankfully, three good friends Chethan, Arun and Vinod were with me while all this was happening. Dividing the day in 3 parts they took turns to come down and be with me. They forced me to eat, to drink, loads of fruits and tons of liters of water. So much so that – there was no hour in the day where I didn’t feel like my bladder was going to explode. Every 30 minutes I had to go to the loo to empty it. As I had to be 24*7 on drips, I had to call the hospital staff to unplug or plug the drips for me when I had to go to or done with the loo respectively.

I hated the drips. It restricted all movement. But hey it was my lifeline, so no breaking rules here. Since I had to wait for the nurse to come for the unplugging when I needed to go to loo, she being busy at the same time with another patient was a problem. I’d have to wait and my stomach would hurt. For god’s sake I had to let go 10 liters from my 1 liter bladder. Imagine the pressure!

Day 2 (Hospital)
The results of the previous evening’s tests arrived. Count had reduced to 76k. Another sample of blood was taken. This cycle of calling the nurse for unplugging and plugging every 30 mins continued on Day 2. Blood samples were taken again that evening. Even though I was feeling better and was able to eat better this day – the platelet count for the morning’ samples had reduced. 64k/mcL. It was not a good news. Commenting on my latest drop in platelet count nurse said “Probably you are worried and hence it is reducing. Don’t worry too much and it will be fine.”

This was exactly when I started worrying. Dad was not in the town. My mom was sick and my brother was taking care of her. And none of my friends around too. I was alone.

Fear, depression, anxiety in your loneliness sets panic. Not a good place to be in when you are alone.

It was probable that I could die.

Remember those review meetings where your manager will tell 21 good things about you, but you end up worrying about that one thing she told you could improve. I was young, healthy with good food habits, and healthy body. And yet I was thinking of dying. My mom was not hospitalized and her platelet count was increasing. For her age her immunity was better than me. This got me thinking that there definitely must be something wrong with me.

The thought that you are going to breath your last very soon and there is nothing you can do is an uneasy feeling, a scary one. Day in day out, every moment: with the chaos around all we look for is control and then you see that there is this event called death and this bloody event will just take everything away from you and you can’t control it. Damn! Such a terrible feeling.

For terminally ill patients, they say a patient will go through 5 stages to death

  1. Denial and Isolation
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

I probably cried thinking about this. My heart was heavy and I tried to breathe deeper.

Someone once told me this – If you ever feel anxious close your eyes and breathe deep. I sat on my bed and just did that. I probably continued doing that for 2-3 minutes. While I was breathing I recalled something that I read in a book, “The air that goes inside and comes out is the proof of connection, connection with the whole, the universe. You are a part of the whole. You are the same. Inhaling and exhaling is simply the closing and opening of the door of your connection to the whole.”

I started feeling better. I put on the earphones that my friend Arun thoughtfully left for me to use. I was listening to Losing Love by Dexter. Every moment seemed magical. I was smiling alone.

At peace.

Next morning (Day 3), the results for the previous day’s samples said the count was 83k. It had increased. I was feeling better. I was able to eat well. I knew the count will increase from then on and it did. These two guys had saved my life. I so much owe to them.

VinodHeavy (Vinod)
ArunChinka (Arun)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you guys.

We associate death with pain. Fear of pain is hardwired. Thus it makes us fear death. Or just the thought that we will never ever be able to live again, never be able to eat ice cream again, never love again, never see my mother again.

I fear pain. But I’m grateful to the unknown force that for the briefest of moments got me to accept death. It was not the helpless-unable-to-anything-giving-up acceptance but the I-accept-this-now acceptance.

If you could as Geetha says truly truly believe that
“You are the ocean, there is nothing to possess because everything belongs to you. There is nothing to lose and nothing to acquire”,
then making peace with death is possible.

If not today, some day I will be no more. There will be a moment in my life when I will never see my mother again, never be able say I love you, never eat ice cream. Similarly in yours. This is certain. So then, why worry? Well, I am not worried. I am learning to make peace. And when you begin to learn it, you learn to enjoy every moment and life gets more beautiful!

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain but for the heart to conquer it.
Let me not look for allies in life’s battlefield but to my own strength.
Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved but hope for the patience to win my freedom.
Grant me that I may not be a coward, feeling your mercy in my success alone; but let me find the grasp of your hand in my failure.

RABINDRANATH TAGORE,
Fruit-Gathering

Slowly getting into the zone of flow

I don’t like to be on the receiving end of advice.

On the contrary, my ego wouldn’t mind preaching.

The fact that I know this about me, makes me conscious about stripping out anything that sounds preachy from my writing.

I like telling my story, my struggles, my adventures, my analysis, my inspirations, my lifestyle and my reasons for them but not preachy stuff. The reason for having not written for the past two months is – I din’t have anything worth sharing. Instead I spent time doing work that inspired me.

Last two months have been good. I am saying this with a blissful Buddha like smile.

Govt school teacher

Four months ago I started teaching the 6th standard kids at a Govt School near my place. 2hours a day, 3 days a week. The students know me as a sir who brings his laptop to show videos of the whales and the sun and moon and the planets and the dolphins. They also know me as a Sir who brings a bucket full of a water inside classroom and plays with stones and plastic and wood and coins to explain buoyancy.

26th Sept was my last class. As I was thanking the students for being patient and listening to me this whole semester, one boy asked, ‘Sir, aren’t you going to come again?’.

‘I don’t know’, I answered.

‘Sir, please come Sir’ he responded. ‘.. and don’t go to other classes.’

I smiled.

Another girl from the back, in a loud voice, ‘Please teach us till 10 standard Sir. Will you!?’.

With a overwhelmed heavy heart (for I was getting more than I was giving) I said ‘I will come again to teach’. They were all happy. As I walked to the exit all the girls and boys flocked towards me with their grins to shake my hand.

Elated…
Students
Sometimes people tell me I should do work that makes justice to my potential, that which greatest impact. Sure it makes sense, and other times like these I tell myself – “Anil.. Do work that makes justice to your happiness, that makes justice to sharing.. that makes justice to love..”

Non-conformity

There is a mental labor involved in being unconventional. A constant force that’s always against you. At the same time it is remarkable to be unconventional. Here are some unconventional stuff that my friends have done in the past few months

Arun
Lucia is a movie produced unconventionally. During its early days my good friend Arun (a non conformist himself) invested in the movie. I liked his gesture of supporting work that is different. Now the movie has done well and he has got online rights to distribute it outside India. So if you are outside India and have not watched Lucia (Kannada movie), I urge you to buy the movieand encourage Arun for his nice gesture.

Sameer
Remarkable – this word means something worth making a remark about. This is the guy who’s worth making a remark about. He recently scaled up his factory to 6 times its previous size and he is growing fast. Check out his team and his work at Bonito designs.

Arpitha
A friend and a fellow blogger quit her job and started teaching kids in a remote school in Maharastra. Very much inspired by her. She is Teaching for India

…..and now, back to my story

Media production

When I was in college I was volunteering for a school in Mysore. Working with like minded people was fun. One fine evening, a month ago I met a friend Rakshit (fellow volunteer at Mysore). We talked and I realized that Abhishek another fellow volunteer is staying in the street parallel to my home. Thrilled! Another fine day I called Abhi and I went to his place. We talked and I got to know that he with couple of his friends are working on a media production start-up. This past month I have been helping them during my evenings with idea-ting, script writing, story boarding, directing in the production part. I did their website also (Not my design, copied it from another major website). Today, extremely glad to share that the video that I was a part of in creating has been listed as one of the official videos of the NASSCOM product conclave.


They chose us as one of their official partners. Yo baby!

Training graduates

Communication fascinates me. You as a communicator trying to get under the nerve of your audience is such an art. The connections that form are brilliant. I have been doing small videos for past 2 years. I have been blogging for past 3 years. And also training engineering students part time for past 2 years. All of them have been teaching me humanness, about how we think, about how we connect, about how we bond, how we get inspired.

I had been to an engineering college in Bidar for 5 days. The love I and my fellow colleagues received was overwhelming. Here is a conversation I had on the last day

“Sir, please come again..”

“I will try ..” I responded.

“You must come Sir..”

I smiled again

I wonder..
What other pleasure one has in life than being able to connect with another human?

This is what I have been doing, and life has been good.. What about you?

How to meditate? I mean seriously, how do you do that?

If I had a beard, and constantly wore single colorly clothes then probably I wouldn’t have had this disclaimer. Disclaimer being: What I call meditation might be different from what is normally taught elsewhere. The meditation I practice is a hybrid combination of my understanding of teachings of Buddha, teachings in the books – Zen Mind A Beginner’s Mind, The Power of Now, conversations with a friend on responses from Ramana Maharshi to certain questions, some articles by Swami Vivekanada and many other sources.

buddha

Once upon a time, long long before the time of facebook and twitter, I’d written a short note on my profile (yes, orkut). It was supposed to be about me but it was a spiritually philosophical message. I had to login to it today to copy it verbatim (yes, orkut still exists).

Anyway here is the note :

“rain falls down… some ppl like it.. some dont….its a fact that rain falls down n doesn’t go up… Likewise the elements in life have a reality… they behave in a particular way.. suppose they behave in the way u like…. then, u love them… if u don like.. u hate them..realize the reality..
everything has its own behavior..
accept it..enjoy LIFE …….” My rain theory..

You can easily make out that this was written when I was in college just by observing the number of periods I’ve used after every sentence. Though, then, I’d claimed this to be mine but surely I’d overheard it somewhere. There is something profound about this that I still resonate with. And this is the essence of meditation: practicing ‘what is’. Let me elaborate.

How is meditation taught?

  1. Sit straight and close your eyes
  2. Relax
  3. Take deep breaths
  4. Use your breathe to focus on so that you don’t get any thoughts


While this works flawlessly the first time, overtime it gets frustrating. You can’t sit for long time. You can’t not have thoughts. You get bored. Basically you can’t do it and finally don’t see a point to continue.

So what really is meditation? What is the goal? Does it have any benifits?

First let us understand what is a “problem”.

Problem is the resistance to what is.

I repeat – problem is the resistance to what is. You have a problem when you have a resistance to what is. When there is no-resistance to what is, there is no problem.

You are on your way walking to your office for a presentation with your neatly ironed formals. It pours down. Drenched, your blood shoots up – “F*&$%ing s*#t, this can’t happen to me now”. The “F*&$%ing s*#t, this can’t happen to me now” is resistance. Because the situation is away from an ideal situation. And, hence, the sidefacing, hence the problem.

Step back. Become an outsider and you will realize the problem was having the ideal, failing to acknowledge ‘what is’. And that is the goal of meditation practicing ‘what is’.

How to practice meditation?

1. Realize there is no right meditation: Don’t try to understand meditation because our goal is to practice un-idealness. There is no ideal meditation. In others words we are not practicing anything. We are practicing being. If you are angry and frustrated, be it. If you are horny and blissful so be it. Be whatever you are.
2. Sit: One less thing to feel resisted about. You are more relaxed. More relaxed you are, more easier it is to accept the moment. And how to relax? It is to be ok with being unrelaxed. I’d go ahead and say – if you are truly ok with being unrelaxed, i.e., you don’t resist it, that state for me would be the state of relaxation.
3. Close your eyes: Further cut down inputs to your brain to resist or worry about. Everything else from point two applies.

When I do these three things, it is natural for me to start listening to my breath. Life slows down. I don’t feel the need to do any right kind of meditation, so I am totally ok however the time that I put in goes. It is just ok.

How to meditate? Just sit. That is all.

Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?”.
He replied “Nothing!”
He gently added “But I lost anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death”

A year after losing my virginity

Hands down, feet behind, head low, I admit: the title is a buildup. A buildup to make you enter in here. The prime quality of a buildup is that it is a buildup. It is fake. There is something wrong about it. Nothing extremely bad but once done there is constant lingering of uneasiness.

When Aristotle said ‘Man is a social animal’, I’d wonder what actually did he include in that definition of man?

My nephew is allowed to walk around the house in his undies, but if he needs to go out, he must put on some bigger clothes. Now, so, is my nephew wearing his undies not a social animal? Surely he is dressing up for others, the society. Is that a build up?

This is extrinsic. Let us move to something deeper and subtle, the intrinsic. Your education, your career, your happiness, your success, your achievements, your goals – how influenced are they from society? Any of it a buildup? Any of them leaves a constant state of uneasiness in you?

I’ll leave you with these questions and move on to my life.

Life is beautiful for me. A friend once mentioned: Being able to walk steadily carrying a mass as heavy as a human body on such a small cross section of area, our feet, is taken for granted. Boy, he was right! I’m sure if you go to the physics of it, the simple act of walking would be much appreciated. And as I advance I want to more aware to appreciate these small wonders around me.

This last year has been a good one. Collaborated with my friend on an business. Did not work out because of ideological differences. Taught at Engineering colleges. Took a short film making course and did some short films. Won few prizes. Planned, ideated multiple times and stopped there. Struggled alone for some time. Freelanced for an NGO working with Women self help groups. Watched a lot of TV series. Hell lot. I hate myself for it. Had a lot of heated discussions at home regarding my job. Played badminton. Did a lot of Yoga. Read a lot of philosophical books – Buddhism, books by Swami Ramatheerta, by Swami Vivekananda and some Westerners. Fell in love. Broke up. There were times when I felt overjoyed and when I felt very low. Volunteered for a school teaching kids. Traveled. Wrote few posts here. Watched some incredibly good films.

This past year has been complete package.

Coming back to the title, well, it really wasn’t a buildup. It is exactly one year since I lost my virginity.

And you my friend have been very generous. You stopping by to read gives me tremendous energy to move forward. Thank you. I’m ever grateful. Leaving you again with this amazing quote of Neil Gaiman.

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself

Love

A small trick on how to stretch your physical limits?

My friend Sujith is short. We call him Kulla. I want to share a small story from his past. He was in 6th standard. He says his class was a lover’s paradise. Every other person had paired up. If you were not in a relationship then you would at least be involved in gossiping about those in “love”. (On a side note: I felt envy when he shared this since there was nothing of this sort in my school. We started talking (yes just talking) what girlfriend means only in 7th class) Moving on – Sujith had not paired up. He was not a talker but enjoyed that evening walk back to his home with his cycle buddy gossiping about the flings going on in the class. Those were wonderful days he says. He always wondered and even now he does on how his cycle buddy knew so much of what was going on.

“One day” he told, “one girl form our class gave me a love letter”. I had two simultaneous questions for which I wanted answers. Who was she? and what was your response?

“I am the shortest guy in the class hence I’m the foremost guy in the formation (queue). And the girl who proposed me is the shortest girl in the class”.

While he was feeling a little embarrassed I LOLed.

“Ok Ok. So what did you do” I asked again.

“I was scared. I didn’t know what to do, so I threw the paper and ran away”. This time it was the ROFL of my life. Literally.

Fast forward 3 years. Different school, 9th standard, it was a inter-school cricket match. Surprisingly the girl who had proposed had joined the same school and was cheering the home crowd and my friend Sujith was batting. How much would someone expect out of a short guy?

“Well, I don’t know man. I was looking at her. She looked at me and smiled. And next ball I middled the leather ball. It was out of the ground. It had never happened before in the school matches people say. She stood up and clapped for me. I was energized! Went on to make a 50”

While parts of this story are true, I might have stretched it here and there. But firstly, the point I want to make is – your physical strength is increased when someone from opposite sex is watching you. (At least it is true for guys I think). Sometimes we are ridiculed also.

Secondly, I wonder if the need to exhibit the extra physical capabilities happens ONLY in presence of opposite sex?

6 months ago, I started a youtube channel to share daily Yoga videos. I stopped it owing to stiff competition from Shilpa Shetty, Bipasha Basu and Lara Dutta. Common, who’d watch me while they had better options? Anyway while I shot myself doing yoga, I observed my performance had increased compared to when I was doing it without camera. In both the cases I was surrounded by nobody.

I concluded, if you think you are being watched, you will stretch more, take extra few pushups than you normally do and cross your limits. I say, if this is what nature has made us why not make use of it? Why not use to your advantage?

peerExercise

  • Run in a park or a ground over a thread mill
  • Dance in a club or in a group over alone
  • Work out in a gym or a yoga class over alone at home

Behavior is changed in a peer environment. So this change at physical level is just a part. But in this post I am focused on one specific thing: Highlighting the implications of being social in taking care of our dear body.

I know she does not really care. But if there is that pretty girl passing by, don’t be surprised if I can take 12 pushups while my drop dead limit is 10 ;)