A Letter to my 12 year old self

17th September, 2019

Dearest Shrey,

How are you doing? I hope you are in good health and enjoying the innocence and bliss that comes attached with childhood, oblivious of the vices and problems that exist in this beautiful and amazing journey we call life.

Today, I’m writing to you my first letter (I’m sure this won’t be the last) after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, primarily because I thought that I must and lastly also because I though I must. So..Yes, ten years down the line, you will prove to the world and everyone in it, that you can and you will accomplish everything that you ever set your eyes upon (Be proud, but don’t let that turn into vanity).

Read the next part of this letter very carefully. It contains some of my learnings over the years and advices that I’ve received and experiences that I’ve lived. These are as much a part of me as they will become a part of you in your journey.

Right now, you are naive. You understand things but you don’t pursue them aggressively and looking at myself, it will be fair to say that the only things you’ll ever pursue aggressively will be those on which your life depends. You will fail in a French exam once and then pursue it aggressively to score an unbelievable 97 in an exam which will matter. You’ll have to listen to a lot of naysayers before aggressively pursuing and acing the CA final examination. While all this is good, it is my sincere advice that you’ll have to learn to pursue even the important things in life, not just those on which life depends.

You will develop a habit of leaving majority tasks midway and passing it on to others. I don’t blame you. I have always lived like a manager- possessing the art of getting things done through others. While it may not be bad to possess such a valuable art, but you’ll have to eventually understand the hard fact of life that before getting work done through others, one needs to know how to do it himself. I can proudly say that I learnt it, albeit the hard way. I can also assure you that you’ll learn it too, but it would be better if you took cue right now and start working over it rather than going down my path.

Discipline is of paramount importance. I was taught this at school. You have also been taught this at the very same school. The problem with me is that I didn’t realise it’s importance till recently. Look, in your future, there will come a time when you’ll have to sit at home for six months at a stretch and prepare- to turn a dream into reality. I have done it too, trust me it’s not as bad as it sounds. However, let me tell you one interesting incident- I used to do a major chunk of my studies during the night and sleep till late in the morning. Though this has always helped me while studying but there came a time when I was all jumbled up about the days of the week or for that matter, I couldn’t recollect whether a particular event had occurred a day before or two days before. Six months is a long time and I’m thankful that I faced such situations. It taught me one thing very clearly- Discipline is the keyword. I had to incorporate it in my life at all costs and I did. You’ll be surprised and happy to know that bringing my life into a routine helped me focus more, grasp a little bit more and also recollect a little bit more (okay, a lot more :p ).

My dear Shrey, there is one area in which you’ll suck. You will have a really hard time keeping in touch with the people, whom you love and care. Most of your friends will complain about this to you. You might even end up losing a few good ones. But the worst part is that you won’t find anyone, who will teach you the nuances of this art. I, myself, am struggling with it even now. I’m trying nevertheless and hopefully, in some future letter, I might even handover the key to you, but for now- you are on your own, buddy!

Technology is the buzzword right now and it’s highly unlikely that this trend shall recede anytime soon. Discoveries are made everyday and consequently, you’ll have to keep yourself abreast of the changes regularly. You will need to keep an eye out for new things and latest developments in this field. There will soon come a time, if it hasn’t already, when our very life- mine and your’s, will depend largely on technology. Also, this is my benign attempt to make you understand the importance of recognising which way the wind blows and adjusting your sails accordingly.

You have a very bright life ahead of you and in this, you’ll come across a handful of luminaries, who will have a lasting impact on your life. These people will inspire you, they will motivate you, but they will leave a big hole in your life too. You will desperately want to and try to become like them. At times, you will feel the frustration because no matter what you do, you will realise that you wouldn’t have moved an inch towards those idols among men. Let me tell you, the way is very simple and clear-Spend more time on growing yourself, on grooming yourself and practising. Everyone can touch those towering heights of greatness and fame but a very few people ever do and those are the ones who have understood the axiom that the body grows with age and time but greatness only dwells where there is uncompromised practise and a willingness to grow, not on a physical plane (over time this happens anyway), but on a psychological plane.

I have so many things to tell you and yet it feels like I’ve said enough for one letter. Also, I require some content for my successive letters too, right :p

So here is one final piece of advice before I end this letter with which I’ve become so attached:
Be inquisitive- be curious, in short never ever stop being You!!

And PFA your future self in the attachment which I’m adding herewith.

Keep smiling like always 🙂
Lots of love,
Shreylockholmes
[you will get this name somewhere in these ten years;)]

Alive Enough?

I’m alive today but what guarantee do I have that I’ll wake up to see tomorrow’s Sun? Guarantee- I have none. It’s just faith that I have and Hope that I cling on to before going to sleep that I’ll wake up to see another morning.

How fickle is our being. Alive in this moment- in all glory and naught in the next. Even the thought of it brings jitters and send a cold chill down my spine.

Everyday we keep making plans about the things we will do and the things we will be. We sew together an elaborate dream each night, a dream in which we are what we have always wanted to be. And day after day, everyday- we keep deferring those plans and those things thinking that we have our entire life ahead of us for fulfilling our dreams and desires. We believe that right now, it is time to become someone, to prove to the world that “I am also a force to be reckoned with!”

Well, honestly, I am not against the mentality of becoming something and sacrificing my present for a better future, but what has recently begun to haunt me is not future but “uncertain” future. The thought that- what if I’m not supposed to live till the average age and that, this time now, which I’m sacrificing in becoming something worthwhile is actually God’s gift to me, which I’m wasting because I won’t have time left afterall, when I’ve indeed become something.

(Actually these are the moments when I really believe that Ignorance is Bliss. But that’s not the point right now.)

I do say that ZNMD is my all time favourite movie but I must also supplement my above claim by adding that societal pressure is a tad too much, to actually follow the tenets that are so beautifully portrayed in the movie. Even I want to live the high life, but for that I have to study. If I study now, that means that I’m sacrificing my present. And time once lost, is lost forever. Plus I have the added risk that I might not make it afterall or maybe even if I do make it, I don’t sustain it for too long or worse yet, even if I make it and I am able to sustain it, my body won’t support me well at that point in time because I neglected it in the present. This is such a vicious circle and as I put in more factors, this circle will only enlarge.

So then, how do we break this deadlock? We can’t abandon education and adopt a carefree life. We can’t even let ourselves entirely into studies because then we would be back to square one. So what to do? How to tend both the things? The answer is simple. We need to make daily plans (like we all do and I even mentioned that earlier) and we also need to ensure that these plans are executed.

Just as we take out time for television and mobile phones from our “busy lives”; we must, as well, take out time for the things which truly matter to us. The things which will make us feel alive. Small and everyday things like tending to a small plant or catching up with friends- old and new alike. Things1 like playing the guitar, or staying in the shower for five extra minutes so that we can showcase our singing talents, not to the soap and the shampoo bottles, but to our own selves.

As it is we are already surrounded by walls and screens, insomnia and assignments, papers and reviews, deadlines and bosses; so I don’t think that it might really be a big deal if we were to add a few more variables into the equation. In fact, these are the variables which we are fond of, which we feel pleasure in performing. For these things, we only need to have the will to do it and Time will automatically adjust for it.

I have decided to do the things which I like doing along with the ‘oh-so-important’ things of life. Just as I have hope and faith that I’ll wake up see the sun shines tomorrow, I have the same hope and faith (let’s not get into the discussion of being in control, because that is a myth) that Time will create a leeway for the things that matter to me NOW!

And the good news, my dear friends, is that it always does.

~S.S

Fear

This four letter word has destroyed millions and millions and hence, today, I want to talk about this very subject. For ages it has acted as a lout and a curse for most of humanity. Tyrants have risen and Societies have fallen because of this very word. Peace has been challenged and Battles have been waged because of this four letter word. Worse of all, men have killed other men just because of this four letter word and sadly, the practice still continues.

Let’s leave aside these grave societal matters.. and talk on a personal level. How it affects us- you and me! In the end that is what matters, right? The world is changed by people like us after all. I would like to begin by bringing to your notice your biggest fears. There’s no point in denying that you have one. Our fears, weaknesses and insecurities are just as much important to make us feel human as are our dreams, joys and hopes.

The worrisome trend today is not that people have a fear of some thing, but that the people don’t seem to realise until too late (or sometime never) that they do have a fear of some thing. Again, it’s not my point to wheedle you into glorifying any fears- existent or non-existent, as if it is some kind of atavistic activity. No. I just want you to realise that you’re a human too and it’s okay to be afraid.

I know- accepting the fact that you are afraid may seem odious but believe me, it’s equally freeing. It allows you to introspect. You have already understood the problems and issues and hence, you can go about finding a solution for it. It is just the same as travelling in a vehicle on the highway and the best part is that you know exactly where you have to go- Makes life so much easier, no?

Now you might argue that writing it all down is all too easy but implementation is tough. Well, yes, agreed but all I’m saying (and which has been gathered from plausible sources) is that don’t fear FEAR! Face your fear. If you badly wanted to take that trip, just take it. If you want to feel the thrill of adventure sports, just go out and experience it. Why be afraid? Tens of thousands of people have been there and done that before you.

Remember the greatest amount of fear is just moments before you actually attempt to do something about it. And once you do it, all that fear fades away like a fart in the wind. That’s when you realise how idiotic you’ve been. You later spend hours contemplating how easy it was or how unfounded your fears were.

But next time again when you are pitted against some other thing, which you are afraid of, you go back to being your original fearful self. In such moments, I want you to remember the paroxysms of joy you felt, when you completed some thing you were just as much afraid of earlier. Obviously, it won’t take away your entire fear but it will definitely help you to face the challenge at hand. This is the unbending principle of the world. This is how everything works.

Always keep in mind that fear would only hinder your chances. It will eat away your opportunities. If you control your fear now, you will see the miracles later on. What’s meant to happen, will happen anyways and your fearless participation in the events orchestrated by the cosmos will ensure that what was meant for you, will eventually reach to you. So I would like to reiterate- don’t fear FEAR, challenge your fears and witness the miracles that are in store for you!

Things I learned 

I have learnt that words are permanent. Hearts cannot be unbroken and saying I’m Sorry cannot retrieve the angry words that have been spoken.

It is a universally accepted truth that we don’t know what we have until we find it. Conversely, isn’t it true too that we don’t know what we have been missing until it arrives? 

Success should not be measured in what you will buy or own, but in the pride you feel  in the person you are with, when you are alone.

When one door of happiness closes, another one surely opens & we should not keep ourselves busy staring at the closed door. Rather, we should find the new opening. 

In a survey of people, who were on their death beds, it was found that they regretted not the things they did but the things they didn’t do in life. Don’t harbour any regrets. 

A bright future is based on a forgotten past.

Don’t rely on first impressions. Sometimes, the shortest player is the best one on the team.

No matter how good a person is, sometimes they  can hurt you and because of this we must learn to forgive. 

No matter how broken your heart is, the world won’t stop to tend to it. 

It takes years to build trust and only seconds to destroy it. We don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change. 

The best friendship is one in which you can take a walk without saying a word and when you part, you feel that you had one of the best conversations ever.

Concentrate on the quality of the coffee, not the cup which merely holds it and adds no value to it.

Happy people don’t have the best of everything, they make the best of everything. 

And finally, Life isn’t always fair, but it is still worth living and rejoicing. 

Dream what you want, Go where you want to go. There is only one life, only one chance to do it.

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Leave a mark

Life is supposed to have some meaning. We all come into this world to do something, atleast we all come into being with the capability and the capacity to do something. Yet it is surprising that most of us actually perish without doing anything remarkable. 

In the words of the great teacher Swami Vivekananda, 

Get up, and set your shoulder to the wheel – How long is this life for? As you have come into this world, leave some mark behind. Otherwise, where is the difference between you and the trees and stones? They too come into existence, decay and die.

And though I know and understand all of this, yet here I am without having done anything. For days I wondered why wasn’t I able to do anything worthwhile. Why have scores and scores of people died unceremoniously. 

One day it suddenly struck me. It is simple- because we are afraid. We are scared of venturing into uncharted waters, well most of us are. The few spirited souls who navigated through those rough waters were the ones who eventually succeeded. 

Having realised that we are afraid, I soon began wondering- what is it that we are afraid of? More so, what is it that I am afraid of? Right away, I began making a list of what all things ailed me. The one gargantuan thing, right at the top was – what-would-others-say?! 

This what-would-people-say has ruined lives. Rather, I would say, destroyed lives. But now, what to do about it. How to overcome​ the monster that is staring at us, laughing straight on our face. How much ever I tried, I was unable to find a way to cope with it. And this remained so, till one day I heard a wise man speak. 

He said, ” Ever since our birth, we have seen, heard, felt, etc. But all this has been done within. If we have seen anything, it is merely the image that has fallen on our retina which the brain comprehended. Any sound that we have heard thus far, has been a sound wave perceived by our brain through the vibrations it caused on the eardrums. And this goes on for everything that we have felt or smelt too” 

I deduced one important meaning that day. Life is really simple. We tend to make it complicated by trying to see, hear or feel what others might feel. Infact, we don’t even know whether they might feel the same way. I mean, do you clearly remember each day when your best friend ended up in a situation looking like a fool. I don’t. 

If we can’t remember what follies our best friend did, then why do we care so much about what others, whom we barely know or don’t know at all, might remember when we do something. The truth is – nobody cares. Everyone is too busy with themselves. They might just laugh at the spur of the moment but afterwards, nobody remembers. 

Still if some of you readers disagree with me, ask your selves the times you laughed at someone because of a certain act of theirs, which is considered as absurd. I bet most of you wouldn’t be able to remember 10 times, when you laughed at a ridiculous situation. 

When you yourselves don’t remember such incidents, then are you not a fool to believe that others might remember your each mistake. And are you not a greater fool, to not participate in activities that might actually be of some utility, fearing a negative reaction from the public.

In the end (RIP Cheston), I would just like to add that to create a mark in this world so that you and your deeds don’t become oblivious in the annals of history, you have to do something worth remembering and not let the fear of what-others-might-think make your existence similar to those of stones and trees. They decay and die! 

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Get Busy

We all want a carefree life, right?!
Some of you might be astounded by the stark irony between the title and the opening lines. Bear with me a little, you’ll understand and maybe even change!

Ever since our birth, we have been flooded with rules and regulations and various disciplines that we are expected to adhere to. And naturally, we being humans tend to revolt. We believe that we can live our life better by making our own​ rules rather than following a standard code of conduct set down by a fat, abusive thinker (hopeless imagination 😂) who could never see others happy because he himself was damned with melancholy for eternity.

Though we may despise rules, we have to understand that the very freedom which we value is because of the rigid rules that make it appealing. It is as simple as understanding that gold is precious because it is rare. No astrophysics required there. 

But then again, we are “humans”. The very term implies rebellion. This rebellion not just means savagery and war-like rebellion but also it refers to rebelling against our inner self, rebelling against the norms of the society and challenging the customs. And this rebellion was not engrained in us by a matter of chance. Infact, it was put specifically so that we could push ourselves to the limit. 

Name one single person who has achieved anything extraordinary without rebelling and challenging the norms. You won’t be able to because there ain’t any. Even a person climbing the Everest has to rebel against his bodily requirements of rest and sleep to create history. 

The bottom line is we need to challenge life at every step, if we want to transform. If one door closes, we need to find another. At times, we will have to make do with the windows too. And if even that doesn’t work, we will have to shatter some walls. 

If you want to be remembered, if you want to enlist yourself in the annals of history: GET BUSY – start revolting. There is nothing good about living a carefree life. To quote Swami Vivekananda, ” Get up and set your shoulder to the wheel. How long is this life for you? As you have come into this world, leave some mark behind. Otherwise, where is the difference between you and the rocks and the trees? They too come into existence, decay and die.”

Finally a dailogue from one the greatest movies of all time: 

You can connect and share your ideas with me on this blog itself or:

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Au revoir !! 

The Journey Within

We are all travellers in this journey of self discovery. Some realise it early in their life and take a sort of head start towards their their destination. However, with passage of adequate amount of time, each individual does rev up his engine and moves towards his calling.

There is nothing more to life than taking the first step- For what you dream and believe, is what you eventually achieve. You may not know what lies ahead but with just the right amount of faith, you will conquer it all. 

Imagine you want to travel from Mumbai to Delhi in your car. The road is challenging, has sharp turns and it is a moonless night. You don’t even know what lies 200 metres ahead because your headlight can only go that far. But that doesn’t prevent you from taking the trip, does it. 

You are travelling along with the faith that you can perceive any kind of danger from a distance of atleast 200 metres and act accordingly. And with this faith, you are able to cross the entire distance between the two places.

 Life is not a bit different. You may have grand plans for yourself. However, you fear to take the path towards fulfillment of that plan because you feel that you lack the proper way. There is no bigger lie that you can say to yourself than this.

Surrender yourself to the magnificence of the universe and set out on your path. The universe will conspire such that you reach your destination. Just remember to keep looking for the signboards on your path just as you would while travelling from Mumbai to Delhi.😉

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To stars and beyond

Have you ever looked at the night sky and marvelled at the magnificence of the universe ? Have you ever paid attention to the majesty of the towering mountains ? Have you ever noticed the calmness of the oceans ?

Most of us haven’t. I mean, who has time for all this right now ? We will do this someday – not today. Today we have greater things to do. We need to study for that upcoming exam. We need to complete that assignment. We need to pay those outstanding bills. 

Some of us who are a bit above the rest have slightly longer-term goals. Achieve that professional degree. Succeed in business. Build our dream home. Infact I can cook up all the things under the sun here, about what we want. 

We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.

But I want to ask one simple thing- are these goals (as we call it) totally and completely necessary ? Can we not have a real purpose in life ? Are the worldly things all important in life ? Can we, just for one moment, stop acquiring and start living ? 

Life is a precious gift. A one time opportunity (more than once- based on your religious views). It is to be enjoyed and not endured. You will surely be crucified many times, but you have to resurrect yourself – like the pheonix. 

And though I may get all this philosophical, but I know that there are certain expectations that we all need to live up to. And I am also aware of the fact that to do so, we have to sacrifice our natural tendencies and adopt a more worldly view of life. 

I strongly believe that we can maintain a balance between our actual selves and the more superficial selves that we are expected to live and so willingly live. We can achieve those short term and long term goals and at the same time, we could be taking that road trip which would leave us entranced. We can learn how to play instruments. We can pursue a hobby. Who doesn’t like listening to good music while enjoying a long walk, in the company of none other than our own self. 

I have definitely raised the bar for myself. 

  • Chase the northern lights.
  • Stay among the mountains for atleast one month each year.
  • Travel and wander in unknown places (because they are not crowded)
  • Last but not the least (and my favourite), count stars on a moonless night in total solitude.

I don’t mean to disrespect anyone’s goals or ambitions. But I just want to tell this to all you people- Lead such a life that your epitah reads “No Regrets”. In your final moments, you should not have any IF ONLYs or WHY DIDN’Ts. 

Life is a beautiful journey which must always be lived forwards but can only be understood backwards.

Make yourself proud!! 

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The Road to be taken!!

Rumi once said, ” It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you”.

This road is a metaphor for your life- the essence of your being. 

Most of the people today,  wake up in the urban jungle, filled with concrete buildings and glass offices. The location of the same, defines the stature of these people. People are so lost, that material achievements have gained stupendous value and the real needs of a human being have begun to get lost in time.

As far as I am concerned,  stars on a moonless night fascinate me more than the presidential suites of luxurious hotels. And till the time this holds true, I know that even if God himself tries, he won’t be able to persuade me to stop loathing the animal lifestyle which has become the new cool.

Hordes and hordes of people get up each morning- just to catch that train to reach their posh offices in the self proclaimed upmarket area of a concept called as concrete jungle. The interesting part is that people are content with such mediocre life. 

To such people, I have a loud and clear message- WAKE UP!! We are free humans and not prisoners, bound to live a routine life. Explore this interesting planet called Earth. Go to new places. Meet new people. Create new memories. As a bonus, you already have a free trip round the sun every year ;).

Remember, each day brings with itself 86,400 seconds. Even if you can spend 14,400 seconds from those for pursuing what your heart desires- I will consider your entire day well spent.

We must all remember that when we are on our death bed, it is not the things we did that we regret but the things that we didn’t do. And this regret is a very sad place to be in. It kills you on the inside, only the breathing continues. I remember reading somewhere that death should be such that even angels are sad for taking your soul away.

To conclude, life is a precious gift given to us. It is up to us to direct it in whichever way we want it to go. We can always take shortcuts, but true happiness is derived only when we take the correct path and travel it fully till the end of the journey. 

Remember Ralph Waldo Emerson, “journey and not the destination, is what that matters!!”


Adieu !

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Purpose of Life

Every so often we ask ourselves – what is the purpose of our life? And however hard we try, we are never clear about what we want. People not only want what they don’t have, but also want more of what they already have.

Different people have different requirements and thus their purposes differ too. For example, a poor man has the main purpose of earning more money. Similarly, the rich man yearns for that extra hour of sleep. 

The fundamental defect of mankind is that there are very few people who aim for a balanced life. A life which encompasses comforts along with sensitivity towards needs of others and a spiritual bending.

However today, majority of homo sapiens are engaged in the rat race. Race which begins from when they are born and continues right until they die. This race traverses through school, college, work, family, oldage- inshort, everything that you can think of under the sun.

But, this is not our purpose. We are all destined for a greater calling. And despite being trained for the rat race and the rat race alone, some people have dared to train their ears(minds) to listen to their calling. This calling is faint but it is very clear.

It is imperative that we realize our potential and focus on our goals and priorities but not at the expense of our joy and happiness. We need to strike a balance between what we have and what we want. And, that I think, is the purpose of our lives.!

Do you agree?!

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