2

1 large popcorn and some cherophobia please.

Happy day, peeps. Who likes to watch movies? Yay! I do. That’s why I decided to write a bite-sized fiction story on movies and their impact on our lives. Please note that there may be some gasping followed by some eureka moments. For the interest of the public, please do remember to wear your towel before you start shouting ‘Eureka’ while running on the streets. Ready? Here goes!

It wwas 6 pm. Sesha was going out for a movie with her best friend Tammy. Tammy arrived on time and lined up in the snack line before the movie started. She was fiddling around with a box of tissues in the line.

“Hi.” Sesha said.

“Hi.” Tammy said, pulling out tissues from her bag and folding them neatly inside her wallet.

“What are you doing?” Sesha asked.

“The movie. I heard it is a real tear jerker. The scene where the teddy falls from the roof and dies.” Tammy said.

“Get a grip.” Sesha said.

The snack line was moving fast.

“1 large popcorn, 2 coffees- one without additional cream, 2 samosas(Indian snack).” Tammy said, memorising the order.

“We have dinner plans after this. And I have had too much caffeine. I will start whinnying like a horse now.” Sesha said.

“You know what? My 5th floor aunt saw a horror movie yesterday- ‘Fangs and Bangs’. She is in hospital now.” Tammy said.

“What? Is she ok?” Sesha said.

“She claims that she started seeing with differently as soon as she got out of the theatre- her vision changed. All these years, she had never seen fangs anywhere, and suddenly there they were. Floating near her ceiling. Just like in the movie. She felt a pain in her chest and she was rushed.” Tammy said.

“Oh my God! Was it a heart attack?” Sesha said.

“No. It was gas.” Tammy said.

“What the….?” Sesha said.

“But the point is. She saw the fangs which didn’t exist.” Tammy said.

“So?” Sesha said.

“Movies…They do weird things to us. They control us in weird ways.” Tammy said.

“I think you have taken this a bit too far. Earlier you said aliens controlled us. And now movies.” Sesha said.

“There might be a link there.” Tammy said.

“What will you have?” the guy at the snack counter said, tapping his fingers on the counter.

“Umm. Let’s see. I large popcorn and some cherophobia, please.” Tammy said.

“Ohkay. 1 large popcorn and some……..?”  the counter guy said.

“Cherophobia.” Tammy said, not blinking an eyelid.

“What’s that?” Sesha whispered.

“Ma’am. We don’t serve cherry phobee here.” the counter guy said.

“Cherophobia. Forget about it. Don’t be stingy with the cheese, please.” Tammy said, putting the money on the counter for the popcorn.

“What was that? And what is cherophobia? The names of food these days.” Sesha said.

“I was just picking a bone with him. Cherophobia is not a snack, sadly.” Tammy said.

“Then what is it?” Sesha said , grabbing two handfuls of popcorn.

“It is a phobia. A mental disorder.” Tammy said.

“Why would they serve that here?” Sesha said.

“They don’t.” Tammy said.

“Tammy. Are you drunk?”Sesha said.

“Drunk, hypnotised, affected.” Tammy said.

“Why? Who did that to you?” Sesha said.

“The movies.” Tammy said.

“What?” Sesha said.

“Cherophobia is a deadly thing. You know the scene where something bad happens when you are extremely happy?” Tammy said.

“In which movie?” Sesha said.

“All.” Tammy said.

“Ok.” Sesha said.

“It has an impact on us so deep that we can never fathom. Like it had on my aunt. That was not cherophobia, though” Tammy said.

“I don’t see where this is going.” Sesha said.

“I don’t know what ‘it’ is. But I know where we are going. To the place where we will be hypnotised to believe that bad things always follow the good and that the world is a place to be scared in.” Tammy said, her eyes now glassy.

“You are crazy.” Sesha said.

“Ssh. The movie is about to start. Have some cherophobia, will you?” Tammy said.

***End of story***

Thanks for reading this post. I was not attacked by aliens, if that is what you believe caused me to write this post. I read an article on how movies impact us and it might do us good to be aware on what beliefs we pick up and whether they are true or simply absorbed from movies. Movies are after all a figment of someone’s imagination.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-ways-you-dont-realize-movies-are-controlling-your-brain/

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Bus marathon and grocery bags

There is a new type of marathon I am considering inventing- ‘Bus Marathon’. The word marathon was inspired by the run of a soldier from a battlefield at the site of the town of Marathon, Greece to Athens in 490 B.C. I am trying to guess what I would have been doing back then. If I was a human being in that lifetime, I would probably be sleeping in late, trying to avoid any stresses from watching that soldier run the marathon. If I was an insect, I would probably be hiding far away from the street on which that soldier would be running on. No trampling please.

Anyhow, back to the bus marathon. Over the past decade based on no data samples collected, but based on pure observation, I have come to realise the mechanics of buses and their correlation to your reaching the bus stop. Following are the only combinations I have come across in my life. You may have come across more combinations like reaching the bus stop just comfortably on time as the bus arrives. I will gladly label you as ‘lucky’ and frown a little.

The bus stop- bus boarding correlation scenarios:

1. It is sweltering hot, so much so that you feel like a walking talking sauna bath. You make your way to the bus stop. You wait patiently hoping the sun won’t melt you down by the time the bus arrives. You turn on Facebook to avoid eye contact with any person or reality. You are happily wrapped up in the bubble of stories flying around from the world, and you realise that it still hasn’t arrived. You look at the clock on your phone, totally ignoring the brand new yellow coloured watch you bought the previous day. It has been 2 min 37 seconds since you got here.

“Pich” you say, with an air of superiority, as if it has never happened to you before. The others also mimic your facial expression. Some even mimic your irritation. People are now one shade redder/darker than before. 6 inch heels have now melted to become 4 inch heels. Life is bad and global warming is sweeping the heels away. The makeup has melted from everyone’s face, making the faces look like botched water colour projects that their teenage children would have done on them.

After all hope in the world is lost, you see the big vehicle come gingerly. As if nothing happened. 19 minutes 57 seconds have passed by. In Twitter world, that is a century. The driver is unfazed, cut off from reality, even as you walk into the bus. You make your peace with everything, as soon as wind hits your face. Of course, the bus was supposed to arrive in 20 minutes.

2. You buy 10 kgs of grocery. Of course one needs to. What if there is an emergency? What if you feel like having salted chips and there is none? Planning is everything. You pick up the 10 bags from the counter, and still manage to hold on to your phone in your hands with the bag slung on your shoulder. Midway you realise that you can’t even get keep the phone inside the bag, because it would require unloading all the packets, opening the bag, finding a spot which is clutter free(so that the phone surface doesn’t get scratched) and then closing the zip and picking up the bags again. So you decide to hold the phone in your hands or between your jaws like a dog(haven’t tried this one yet). As you are about to reach the bus stop, barely registering the weight you have been carrying and thinking of rewarding yourself with a chocolate ice cream, you shriek in your head. The bus is already there and the passengers are already filing in. The lucky passengers who didn’t have to run the bus marathon.

Bus Marathon

Your body gears up in seconds and you start looking like the bull whose only intention is to bore its horns through the elusive red cloth.  You start running. But then you realise that your shoes might not be as skid proof as you would want to imagine them to be. Plus, with shoes as delicate as rose petals, one needs to be careful even breathing near the shoes lest they magically tear, like Salman Khan’s shirt in Dabbang. You decide to run the bus marathon, while keeping all the above factors in mind. You look like a pestered chicken by the time you complete the bus marathon, knowing that you would have to run the next day again. Consistency is key. Over time, one is able to look ladylike(if that person is a lady, of course), sophisticated, careful and extremely fast.

Of course the story inside the bus is very different. Bus etiquette is something that needs to be taught in schools. I will write about this in a later post.

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The tarot lady with big rings and cricket.

I have to confess. I never thought I would be the ‘tarot lady’. I coined this name for myself after I ordered my second set of angel tarot cards from Doreen Virtue.

I remember the hot summer days in India, when holidays were on. We would sip on lemonade, eat kaccha(unripe) mangoes with chilli powder and salt and watch cricket matches. There was an interesting phenomenon those days- to couple cricket matches(at least the important ones like the World Cup), with predictions on who will win. Tarot card experts were called on television along with celebrated astrologers analysing every detail of the player’s kundali (horoscope) coupled with what positions the planets would be at during the time the match would be played.

At that time, whenever I observed the tarot ladies, some attributes were common amongst all of them- long hair, big bindi(a coloured mark or jewel worn by women between the eyebrows) and rings the size of laddoos(ball shaped sweets). They were the more colourfully dressed cousins of the crystal ball ladies who mostly locked themselves in dark dingy rooms and had a cloud of anger in their eyes, possibly due to what they saw in the crystal balls. Also, the crystal ball ladies mostly had long bindis almost like the pitch of the cricket field, with the rest of the face being the stadium.

It used to surprise me that something as simple as drawing out cards from a deck could predict the future. Could the future be so simple to predict? Could the output of cricket matches be so simple to predict, a game which required the players and the audience to participate equally in a dance of togetherness and complexity which even the best mathematicians would fail to explain the equation of?

Complex, you think? What is so complex about a guy hitting a ball with a rectangular shaped bat and 11 guys running after the ball trying to make sure that it doesn’t hit the rope circling the stadium?

It runs far deeper my friend, just like the iceberg which hit Titanic. You see, superstitions ran rife during the cricket season. People would gather in their living rooms and watch the match. If you(as a television viewer sitting at your house which you paid the rent for) stood up and the wicket of the opposing team fell, a comment would always be made – ” Couldn’t you have stood up earlier? Now keep standing.” Of course, you would have to do it, because the entire country’s fate and happiness lay on the feet which bore your weight. If you think this is simple, think again. India has a population of 1,256 million. This superstition was not just related to people standing and sitting, but people farting, eating, lying down, laughing and so on. So if you farted when the wicket fell, it would be considered in the best interest of the country for you to keep farting. This whole ordeal made the viewers as important as the cricket players. The combination of people farting, eating, lying down, laughing, standing, sneezing, coughing and so on made it a complex science rather than a simple sport which determined a winning and losing side.

And there was no question of replacements either. If you sneezed when the wicket fell, you were the chosen one and no one else sneezing would help. In fact, it was believed(and still is) that it might spoil the fate of the game, and the sneezer would help the opposing team score a boundary. Gasp!

The science and combinations of winning the match was achieved by hit and trial and pure observation. But the tarot cards made it sound simple, as though nothing we, as the television viewers, did was of importance, because if it was written in the cards, it was true. Where did all the sneezing, laughing, farting etc that the junta did come into picture if it was so simple? I was in denial for many years, refusing to believe tarot cards and even astrology to some extent.

Things started changing when I started watching some people doing angel card readings and the readings came out to be true. I watched the videos each week and bingo! They were right on target.

My conflict about cricket matches and tarot cards resolved greatly because I almost stopped watching cricket, ever since Rahul Dravid made his exit(and got married).

I then bought one of the angel tarot cards, with all my insecurities about the simplicity with which future was predicted. It turned out to be more of a general guideline rather than a cast-in-stone predictions. I ordered my second set yesterday, because one deck predicting the general guidelines to follow in life was too difficult to comprehend for me. Now I have labelled myself the tarot lady, but I don’t wear large rings, large bindis(I think my forehead is too small for those) and my hair is cropped short. So much for stereotypes!

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Invisible hair colour and my novel dilemma.

I sat in the salon, staring at the decor. It is what I do when I am made to sit anywhere without further instructions. I looked at the mirror a couple of times but then decided that too much of staring at oneself in the mirror presents itself with the label of being narcissist. I didn’t want to be like the guy who stared at himself in the water all day. If I did that, who would stare at Facebook feeds all day? Anyhow, I felt good that I was well stocked. I had a couple of books not so neatly kept in my bag. I had eaten well. I had a bottle of water waiting to be drunk.

I get a little paranoid about how to spend time during salon trips, travels and so on. Being a person whose mind wanders without permission, there needs to be a backup plan all the time. Having something to do always makes me feel comfortable. At least my mind would wander only to the contents of the book, which I think is fairly acceptable in the psychological, philosophical and spiritual world.

Before we delve into what happened at the salon, let us talk about my latest book choices. You see, ever since I have decided to keep away from my know-it-all-titis, at least till I grow into that tone more in real life, I have started reading stuff for pure entertainment without a deeper meaning. That has been puzzling to me on many levels, having spent a good part of the last 2 years looking for meaning behind everything including correlating the colour of the birds I saw to a particular spiritual meaning. Yep!

So, when I went to the library to explore the fiction side of the world, I was lost. I was sure I didn’t want to pick up heavy or gory stuff or anything which would keep me up at night. That left me with humour. Even within that, there was humour that I understood and that which I didn’t understand, purely because of the regional parlance and not because I was reading it upside down. That left me with a few guy-lit(?) novels. Two of them made their way into the aforementioned bag.

As I sat in the salon, after having discussed my preferred hairstyle with the hairstylist, who then proceeded to make some snide remarks about how I had not maintained my hair properly and how some of the (coincidentally)overpriced products would do magic to my hair, I pulled out one of the novels. It was about a guy who was having a quarter(+5 years) life crisis. I assumed from his healthy habits that he could expect to live to be a 100, if he quit the binge drinking which his quarter(+5 years) life crisis burdened him with. The novel was light and breezy. After my haircut, the salon guy started applying colour. I wanted to try out global hair colour and not streaks. I remember that I was feeling particularly bold that day. The salon guy, who himself was quite bold, going by his choice of hair colours(there were atleast 3 different shades on his head), assured me that I had made the right choice, and then said something which sounded like techspeak on hair colour and texture which I could not understand and didn’t care to question him more on. Our time is limited on Earth, eh.

Shampoos followed by hair colour application happened, along with small talk which usually and painfully accompanies these situations. Silence is probably so unbearable to us that we are forced to talk to people whom we spend even five minutes with. With me, silence is not much of an issue because my head keeps babbling. Oh did I tell you that I started meditating and ever since the salon trip, my head is reasonably devoid of thoughts? Maybe it has something to do with the hair colour entering my brain as well. Hmm.

After 45 minutes of the colour application, the salon guy checked my hair and confirmed that I was now officially coloured. I hopped onto the big chair and let my hair be shampooed intermittently asking him if the hair colour looked good. I hate information asymmetry. For those few seconds, it felt that the entire decision of whether the hair looked good or not lay in his hands.

He replied in a rather raspy tone.

“Yes it looks good.”

After the shampoo, I was led to my seat. I stared at the mirror, forgetting the whole narcissist theory. My phone was switched off anyway and there was no Facebook feed to stare at. He started drying the hair. I blinked a couple of times. He blinked too. I know we all blink, but these blinks were in quick succession and my life history reminds me that is never a good thing to blink in quick succession.

“Err. Is the colour the same as the catalog?” I said.

“I don’t know.” he said, now peeking into the depths of my hair, as if he was going to pick up one strand and say ‘Eureka. I found the coloured strand of hair’, whilst trotting around the salon wearing the 3 shades of colour in his hair.

“You know I am not going to pay for my hair colour to change from black to black.” I say, holding onto the novel, as if that was the only thing in my life I could control right now.

“I swear this has never happened.” he said.

A lioness inside me dharo-ed roop(came into form). I normally don’t like to say unpleasant things, but I had to.

“Well, what do you suggest?” I said.

“We can try another colour.” he said.

“What if that doesn’t catch colour? You know my hair is now full of chemicals and still the same colour.” I said, remembering his previously detailed out thoughts about my split ends, et al.

“I promise it will.” he said, his voice even raspier than before.

“Ok. But I won’t pay any money if the colour doesn’t come on.” I said.

“Yes.” he said, as if it was my fault.

“Has this ever happened to you before?” he said.

“No.” I said, returning to the novel.

Reading about the confusion in the guy facing the quarter(+ 5 years) life crisis made me feel slightly ok. In my head, I was doing some math on how much I would pay him if the hair colour didn’t catch on this time also. I should pay something, I thought. I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t hear the stuff he said about him having used 4 tubes of colour on my hair and only 1 tube on others.

I tried looking for a deeper meaning within this too. Maybe hair colour was not meant to be for me, because it would make me look like a scarecrow like it did the previous time. But, my doubts were wiped off when the hair colour came out good and the quarter(+5 years) life crisis guy decided that his life did not have much of a crisis anyway.

Now, my husband swears that my hair colour grows bolder every time I sit in the sunlight, which is something that I do every day. He says it with an air of helplessness. I take it as a compliment.

Fun Fact: While writing this post, I spelt ‘dilemma’ as ‘dilemna’ as I have for centuries(counting all my past lives). I swear that I remember ‘dilemna’ being the right spelling. I found this post which might be an interesting read on the dilemm(n?)a of dillemma.

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Fair or not? Sun, Sun go away!

The title might not make sense to a lot of people, but as with a lot of aha titles, this baby has a story behind it. My Indian friends might be able to relate better to the title. You see, of all the irrational things we(Indians) base people(especially women) on, one of them is fair skin. It is akin to having a clean body and beauty. It is not known for what it is – less or more production of melanin pigment in the skin. It is this pigment which has decided the fate of many Indian women, especially their ‘capacity’ to get a good groom and their general acceptability in the society. Of course there are other factors based on which society may or may not accept you – how you walk, talk, whether you wear semi transparent clothes or whether you wear opaque clothes, whether you speak English well or not and whether you know how to make stuff like halwa(type of Indian dessert) and chapati(Indian bread) or not.

For the people with a higher secretion of melanin pigment on their skins, fret not! Coz they have the perfect solution.

Fairness creams and extremely low exposure to sunlight! 

Little me didn’t know the whole deal on melanin pigment and how deeply it impacts how society views those who have more melanin secretion. Gori(fair) and sundar(beautiful) were words that were synonymous just like popcorn and movies or cricket and Tendulkar. From a very young age, people started giving me tips on how I had to do stuff to become more gori(fair). Honestly, I did some of the things that my ‘well wishers’ wanted me to do, including applying those fairness creams. For me it was the only way for a wheatish person to get accepted in the society and to be praised as much as the fair kids.

This led me to take extreme steps, including banishing sun without wearing sunblock, from my daily life. It became a habit so deeply entrenched to apply sunblock on every exposed part of my body, to avoid getting more dark, because that translated into a lot of other consequences and what a kid or teenager learns from observing the society, stays in his mind forever as a deep fear, if nothing else.

This story got a new turn when I went to India and got a couple of blood tests done. It turned out that the Vitamin D levels in my blood were low — 5.98 ng/DL as opposed to a healthy range of 30ng/DL to 100 ng/DL, and an ideal Vitamin D level — 50ng/DL. But who cares about Vitamin D as a fairly young person, right? It is related to bones and all the stuff that we don’t want to think about until the creaking sounds start. Plus with adrenaline drenched terms like YOLO , boring old Vitamin D doesn’t fit in. Wrong!

Let me bring in some of the research I did like a maniac since the last few days.

Vitamin D is now being termed as the miracle vitamin, the lack of which can cause the following:

  • Osteoporosis and Osteopenia
  • 17 varieties of Cancer (including breast, prostate and colon)
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Gout
  • Infertility and PMS
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Pain
  • Periodontal disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Fatigue
  • General muscle pain and weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Joint pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Restless sleep
  • Poor concentration
  • Headaches
  • Bladder problems
  • Constipation or diarrhea

Source- http://www.drfranklipman.com/symptoms-diseases-associated-with-vitamin-d-deficiency/

There are a few points I want to make here:

Firstly- I am not putting down anyone with fair skin. I am just reaching out to people who have fallen prey to the whole concept of wheatish or dark skin being not as good and wanting to correct it.

Secondly- the safe limit of sun exposure(risk of skin cancer,etc) varies for people depending on their skin colour.

Thirdly-You still might need to protect your face skin more(use a sunblock) because it is more prone to skin damage(wrinkles, pigmentation, et al).

Let me now throw in a fact- Approximately 80% of Indians are Vitamin D deficient.

Source-http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/More-than-80-of-healthy-Indians-are-vitamin-D-deficient-Diabetes-Foundation-of-India/articleshow/19898114.cms

I am not claiming that the fetish for fair skin is what is making most of us deficient in Vitamin D. I am saying that it certainly adds to one of the reasons of not going out in the sun without sunblock for a few minutes every day. As I understand, the melanin pigment acts as a natural sunscreen for a few minutes- which means you can have your skin as it is and expose it too. I now enjoy a good half an hour basking in the sun. Optimum health comes before entertaining a society which may have lost its way in terms of overestimating the value of fair skin and underestimating the value of good health.

Watch this video below for more information on Vitamin D.

Hope you have a sunny day ahead.

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Simplicity and a cough of relief.

I had updated my website last year- got a wordpress.org account and the fancy stuff along with it. The tech gizmo made my head reel initially, but I controlled the reeling of my head by raising my eyebrows enough number of times. Anyhow, the company which hosted my website gave me the shiny black dashboard and lots of tools to play around with it. I downloaded plugins, themes and customised the website to no end. In fact, changing themes became akin to changing dresses before a party. But…But…But… Did someone tell you that too many of these but’s is not good news?

The code-speak was too much to handle. I longed for the simpler days- imagine me with a cloud over my head reminding me of the simple blogging days where I didn’t have to worry about files ending with .php. The longing got stronger. In the meantime, some of the stuff I had written started sounding too wise even for me. I wanted to let go, to break free and to write silly stuff(like this) which didn’t make sense all the time. I wanted to let go of the need to be perfect, to know-it-all.

Some powerful guy sitting up above the clouds answered my prayers and my website got hacked. I felt slightly giddy, but it turned out that was due to the lack of caffeine that was supposed to be coursing through my body for me to function like a human. So then, after my cuppa joe, I felt better. It felt right to let the old baby with the wise speak go. It felt good to have fun and to not know it all. Then I contacted the hosting company who told me that the website had not been hacked.

Now you need to understand how a person like me thinks. Everything, including an ant sneezing has to have a purpose and a bigger meaning in my life. If the website was not hacked, it meant that the powerful guy sitting above the clouds, wanted me to continue writing the same stuff that I used to and wanted me to learn more of the tech stuff.

I did something else entirely.I started avoiding the shiny dashboard and writing online at all. I lazed and grazed around on the internet and kept looking at people’s blogs which seemed so effortless and so much fun.

Until one day. Tadah!

The hosting company told me that my website had indeed been officially hacked. I blessed the hacker for a few seconds, who had freed me from the shackles of my earlier blogging voice which had become more bothersome for me than fun. I let out a cough of relief as well. Oh, did I forget to mention that I have a bad cough and cold since a few days?

Note: I am convinced that coughing might be one of the ways to develop six pack abs.

Now, I am going to write whatever catches my whim and with the limited capabilities that this platform offers, I am going to bless it a 100 times because it helped me let go of a huge know-it-all-itis that I had been carrying on my back.

Here’s a toast(of cough syrup) to simplicity and going back to a world where I can jabber whatever I want to.

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One Step at a time!

As the new year greets us, I am reminded of the immensely popular and meaningful song by Jordin Sparks – One Step At A Time. 

Here is how it goes:

Hurry up and wait

So close, but so far away
Everything that you’ve always dreamed of
Close enough for you to taste
But you just can’t touch

You wanna show the world, but no one knows your name yet
Wonder when and where and how you’re gonna make it
You know you can if you get the chance
In your face as the door keeps slamming
Now you’re feeling more and more frustrated
And you’re getting all kind of impatient waiting

[Chorus:]
We live and we learn to take
One step at a time
There’s no need to rush
It’s like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It’s gonna happen when it’s
Supposed to happen and we
Find the reasons why
One step at a time

I realized something about goal-setting last week. Running always seemed like a difficult task to me and I always felt it was not my forte. This caused me to give up even before I could run a stretch of 2.5 km. This would hit my confidence as far as running ability went. My brain somehow had convinced me that I should not attempt running. But somehow I decided to set smaller chunks of targets. I went out one day and decided to do 5 laps of 800 m each. And I promised myself a tiny breather of 30 seconds after one lap was done. This was the carrot at the end of the stick for me. It turned out to be super simple and I ended up doing 6.5 km. Completing the tiny targets helped me gain confidence that I could achieve whatever goals I set. The bigger picture of completing the full stretch was always in mind. But, the immediate focus was on the more achievable target which was a huge confidence booster. The next few days I surprised myself with the ability to achieve my running targets easily and the motivation to surpass the goals set. I also linked this with affirmations which I truly believe in the power of.

Anthony Robbins says, that most people fail with positive affirmations because their conscious brain rejects the input the affirmation is trying to feed. For example if you say to yourself repeatedly “My work is highly creative and I enjoy what I do”. The brain will reject this automatically if what you are saying is not true. You need to add an element of truth into this. Maybe you spend one hour of your time doing something creative during which or immediately after which you affirm the above. Affirmations for abundance work better when you truly feel your life is abundant. I found it useful to use affirmations during my run and it helped me go that extra mile.

Coming to new year resolutions, most people do make lofty new year resolutions and are disappointed later. People feel inspired to make resolutions but it is hard to follow up if there is not enough motivation. It might be difficult to switch on the motivation overnight, especially when the resolution is something which demands a lot of commitment over a sustained period of time.

My small running example has taught me something important when it comes to new year resolutions. Make small commitments. It is good to dream big and everyone should. But it is better to keep milestones along the way so that motivation does not take a hit. It might be helpful to set these milestones  at monthly or biweekly intervals and with a carrot at the end of each milestone. It helps you stay focused and motivated for the entire journey.

As rightfully said by Lao-Tzu-” The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” and indeed with each step, we are one step closer.

Stay blessed. Stay alive & keep walking one step at a time!

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The right brain lemonade!

We need to make a lemonade today. Simple? Yes it is. Take 2 lemons, slice them up, squeeze them. Remove the seeds, a bit of salt and two cubes of ice. That’s your glass of lemonade.

Well, as they say- A lemonade is a lemonade is a lemonade. But if I had to ask you –  how is it your representation of a lemonade? That might be a difficult one to explain considering that till now only the left brain has stood up as a soldier.

How about we give a chance to the right brain to contribute as much in parallel? And suddenly we would have the same lemonade with a little bit of sugar, few leaves of mint, a little bit of orange pulp and thin slices of ginger in it.  Voila! Not only is it refreshing and enjoyable to make, but what you have is your own representation of a lemonade. How about that!?

A little confluence of right & left and we see magic!

This is a logic driven world. There is little scope for imagination and fancies. Everything has to be rational and logical in this day and age. Imagination is not fancied much these days for multiple reasons like lack of time and resistance to put in efforts in order to see ideas grow. While this might be a feasible thing for corporations to do , due to multiple factors at stake, most importantly time and costs, we at a personal level should find ways to express ourselves creatively.

Most people use their left brain ,i.e the part of the brain responsible for logical thinking. The right brain usage is reserved for people in artsy professions like writing, painting and music.

Mundane and routine work deplete our creativity and our enthusiasm to take each day of life as a new adventure. Picking up a creative hobby infuses color into life. Everyone is uniquely creative, whether they realize it or not. Tapping into that creativity gives a blissful sense of peace and power. Even something as simple as writing in a journal to pour your heart out works wonders. “The Artist’s way” by Julia Cameron talks about writing three pages about whatever pops into your mind in the morning. This unadulterated content leads you to understand your unique creativity after a certain time frame, when you read the morning pages.  I have found writing in a journal to be extremely effective in terms of expressing myself and keeping track of my thoughts on paper.

When you realize your creativity, you go a step forward in terms of carving out your individuality and embracing your true self. The habit of doing something creative gives you the courage to stand out and truly makes you feel important in your own eyes. And when you truly stop embracing your true self, you get even more courage to hone your creativity. It is a loop, but a super one. Slowly, you stop bothering about fitting in and establish your own unique space. My blog post “Are you a circle in a world of squares?” explores the concept of uniqueness of each individual.

Setting aside even 15 minutes a day to do anything which refreshes you creatively will help you stay motivated and charged even if majority of your day is routine and mundane. Go ahead and supercharge your right brain!

1

Being One, Being All

The world consists of close to 7 billion people. Naturally, when we have so many, expecting a symmetry in their behavior, likes and personalities should be, at best, ruled out.

Let us take a simple example on how we tend to judge people based on their scores or achievements.

Lets say there are 3 students A, B and C. In a test where maximum of 100 marks can be scored, A has scored 50, B has scored 75 and C has scored 100.

Now just to represent the class in a simpler term, we would say that the average intelligence of the class is 75%. Although this tendency to represent the intelligence with a mathematical metric is fair (and there are many other mathematical models which would classify the class better by means of slope, median or even mode) but mathematics at best is unbiased about its calculation. Human beings, however, dealing with such mathematical qualifiers find it hard to be non judgmental.

Why?

Because along with such metrics, we tend to compartmentalize people into categories based on our judgments.

So, though the ‘C’s of the world have a flair for a particular  subject and deserve to get the pies of the society for his/her flair, the ‘A’s who struggle with a below average score at least deserve the acceptability of the society with a warm heart. Just like in the world of mathematics, 0 and 100 are both just numbers and magically equal by virtue of being part of the number system, wouldn’t it be a better world if in real society we had C and A treated the same way. In a similar way, wouldn’t it be magical to have an Albert Einstein and a common man standing equal on one pedestal when it comes to being  part of the Universe.

There is scope for massive evolution in this area. Human being is a great race and although we all know that Albert Einstein and the common man deserve an equal pedestal when it comes to being  part of the Universe, we somehow fail to implement this thought process. It is at a deep spiritual and mental level we are committing this mistake and hence there is disparity in terms of wealth, looks, nationality and other factors in the society.

For our convenience, we tend to compartmentalize and define such equations, which take precedence in this society, especially when it comes to achievements. But, we all know somewhere deep down at the mental level that although defining each other based on these equations is fine for our convenience when it comes to mathematics, but it is far from perfect when it comes to spirituality.

This reminds me of a beautiful song written by a famous Indian lyricist Javed Akhtar in the movie Refugee.

Panchhi nadiya pawan ke jhonke, koi sarhad na inhe roke
Sarhad insano ke liye hain, socho tumne aur maine kya paya insan hoke

This song basically translates into the following:

Birds, rivers and winds have no boundaries,

Only human beings have boundaries,

What have we gained by being born as human beings?

This song provokes us to think that we are the ones who have created boundaries; and not just physical boundaries, but boundaries of the heart too. We judge each others based on multiple factors and most of these judgments crop out of our insecurities.  The society we live in, doesn’t respect another human being just because he or she is a fellow human being. We always have been taught that we should earn respect. We also dish out respect to others who are older, richer or more successful. We love the people close to us because they think like us and they support us. Most people don’t believe in or have never heard of  unconditional love.

Many spiritual teachings focus on the concept of oneness; a state of mind, where we start believing that we are all one, a tiny piece of a giant machinery. If you observe a prism, you will notice that white light gets split up into different colors on passing through it. We are like the different colors emanating from the prism, each different and beautiful in our own way. The thing to realize is that we all originate from the same source. It doesn’t matter which color you are like, the white light which is the source, is what matters. Regardless of what a person behave like and thinks like, he is going through the same journey of life as you are.

Such a feeling dissolves the huge boundary walls that we have created and helps us to relax more into the lives we are leading. There is a greater sense of belonging once we start accepting people as they are without trying to impose our views on how they should behave. Once we dissolve those boundaries, we are able to empathize with others and love them unconditionally, just because they are a fellow human being and they go through the same difficulties that we do as part of our lives. This feeling brings about immense amount of peace and harmony.

Once we  start giving out this feeling to others, by the very virtue of the law of attraction, we will attract more and more of love and peace into our lives. And isn’t it all that we want? What a great world it would be where only love existed without the preconceived notions of someone being the same nationality, economic status etc. Each one has a different idea of what people should be like. But at the very core, we are all the same. We have the same life force within us.

Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we accepted and loved each other without judgments? We all spiritually belong to each other and our lives are intertwined more than we can imagine.

Spiritually Yours,

Neetika

6

LIFE – The best syllabus!

Many of us ponder over the meaning of life, especially when we go through tough times. Those are the times when we think about the purpose of our lives and what we are meant to do. Is life something which can just be described as a passage of time and events? Or is it a mad rush to accumulate all you can just to leave everything behind at the end? Is it just a collection of albums full of memories? The question is mind boggling once you think about it and it leaves you to wonder the purpose of the everyday activities that you do.

My interpretation of life is, that it is a lesson. A course has been designed for every human being on the earth so that they can evolve more and more in terms of their thinking and actions to ultimately reach a point where they can serve others and spread unconditional love on this planet. Every stage in your life teaches you to evolve, especially the more difficult stages.

According to some spiritual texts, a person goes through many lifetimes to attain this state of ultimate detachment and that is when the cycle of birth and rebirth stops. That state in Hindi is called “Moksha”. It is a state where a soul becomes one with God and in a way completes the course called life successfully.

If life is a course, then who are your teachers?

Every person whom you interact with or come across is a teacher.

It may not be so apparent, but we do learn a lot in the way our interactions with people bring out emotions in us. For example, if a person cuts into a queue to buy movie tickets , you learn patience if you don’t argue with him. You see a beggar on the street, you learn gratefulness for your own life and the blessings you have. Someone gives you a hard time at work, you learn how to be patient and how to let it not deter your confidence. Once we realize this simple fact, it becomes so much easier to deal with people around and to see the bigger picture.

Slowly you reach a place of tolerance and unconditional love for people around. Everyone goes through the same motions of life and in a way has equally tough or easy lives as you. When you realize that even they are in the same classroom, maybe struggling to learn some lesson which life wants to teach them, you develop an empathy, much like you would have felt for some students in your school when they didn’t perform well.

Dr Brian Weiss. author of the famous book “Many Lives Many Masters” explores the concept of how a soul goes through multiple lives and how there is a review period between each life wherein spiritual masters try and deliver important messages and truths of lives to souls. This real life story is about a woman, who had many unexplained phobias and nightmares. She couldn’t go through a single day of her life without feeling overwhelmed and terrified. Dr Weiss, through a series of hypnotherapy sessions realizes that she is traumatized by her past life events. She not only remembers her past life events and the lessons in between lives, but is able to change her voice and demeanor which is reflective of the life she is talking about. Many people discard the theories of this book, but even as per spiritual texts, it is clear that a person gathers “Karma”( which means a person’s experiences in life are determined by their past actions and deeds) as they progress through lives. This again resonates with the concept of life being a classroom. When you don’t do something in a correct way, you may need to sit for the exam again. You may need to repeat the class, until you get the message or come to a state of realization, even if the lesson continues through multiple lives.

The vast workings of the Universe, the precision and the perfect timing with which things happen leaves me baffled and in awe.