There and Back again…

Much as I would love to write about ‘The Hobbit” hoping to put in simple words how much I love Tolkien’s work…this post takes nothing but the title from the epic book as I write about an observation from  life.

Like  many  most people, I have been in search for the extra in the ordinary. And I have some times found it too. The ZAF startup, the coming to the United States to study, recognizing the man I could spend the rest of my life with and choosing to be his for ever.. among others. But what I have also found is that these accomplishments/life decisions are a part of existence. They are what give me the drive to keep going on, growing up with each passing day. I slowly realize that no one thing is going to remain extraordinary for life. Even if it is for the world, it becomes a part of you and the search continues…

ZAF Academy is my project for life- it’s a cause that I will work for, a startup that I will invest all my time and effort I can towards.

The University education in a new country has given me an opportunity of a lifetime. It showed me the meaning of what it meant to be a ‘responsibly independent’ person more than anything else.

Being married to the man who with every breath wishes and works toward me realizing my full potential is the best partner/friend/mentor I could have asked for. A supportive critic who I can listen and discuss TED talks and HBR podcasts with is what I needed. What I got is wayyyy more than that 🙂  In case you ever read this, Thank You sweetheart!

So why the title? Because I am back to searching for my extra in the ordinary. Every time I think I have it figured…reality strikes! The process and search continues.

For my new quest, I am working to gain new skills and diving deep into learning workplace psychology. I shall write more details on this in the following posts. For now, just know every journey is linked to the next one.

It’s ‘there and back again… and a new journey begins from where we shall come back and a new journey…’


This one’s for you.

You know how it feels to have someone who says the right thing at the right time? One who gets you and it is to him that you explain the least? Someone who says not what you may want to hear but who says that what you need to hear and think about? And he says it in such a way that you feel you’ve been waiting to hear exactly that. The voice of your conscience, who you know you must follow but don’t necessarily always do. You look at him and you know there is a bigger purpose for your creation/or you start looking for one, for you have seen him grow and raise you with those teachings. You realize he is only a human and yet learning from him gives you your definition of what it is to be human. Who no matter how much you may have learnt or read, you know will have an answer when all those things will fail.

He is a blessing in my life, and he has been there since the day I was born. No wonder I consider myself lucky.
He is only a human and yet learning from him gives me my definition of what it is to be human.
My dad… For me.

It is possible.

It is possible to find yourself in something you once said, but always felt it was too ideal to be true. I guess, the conviction of that one time can be enough for achieving it…no matter how much later on, in life. Or it may be fate testing you…

But no matter what the reason….The feeling of that day is worth all the wait and worth all the efforts 🙂

I so agree!

Conformity- Dead Poets Society

If you have been following, then you probably know by now how much I have learnt from the movie- Dead Poets Society 🙂 This clip is by far the most beautiful way of putting across an idea everyone is always looking for- be it the admissions committee, your professors and peers, your wonderfully large family, or even the interview panel when you apply for a job- How far do you conform to the rules set by society, or as they like to put it “what sets you apart?”

But most importantly, this idea has been the greatest motivator and morale booster for me, personally. A video on conformity and I cannot help but agree!

My pursuit of Happiness

The other day (long back actually) I read about this research study being conducted to find an equation for happiness, in like real mathematical terms! I don’t know how far they have got with that…and in the mean time I decided to make one for myself!  

And this formula I came up with was not because of any long hours of research work, but due to the fact that I did not get any sleep all night (thanks to a power nap in the evening and a huge hot fudge ice cream at 11.30 p.m)

  I was up watching the Bowling Green Sunrise from my window and just like that I thought of that formula again…*it keeps popping up in my head at odd hours now! They better come up with something soon!

And here’s what I thought of….

Happiness = Reality + Hope

Happiness I believe would never be achieved if I don’t learn to live in the real world. I have to know what is me; what is not…but then there are times when reality is too bleak to associate it with happiness. That’s when Hope comes into the picture.

When ‘reality’ and what you would ‘hope’ for, are the same, I believe you have maximum happiness, but then when ‘reality’ is not enough, add the hope factor to it, to increase the happiness quotient.

But hope can only be added with limitations, you cannot hope for foolish dreams to come true without working towards it, for then it will be very momentary and when the bubble breaks, happiness will drop so low, even a good reality won’t be able to help.

Socrates, Hippocrates and Cheddar Cheese 😛  may argue that happiness would mean getting rid of all worldly desires and expectations (thus eliminating hope and accepting reality as it is), but they are the ones who may have attained perfection in life unlike most of us.

In my world and to go where I want to go, hope is surely an ingredient very important along with accepting reality to be Happy.

*Inspired by two of the most amazing ideas presented in the movies-

Pursuit of Happyness & Shawshank Redemption- “for hope my friend is a wonderful thing”

With An Upturned Umbrella Or Without One?

Imagine you have to step out of your house… and it is pouring outside. You either take an umbrella along or don’t carry one at all. And suppose you do carry one, and it turns upside down…

Until a certain age in life, all of us are in our cozy, comfortable homes. Here, I mean that you take what you get, served on a platter. People dictate terms and you accept them and enjoy. Home will be home, schools will be chosen- you get to choose the subjects, picnics will be planned- you get the permission… The time spent at home though, may differ from person to person. Some leave home earlier than usual, some later, but leave home, almost all of us do.

And when the time comes for us to leave home, some carry the umbrella some don’t. An umbrella of hope and expectation. And in our journey along the road, leading to our goals it pours cats and dogs. Your umbrella turns and you face the same wind and rain, just like a person who doesn’t carry one at all.

If you carried one- the umbrella can be turned back down again, at least you had protection while it lasted and what if it just did not have to turn at all!

If you didn’t- Without the umbrella you were still on your way to the goal, saves time and embarrassment, brave the rain like an adventure!

Imagine you have to step out of your house… and it is pouring outside. You either take an umbrella along or don’t carry one at all. And suppose you do carry one, and it turns upside down…

Which one would rather be your case, if one of them had to be?

You Have Thought of It Too!

Destiny– A topic so hot for discussion, I must have heard it at least once every week throughout my life (and it is no exaggeration) . And like the title says, each one of us have (maybe just) once (but) definitely given this a thought.

And especially, in a culture like mine, in India, ‘taqdeer’, ‘qismat’, ‘bhagya’ and such terms are used  all around. And since my stay in the village I have been hearing it all the more often, that wring this article became a compulsion!

When a 19 year old boy failed to clear his standard 10th examination, in the third attempt even (because he did not work hard, of course!), his nani very lovingly said, “uski taqdeer mein nahi hai’- “it’s not in his destiny”.

When a lady had a chance to move to the city with her kids so they would receive good education; she denied, saying, “Now my destiny is here, for I was married here and so, I will live here with my children…hope their kids have better ‘qismat’.

And so on and so forth all day long…

Another very annoying thing that I have heard is by the village men- almost 60 percent of them are jobless- and those that have work such as farms- they don’t work hard enough or have shops, they don’t open for at least 4 days in a week! I don’t know how they fail to realize, even a stupid person could tell they were being lazy.

So, they are lazy, barely work and so barely have money and the comforts money brings along. They live meagerly and very conveniently repeat these lines once everyday for themselves, and for people like me when they are questioned – “this much is our destiny. What God has to give, He will. We are not the greedy types- we have faith in our Lord.”

They say this with the most sincere face, the grave eyes and preachy voice- that anyone who heard would agree. As for me, I would initially sit alone, start reevaluating my wants, priorities, desires…

But now, (and I am grateful for it) I go and add another thing in my list of ‘things- to-do’, every time I hear someone like that, say those line.

I hope I have made it clear what people associate with the word ‘destiny’ here.

Failure, laziness (on the person’s part) = Destiny (blame it on God!)

I know and it is my firm belief (aqeedah) that destiny whether good or bad is from my Lord. I know that success, failure, riches, wisdom and everything I would ever want to achieve is written and I will only get that which is due to me. And none besides my Lord can provide me with it.

But what I am most thankful for is that I do NOT know what is in my destiny. I do not know how much, from where is due to me. I do not know what I will have to go through to achieve it.

And thus, I plan, work, strive and persevere to achieve what’s in my destiny and together also get with it- a meaning, a purpose and satisfaction, that comes along.

As a human, we are born with a great intellect, freewill- how can one live life like the cattle around!? In fact, even the grazing cattle moves to the greener patch in an attempt to get better grass. Sometimes it gets, sometimes it is shooed, but it does go, every time!

As a famous saying goes, “Tie your camel, and have faith in Allah.”

You cannot leave your camel untied for it to stray away and blame destiny for loosing it. If it is not for you, you will loose it either way, but do as a man with some intelligence would and destiny will do what it would.

Here, I am reminded of the joke of the drowning man who refused help saying, “My lord will save me” and drowns; and God says to him, “were those boats and help from someone besides!?”

Exactly my point in a nutshell- Opportunities, youth, strength, intelligence and more were given to us by your Lord. He made this huge planet with all it’s bounties for man. If there are high mountains, it is accompanied by deep valleys. There are green fields and deep oceans. If He really was to put the destined morsel of food in the mouth, why would He create all this? Wouldn’t a flat world with huge walls all around be more apt?

But He did not.

Then why these walls of ignorance all around with laziness at its centre? How can anyone pack their failure away with the card labeled, “Destiny.”??