Rest in Peace

Today I lost someone really close to my heart, someone whom I looked upto and had shared great memories with during my childhood. Though he was just another officer among the many in my Dad’s Unit, he was like a family member to us. As he is now gone, I wish to pay him a tribute by means of this letter. So here it goes:

Dearest Gautam Uncle,

I can’t tell you to how cheated I feel, for destiny has cheated me of your blessings and your company. When I heard the news today morning, I was misled into believing that you had just met with an accident and were hospitalized, leaving a shred of hope for me to pray for your recovery. What I wasn’t told was that you had left us the very minute of that accident, and had attained the heavenly abode . I don’t blame Dad for keeping the news from me, as I know he was just trying to protect me. He knew how closely knit we were as a family and that the news would break me. As a matter of fact, it actually did. Since morning, my laptop screen is stuck to your facebook page, which has messages from loved ones pouring in. I somehow didn’t have the courage to put in a few words myself, so I just stared on. I can’t think about what Aunty and your sweet little daughters must be going through, but I know this that your family is my family, so you shan’t worry.

It’s the part of being in the Army fraternity which makes you complacent towards death. It is like staring at death so often that you get quite bored of it after a point of time. But you fail to account for the fact, that when death actually strikes your loved ones, what would you do. I have never lost someone so close to me as you were. Hence, I am a little sad, a little heartbroken. It is hard digesting the fact that someone you knew so well, and met so often shall not be there for the remainder of your life. You will never hear their voice again, nor will you ever see them again. I flinch at the thought of what the ‘ Unit Get Togethers’ would look like without you quipping in , or how our family trips would be like without you being there.

You were always my favourite in the Unit and you were my go to guy for all the ‘masti’ in the boring Unit parties in Ranchi. As I grew up a little, and you grew older, you were still my favourite. When we were in Hyderabad, you were still as crazy as ever, inspite of becoming a proud father and having more responsibilities. I knew that my weekends would always involve chilling out at your place, and somehow that made me really look forward to them. For the voracious eaters we were, you were my source of all the different non-veg cuisines around in Hyderabad. From being driven around in your car to bouncing around at the Unit’s Basketball court with you, I have one to many memories with you which I can never forget. Now, I am 21 years old, still struck by the magnificence of the Colonel who was an ace at Golf, and could beat anyone down in a game on one-on-one at basketball. Words can’t describe to how terribly I will miss you, but then to what we have been taught by you and the likes of you, Soldiers and their families must learn to move on.

RIP Colonel Yogesh Kumar Gautam,

3rd Batallion the Bihar Regiment,

Indian Army

Died in Jammu & Kashmir

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Rolling them Models

As a kid, I had several role models, ranging from the most suave rock-stars to superheroes from the movies. In fact, a few of them were a creation of my imaginative mind, which always placed me in the shoes of men in capes. It was exciting to dwell in such fantasies and let my grey cells galore gallop away to the most incredible imagery one could possibly form, wherein every outcome of blithe transgressions were not only favourable, but were symbolic of my unique virtues (atleast as to my mind). Though, a seasoned vigilante in my dreams and a struggling student in reality, my thick glasses didn’t do me justice as much as they did to Clark Kent. I remained a mortal nobody with or without glasses.

Through the course of my childhood, as my ambitions changed, the posters on my bedroom walls fell victims. Even the shelves in my room were overwhelmed with different genre of books that placed themselves neatly over the slabs, aggregating to a picture of a clueless mind towards the end of my teens. Now, when many around me partake to the cubical life, I sit here, still clueless, admiring the beauty of the titles , which have now grown comfortable with each other. Each title is a part of me, and somewhere in my mind, it gleams in the deepest corners allowing me to be a generalist in my virtues and exhibit loads of other non-essential qualities.

As every role model has come and gone, I haven’t been  able to emotionally detach myself from all of them. In their most vulnerable times, I find myself weakened. I can’t count to how many times a final’s defeat or a serve that went wrong has brought me down to the floor ,when Roger Federer would be playing. Every time a soldier dies in the line of duty, showing exemplary courage and valor, I get distraught. I find strength from such characters, and to see them vulnerable is like seeing myself vulnerable, and this isn’t a feeling I cherish.

From the schools of Idealism, a contemporary note says  , ”

Believe in all bullshit for truth is none, skepticism is all around you, choose the best one.

Role models bring in their own set of ideals and virtues, and like a book, you need to read them to know them. If you find the right one, stick with them for they can really help you do things you didn’t think you were capable of. If not, then you are most welcome to share my bookshelf.

Dilemma Called Life

There are some glory days and moments of epiphany, when your life transcribes itself into something trivial yet empowering, that you feel enlightened. Sitting on the ledge across the park that day, I had that feeling. So, I asked the random stranger beside me a question just to work along that idea.

“Do you see the pillar, Sir?” I asked

“Yes” He replied in a quivering manner, clearly startled by my question.

Encouraged by his monosyllabic reply, I further added
” Well, then imagine a line between me and the pillar. Now, think of it as the line of life and the pillar being the goal. The goal here is death, and the journey to it is life, as you live it. If you were me, how would you go about such a journey to reach that pillar?”

“I guess I would walk towards the pillar, with resilience and fortitude bearing in mind the ultimate destination of life. ” came his reply.

I felt that he drew the question to be along the lines of his own commitment in life, and thus, hardwork to achieve success became the undertone of his reply.This is a standard answer, I thought . I am sure he didn’t really want to appear too candid with a stranger. Anyways, I perched him more, and drew him onto the undertones of my life.

“Well, Sir, are you telling me that you would walk straight to that goal with your conscious belief telling you of its presence right at the end. Don’t you think, it gives the phrase ‘ staring at death’ a different connotation. How would you enjoy life, if ‘death’ influences your path? How would you live your life, if your goal instills a sense of fear than motivation. ”

” I think overcoming that fear is what makes people successful and that is how the ultimate goal is achieved. ” he replied.

“Well, I like your view, but I don’t see death as a goal, it is just a destination. This destination is an inevitable one, something that is conceivable by the mind, but is accepted without protest as a natural process. Fearing it would be like fearing success. Success comes through arduous incessant efforts in life and is meant to be celebrated. Same is the case with death, the only difference is that we don’t remain to celebrate our life, we just celebrate it in spirit with our loved ones” I spurt out with an enthusiastic smile.

The stranger seemed perturbed, probably by the tone of my voice or just because his idea of a Sunday morning walk didn’t feature him being badgered by collegiate curiosity . Anyways, he chose to stay seated which was a promising thing. So, I continued.

” I meant to take this symbolism to prove another point as well. I see that pillar, so do you, but I wouldn’t just walk towards the pillar. In fact, like a slow cycling race, I would twist and twirl by legs around, run in a zig zag manner, to make it to the pillar. This is not because I mean to delay my achieving that goal , but because there is so much to life than death. My dashing through the park over the lush green grass, ducking down under a Frisbee and plunging my head into the sprinkler’s spray is a symbol of the journey that I mean to undertake in life. I wish to enjoy life as I go on than stay sad about the lost opportunities and relations.”

” So how is this slow cycling race going on for you, not in ideation but in reality?” He asked.

” Honestly, It’s been fine. I have come to believe that if not inherently,one should force himself to an optimistic outlook. Maybe it might not work initially, but over a period of time, when this optimism stays in your head all the time, it starts affecting the way you operate. Yous instinctive thoughts are more positive, and you attract positivity. So, basically it all amounts to more zig-zag sprints in life, without much concern for what lies ahead.”

With that we ended our conversation. After exchanging goodbyes, we got up and walked in different directions. I had been pressing an idea, not to him but to myself for I am a believer and thus, like to reinforce certain ideas by discussing it out more often than would please random strangers at parks.

Pro at Procrastination

Dates and deadlines, Misses and Goodbyes. It’s not the schedule that’s scarybut the idea of having to do it is what sends shivers through the body. Procrastination is a contagious disease, that spreads across the college dorms or at the fraternities. It is the Sunday morning that is replicated throughout the year, just maybe without the beer or a bad case of hernia which just doesn’t go.

As the sages of the past would like to put it ‘prepare for the outcome with a plan in mind, stay true to your motive and it shall become a reality should you try.’

Not too much of a task, is it.Then why the hullabaloo over the art of delaying tasks. Well, it’s probably because delaying hard work to make merry in make-believe trivialities clogs your mind. As the line goes, “Addiction to distraction, destroys creative production”. The only thing that requires delaying is the gratification. When you delay gratification for another day, and work for what is now and what is done, you become stronger. As I write this, my mind ploys against me as my hands wriggle away to the toggle pad to close the tab outright. My grey cells don’t seem to ponder about what is right, but for what I am missing out on.

What am I missing out on?

Well, right not I am missing out on a movie that I have opened on the media player, maybe the book I have opened up beside me, or maybe the assignment which was due last week. If my schedule pad was a person, it would right now be either cursing me or curling up in shame to how ‘used’ yet unused it feels.

You see, the pleasure loving people that we are, are probably born to regret things in life as we strive towards happiness. Life is like the undulating stream of line, which pitches over like a heartbeat, stretching across the entire canvas, from one end to another. There is no middle ground attained ever, especially for the procrastinators.

Is there actually a middle ground?

Well, there is a middle ground. That is a way is a no-man’s land too. It isn’t dominion of utter happiness or complete sadness, but the area of an emotionless endeavor of tireless hard work. It not instant gratification but habits that count. Habits are few things that stay. When you are lazying around, wondering how to push off work and find the next movie to watch, it’s the subconscious mind which creates a surge of a magical energy that flies you off the couch to the study table. Sometimes, it’s like being on a automatic mode, doing things without having to will it.

In order to succeed, you must will it. But then, how do you go about actually doing it?

Well the statement about will power is to an extent right. But if you have to will everything, then the obscurity of the task will only exhaust you will power. You shouldn’t have to will it desperately everyday to be able to get up at 5 AM. If you do, then life will be a pain. As you are constantly nudging the dreamy head to fight against the routine, you are pushing yourself too hard. After a point of time, that willingness to get up early, study early and better, run more and sleep less just amalgamates to an exhaustive mind play of constant discomfort. Maybe it will work initially, but then should you loose it once, coming back to it will not be a possibility.

To develop a habit, one must start small. It’s like being that toddler once again, who took the staggering steps towards mommy with an enthusiastic laugh of accomplishment as it took it’s first steps.The baby doesn’t reel under the pressure of having to replicate it again later, but just enjoys what it does. That is exactly what one should do.

Maybe when you have built up a robotic mind with an SSD mind, and a RAM strong enough to work quick and easy, you will get things done easily. Procrastination will no longer be your forte, and you will be not sitting on the couch watching a channel you don’t like, just because the remote was too far away.

Dream big, start small and start NOW.

Why Is Life So Overrated?

From buying a scoop of the new ice-cream to the new toy in the market, having a girlfriend to getting the fanciest job there is, I have a reason to believe that somewhere down the line you just look back at things and wonder, why was it so overrated. Even if the disappointment isn’t to why did people make a big deal out of things and freak you out, the disappointment maybe in the expectation of things. You may have wanted much more, and had to settle with whatever the situation had to offer. In the moment of disbelief that the idea that you had envisaged ever since you were a child was indeed a charade to lead you into the rat race of nothingness, shatters you within.

Being overrated isn’t an attribute that adorns a fancy prospect of ‘make-believe ideations’, but sometimes with everyday trivia too. Happiness for example is one of the most overrated things in life. You concentrate too much on the feeling that you fail to understand what exactly is driving that emotion. People who get high as well as those who achieve something, are happy alike, yet some are miserable and some not.

I am bothered these days by one of life’s biggest dilemma, choosing a career path. Not only do i find myself staring at walls again, I usually zone out so much, that my brain perceives the flashes of reality as a figment of imagination. Contemplating on career prospects isn’t easy, and having too many ideas doesn’t really supplement the cause, rather inhibits it. So, my make-believe channels of evaluation of a career usually involves me sitting in a specific environment, focusing on substance than just ideas. I find myself asking questions to whether or not I see myself in a place where the cubical is my domain and I am the lonesome entity frolicking through the arduous journey of life whilst sitting there. Well, basically I don’t see the corporate idea to be any good but to an extent overrated. Money being showered on me like confetti as I dance through it isn’t my life long fantasy. Although I am very intrigued by the idea of having a summer cottage by the hills or maybe a farmhouse somewhere overlooking a lake, as I sit and wield my pen to write trashy nonsense. Being an author is definitely on the cards. But the strange part in life is , these cards for me are being played by someone else. I just get to pick one up with my career on it and voila, end up as a data analyst at a bank.

I try stuff out, or should I say, contemplate and initiate with a focused reverence of the situation, draw inferences and eventually negate avenues. Its just that they don’t turn out to be the way I had thought it would be. I don’t know if its me or the entire world is a cheat. Why disappoint already disgruntled souls and lead them onto things, which weren’t great in the first place. If God was a big conglomerate in the private sector, he would do wonders. He would brand everything as essential, label it as a requisite to our very existence and then have us kill each other trying desperately to get our hands over them. Wait….maybe he already is.

Anyways, I don’t mean to sound all cynical. There is an element of fun to everything we do. Maybe what is deemed as overrated has an inherent connection to our interests and purpose in life. Maybe its a mechanism to ensure that we find true satisfaction in not what society makes us believe is worth doing, but something that truly completes us. Maybe I won’t land up with that corporate job with loads of money to offer and a guest house with an adjoining pool. I don’t want it anyways. Maybe I will fashion a paintbrush up my ears and paint a masterpiece as I set sail through the cloudy burrows of moonlight Venice.

Measuring Success

How do we measure success in life?

I have been striding towards a perceived ideal of what I call ideal living, with a notion in mind that this is what success would feel like. Success would be something that enthralls and rejuvenates your very soul, a never ending tryst towards happiness and well being. But this idea is very vague, and in a way very immature and ill conceived. Success as we perceive it is a goal, but in it’s true sense is the consequence of what we go through trying to achieve it.

What drives us towards success isn’t an invisible force or an understanding that “success” in itself is a virtue that befalls those who are great, hence in order to be great, we should strive for success. Continuous ardent attempts to be able to succeed are in fact driven by motivation. Motivation in turn is driven by the sheer desire to emulate someone’s life or seek perfection within us. In the words of Conan O’Brien,”It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention.” Heavy words there, but something equally potent which speaks volume of what success really is and how one should go about it.

But how should you go about actually driving towards this obscure idea when faced with real situations. There isn’t one way, and there certainly isn’t an easier way. When you think of life and think of how things turned out, it is only by experience of what is deemed as “failure” do you understand how to succeed. In fact, we become more appreciative of our success in life, only when things don’t fall in line. Success isn’t just the end result, its an ability that defines us. Its our adaptability and maneuverability to go about a maze, where each turn has potential incentives or drawbacks. But each turn, also has an opportunity cost. a cost of learning the art of failure and dealing with it. If you go wrong somewhere, you entire path ahead is redefined. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t find the find the right path again and find that treasured goal. It’s your determination that pushes your through, and it is your love for the experience that forces you back in , to constantly reach out and continue being you, an amazing you.

I recently read an article of how people who are successful seem so sublime at what they do. Without dwelling much into what really maybe, but what eyes have us believe, we draw the conclusion of the natural skills that a person is born with. Within our skewed notion of such observation lies our inherent flaw of complete denial and vindictiveness towards those who are essentially better at being them. We are insecure about our abilities and that makes us jealous and emasculates us of our potential to our betterment. We try to run out of such situations by undermining what the other is capable of and let ourselves believe in the sanguine nature of the charade that we have created for ourselves. We condition the mind to be non-responsive to such stimulants so that it doesn’t break through our walls of complacency.

Once Pablo Picasso ventured out into the streets of a busy flurried market, only to be met by a fan who saw him instantly. She ran towards him and requested him to make her an painting with those skilled hands. Pablo, being as skilled as ever, drew out a piece of paper and made her a painting in less than three minutes and demanded a million dollars. The Lady gasped at the figure and asked him politely to why such a hefty sum for something that was drawn in less than three minutes. A drift response was ” What took less than three minutes to draw took thirty years to master” . Success isn’t something that gets calibrated by a moment’s achievement, but skills perfected by being persistent by doing our best.

This Is Where The Magic Begins

There was something about her that had this eclectic mind completely smitten. From a directionless wallow of complacency, I had been shaken to believe in something very potent. Like a smear of selfish desire that swathe over my wondrous mind, I had been left unbereaved  though incomplete. Something that wasn’t mine had crossed the thresholds of my inner beliefs, and had opened up a void and embraced me within. At that minute as I swerved in palpable love, the enigma of intimacy engulfed my soul and made me believe in love.

That day,the ambiance of the place was electric yet soothing. To be standing right there at that moment was like an apocryphal tale coming true.I stood my ground and watched in grave silence at that distant beauty whose aura was like lifting breeze. An incandescent light a midst the darkness as it glowed, filled her eyes and made them glint. It’s true what is said, it’s all in the eyes and not in embrace. I breathed upon myself heavily, doling out in the moment of ecstasy which seemed unreal. I walked to those blissful eyes, and stared them close , gasping as i did, wondering to how things as pretty had come out of the blue. She behaved as if she knew what my mind had conjured, yet remained calm and composed. My body seemed to leave me as I stretched out my hand and placed it by her waist, pulled her close and then felt her breathe. It was truly magical, the moment or the person, I still wonder.

I tell myself sometimes that if it should have, it would have. But then, sometimes it’s not for the mind to decide, it’s the heart. You can fool the world, but not the heart. To be there and feel the magic, and to be here and see it all go away, it true and harsh

The Relic of Euphoria

Freedom

As I boarded off the subway, and headed through the alley onto the staircase, the breeze sunk me down and I was hit by that feeling again. The feeling that I have been dreading for the past one year, every enviable moment that reminds me of her. I came to despise myself that such an aberration to the beauty of the city of Delhi, has come to play such a significant part in the entirety of my ephemeral existence. I was clad with emotion and the sense of vulnerability swayed me over the edge. Regardless of how I felt, I continued to gaze across the ambiance that Connaught Place had to offer. It’s too delicate a situation, when your feet sit still, weighing you down as you walk, for every step that you take it a constant reminder of a past that no more recites itself with same fervor as it did at a point of time. Every place you see is a memory of her, and even though you desperately try to avoid the reality, it catches on. It’s hard to blame a place, for it just stands there whilst you look away and rage into a string of expletives which your mind desists. It still exudes its pleasant vibes which had once drawn you towards it, and comforted you well so as to become symbol of your love.

So, I kept walking around with a lot of random and awkward gazing. As I continued on my daredevilry, the paraphernalia of CP no more shackled me with nostalgia. Maybe it was just the weather, or the people or just the fact that amidst my stroll, I had forgotten about her or had let go of my objective strain to see the place as raunchiness of heartbreak and pain. The place which emasculated my very soul, suddenly seemed to enrich me with a feeling of rave bravado. I wondered whether the feeling that had been haunting me for the past year, wasn’t the feeling of misery and sadness, instead was a feeling of warmth and love that I had chosen to cloak in eternal sadness, for the face to that memory had become too much of a burden to bear. I had started to love this place, in fact I always did.

So, amongst the crowd I walked with my new found endearment for CP. For the new found wisdom was too captivating, a jovial me walked through the crowd with a new feeling. Now and then, I would feel the urge to go back, for maybe the feeling was too overwhelming that my wretched heart could absorb. But then I would force myself to carry on and loose myself in the moment and in the crowd like a faceless lovelorn creature who had somehow found a key to bypass the deceptive heart and its ways.   The feeling was her blessing, for she has made it special. She may not feature in the picture of my life anymore, but I knew one thing, the place which once stood as a relic to my love shall forever remain so. The feeling I had sensed at every minute with her by my side, had become a part of me. This feeling had beset a feeling of dismay at a point of time, when her betrayal clouded the love that I had found in her. But, when I finally gave in to the idea of fate, the cloud evaporated and the warmth returned.

I will return to that place again, and you shall see me with my strident steps, embracing the air like a carefree child. I will know no sense of fear, rather will blaze away in the sun with my candor and euphoria to live a life of love again.