Posts tagged personal development

2 Years of Blogging – My Best Advice for New Bloggers

It doesn’t seem like yesterday that I started On My Canvas.

Two years ago I returned from South America after a nine-months-long solo trip through the continent’s most stunning places.

A constant itch to write, events (quitting my job, taking writing workshops, and applying to creative writing programs) prior to my trip travel, and the time I spent contemplating during the journey brought me to the conclusion that I should write full-time.

I love writing. Stories bring me to life — so why not write something that adds value to others?

I had worked hard to achieve many desired and undesired goals (cracking IIT, dragging myself through a Computer Science degree, juggling corporate jobs). I braved to live a lifestyle unapproved by the collectivist society of India. I was almost 30, unmarried, had quit my investment banking job, and traveled the world alone — that’s not a typical scene for an Indian girl from a middle-class family of a small town in North India.

Now was the time to put my journey and struggle to someone else’s use.

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How I Survived the Villarrica Volcano Hike

The alarm rang at 3:30 in the night. I peeked out of my blanket into the dark dorm room and wondered why I had decided to hike the 2,800-meter high volcano. Just then Alison, my Canadian friend, who was sleeping on the lowest bunk bed opposite me, snoozed the alarm on her iPhone, mumbled something, opened her eyes for a second, and then pulled the blanket over her head again. She was the one who made me signup for the Villarrica Volcano hike, the active volcano which had erupted a year ago.

I shut the alarm and got out of bed. Alison followed me. Though November is a summer month in Chile, Pucon, a city in the lake region, wasn’t that warm, especially at that early hour of the day. After barely washing our faces with the cold water, we walked to the cherry tree in the hostel where ten other hikers were following the directions of the Volcan Villarrica tour guides. We wore a pair of waterproof trousers over our track pants and strapped our rucksack in which we carried the rest of the gear on our backs. Then the twelve of us walked to the minivan that was to drive us to Villarrica 30 kilometers out of town.

I don’t know if I felt secured or alarmed when Alejandro, one of our three tour guides, told us that after the eruption in 2015 the government had mandated that there should be a guide accompanying every four trekkers.

After driving for an hour, we reached the base of Villarrica. Even at that wee hour, the area was flooded with minivans and travelers who wanted to climb the volcano. Until then I didn’t know that climbing volcano Villarrica is the sole reason for some of the tourists to visit Pucon, the city which Lonely Planet refers to as the mecca for adventure sports. And why wouldn’t it be? You can do river rafting, kayaking, hiking, skiing, horseback riding, and so much more in the bustling lake town of Pucon.

Recommended Read: My experiential travel guide to Chile

I craned my neck to look up to the summit. The twilight was dissolving away the darkness of the night. A rotund moon watched us from above. From its base, Rucapillán, or the house of the Pillán, (the Mapuche name of Volcano Villarrica) indeed looked like a superpower, an undefeatable giant.

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Revenge is Fatal

The Blue Frog and The Honey Bee

Once upon a time, a blue frog lived in a blue pond.

He liked eating flies. Whenever he saw a fly, he would stick out his tongue. The fly would get stuck to frog’s tongue. Then the frog would quickly withdraw his tongue inside and gulp the fly. He then bathed happily in the ink-blue water of the pond.

One day, a honey bee was flying with two house flies near the pond. While the bee settled on a red hibiscus growing near the pond, the flies flew down to the shore of the pond to sit near the cool water. The frog sucked-in both the flies one by one. The honey bee, who was watching the hunting game of the frog from the hibiscus grove, flew to the frog and bit him on his neck.

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An Open Letter to My Mind

Dear Mind, 

I am your human. 

How have you been lately?

We communicate — sorry, I listen to your orders — throughout the day. But I wanted to talk to you about a few things.

I want to start by thanking you.

You make me enjoy life. You have trained me to be alert, passionate, independent, healthy, and hard-working. You need me to be a good daughter and a loving sister and an understanding girlfriend and a reliable friend. 

Now let’s come to the main point.

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Friedrich Nietzsche: How to Choose Between Ambition and Happiness?

After an hour or two of the daily evening walk, I tell myself that I should go back home and read. But sometimes, I want to keep walking with my friend. I want to sleep at 4 am after Netflixing zombie movies back to back. I want to wake up late and then write and let the day design its schedule.

But during those zombie movies, I keep looking at the watch. The MacBook throws the low-battery warning, but I don’t plug in the charger as I want the computer to sleep its natural course. And then we can sleep too. But then we stay awake some more and talk about our lives.

As every hour passes by, I realize that my waking up time is getting shifted by one hour and that I had to sleep early and start the next day with a fresh run in the morning. But I continue the conversation as that was what I wanted to do at that moment.

And the next day, when I start writing at 11, I brood over the valuable time that I lost by getting up late.

Also Read: How to Make a Schedule – To Live and Work Better

 

Why can’t we do what we want to do when we want to do?

Why do we think about the future  —  the most uncertain and unpredictable   and not about now?

What do we want out of life?

Why do we wait for Sundays for lunch with our family? 

Why do we make a house and live in it and go to the office and come back to do the same all over again?

 How do we choose between ambition and happiness?

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20 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin needs no introduction.

We all have heard about him, but I am not sure how much we really know about his life and activities.

A thinker, inventor, scientist, publisher, writer, diplomat, advisory, soldier, founder of hospitals and libraries, designer of bills, member of the assembly, and more.

You might have skimmed through these words without actually reading them.

I do the same when I read about someone great on Wikipedia — they always seem to have accomplished so much in different areas.

But when you read about their personal life, sometimes their autobiography, you understand that they were also humans like us. You start relating to them.

Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography was one such read.

His disciplines and manners — if practiced — can shake up the current world and our restless generations.

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What is the Meaning of Life

 

Why do we need a purposeful, meaningful life?

We are born, play around, attend school and college, get a job, set up a  family, and then die. Each one of us — hopefully — adds something to the world; we evolve, the human race becomes smarter, and this repeats.

In the end, we do not get out alive, then why does everything — a broken relationship, a layoff, a fight at work, a stomach ache, a smartwatch — matter so much? What is all of this adding up to? Evolution?

All of this is adding up to these moments that the life is collectively composed of.

Why is it important to have a meaning in our life? So that all these moments together sing a melodious song and not blare out a cacophonous cry.

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30 Life Lessons I Learned in My 20’s

I thought this day would never come, but I am six days away from turning 30. I would have to change both the digits of my age in all the pre-filled internet forms.

A twenty-something me was working for software and finance giants, drinking way too much, vomiting often in pubs and on Karnataka – Tamil Nadu highways, angry with family, running after people, quitting work, roaming around the world on my own when my mother thought I was at home or traveling with a friend, falling in love too many times, living in with someone knowing the relationship was not going anywhere and feeling shattered when the obvious happened, cooking in restaurants and my own kitchen for hours, leaving for Italy to attend a culinary course, dragging strangers to dance floors in pubs and bars, stranded at South American borders, taking lifts from random people on streets at random times, and saying things that should have been kept private; I was unsure of what I wanted.

Also Read: Why should you let your life flow – Lessons inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke.

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Why Relationships are Important and How to Build Them

Once when I was in the sixth grade, I asked my sister to make sandwiches for my school picnic. A string of events occurred, and she declared I was selfish.

I realized that I was more interested in getting my work done, rather than the feelings and responses of other people. The acknowledgment that I was a bad person and that people knew about it was suffocating. I understood that I would be left alone if I did not change.

I consciously tried to become a better person by caring for other people and by showing that I cared.

Why are relationships important?

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