Posts tagged backtothebasics

Creative Routine and Rituals – How to Dream and Create Consistently

A creative routine is a topic that could expand to be as large and to shrink to be as small as you like, a bit like being able to sleep. While some people can’t focus until they have meandered around for hours and finally give in to guilt, others sit and get amazing work done by just holding the pen right: having a daily creative schedule could be complicated or could be simple and natural. 

What does a creative schedule even mean? A schedule that inspires creativity and helps the creators (writers, painters, entrepreneurs, designers, artists, and other creative professionals) forge their imaginations most desirably.

Also, creativity is subjective. A coder is creative when she can write a 100 line code in 10. A marketeer is creative when he can sell a toothpaste such as Pepsodent to the entire human race. 

Anyone with original ideas (in or out of their work sphere) is creative. 

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Serendipitously Spotting Sloth Bear and Leopard in BR Hills, Karnataka

From Bangalore to BR Hills – Venturing Into the Hearts of Karnataka Jungles.

Biligiri Rangana Betta hills or popularly known as BR hills lie about 180 km south of Bengaluru. 

Just a 4–5 hours drive away from Bangalore, it is no surprise that the hills make for a perfect weekend getaway. Having been stuck in the city for two months straight for personal reasons, I was in desperate-need-of-greenery-and-fresh-air and quickly finalized upon Biligiri Hills as my weekend destination. The trip was with my husband so it had to be short to accommodate his full-time job. But even a 2–3 days road trip soaked us in so much nature that we savored it through the next few months of the dry pandemic era in which even stepping out of our tiny abode for groceries felt like a luxury.

I hadn’t expected to see much wildlife in BR hills, as my ventures into the hearts of the Karnataka jungles (such as the Dandeli Sanctuary) before hadn’t borne me much fruit, or, to say, I never saw the big cats or even the tail of an errant elephant. But little did I know that my desire to see Karnataka wildlife would finally come to color in the Biligiri Rangana Hills, officially known as the BR Hills Wildlife Sanctuary which was formed in 1974. 

At an altitude of 3500 feet above sea level, BR hills stand where the Western Ghats meets the Eastern Ghats, and make for an ecological hotspot. In addition to the location exoticism, the BRT wildlife sanctuary is quite large, 540 km² in the area to be precise, and is also an official tiger reserve.

 

Nilgiris_Biosphere_Reserve karnataka tamil Nadu India.jpg

Map of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve(part of Western Ghats). Source: http://www.cepf.net/ / CC BY-SA

 

Not only did we see two sloth bears, at different times, sprinting across in front of our jeep, but we also spotted a leopard hidden behind the thickets, wild bisons appearing all macho, mama and baby chital(spotted deers), an Indian grey mongoose tottering around, a tortoise couple resting on a log in a pond, vultures and owls perched on high and dry tree branches, lone sambhar deers, barking deers melting us with their innocent eyes, Malabar squirrels nibbling through nuts perpetually, colorful birds of various kinds, langurs, wild monkeys, and wild boar. Phew. 

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77 Deep Questions About Life – And Their Answers

Important Life Questions to Ask Yourself

 

I remember a quote that once said, ask the right questions. Over the years I have realized that questions are much more important than answers as without asking the right queries we can never hope for the right knowledge.

But it took me a while to even understand what questions I should ask of myself. Some of those doubts were always there in the background, hovering, emphasizing that I didn’t understand life. I had a vague feeling that I was dismaying over things that didn’t matter while ignoring the universal realities that would pull me out of my little problem bubbles. But I wasn’t sure. And I never took out time to pin those deep questions about life, and, hence, could never answer them.

The process of questioning deepened when I started writing and reading full-time. As I had redesigned my life from a corporate cycle of drudgery, I was too eager to question everything and to be better at the things I had failed at before. It was like I had found vigor again. The more I read, the more I understood, the more life questions I had, and the more incomprehensible it seems now.

As Franz Kafka once said, “Anyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate… but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins.”

The effort continues.

I am putting down some thought-provoking questions that have hitherto found me here. I have followed a natural course and have clubbed thematic questions together.

I have answered all the questions to keep an account of my thoughts on the matter. As you will see, I have some answers, but some of the questions to life still dodge me. You can completely ignore my responses and find your own.

Along with the important questions about life and their answers, I am also putting down the books that have helped me understand the matter.

I plan to update these self reflection questions and answers year-on-year or whenever my understanding changes.

Till then, I present to you the questionnaire of life from my lens.

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Travel Inspires Change and One Small Change Can Transform Our Life.

Everything begins with a story.

Let me recite a story from Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habits. This is a true story of a woman named Lisa(as per the records) who was the subject of a scientific study for understanding behavioral change and habits.

Please note: Though the story is the key to appreciate this article, I am summarizing the story for those readers who don’t want to read it. If you want to read the story, go to it here. Else continue reading the summary. 

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Powerful Quotes On Everything in Life

Powerful Quotes on Life

 

Like many others, I read about the lives and work of many great artists, writers, physicists, musicians, innovators, thinkers. But rather than quoting them, I prefer to share my interpretation of their ideas, generally. I feel that I haven’t assimilated their words well if I share them plain rather than doughing them with my thoughts.

But it is not always about the source or amalgamation of motivation. Ideas and inspiration need to keep floating in the universe irrespective of where they come from. After all, we are only the means to an end, and we all need a guiding light.

In this piece, I am sharing some of the most profound quotes about life that I have come across. The hope is to read these avant-garde quotes, to come back to them whenever we need them, or sift through them even when we don’t feel we require them to keep ourselves soaked in inspiration and to not let it deplete.

Let the journey of inspiration and belief begin.

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Note: Titles recur and follow a random order of inspiration.

On Contemplation.

There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality — Seneca.

(Read Open Letter to My Mind to see what all do we worry about.)

 

On Choosing.

“No” is a complete sentence — Annie Lamott.

Any justification dilutes the intent.

 

On Human Condition. 

Pity is a paralyzing mental luxury ― Will Durant.

But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated — Ernest Hemingway.

To be tough is to be fragile; to be tender is to be truly fierce — Farhana Qazi.

Don’t make adjustments an excuse — Yours Truly.

We hide behind the circumstances and never explore who we can be.

 

On Understanding Life.

Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves, we make poetry – W.B. Yeats.

We should never be shy about questioning ourselves.

 

On Love. 

Why does the sun go on shining? Why does the sea rush to shore? Don’t they know it’s the end of the world, ’Cause you don’t love me anymore? — From The End Of The World by Arthur Kent and Sylvia Dee.

These lines don’t form a quote but they show how deep love can flow.

 

On Thinking Right.

Change your thoughts and you change your world — Norman Vincent Peale.

What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality — Plutarch.

But your questions, which are unanswerable without exception, all spring from the same erroneous thinking — Herman Hesse.

 

On Dreams.

All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them — Walt Disney.

 

On What is Important.

The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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On Determination.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward — Amelia Earhart, an author, and the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

(Read why we need to continue even if we are bleeding.)

 

On Honesty.

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom — Thomas Jefferson.

 

On Getting Started.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started — Mark Twain.

Never wait for the perfect moment. If you do not start right away, then it means you never wanted to do it.

All glory comes from daring to begin―Ruskin Bond.

 

On Success. 

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at — Stephen Hawking.

Be the best sweeper you can be, and the doors of life will open in ways unknown.

(Read how to find something you can love.)

 

On Learning.

Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own — Bruce Lee

 

On Belief.

Believe you can and you are halfway there — Theodore Roosevelt

The rest is logistics.

 

On Life. 

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving — Albert Einstein

Things work out on their own when you move.

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced — Soren Kierkegaard, an existential philosopher.

 

On Kindness.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted — Aesop

One morning, I told my cleaning lady to wait until I finished my shower so that I could make tea for her. But I couldn’t get out of the bathroom because the door was jammed. I shouted a few times so that she could hear me, and she did and pushed the door open. We can’t always see kindness flowing freely, but it always does.

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud — Maya Angelou

People rejoice when they receive an unexpected smile or a gentle hug. Their eyes speak. They feel that everything is okay. When I get out of my plastic bubble of sadness and smile, people smile, and we all fly high.

 

On the Matters of Heart. 

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart — Helen Keller

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On What is Important.

Having no limitation as limitation — Bruce Lee

Limitations are imaginary constructions of the human mind.

One those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go — T.S. Eliot

 

On Innovation.

I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate — Jeff Bezos

Don’t expect others to understand or appreciate your vision.

 

On Happiness. 

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking — Marcus Aurelius

You always have what you need.

 

On Eccentricity.

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric — Bertrand Russell

Do what you think is right. The rest follows.

Every society honors its live conformists and dead troublemakers — Mignon McLaughlin.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it —  W.H.Murray.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Rob Siltanen

(Read my journey from coding to writing: Breaking the barriers)

 

On the Troubles of Life. 

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky — Rabindranath Tagore.

If we detest problems, we would always think of life as troubles and solutions. But life isn’t binary. It is an infinite equation.

On Relationships. 

Hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other — Rainer Maria Rilke.

We can only be with someone if they can be with our solitude.

(Read the importance of relationships and how to create them.)

 

On Pragmatism. 

History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was ploughing fields and carrying water buckets — Yuval Noah Harari, as he wrote in his book Sapiens.

A few plan, communicate, and lead. And the rest allow them.

 

On Doing. 

The shortest answer is doing the thing — Ernest Hemingway.

If we do, we get more answers than we would get by pondering.

 

On Fear. 

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them — Rabindranath Tagore.

I always tried to please or patronize people because I didn’t want them to be upset with me or fight with me. Over time, I realized that people will think what they want to think. Instead of trying to be in their good books always, I should be least bothered about what someone would say. I can stand up for myself if the other threatens my integrity or peace.

 

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On Art.

No great art has ever been made without the artist having known danger — Rainer Maria Rilke

 

On The Most Important.

If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature’s way — Aristotle. [Marcus Aurelius writes this in his diary Meditations as well]

What is natural can never be wrong.

(Read why we should let like takes its course, inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet.)

 

On Being Larger Than Life.

I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death — Anne Frank, as she noted down in her diary.

(Read along: what is the purpose of our lives.)

 

On Belief.

My mother was the greatest mother in the world. She thought I was the greatest thing on two feet. I’d come home with a little composition I had written at school, and she’d look at it and say, ‘It’s wonderful! You’re another Shakespeare!’ I always assumed I could do anything. It really is amazing how much that has to do with your attitude — Stan Lee.

First, believe.

 

On Everything in Life.

When asked, ‘How do you write?’ I invariably answer, ‘one word at a time.’ — Stephen King.

You can apply this to anything in life.

(Read everything I have learned so far: in 4,500 words.)

 

On Being Larger Than Life.

Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it — Rabindranath Tagore.

 

On Truth.

Opinions are nothing, better than all is the self-contained calm of true realization. What does it matter which argument is true and which is false — what has been gained within is the real thing — Rabindranath Tagore writes in his book Gora.

 

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On Love.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage — Lao Tzu.

(Read why we need a life partner and how to find one.)

 

On Loneliness.

The time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself — Douglas Coupland.

 

On What is Important.

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop — Rumi

You are complete in yourself.

 

On Life. 

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not — Henry David Thoreau.

Every journey to the outside begins from the inside.

 

On Human Condition.

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves — Henry David Thoreau

 

On Dreams and the Cosmos.

Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work — A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.

Dream and work; the universe puts the rest of the pieces together.

 

On What is Important.

Never stop smiling not even when you’re sad, someone might fall in love with your smile — Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

On Being Larger Than Life.

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly — R. Buckminster Fuller

Only you know what you are capable of.

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On Learning.

Instead of a grand pool of knowledge, a teacher should have a kind heart to facilitate an environment of learning — Yours Truly.

 

On Life.

There are no separate systems. The world is a continuum. Where to draw a boundary around a system depends on the purpose of the discussion― Donella H. Meadows.

 

On Truth.

Look, further on ahead, there, between truth and falsehood, a little empty space — Amrita Preetam.

 

On Becoming Better.

If you believe you can change and start changing your habits, the change becomes real― Charles Duhigg.

(Read why are habits so important.)

On Truth.

Live only with reason— Marcus Aurelius.

 

On Human Condition.

My grandfather was a wild-raspberry patch on the side of a mountain, and my grandmother was a flower garden in a concrete city — From The Stump Ranch Fish by Quinn Grover.

Do you believe that you don’t belong? We all have a place in the world; sometimes, it is the whole world.

 

On Art. 

The business of art is to reveal the relation between man and his environment — D. H. Lawrence.

 

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On Travel and Life.

It is not down in any map; true places never are — Herman Melville.

It is never about following the directions, it is about exploring.

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware — Martin Buber.

(Read what I have learned from traveling the world.)

 

On Writing.

Stories are our souls. Write and edit and tell yours with your whole selves. Tell them as if they are all that matters. It matters that you do it as if that is all there is — Jacqui Banaszynski

(Read my collection of articles on writing.)

 

On Time.

There’s never one sunrise the same or one sunset the same — Carlos Santana.

 

On Fear and Life.

Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved — D.H.Lawrence

Embrace fears. Overpower insecurities. Spend it for it was meant to be lived.

 

On Human Condition. 

The human soul needs actual beauty more than bread —  D. H. Lawrence

(Read and go back to the basics of life with The Little Prince.)

 

On Being Yourself.

Be yourself, everyone else is taken — Oscar Wilde

On Being Larger Than Life.

Another voice in his heart was telling him that he must not fall under the sway of the past and that one can do anything with oneself — Leo Tolstoy (as he wrote in Anna Karenina).

It is about overcoming the voices inside.

On Learning.

Life must be understood backward. But it must be lived forward ” — Søren Kierkegaard

We don’t know what will tomorrow bring but we can learn from the past.

(Read the 30 life lessons I learned in my twenties: Moving forward with pride.)

 

On Happiness.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony — Mahatma Gandhi

I rarely quote Gandhi, but this quote emphasizes the way of nature and the way of nature is always right.

 

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On Success.

Those who achieve the extraordinary are usually the most ordinary because they have nothing to prove to anybody. Be Humble — Aaron Lauritsen, as he wrote in his book 100 Days Drive.

We do the most amazing things when we mind our own business while rendering prestige useless.

 

On Life.

“Dig deep into your soul” — A Star is Born.

Don’t scratch the surface all your life. Fight. Strive. Bleed. Sweat. Cry. Run. Dig deep.

Once you lose that sense of wonder at being alive, you’re pretty much on the way out — David Bowie.

Don’t get so overshadowed by the problems, that you can’t see what is it all about. Live.

 

On Love and Work.

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it —  Buddha

Devote yourself to your purpose.

(Read why work shouldn’t be boring and how to find and do what you love.)

 

On Travel.

यस्तु सञ्चरते देशान् सेवते यस्तु पण्डितान् !
तस्य विस्तारिता बुद्धिस्तैलबिन्दुरिवाम्भसि !! (A Sanskrit shloka that I can seem to find the source of. Please let me know if you know.)

The wisdom of the one who travels to many countries and serves the learned there increases as an oil drop spreads on water.

(Read why I travel the world.)

trekking+in+dharamshala+kangra+valley+waterfall+dharamkot+hike+himachal+pradesh.jpg

 

On Creativity.

All of my big mistakes are when I try to second-guess or please an audience. My work is always stronger when I get very selfish about it — David Bowie.

Prestige or fame shouldn’t be your drive. Your only drive could be your own ghosts.

What I like my music to do is awaken the ghosts inside me. Not the demons you understand, but the ghosts — David Bowie.

 

On Success.

The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity — Joshua Waitzkin, as he wrote in his book The Art of Learning.

Nothing special is going to come to save you.

(Read how to nurture the art of learning, inspired by Josh Waitzkin.)

 

On Truth.

Always go too far, because that’s where you’ll find the truth —  Albert Camus.

To infinity and beyond.

 

On the Power of time and Persistence. 

If you want to direct your life on a continual positive change, then you need to tap into the most powerful force for change in the universe. Fortunately for you, that force is always with you. That force is time  — Jeff Olsen (as he wrote in his book The Slight Edge).

Time is what keeps everything from happening at once —  Ray Cummings.

If time frightens us, this is because it works out the problem and the solution comes afterward —  Albert Camus.

But how else would it be?

(Read the importance of the process of learning versus the result.)

 

On Happiness. 

Happiness isn’t the result of getting all the other stuff right, but something you can do right now, and that then leads to getting the other stuff right. Be happy and the reason will appear — Jeff Olsen (as he wrote in his book The Slight Edge).

 

On Human Mind. 

Once in a great while, a few times in history, a human mind produces an observation so acute and unexpected that people can’t quite decide which is the more amazing — the fact or the thinking of it — Bill Bryson, as said in his book A Short History of Nearly Everything.

 

On Human Condition and Art. 

A human being is the only animal that thinks about future — Daniel Gilbert, as he wrote in his book Stumbling Upon Happiness.

I began to experience the fullness of winter in Kashmir, and finally understood what artist Cezanne meant when, as he painted, he attempted to capture the multiple reflections of a scene. “The landscape thinks itself in me…I am its consciousness,” he once said — Farhana Qazi, quoting the French Painter Cezanne in her book Secrets of the Kashmir Valley.

(Read the 15 things we overthink about)

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On Suffering. 

Is it not a relief from suffering to be permitted to express it? —Paul Cézanne.

On the Past and Doing Better.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better — Maya Angelou.

Don’t rue over the past. We couldn’t have done any better when we didn’t know any better. To live is to learn.

On Hope. 

Hope is the magic carpet that transports us from the present moment into the realm of infinite possibilities —  H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

On Truth.

Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.’ — Khalil Gibran.

 

On Human Condition.

Don’t underestimate the power of a human being. If needed, human consciousness can reach farther than the depths of the ocean—Yours truly.

उध्दरेदात्मनात्मानम् — udhdaredātmanātmānam —  Save yourself by yourself —  Swami Vivekananda

No one hurts you as much as you hurt yourself.

(Read how to manipulate consciousness to change reality.)

 

On the Small Things of Life.

The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life — William Morris.

Without the details, the bigger picture won’t matter.

 

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On Worrying. 

Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it ― Daniel Kahneman, as he wrote in his book Thinking Fast and Slow.

 

On Power. 

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any —  Alice Walker.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent — Eleanor Roosevelt.

 

On Being Larger Than Life.

The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun — George Orwell.

 

On Happiness and Experience.

The way an experience ends is more important to us than the total amount of pleasure we receive — until we think about it — Daniel Gilbert, as he said in his book Stumbling Upon Happiness.

The ending might seem to matter the most until you think about the experience. So think.

 

On Happiness and Human Condition. 

We treat our future selves as though they were our children, spending most of the hours of our days constructing tomorrows that we hope will make them happy — Daniel Gilbert, as he explained in his book Stumbling Upon Happiness.

To be a human being means to possess a feeling of inferiority which constantly presses towards its own conquest. The greater the feeling of inferiority that has been experienced, the more powerful is the urge for conquest and the more violent the emotional agitation ― Alfred Adler.

It is up to us to stop it.

(Read how to choose between ambition and happiness, lessons inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche.)

 

On the Redundancy of Abundance. 

So much is available, almost nothing can be found — Pico Iyer.

 

On Human Condition.

And dimly she realized one of the great laws of the human soul: that when the emotional soul receives a wounding shock, which does not kill the body, the soul seems to recover as the body recovers. But this is only appearance. It is really only the mechanism of the re-assumed habit. Slowly, slowly the wound to the soul begins to make itself felt, like a bruise, which only slowly deepens its terrible ache, till it fills all the psyche. And when we think we have recovered and forgotten, it is then that the terrible after-effects have to be encountered at their worst — David Herbert Lawrence, as he wrote in his book Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Time only seems to cover up a wound while the experience seeps into the deepest crevices of our consciousness.

 

On Being Larger Than Life.

One who daily puts the finishing touches to his life is never in want of time —  Seneca, as he noted in Letters From A Stoic.

Live as if no one is watching.

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On Doing Less. 

Most people think that big success is time-consuming and complicated. As a result, their calendars and to-do lists become overloaded and overwhelming. Success starts to feel out of reach so they settle for less. Unaware that big success comes when we do a few things well, they get lost trying to do too much and in the end accomplish too little. Over time they lower their expectations, abandon their dreams, and allow their life to get small. This is the wrong thing to make small.

Going small is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It is recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. When you go as small as possible, you will be staring at one thing. And that’s the point — Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, as they explained in their book The One Thing.

 

On Forgiveness.

I thought that I needed your apology to move on. I really needed to forgive myself first —  Najwa Zebian.

When someone wrongs us, we need to forgive ourselves for trusting that person. Only then her side of the story comes in.

 

On Consciousness.

We don’t just treasure our memories. We are our memories — Daniel Gilbert, as he illustrated in his book Stumbling on Happiness.

On Truth.

Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation — Friedrich Nietzsche

We need much less than we think we do.

On Truth and Life.

The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is —  Kurt Vonnegut.

 

On Human Condition.

Caught in the deluge, we were torn — wanting to run for shelter but tempted, also, to sing in the rain — Joyce Maynard, as she wrote in An 18-Year-Old Looks Back on Life.

(Read about mindfulness and how to practice it, lessons inspired by Buddha as interpreted by Osho.)

 

 

On Being Larger Than Life.

To use your head you have to go out of your mind— Timothy Leary.

Psychedelics or no psychedelics, this is true.

 

One moment is dark,

and the next moment there is light,

you don’t have the slightest hint

of what is going to come next,

then why do you knit your brows,

smile for the now,

smile for the blue sky under which you sleep,

smile for the bright moon that gives strength,

smile for the bread you have just had,

smile for that you still breathe,

because you don’t know what would happen the next moment,

but don’t be scared,

for you cannot change anything,

all you can do is face the today fearlessly,

and that might just do it.

By Yours Truly.

tree near beach peaceful life.jpg

On Love and About Everything in Life.

To live in this world

you must be able

to do three things

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,

to let it go.

By Mary Oliver, as said in the poem “In Blackwater Woods”.

To the Great Ocean,

Of the sunken arm that throws up a drop of water nothing remains but a kiss of salt.

Of the bodies of mankind along your shores a misty scent of wet flowers is all that lasts.

Your energy seems to slip away without ever being exhausted,

it seems to circle back into your calm.

By Pablo Neruda, from his poetry book, The Essentials of Neruda.

 

On Pausing. 

With every click of the shutter,
you’re trying to press pause on your life.
If only so you can feel a little more comfortable moving on
living in a world stuck on play — 
Morii, From Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

 

On Strength.

So few grains of happiness
measured against all the dark
and still the scales balance.

The world asks of us
only the strength we have and we give it.
Then it asks more, and we give it.
by Jane Hirshfield.

 

Let’s inspire ourselves when we are down, but not before accepting our feelings, letting them linger for a while, looking at them objectively, and when we know better, we can move on to deal with more.

In a moment, a moment is gone. And all we have is this moment. Let’s spend it with reason.

 

a woman with an earth shaped ball at sunset quotes about life.jpg

 

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Which one of these encouraging life quotes did you relate to the most? Tell me in the comments.

 

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From Coding to Writing – How I Quit My Job, Shelved My IIT CS Degree, and Started Writing

I hadn’t thought about doing something that I loved until I was 22 and on my first software engineering job in Bengaluru, the Silicon Valley of India.

I remember the taxi ride from the Bengaluru airport to the apartment my would-be roommate and old friend had rented in a residential complex. As the taxi cruised through the traffic, I looked out of the rain-soaked windows and wondered if the city would backdrop my life the way I had dreamed about it — like a deep blue sky sprawling vast for the young iris to spread her wings.

I was thrilled about my first job. I had imagined myself scuttling away on high heels in a crisp black trouser and a maroon shirt from one meeting to another in glass-faceted skyscrapers. I would always be solving important engineering problems putting a dent in the world. 

As a Computer Science graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT), I couldn’t expect anything less — we are told we are the cream of the growing world-superpower India1. At the time I joined IIT, the institute selected 4000 applicants out of 348k — 87 students competed for my seat.

My excitement for work was coupled with the oncoming financial independence, cosmopolitan lifestyle, and social freedom. I hail from a small town, and though I had been studying away from my parents in Kota, Delhi, and Mumbai for the past seven years, I depended on them financially. (In India, youngsters don’t pick up part-time work to pay their way through college). But now, like the rest of the fresh Indian graduates, I could live independently for the first time. 

But I was too young for a happy ever after. Within a year, I got bored with my job.

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Coronavirus is Not At Fault – You Are As Happy As You Want To Be

Coronavirus has slowed everyone down. People are staying indoors. Schools and colleges are shut. Offices have been closed down, and employees have been asked to work from home.

Borders are getting closed. Travel is forbidden, somewhere by law and somewhere by conscience. Some are still traveling and facing the wrath from the strangers on the internet.

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Riding the Yangon Circular train – Memoirs from Myanmar

Riding the Yangon Circular train – One of my best day trips from Yangon, Myanmar

When you search for things to do in Yangon, riding the Yangon circular train comes as one of the top activities. Pictures of travelers surrounded by sleepy Burmese people carrying overloaded bamboo baskets in the Yangon train would fill the internet feed. 

Those Yangon train pictures promised to offer an insider’s look into the local life of the city. So after exploring Yangon for a day, I decided to get my piece of the train.

The little girl inside me who grew up in India riding trains suddenly sprang to life. Before heading out of my hotel, I packed a small bag with my wallet, camera, water bottle, and strode towards the Yangon Central Railway station. 

Finding the train station wasn’t the easiest task. When I arrived at the Google map location for Yangon Central station, I couldn’t find the place. 

A few locals gestured me to climb the bridge at the location. When I did, I could only see the railway tracks from up the bridge, but I couldn’t locate any ticket booth or platform.

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Highs and Lows of 2019 – A Year of Travel Blogging, Wandering in the Himalayas, and Personal Well-Being

2019 was a roller coaster ride. 

Waking up in my rooftop room that serves as my intermittent writing studio in Bengaluru, incorporating travel blogging with On My Canvas by writing throughout the year about my past and recent travels, connecting with other bloggers and travel writers, slow traveling in the Himalayas for four(4) months of summer while focusing on health and personal well-being and working remotely, writing thirty(30) long and super-researched articles in thirty(30) days in August, traveling in Karnataka on short and long trips, collaborating with both national and international travel organizations for the first time, getting my work and writing acknowledged over other media platforms, and then making my way to Myanmar via flight (after my plans to cross into Myanmar through Northeast got canceled because of the protests) and spending three weeks there — I never felt that the year was slow even though I slowed down quite a few time. 

Oh, On My Canvas also won three travel blogging awards within my first year of sincere travel blogging.

Let me tell you my favorite and not-so-favorite moments from this hap hazardous list of actions and achievements. Later I will also summarize the things that I feel I couldn’t do justice to and wish to focus on in 2020.

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Manali to Naggar – Time Traveling in Himachal

Manali to Naggar Village, Himachal Pradesh.

Who would think that just 20 km away from Manali, India’s top tourist destination, lies the Naggar village, a town that refuses to think beyond stone temples, apple orchards, and wooden huts accommodating both cows and their humans equitably.

Manali to Naggar bus ride took about an hour. After roaring along with the Beas river for a while, the bus passed through tiny countryside settlements halting at them shakily. Call those clusters of country houses a hamlet or a village, but more often then not, the bus had to stop for cows unabashedly crossing the roads or villagers dashing to the opposite side with baskets of farm-fresh apples on their heads.

Once you get down at the main road at which Naggar village peeks from the high Himalayan hills that rise above the Beas valley, one has to trudge up a steep uphill road to get close to any of the Naggar’s many historical attractions some of whose origins are still unknown.

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Dharamshala Travel Guide – To a Meaningful Trip to Dharamshala

What does this travel guide to Dharamshala contain?

  1. My Dharamshala trip at a glance
  2. About Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.
  3. My best things to do in Dharamshala.
  4. What is the best time to visit Dharamshala?
  5. How to reach Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh?
  6. How to reach Dharamshala from Delhi?
  7. Where to stay in Dharamshala?
  8. How much would a trip to Dharamshala cost?
  9. What to bring to Dharamshala?
  10. Is Dharamshala safe for solo travelers?
  11. How to avoid the smoking culture of Dharamshala if you don’t want to be a part of it?
  12. How to go on a long trip to Dharamshala?
  13. Around Dharamshala and further reading.

My Dharamshala trip at a glance. 

This is not your typical Dharamshala travel guide.

During my six weeks in Dharamshala, I hardly ever searched for “things to do in Dharamshala” or “best places to visit in Dharamshala.”

What was I doing? I was busy taking my Dharamshala trip slow.

I might sound clichéd, but I was learning the art of doing nothing.

Having said that, let me tell you that I started my journey in Dharamshala by attending a Vipassana course in Dharamkot, one of the many green villages of Dharamshala district. After a much-needed 10-day silence of body and mind, I packed my bags and headed out of the deodar forests of the Dharamkot Vipassana center. My plan was to stay for a week in upper Dharamkot. 

But something made me leave Dharamkot in just two days. Was it the smoky air of my Dharamkot hostel or the hippies lining the cafes in Dharamkot market, I am not sure. I surrendered to my discomfort and shifted to Upper Bhagsu, another lush village in Dharamshala that lies on the other side of Dharamkot.

I had gone to Upper Bhagsu for a week, and I didn’t know that I would end up spending more than a month there. 

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Hiking in Dharamshala – Under the Rhododendrons and Into the Icy Summits

During the six weeks that I lived in the Bhagsu village of Dharamshala, hiking in Dharamshala was one of my favorite activities. 

On a sunny day when I was walking from Bhagsu village towards Mcleodganj, the idea of going to Mcleodganj seemed mundane, and I took a detour. Instead of continuing going straight to Mcleodganj, I took the road on my left that went downhill.

I had seen the road many times before and had wondered about its destination. But that day the road seemed to promise the solitude I was looking for. Hell, we all know I wasn’t going to get much peace in Mcleodganj unless I strayed away in its back lanes.

When I had walked downhill for a while, the road disappeared after leading me to a cluster of few tiny houses. Where was I to go then?

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