Posts tagged life purpose

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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Everything I Have Learned So Far

Important Life Lessons to Fall Back Upon

 

The Artist is no other than he who unlearns what he has learned, in order to know himself — E.E. Cummings

While writing full-time for almost three years now, I have spent a lot more time looking inwards (and would continue to do so) than I did before. When I reflect on myself, I am able to look outwards with more compassion and a deeper understanding of life. And this growing insight into the external world and my own form the roots of my personal growth and my art, both of which, in turn, feed the soil with the dew from their leaves.

Learning paves way for more learning.

In this piece, I share everything that I have learned so far as a writer and from before. I believe that all that was important must have made itself available to my mind and heart while I was writing the article. And if I have missed something, either I do not care about it enough or it will appear in some form later and is not crucial until then.

Though this is more a cheat sheet for me and less an article for a reader looking for the wisdom of life, I hope I have shared some experience that will help you sail along this immense sea of life with a bit more ease. I am 32 years old, and this list of life learnings is long so you can skip ahead and read a section (all are randomly arranged with short titles) or go grab a coffee and then come back later to continue from where you left.

life learnings-Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Landschaft_mit_Gebirgssee,_Morgen.jpgBy Caspar David Friedrich / Public domain

 

Work, Skills, and Perseverance.

Quoting Galib or Bukowski or Edison doesn’t make anyone a poet or a writer or a visionary. Ideas hit hard as a hailstorm by living a dedicated life. 1

You will have to put in immense effort to create a remarkable life. There is also a teeny-tiny factor of luck. 2

Things take their course. Hydrate yourself with patience. 3

You can only shift the world right now, not in five minutes. 4

In simple terms —The quality of the 10,000 hours you spend to build skills is significant. The number of hours I sit on the chair to write is important, but the number of hours I don’t know if I was on the chair is even more important. Don’t pretend, do. 5

A tiny bit and one more tiny bit and another tiny bit matters̶ more than one large bit. The sum of many small things might not be greater than one big one, but several intangible forces start working in your favor when you are consistent. 6

 

Honesty. 

Your honesty aids you more than it benefits anyone else. 7

Honesty is a formless invincible savior. 8

 

Personality and Behavior.

A good life is not defined by work or relationships. The size of your bungalow or the freshness of the kingfish at dinner doesn’t quantify happiness either. Though these things might affect your mood or make you more comfortable, none of these alone or together can keep you happy and fulfilled. 9

Your temperament decides if you would live a good life filled with happiness. Temperament is the mesh that holds everything together. 10

If you get upset at small things, you will stay unhappy and guilt-prone. 11

Having a bad temperament doesn’t make you a bad person. But people around you would feel like using you as a punchbag every full moon. 12

You can always improve your nature but you will have to lift heavier weights¹ than you do in the gym. 13

Every day, the smallest of the things that you do make up who you are and what you would become. 14

 

Work.

If someone talks about work-life balance, tell them they are lying. 15

Work-life is not different from personal-life— You don’t enter into a new realm after breakfast. It is the same world of your ideas, your cat, your husband’s messages, your ginger tea, and your books. 16

After work, you don’t migrate to a new realm of personal life, but you get access to a more freely flowing time. It is the same world of your thoughts, interests, and temperament unless you hate your work. 17

The more fluidly work and personal life flow into each other, the easier it is. And then one day you can’t tell the difference which is which. 18

Work should not suck. 19

Passion is the remedy for some people. 20

In the absence of passion, there is still always something that you can be good at. Find it. 21

 

abstract-color-paint-painting-art-exploring.jpg

 

Life. 

Practice abstinence from following people unless you want to always walk behind. 22

 

Performance.

How you do one thing is how you do everything. 23

How to know if you are doing the best? A constant judgment of your choices or results would leave you more confused than a cat looking at her reflection. Your best efforts aggregate over a period of time when you work with compassion, dedication, patience, and maneuver your path every time you realize you have made a mistake. 24

You can always do better, but you don’t know how, yet. 25

 

Past. 

Rueing over a mistake is worse than trying to unfry the salmon. 26

You shouldn’t care about that Friday in 2014 when your ex Italian boyfriend threw your cashmere sweater out of the balcony as you would lie to yourself to fill the gap of memories³ and would hurt yourself by thinking imaginary things that are not winning you the best humor-book award either. Past is a fading star, and your reality is that milky moon up in the sky today. 27

The more you think about the past, the more habitual you become of thinking about the past — You start thinking to justify your actions and life so far but every time you feel you are done you will find more things to defend. You increase your reasons to worry rather than reducing them, ironically. Now you are watching the past from behind a hazy screen while your present is hazing away, too. 28

Letting go is the key to fulfillment.29

 

Things of real consequence. 

Small things are small. To keep them small you will have to stop obsessing over them. 30

Remove the phrase “it wasn’t fair” from your vocabulary and act as you deem correct or else get ready to unfry the salmon again. 31

Don’t be burdened by things that don’t seem to go your way. Things happen on their own accord, and it is hard to say what would do us good or what would do us bad. 32

You start to lose your understanding of yourself over a period of time. But remembering your roots is important to stay kind and compassionate. As they say, keep those old clothes hidden in the back of the closet. 33

The easier it is to bother you, the more you will be teased. 34

 

Happiness.

The world doesn’t care if you are in a bad mood or a good one even if you are Amitabh Bachchan. 35

No one is responsible for your happiness. 36

Self-pitying people always create a reason to pity themselves. You are not a reason for anyone’s unhappiness or the heart attacks they tell you they might get. 37

 

People and Human Condition.

If you want people to care, tell stories that they care about first. 38

People are waiting for you to cheer up so that they can laugh with you. 39

Laugh and make people laugh to keep it light. 40

People will always tell you to do what they think is right. And they all think they are right. 41

The more you try to please people, the difficult it becomes to please them. 42

People accept criticism better once you have appreciated them. 43

People like you if you put yourself below them. Put yourself on a lower pedestal a few times but don’t get used to it else you will always find yourself crawling on the grass. 44

People like you more if you let go of small things. 45

If you banter with people and show that you understand where they are coming from and you are like them, too, you have them. 46

The day you stand up to lead, people will follow you. But they will only continue following you if you bring conviction and relentlessness. 47

Everyone – even the richest and most popular people – get scared of missing out. Everyone gets jealous. 48

 

group of people.jpgChristian Satin / CC0

 

Worry and productivity.

Worry is constipation for the mind. 49

You worry more than you need to —You always overestimate the amount of effort or pain required to complete a task. When the time comes, you don’t quantify the effort and only care for the thing to get over. Later on, you always feel that it wasn’t that hard or it was different from how you had imagined it. Worry less. 50

Bad days won’t leave you alone. Someone who doesn’t have bad days is playing PubG on Google Pixel or binge-watching Money Heist. 51

Instead of brooding on bad days, do something you enjoy, whatever gives you pleasure or brings clarity. Get to your deliverables when you stop wishing the world to end. Now you don’t have a bad day but a few relaxing hours. 52

 

Fun.

Sometimes doing nothing and watching squirrels frolicking around should be your g̶o̶a̶l̶ essence of the day. 53

Fun is not the coolant but it is the fuel. Or: Don’t play to work better — Play to play. 54

Enjoyment doesn’t mean instant-gratification — You don’t have to grin every second, but the idea is not to cry to sleep every day either. 55

Instant gratification does refill our willpower. Now manipulate the willpower to do whatever you like. 56

children learning through different phases of life - everything I have learned so far.jpg

Communication.

Language needs to be changed with the company like one changes socks as per the wind of the day. 57

 

Seriousness versus Frolick.

In the advent of being sincere and poetic and philosophical, you don’t have to don Neitzsche’s countenance or stop forwarding cat memes. The greatest philosophy is in knowing and accepting who you are. 58

You can not only alienate yourself from others by being too solemn, but you can also miss out on intersecting with the free wavelengths of life. 59

Be sincere, not serious. 60

 

Knowledge.

If you know a little bit about everything, you are better placed than a lot of other people. 61

The easiest way to learn a lot about a lot of things is by reading books. 62

Don’t learn to be better than others. Learn to understand better. 63

 

Money.

Money can’t buy happiness or wisdom or well-being or relationships or anything valuable. But no-money buys unhappiness. 64

You are precious if you are not running behind money like everyone else. If you have skills, the money will come. 65

Money can buy flight tickets to Colombia and peri-peri french fries and these come close to happiness on some days. 66

 

Kindness.

Every act of kindness has the power to multiply like water hyacinth. 67

Kindness flows back. 68

Being kind sucks sometimes. 69

Ask everyone who shows up at your home for water. You never know who is drying in the drought. 70

You shouldn’t depend on your partner to do all the benevolent deeds — If he is softer than you, you still have to keep your flame of compassion and kindness ablaze. 71

 

Care, Writing, Art, and Performance.

Everyone can write. But you can only write well on the things you care about. 72

A lot of things can be only done well if you care. 73

Don’t shun something you aren’t proud of. See how you can improve. And that might make all the difference. 74

Lack of focus might not have anything to do with the quality  of the result— Maybe it wasn’t the right time for that idea. Try it later. 75

Believing in a secret ingredient can delay you from forming your own magical formula. 76

You cannot be there before you are there. The process is the result. 77

The road only shows up when you walk ahead. 78

 

the road the journey the path.jpg

 

Feelings and experiences.

We feel, and that is why anything matters². 79

You can never feel anyone else’s experience or happiness so don’t pity them or hate them. 80

 

Jealousy, Comparison, and Copying Others.

Everyone is figuring out something or the other. 81

The people you think got it easy never had it easy. Even a white, well-educated American male struggles in deciding how to handle the privilege. And his experience counts. 82

If you want to get something that someone else has, you should try exchanging your genome to theirs, living their past life, and getting in their head first. If you haven’t had enough, try following their routine for a month. Start with Elon Musk. Now notice how absurd the idea was. 83

The more we try to become like someone, the further we go away from becoming ourselves. 84

If you are doing something because others are doing it, then the only thing you are doing is copying. 85

You don’t have to avoid something because others are not doing it. 86

 

Forgiveness.

You can forgive people or you can reproach them about how they hurt you — But it is not about them anymore, it is about you. 87

Instead of a reprimand, a gentle nudge in the right direction can do more good to everyone. 88

 

People, Dispositions, and Human Condition.

Experience helps but being a novice at something could be lucky sometimes. 89

People don’t mean everything they say. Stop taking everything literally. 90

Not everything is about you. 91

Instead of defending yourself, hit a joke with another joke. Have fun. 92

Crime isn’t committed by bad people — It is committed by people. You could have been one of those people if things didn’t work out for you the way they did. 93

Good looks leave a better first impression. Sorry, the world is biased. 94

 

a girl freely playing in water.jpg

Friends.

Close friends can heal you faster than a cup of tea. Create healthy relationships for they carry you when you cannot walk. 95

Friends won’t wait for you eternally — Their life is going on while you are busy creating yours. You can either be in both lives at the same time or you can see yourself disappearing slowly from their story. 96

 

Doing One Thing at a Time.

Don’t try to do it all . 97

If you can’t resist doing it all — do it one at a time. 98

Multitask in things that aren’t that important. 99

 

Blogging and Art.

Blogging or writing or cartooning or doodling or Youtubing comes from a space within. It is not about how much you know, it is about how less you know and how curious you are. 100

No two blogs can be the same — people behind them are driven by different things. 101

A dilettante can’t win long-term by pretending. 102

 

Everyone looks at things differently.

 

Things of Real Consequence.

The world is a jungle book — and you can be the man-cub. Being different could be your way. 103

Not everyone cares for your stupid examples. 104

If you are thinking about the same problems over and over (the dictionary of Obscure Sorrows describes this weariness with the same old issues as Altschmerz) it doesn’t mean that you haven’t made any progress. Progress reflects in how you struggle with those problems. 105

It is okay to not know about the art classics as long as you know about the classics of life. 106

 

jungle of the world depicted in the louis vivin painting.jpg Fotographie Stephan Rohner / CC BY-SA

 

Love.

There are fewer things better than love. Let yourself fall in love. 107

Love will come and go but don’t forget to work on yourself while you are floating in the pool of love. Else you will sink soon. 108

Your partner is your portable home. 109

 

Overthinking.

If you are on the wrong path, you wouldn’t miss it because you were not thinking about it. But if you overbear yourself with the same thoughts, you would definitely end up tumbling. 110

 

Work, Monotony, Skills, Fun, and Life.

When something becomes really boring, then we are in a position to change the rules. 111

This constant tug of war between work and recreation cannot be always justified by spending more time at work — it can be only pacified by being more aware while working. 112

Doing laundry is not a waste of time. Rather than detesting the household chores, you can be open about learning something new and giving it your best as life isn’t only about the time you spent typing on your Mac. Instead, you type because you live a life away from the keyboard. Remember that work and life aren’t disjoint. 113

 

Things of Real Consequence.

It is okay if you don’t remember high school science. But high school science does make adult life better. 114

Keep your basics right. Visit the dentist. Get that checkup done. Now shift to autopilot and free yourself for other stuff. 115

Don’t get married or have a baby as absentmindedly as you switch on the television every night after returning from work. Getting married or having a child is a personal decision in spite of what the world tells you. 116

Television is designed to engage you in brainless activities that keep you hooked. Unhook and pick a book or play cards with friends, you will be more fulfilled. 117

 

Habits.

Habits can kill you or make you. Go back to the time when your mother used to discourage you from eating chocolate solely by making a statement about it being a good habit or not. 118

Worrying about forming good habits is paradoxical. Don’t do it. 119

playing as a child.jpg

 

Things of Real Consequence.

Life could end anytime. But you live like it won’t until the last moment. 120

Most probably people would judge you, but it has nothing to do with you. 121

Keeping a gun isn’t about personal protection. 122

Democracy is a pretense. 123

Don’t let any relationship define you. 124

Banks never care about the customer. They only pretend to. Think for yourself. 125

It is okay to feel lonely. 126

Parents are jealous of their children. Your life always seems easier than theirs. Don’t hold it against them. 127

 

Getting the Best.

Getting the best every time is only worth it if you are unaffected if you don’t get the best. Worrying over perfection is paradoxical. 128

 

Things of Real Consequence. 

If you can think about it, someone else can, too. If you feel it, someone else has felt it, too. What makes you different from others is what you do then. 129

Life isn’t like a book, but more like concentric circles. 130

Creativity is larger than life because it creates life. 131

A day is made up of good time, okay time, and bad time. 132

Every day is different from the previous one, even though it seems like exactly the same. 133

Not everything can be resolved by reading an article about it. 134

Stubborn, egotistic, and relentless avant-garde people shift the world. 135

You like to hide things deep inside. Then you think about those things to comfort yourself in the hour of need, and that is okay. 136

You would feel like hurting people at times. Especially if they are more successful or more beautiful or they have hurt you before. But don’t do it. 137

 

Learning.

Ethnolinguistics should be a subject in school. So should be emotional intelligence, personal growth, sex education, writing, arts, speech, gender identity, international relations, communication skills. If they are not, study them on your own. 138

Learn new words to express the best you can.  139

Studying a subject meticulously doesn’t take the poetry out of it. You would know the concepts and patterns so that you can identify them and use them or refuse to use them on your will. 140

 

sketch of a woman.jpg

 

Fulfillment.

Watching that molten sunset could be one of the most fulfilling things of the day. 141

 

Following instructions.

Don’t do something just because someone else asked you to do it. Run on reason. 142

 

Things of Real Consequence.

Until you think right you are compromising. 143

Find the fuel that your creativity demands. To begin with, live, laugh, run, cry, talk. 144

When you don’t understand something, pause. Or restart. 145

 

Traveling Solo.

You don’t need to justify why you want to travel alone. (the linked article is only an expression of how I feel when I travel and not a justification. )146

The beginning of a solo trip is always a little scary. You feel that it is you against the world. You imagine that everyone is watching you or laughing at you because you are wandering alone. But if you let the fear go for a second and look up, you will see that people are minding their own business and not staring at you. Trust the universe. 147

You would have to step out of your comfort zone if you want to grow. Travel is the means to this end. 148

 

Things of Real Consequence.

A cat, or anyone else, is yours because of the time you give to each other⁴. 149

Everyone gets scared. But in spite of the fear, you should let yourself walk, make a mistake, receive feedback with open arms, and do it again. Break that wall of fear brick by brick. Now you are free to face another fear. 150

You would never be able to win the approval of negative people, so the earlier you show them the way out, the less emotional baggage you will carry. 151

The show goes on. Participate. 152

 

 

The Continuum of The World.

Everything is connected — The work we do, the way we treat people, the way they talk to us, the appreciation we get, the food we eat, the people we hang out with, the places we want to visit, the guilt we carry, and the memories we relish. Don’t have disjoint expectations from each part of your life. 153

The world is a continuum. The better we can interconnect ideas, the more easily we can float in life⁵. 154

 

Things of Real Consequence.

Only experience can tell if something will work. 155

You can’t win by always playing hard to get. 156

No one has the power to upset you unless you give it to them. 157

It is not always easy to differentiate the cause from the result. 158

You would forget that it was about having fun. Remind yourself frequently. 159

Our ideas, promotions, commitments, financial planning, relationships all are there to make life better. So if something goes down, don’t despair: its presence was to keep you good, but its absence doesn’t mean hell. You will get everything as long as you can breathe peacefully. 160

Things always work out if you just hold on a little longer. But they may come to you in a different form from how you recognize them.161

Intuition is the collective consciousness of the life we have lived so far. Don’t ignore it. 162

Any good service or product or writing or art starts with being about you but then it is all about the people. 163

To forgive someone might seem unfair to you, but when you forgive, you soak in peace — thus getting your fair share. 164

There is always an option. 165

Art breathes inside each one of us. 166

Smile for you feel how you act. 167

Don’t just respect someone for their age, respect wisdom and kindness, and all such noble dispositions. 168

 

Learning and Unlearning

There is art in science and science in art. Once you connect the two, you have found infinity. 169

To create, first understand the rules, and then break them. 170

At some point, you start limiting yourself — Maybe when your mother first tells you that you can’t go out alone or when the neighbor comments that his son could do better than you or when the teacher scolds you for trying to understand the basics rather than repeating her answer or when you see an advertisement for a fairness cream that suggests you get fairer to have a better life. But the truth is inside the box of reason. Open it. 171

infinity and beyond colorful abstract art.jpg

Noise.

The background noise sounds louder when you are having a hard time. 172

 

Goals and Determination.

You can do anything that you set your mind upon. 173

Without goals, you are as directionless as a sunflower is at night. 174

If you are ready to receive what comes along the way, you start moving in the direction of your goal little by little. 175

Give what it takes. And then some more. 176

 

Things of Real Consequence.

Don’t be scared to lose yourself, for you might be on the path of discovering yourself. 177

Think deep, not wide.178

Most of the things have a simpler solution than you think. 179

Society is judgemental police. 180

Don’t let anyone else write your story. 181

Everything has an expiry date. 182

Sometimes you do your best work when you are tired —You would only make the effort to write that sentence if it is too good to let go. 183

Soak inspiration from the universe. 184

Words are wings. When not wings, they are swords. Choose your flights and battles wisely. 185

Your brain would expand into the time you give it to do something. Too less, and it hurries up. More, it stretches out. 186

When you feel angry or dejected, eat. Eventually, it is all about some curry and rice. 187

 

 

Walk on dewy mountain trails fringed by pines trees often.  The joy is unbridled. 188

 

 

If you let go of boundaries set by others, you can tune into infinite wavelengths of freedom and choice. But be careful to not tune into noise again. 189

You need much less than you think you do. 190

Climbing stairs is always better than taking an elevator. Move your body as much as you reflex your brain so that you can climb that mountain when you want to. 191

Eventually, everything gets done. So instead of worrying, pause and breath frequently. Or kick a punching bag. Or restart your laptop to first get rid of those annoying notifications. Fix the basics. 192

The best way to live is to act as if no one is watching you. 193

There is time. There is strength. And then there is love. 

If you see a longer piece of work taking time in spite of your best efforts, stand in front of a mirror. 194

When you think you have given it all, the universe will ask for more, and you will find yourself giving it more. 195

Sometimes you get into something so deep that you forget that you are inside. Let love find you at those times. 196

 

love painting let love find you Szinyei_Merse_Szerelmespár_1870.jpgPál Szinyei Merse / Public domain

 

Footnotes:

1-Benjamin Franklin made a record of his everyday routine and checked if he worked on his vices.

2-Daniel Gilbert says in his book Stumbling on Happiness— Feelings don’t just matter, they are what mattering means. Are war and peace more important for any reason other than the feelings they produce?

3. We don’t remember out past as well as we think. You will find enough proof of this in Daniel Gilbert’s monumental book Stumbling on Happiness.

4. If I could suggest one book to anyone, it would be The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

5. I don’t think I can put better than this: 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

 

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Life Lessons I Have Learned So Far - Find Yours | Inspire yourself | Real Life Learnings | Life Quotes | Emotional Intelligence | How To Be Happy | how to feel better | Emotions | Human Behavior | Understanding Yourself | Self care | Self Growth | Healthy Psychology | Personal Development | Personal Goals | Life Inspiration | Life Coaching Tools | Life Philosophy | Life Hacks | Relationships | Social Life | Career Tips | Passion #lifeinspiration #lifelessons #personalgrowth #selfhelp #positivity

 

Life Lessons I Have Learned So Far - Find Yours | Inspire yourself | Real Life Learnings | Life Quotes | Emotional Intelligence | How To Be Happy | how to feel better | Emotions | Human Behavior | Understanding Yourself | Self care | Self Growth | Healthy Psychology | Personal Development | Personal Goals | Life Inspiration | Life Coaching Tools | Life Philosophy | Life Hacks | Relationships | Social Life | Career Tips | Passion #lifeinspiration #lifelessons #personalgrowth #selfhelp #positivity

Which of these life learnings did you relate to the most? Let me know 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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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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Hold on Even After Your Hands Bleed – For That Is The Only Way to Succeed

You would encounter sharp rocks jutting out of every mountain you wish to climb. Let me show you through my perseverant journey as a budding writer, that why do you have to keep going on even if your hands bleed. Never give up. Fight for your dreams. That is the only way to succeed. 

You start. You are exhilarated. You shriek at the top of your voice from the roof of your confidence. You laugh from your stomach. You give long motivational speeches to your friend about how they need to start living. You wake up singing a tune about the morning sunshine. You look forward to Mondays because life has taken a route that you could only dream about.

People say you are inspiring. They applaud you. Your friends like and share everything you post. They read everything you write. Some of them even help you correct the grammar. You are glad as being corrected by friends is better than being ridiculed by your other readers.

You don’t worry about the money, yet, as the savings save you. Your family is appalled by your decision. But they don’t say anything this time. The last time they did, their words dug a deep valley between you two.

Your Mac is your new Nietzsche. All your philosophy seems to pour out of it.

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My Chilean Host Mother Took Her Broken Heart and Said to Life Vamos (Let’s Go).

We were in September, and the sun had been hiding away for many days from Chiloé, a southern island of petite Chile. Rain thudded the brick-tiled roof unabashedly. I shivered after a shower on a cold evening in Castro. To avoid getting scolded by my host mother for not drying my hair well, I walked down to warm my head near the kitchen fire.

My host mother, who was already sitting at the round, wooden dining and sipping mate from her cup, called me to join her while patting the thick sofa cushion on her left. Perched on her right, the British volunteer, who was also teaching English to Chilean students with English Open Doors, rolled his eyes as he saw me accepting her invitation and approaching them. Respecting our usual friendly banter and rekindling the Indo-British feud, I threw some bad words in his direction. 

Then as the three of us huddled at the dining and sipped tea in the cozy kitchen of our uninsulated home, my host mother told us that her brother had just come home to request some wine, and then she warned us not to trust him as he was an alcoholic. 

Though I had seen her brother visit us every day, eat bread and cheese at the dining, drink wine, of which she kept a big bottle in her kitchen especially for him, I never realized that he was an alcoholic. Maybe I was focusing on cracking the heavy Spanish that darted to and fro between the siblings.

But his alcoholism was not the devastating part of the story. 

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My Love and Hate Relationship With the Colorful India – A Story and Memory Postcards

As I move onto a new journey that takes me outside India for a couple of months, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the places that I have lived in and visited in the last one year I have been in India.

India — a country with distinct religions from the ancient Hindu to the declining Zoroastrianism, with a myriad of languages and dialects from Konkani to Jarawa, with a plethora of geographies from fathomless deserts to treacherous glaciers, with a vast network from modern sea links to old hanging bridges, with a wide assortment of food from homely dal roti to mouth-watering, overnight-cooked chicken biryanis, with a range of commutes from rusted Hero bicycles, serene camels, and obedient bullock carts to fancy Rolls Royces, from peaceful Tamil marriages that are held for two hours during daylight to exciting Punjabi wedding functions sprawled over many days in luxurious hotels spread across India; we have it all.

This large and miscellaneous congregation of people — that India is — sometimes makes me proud, but sometimes the restrictions of this collectivist society suffocate me.

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Relearning The Most Important Principles of Life–  With The Little Prince of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a French writer and aviator and a unique philosopher. He served as a pilot in the French army, flew for commercial airline companies, and also in his leisure. He wrote in the air.

On one of his flights from Paris to Saigon in 1935, his plane crashed in Sahara, and he was stranded in the desert with his navigator. They were far away from habitation and only had a few fruits and a day’s supply of liquids.

Dehydrated in the arid Sahara, Antoine began to see mirages and hallucinated vividly. On the fourth day in the desert, a Bedouin found them and saved their lives with a native dehydration treatment.

Inspired by his experiences in the Sahara, Antoine published a children’s fable for adults called Le Petit Prince or the Little Prince in 1943. This book is not only one of the most favorite children’s books, but also one of the most popular philosophy books. It is the third most printed book after Bible and Gone With the Wind.

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How I Struggle as a New Writer

When I say a new writer, I mean someone who didn’t dare to make writing her life. Or to even think about earning money from her writings. Or to be able to imagine that her story or a poem might get published. Or to be able to say out loud that she is a writer.

But.

She has made writing her life, recently. She earns money from writing. Her day revolves around writing. Her poem got published. Sometimes she stammers that she is a writer.

She still gasps for breath as she wakes up every morning bearing a writer’s responsibility. She becomes too hard on herself while maneuvering her newly-found writer’s freedom.

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What Travel Has Taught Me – About the World and Myself

This is not one of those articles where I suggest you leave everything and travel and quote Robert Frost that the road less traveled is the one I took.

Why do so many people change their careers and lifestyles to travel? Sometimes even indefinitely?

Do they travel to see new places and eat different food? Or to fill their passports with stamps? Or to be able to say at their deathbed that they have seen the world?

Could be. But it is more than that.

Let me take you through what travel has taught me.

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