p for paradox.

"I'M SIGNIFICANT!!!…screamed the dust speck."

Archive for the category “Blues Blah!”

cognizance at 30.

I turned 30 yesterday. Cannot deny that there is some subtle nameless feeling about not being able to say I am 20-something. Not necessarily a bad feeling OK. As they say – once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.

Why I decided to scribble these lines is primarily with the intention that I will someday feel like coming back to these. Just a reminder of where I was at this very moment – thoughtfully and emotionally. And then have some sort of a self amusement review! I haven’t for once thought of these as ‘lessons in life’ but I wouldn’t mind if they are treated that way! This is what has worked for me so far. Something to mark the 30 milestone, in no particular order….


  1. Restlessness is good. Reacting impatiently to that restlessness is not.  I have always been a restless soul. But what I am still learning is that patience is not about waiting while nothing is happening. Patience is about our behavior when nothing seems to happen. We think things are not moving but actually they very well might be.
  2. Know thy name J Understand the origin and meaning of your name. It is always a good conversation starter across cultural boundaries.  But remember that the World speaks different languages  – Have fun with people  as they annihilate the pronunciation of your name. It can be funny and it can be ironic. My name? Well, all I can say is that my parents had high hopes :/
  3. Read more. I wish I would read more. And more. In the last one year I have invested more time and money in books than any previous year(s). And I can feel my brain appreciating that J Just finished my 10th book of 2014 in the first quarter. Well on track for this year.
  4. Deal with difficult conversations when confronted. Be honest. Don’t run away.
  5. Do your own research when working with consultants. Question a lot.
  6. It is regret only if you decide not to learn anything from it. Your decisions make you. Take ownership for where you are, how you are and whom you are with. Taking risks is a decision. And I am not talking about jumping out of a plane in the Alps with a parachute. Well that too, but risks about living. About career. About life. About love. And about letting go. Bad decisions make interesting stories. But there is a moral in every story.
  7. Drink more water. You can drink more water than you can ever imagine.
  8. Have some values. Simple values to live by. These help in decision making at cross roads if you are strong enough to use them as deal breakers. It could be a heavy weight value such as integrity or a simple to sound (but tough to execute) trait such as happiness.  Because if you don’t stand for much, you’ll fall for anything.
  9. Being lonely is not the same as being alone is not the same as being single.
  10. Relationships matter. Find ‘your’ people. Those who help you grow, those who grow because of you. With whom conversations are a flow and being yourself around them is a default state of being. With whom even the arguments are worthy enough to be priority. Those people whom you can call up without calculating time zones. The people who really care will still care whether they agree with you or not.
  11. Money is important. It does, to a level, free you of the thoughts of uncertainty. It also plays an important role if you want to experience different things in life – be it travel or food or new technology. But as Maslow would have put it, only till the point of having a safe buffer. It won’t even get you close to the level of respect and esteem. I am thankful for being at a comfortable space. But it is not a panacea to my restlessness. I don’t think the love for money is wrong. I think love for ONLY money is extremely wrong. Save money. At least enough to take risks in life if you’d like to.
  12. Listening to your heart is SO underrated. Even if it brings a chaos in your life. The chaos is always temporary. Find that voice in the noise. For what its worth, no one knows you better than your inner voice. We think we know this but we always seem to look for external consolations and support.
  13. There will always be that white whale in everyone’s life. Deal with yours.
  14. The definition of success keeps changing as we keep achieving our goals. This brings me to the realization that being successful is different from winning. Its like completing an ultramarathon vs. running a sprint, respectively. When I started working 9 years back I had what I thought was a ‘plan’. Didn’t quite stick to it. This phenomenon, in hindsight, is what we call life.
  15. Being spiritual has helped me more than being religious. For one, I have started identifying the stark similarities in all religions.
  16. Pay for your parents’ vacations if you can – end to end. As many times as you can afford to. I swear it won’t even get you close to what they have invested in you.
  17. Smile at strangers.
  18. Live outside your home town for a long duration. If possible, your home country. Cook your own food. Howsoever many times you have heard this, this is one of my best learnings in the last 30 years, starting from the moment I completed XII.  Push yourself out in a way you feel encouraged and confident. It won’t always be fun. But the growth curve is so steep, no other experience comes close. Grateful.
  19. It is possible to make real friends for life at your workplace.
  20. Parking tickets hurt more than speeding tickets. In fact there have been ridiculously ‘expensive’ speeding tickets that have actually made me smile. I guess its because parking tickets was your fault for your stupidity. Speeding tickets was you having fun. Maybe stupid fun. Maybe its just me. Maybe I should delete this point. :/
  21. Acceptance is more than just tolerance. And respect is much much more than just acceptance. Respect other people’s beliefs. Understanding WHY they believe what they believe is more important than the notion itself. Just keep reminding yourself that the sheer geographical point of reference of our birth has defined most of who we are. But it is only upto us how we live the rest of it.
  22. Travel. Sometimes for an escape, but mostly for deliberate curiosity. Also, it is never too late to start. No matter how frequently we travel, we must realize there will always be some places left out. And that’s kind-of ok. But remember, wherever you go, there you are! And yes, when you are sleeping overnight at an airport, put a wake up note. People are generally kind to not let you miss your early morning flight. Ummm, why sleep at an airport in the first place, you ask? Just do it!
  23. Take time to enjoy your food.
  24. Play. I mean a sport. I learnt this a bit late in life, but hell yeah now I am writing about it. Pick a sport and go crazy over it. Get around people who push you to do better at that sport. Invest in training. It will influence all other aspects of your life. Anything will work – Team sport will make you better at your external relationships, Solo sports will define your relationship with yourself. There is no better way to handle your weaknesses. In the end, it is all a mind’s play. Dopamine rocks.
  25. Good music is good music. I wouldn’t care less for what genre it is stereotyped in. Good music becomes better music with awesome speakers. While driving.
  26. Trust people by default. Usually everybody is not out there to destroy you. Unless you have pissed them off big time of course, even then, at most they will just ignore you.  We are anything but the center of the universe. A mere speck. This is a pretty deep realization.
  27. Watch ted talks. Starting from the one on the Golden circle.
  28. Do crazy stuff. But without hurting anyone. If you are not young and wild, you wont be old and wise – my favorite birthday greeting. Who knows, you might just remain wild as you grow old. Good for you! Some of the best moments in life will be the ones you can’t rave about.
  29. Depression makes the heart go stronger.
  30. I watch less TV than ever before and I feel I have more than 24 hours a day for myself. You don’t realize that you really don’t like watching TV unless you stop doing that. Internet explosion comes with a right of choice. Read and watch at your own convenience.

Summing it all up is the most basic of the realization is that “I think…..” is not the same as “I feel……”. It is always calming to stay conscious about this difference. I am not trying hard to figure it all out anymore, but someday I might.

Because the journey of  ‘Being YOU’ always kicks the whim of ‘being perfect’s ass.



Despicable words.

1. idiosyncrasies

can make or break a relationship. Can make and break the same relationship. These are weaknesses which symbolize selfishness. Makes you realise your behaviour is your own baggage. Patience is such an external phenomenon. The turmoil that boils inside is what characterizes you.

2. priority

is such an illusion. A curse. Distorts everything. It’s like telling everybody, come mess with me. Because you build it up based on your past and rest it on the future.

3. compromise

is the nemesis of courage. There is a rather thin line between the two. Just like that thread between ‘Let it be’ and ‘Giving up’. If we don’t understand this, we can’t keep moving.

Over time, how you change yourself, is your decree. your truth, your triumph. How you change others, is your sin. There is nothing like a right or wrong, it all comes down to perspective. Maybe a level deeper, it all comes down to doubt. And that brings about restlessness – the trigger of all failures. And achievements. Yes, maybe at times it takes a lot of distance to get a third person’s view for your own self. And then it hits you that all those who wander are in fact lost. Wonderfully lost. And you know what, ironically, Pain is the most positive message among all these. Because it wakes us up in a way no alarm clock ever can.

#Learnings of the free shadow.

When it grows on you, it helps you grow.


duh, Music.

It’s funny when it doesn’t get dark even until eleven at night and your comrades are an online playlist and a magazine. Sometimes, insomnia can be literally, an eye-opener. And if you do keep your eyes (and ears) open, you can rediscover a song, its expression, its music, and in turn, yourself. Yes, you have met all of them before, and you thought you knew them all. But for the ability of the symphonies to prove you wrong.

Music is surprise. You can listen to that one song a million times and yet find a new beat every time. A drum beat, or a heart beat. It doesn’t really matter, it is all the same family.

I usually end up looking at the lyrics of a song if I like its music. Just to be sure that I understand it correctly. And of course there is always a line or two in every song that you just don’t get. I don’t get.

Music is a healer, better than time. Much better than indifference. There are times when I try to turn my back to despair and withdraw. But beautiful music can help you face it up so strongly. When the strings of the guitar strum their way through in harmony, there is an exclamation mark after every breath. The sigh changes to a giggle and the frown converts to insight.

Music is truth. If you can face the music, you can face it all.Yes, it’s not all happy-go-lucky all the time. Music, after all, is not a joker. There are songs that can rip you apart, force you into oblivion & doubt as your emotions explode. There are songs I know if I hear I am inviting mental blankness. But I still listen to them. They are part of my favorites. The point is, as these rhythms and the meanings grow on you, you know at a moment how exactly you want to feel. What exactly you want to hear.

I am sure you know what I mean. Or you will.

Music is motivation. I don’t wonder at the creation of good symphony. Small bands, big bands, boy bands, no bands, solo composers, what not! What I wonder about is how we are not inspired by such energy all around. It would be so unfortunate that we didn’t hear a touching composition just because no one told us about it! Maybe there is so much of it encompassing us that it becomes part of our background noise. If that happens, you need the silence of 4 am. Just you and zero distractions.

Music is a good listener. With such heavenly applications all around us today, it feels like a genie is sitting out there and asking you  intermittently -“So, what should I play next, master? What does your mood seem like?”  And there you go! A song that you think was composed keeping you in mind! Such a companion!

I am no musician. I don’t know any technicalities that go into weaving out the most beautiful of melodies. And It shouldn’t matter. Because music cannot be a science. It cannot be just about the beat, or about the lyrics, or about the voice. It is about all this coming together in unison and much much more. I can’t judge music. I just want to keep it on. If I don’t like one song, maybe I will give it another try or maybe I wont. But the playlist shouldn’t end.



i want to play the hug o’war

When we were kids,
we played dog & the bone
and tippy tippy tap
with the colorful cone
they told us about hopscotch
and the tug o’war
i wonder
why didn’t they tell us about
the hug o’war.

i want to play the hug o’war
so whenever i feel sad and sore
i don’t think
& hug the first person i see
and here! you just shared a glee!

& they would run & hug the next soul
hold him or her around as a whole!
the only rule,
it must be a bear hug not a shy embrace
wouldn’t the world be a happier place?

oh they say you are mad
it’s not discreet it’s really bad
people will shoo u away if you do this
keep you at bay and not even miss.

but am i the only one
who likes this game, or is there none?
will they flee
away from me and away from the hug
think i am crazy and treat me like a bug.

what if that man in the corner also needs a hug
but all he gets is a cold shrug
& that sad one
wouldnt she be thinking the same
about the time when wisdom came,

we lost the kid in us
became super pretentious
we grew smart
so we smile less and we cry more
all we need to do is play the hug o’war!




I have three motivations behind scribbling the lines above. The first one is of course the dire need of a hug. In times of a solitary lifestyle, this is a frequent visitor, But yes, it’s just a phase. The second is the beautiful piece by Shel Silverstein, a gem of a poem. If I would have read his poem ‘hug o’war’ when I was a kid, I would have been a different person altogether today, and am sure, for the better. Thirdly, the striking realisation that the writeups I personally enjoy most are (incidentally?) the ones that are the most simply worded. Wishing for the only war this world should have ever seen, the hug o’war.


death no danger

i keep saying its abstruse
like that chase of the wild goose
the over dramatic three act play
balancing things in a funny way…

makes you deal with everything
sometimes in line of fire, others as a king
and ruthless
all in one
but all inspiring
like the midnight sun…

what you take of it
is what makes or breaks you
what it demands is the toughest
to smile, even when feeling blue…

and when you had plans
but they topple like a domino
you have to know the truth of the twist
it’s an unending learning list.


rip, papaji. 23mei’12.



those times
trying to take whatever life gave
and trying to keep everything life gave
but such clutter

waiting for the day to forget fear
and finding the order in the chaos
changing the devil to the dream-saint

when we stop thinking with the brain
and happiness is a hug
not just a bottle of champagne

when loving isn’t wanting
and whispering a thank you isn’t hard
not haunting

when alone is not lonely
but a feeling of joy
when embracing is the one and only

when two souls feel exactly the same
not say, not do, not think
like the pawns in the chess game

when we stop being bad to make a mark
and differences make us grow
and a smile glows in the dark

who said ramblings had to have a sequence

So what do you really write about when you don’t feel like contributing to the weekly linkies or no rhyme is humming through your mind and not much pessimism haunts you to resort to ‘vent out’-writing. Plus you cannot sleep. Thought of putting in some effort in archiving about the places I have visited in the last year. So a good starting point was to look at the huge database of pics and recall the vacations? Well, not exactly – just ended up spending an hour browsing through the flashback jpegs and well, smiling.

Feel like the chill in the air has subsided suddenly. Almost in a gap of a few sunrises. The winters kindof ditched the Dutch this year. Not that I had any inclination towards snowmen, though honestly I find them cute. And anyways I am happy driving to and fro office when there is still a dig at the sun. It was just yesterday when an overcoat was the second skin when stepping out. Now it feels like over-weightness. Or maybe its just me! 😀

football – europe – lounge – ‘nutrition’ and a packed stadium. super! good yesterday!

have taken up such a tough painting to work on that i almost feel like trying to pass a keep-your-cool examination. its taking ages to work on an inch of the canvas, maybe i am working too hard on it. too hard to even let the efforts show in the end.

need squash.

“there is a wind behind every one of us that takes us through our lives. We never see it, we can’t command it, we don’t even know its purpose. I would have stayed among you longer, but that wind is taking me away.”

abstract, who me?

It’s not an unfamiliar tickle of random thoughts. When all she hears from her restless senses is to do ‘something‘. “How aimless could you get?” she blurts.

The feeling of just being a minuscule soul in the cosmos holds her back, almost seizing her thoughts. Suddenly shooting her capabilities down to a level of inept. Making her indifferent. Indifferent to the world, indifferent to herself. She is reminded of a time when she loved everything abstract – art, writings, love or just plain conversations. That was the time when abstract meant deviant. And deviant meant fun. Maybe queer. Maybe eccentric. But definitely reminding her of her(once-upon-a-time)self.

She wonders when and why do wavelengths match. Shouldn’t they just swoosh past each other and penetrate into infinity? And not take birth again in the form of trivial lessons of wisdom? Who set a benchmark for wisdom anyways? Where was the line drawn between sense and ignorance? Why did they say she is distracted when all she was, was curious. And well, who decided what sanity would look like?

The appetite for obscurity remains. The hunger for subtleness lingers. She smiles as the mind ponders over the repartees and re-repartees of life.

My inner voice says these are trivial issues. My mom, though, thinks otherwise.

Is it too abstract? Or is it just me?

Encouraged by the prompts ‘Deviant’,’Minuscule’ and ‘Trivial’ @ 3WW!

ironical identity

How a clear white canvas could starkly trigger my thought process and make me uncomfortable is beyond my apprehension. And how a place which has no testament of my existence can be so deeply engraved in my heart is beyond my consciousness.

Standing with a piece of charcoal waiting to sketch down a still life, I realize the irony of just being. Being everywhere, but there. Where we are now is defined by the circumstances we embraced, sometime. Or maybe someone else did that on our behalf. And that what defined me was that I was born in a town that was sometimes all mine, and sometimes bizarrely unfamiliar. I identified this irony sometime when I was in primary school. I don’t belong to the place I was born in. And, I was not born in the place where I always wanted to belong. Then a few years later I realized that this place I cherish most is the one I have least experience of.  After a while, when I started taking pride in traveling…I discerned that this place I perilously want to be at, is the one place where I refuse to go as a tourist. And now, after so many years the ultimate humor revealed itself – the only language that I dread is the one I think in.

It’s not a matter of lost identity, but just plain irony, which I refuse to be at peace with, even till date. Sometime early in my life I ran away from the obvious just because it was so negative. I didn’t see the exodus, I was lucky. But I didn’t want to hear about it too. It was bitter. So I ran away. For a new identity that would barrage terms such as bold and indifferent and strong from my personality. So no one would know the real me.  But after all these years of balancing my ironical identity, when a simple crisp empty canvas almost clamored explicitly that I paint the Paradise, I felt rather susceptible. Weakly vulnerable.  I felt I was missing the intense sense of belonging to that one place.

This guy in office recently said that ‘you look like one of us…I couldn’t have guessed you are not from europe’. I smiled, but I didn’t know if it was good or bad. Because that moment reminded me of the time when someone my own once said ‘you are an outsider’.

Atleast I know what my next painting will be. Paradise.

just another day

it’s one of those days,
when you thought you were losing it all,
but the dawn came along and hugged you tight
freed from those fears,
spared from those strains
you think its back to feeling loved and light…

but it’s just another day,
with a bit more love
and a bit less care
its been long since that prayer
and I don’t wanna be the drums in the song
I wanna be that music all along…

but it’s just another day
‘what funny years’…
you scribble in your diary
the hope tingles that there is no expiry
and I don’t wanna be the tulips in red
I wanna be that strong vase instead…

but it’s just another day
unhugged yet special
obscure since inception
with an enduring perception
and I don’t wanna be the aged wine next to the cheek
I wanna be that savor..that flavor unique…

yet its just another day
thinking too little
or thinking too much am I?
a white rose,a clover or just a bonsai?
but then I don’t wanna be the cream on top
I wanna be the sweetness in each drop.

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