Friday, April 26, 2019

Life? Is It Disturbing You?

I had the habit of looking at life from thousands of angles to figure out the meaning of it. This didn't start today, but I remember looking at the night sky once in Barnala, Punjab and wondering who I actually am, what is the meaning of me existing here on this planet? I was in 4th or 5th standard then, from what I remember.

Before that, when I was 4 or 5, my introduction with the concept of death had happened in Shillong, Meghalaya. As I was going out of the Air Force Station's gurudwara in the evening towards home with Mom, Dad and elder sister, there were celebrations going on opposite to the gurudwara inside the Hindu temple. I enquired Dad about it, and it was Janamashtami, birth date of Lord Krishna was being celebrated there. Being a kid, I felt happy, but suddenly a sadness came and I wondered why we don't I see Krishna in the physical world? What happened to the physical body of Krishna today?

I got introduced to the concepts related to life and death cycles in the following years. Went through primary school, then secondary school. Always felt happy while doing anything good for others, or doing seva during langars or chhabeels. Stories of Sikh warriors and life lessons from the time of Sikh Gurus was something I always loved to hear from Dad before sleep. How normal humans with strong determination and an idea of what is right could stand up against the Mughal government of the times was always fascinating and full of inspiration. Living with a purpose, being true to yourself and others, these became a very important part of my life.

Post 11th or 12th standard (2009-10), I started reading deeper into the thoughts of other religions/movements like Buddhism, Jainism, Sufism, etc. A bit of existential crisis had also started taking roots in me. Read about lives of various saints like Kabir, Bulle Shah, Mira, Rumi, Swami Vivekanand and the likes of them. A realisation started taking effect into me that there is no answer to look for in life, no specific thing to do in life, but it is just about things like: having courage to do the right thing, being truthful, being just. In lives of all of the revered saints or Gurus, or even Gods in Hindu mythology, they always faced issues, always faced very big problems, but they never moved away from what needed to be done. They always told the truth, even if it meant getting death in return. Kabir used to get hit by stones and shoes when he was alive, but that didn't stop him from criticising whatever negatives he saw in the prevalent religions of his time. He didn't criticise God, but the useless and mindless practices being followed by the followers. He wasn't against the people also, but he wanted them to open their eyes to the truth, and become fearless. He didn't like that normal people were going on doing some formalities, without actually understanding things. e.g.: Considering some people as untouchables and beating them up if they do an interaction with you, while offering tons of money to an imaginative God.

There is a God, but we do not have any proof about him. But the fact that life mysteriously started on Earth (most likely on other planets too), solar systems and universe came into existence out of nothing is also something which is non-answerable without the concept of God.
This mystery of whether God is or is not had plagued my mind for some time. Marcus Aurelius's ideas in his meditations, some 2000 years ago in the Roman Empire also didn't help about this concept called God. Marcus's thoughts are brilliant, he has really good clarity of mind which should be default way of thinking for a good life.

Buying someone else's concept of God and believing it 100% was also not working out. How do you know someone thousands of years ago had actually seen God? How do we even know if someone claiming to have seen God right now in this moment is also telling the truth?

It started seeming like the concept of God is a human creation. God must exist I strongly believe, as without it the universe shouldn't have come into existence, but how do I trust someone's version of God? God must not be having strict rules about not doing something on some particular days, and permitting you to do the same on other days in a month or a year. For God, no day should be auspicious and no day should be bad. All of those are human concepts, some old traditional thoughts that made their way into today.

This confusion may never get answered on Earth, may be it will always remain a place of mystery, and most probably there may be a good reason behind it to stay mysterious.

Most probably a simple energy called God exists. As Guru Nanak describes him in his baani "Japji Sahib" as a being that is:

fearless, without enmity, timeless and deathless, unborn, self-existent. 

(this is in Mool Mantar). Other religions and Saints from other religions also align themselves around this thought-process only.

Nothing is bad, nothing is good, it is just our perception that makes things or events good or bad.
Do or do not do something. Just do not do it ONLY because you feel pressurised by others around you to do that.
Do not get influenced by peer pressure, stay true to yourself, if you do so, you're courageous.
Know impact of your actions, and always take full responsibility for them.

Keep things balanced, do not over-eat always, and do not eat less than required also regularly.
Even drinking water in excess will cause issues, and so will drinking less of it. Always maintain the balance, with a smile on your face! :)

When you're following what is right, not what others are telling you is right, you will always have a glow in your heart.
May be that is the God inside us enjoying being within us.
Try doing something that you shouldn't do, and depression will start settling in. May be that's another way of the God inside us telling us what we shouldn't do, and attempts to keep us true to our nature.

It doesn't matter what you want to believe in: whether God exists or not, but if you're a good human, are kind, compassionate, helpful to others, and are just with all kind of life forms, I believe you're there.

If you are fearless, without enmity (Nirbhao, Nirvair), you're there I believe.
If time doesn't disturb you, as in whether you are in a party or you are sitting near deathbed of a loved one, you're calm and kind, just like God is, you're there I believe.

May be, we all are that one God only, just unaware about it in this life?

Kabir says:
"When I am, He is not. When He is, I am not."

meaning: Till the point I am all about myself, thinking and doing things with my own self interest, God is not visible. When God is visible in someone, there is no "Me" in that person. No ego, no pure self-interest.

Another quote of Kabir:
"Lift the veil that obscures the heart, and there you will find what you are looking for."
The veil is what we put on our heart, our true nature, by learning from our environment, from our surroundings. Everyone is born without veil, the world and society gives us a veil that we happily accept without giving much thought. The veil can be dowry, female infanticide, caste/creed/gender/religion based prejudices, and so on.

Also, Guru Gobind said:
"Jin Prem Kiyo, Tin Hi Prabh Paayo"
Meaning: Those who have love for all, no hatred, only those are the ones who find God.

Hence, thanks to so many thoughts and baanis, they helped me quench my thirst. I am not able to write all quotes I had read by so many personalities, but thanks to all of them :)

Live life to the fullest, do not worry about what next after Life, just be responsible for your actions. We're all the same, sailing in the same boat (or say spaceship called Earth), hence let's stay with love and harmony for every life.

Now, go and unleash yourself to give something good to everyone!

See you some day, outside the Spaceship!
Till then, onwards and upwards!! \m/

Friday, July 10, 2015

Decisions, Moments And Following Your Instincts

Well, I'm back to Mumbai after almost a year of leaving it. I missed you, but I was still wondering whether this was a 100% right decision or not. No, it isn't like I just came here without even knowing if this is good, but I still had an iota of doubt whether this was 100% the best thing or not. Thanks to a friend, he just gave me the reason as to why this SHOULD be the best decision.

Honestly saying, I don't think I'm some sort of a great hacker, or an awesome super-duper rockstar programmer, but just a small (actually tall physically, 6'2") guy with determination. I do not know what will happen, but I'm in my very own adventure island now.

"I may not be the best, but I can certainly be the bravest."

BTW, this is first of the many short length blogs/diaries to come.

Looking forward to you future, my eyes on you!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Bumblebee's Song

Here's a poem dedicated to a friend, who is my team-mate (The one who should not be named) to fight the evil forces of the world! B-)

Just an attempt, at writing a poem.

Evil evil everywhere,
not a Hero to cling,
the one who is powerful beyond measure,
the one who won't ever give up to protect the world's treasure!

Then one fine evening I saw you ,
the one fighting through the evil forces,
and maintaining your integrity, you being 'yourself',
despite the forces surrounding you,
forcing you to give up on being your true self!

I kept watching in awe,
wondering what's gonna happen,
for they were in dozens, closing on you,
and you were there, just the One!

I saw the evils getting you on your knees,
marking their descend,
my heartbeat made a loud thud,
seeing the cruel end!

There I was standing,
watching you from my invincible fort,
the fort I had always lived in,
the fort I always thought represented the world!

That's when I saw your eyes,
for all the charm they were spreading,
yes, the fight had brought you down on your knees,
but it could not stop your dreams for where they were heading!

Deep down your eyes were tired,
from fighting the demons from so long,
but in there were dreams, hope and love,
playing The Bumblebee's song!

The forces had you set on fire,
now my mind was playing the same song,
I screamed the song hoping I would reach you,
but boy, the fire didn't take so long!

There you were, all ashes,
leaving me alone with the song,
now I was the one bearing the torch,
of your dreams and love for the world in that song!

The song sang about freedom,
it was about love for one and all,
from the clutches of all the evil,
that we needed to fight in the world!

Holding the torch with both hands,
I ran towards the ashes out of the fort,
a tear from my eyes dropped,
on what were the ashes, and now just your thoughts!

Like a Phoenix from the ashes,
I saw you rise,
and there in one instant,
you won over the forces, with all your might!

The evils vowed to come back,
to slaughter everyone around,
but now you weren't alone to fight them,
for there were two with the song,
oh yes, there were now two with the song!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Perks of Being a No Phone Person

Yes, I wish "No Phone Person" could rhyme with "wallflower", I sincerely do. But then not having something rhyme is at least better than having broken up your phone while on an "adventure" with friends in the lower Himalayas, and that too at 12am! It was definitely a fair enough reason to be sad about, but I still remember how I was laughing with my friends just moments after we all had finished with our rescue operation to find the battery, cover and the main body of the phone using flashlights in the dark!

Like a fallen soldier, there was the knight in white lying in the dark, and it just had nothing to show to me after that. It just stopped talking to me. The screen was shattered because of hitting the rocks and my friends were confused whether to start laughing right then or wait for some more time (kyunki har ek friend kamina hota hai). Their confusion was solved when they joined me in the laugh. Yes my darling Note 2, the knight in white was broken, but the incidents which led to the fall had made me laugh.

The Knight, in White

11pm of that "fateful" night (3 April, 2014), we had planned a random dare of going towards Kasauli in Himachal from Chandigarh, the city we were living in since the past few months. The challenge was to face the cold blows of the hills, yup, on bikes! Very soon inside Himachal along the road, I had a bet with a friend that there is a railway track on our left, which was about 10-20 feet higher than the road. He disagreed. We both walked up there, found the track, rejoiced a little, but while coming down, my left foot got stuck in a cable lying there, and the next thing I know is that I was down on the rocky slope. The Note 2 which was aiding me with its flashlight was down somewhere. Rescue operation was launched (definitely for the phone!), and you know the rest of the story which started with the laughter with a pinch of body pain! We returned back to Chandigarh after sitting in a Dhaba just opposite the site by 2am. Amidst all this, little did I know the freedom I was going to feel in the days to follow.

The Cable! (Clicked after a month of the "fall" while we were there to visit the site once again. Yes, to pay homage. Rocks not visible at this angle.)

With no backup phone with me in Chandigarh, I decided to stay without one as I was soon going to visit Patiala, my home. May be, the fallen knight might have also felt a bit better seeing my faithfulness towards it.

The first few hours the next day were really the toughest, although I was still at peace with the past (Whatever happens, happens for the best). I was still exchanging laughs and smiles with the past, whenever someone brought up the issue. Amidst all this, my mind was still looking for alerts saying "Chief, your troops are ready for battle!" (Clash of Clans), and needless to say, WhatsApp and FB messages. I called home and told my parents that my phone is "no more" because of a "fall", and I am phone-free for the next few days. At the end of the day, I really felt a sense of freedom, a sense of being at peace. Although I am not much of a calls and messages guy, the feelings at the end of the first day were just so great! I just felt like I just got myself out of a web, in which every one of us is trapped, without even being aware about it! I will call this the moment of "Phone Enlightenment - Phase I". No more did I feel bound to attend calls, respond to texts and fight battles the very instant my army was ready in COC (although now I was taking care of the morale of my troops via Bluestacks in laptop ;) on a day-to-day basis).

The next day, I realised the balance that one must maintain with the use of phones. The "Phone Enlightenment - Phase II" was there and let me summarize what it taught:

  • Vatsa (disciple), a phone is a tool supposed to be used when required, not to let it use you whenever it requires you to.
  • The most basic function of the yantra (tool) is to let you communicate what is required, not chatting for hours when you can easily meet the loved one (or the bitter one) for real, on this planet itself. Real communications happen offline!
  • It is always good to have the power to do things on the go! But with great power, comes great responsibility. Handle it responsibly.
  • There's so much more happening around you: a dog wagging his tail constantly at you, a kid smiling at you, or the summer Sun looking at you (or a beautiful girl walking by ;-) ), while all your mind is thinking about is what #HashTags to put in describing the hot weather.
  • Live the moment! There's so much to do, to learn and to feel in the moment.
Last but not the least, I won't be doing justice to the article if I don't thank Saif Khan, whose article Project Offline which I read an hour ago inspired me to write my own experience and share the lessons I learnt. Afterall, sharing is caring!

If you're wondering if there was any "Phone Enlightenment - Phase III", kindly allow me to tell what it taught:

"No Knight Falls Without A Purpose. The Fall Always Gives Back Something Exceptionally Unique!"

A post dedicated to The Fallen Knight.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The To Be or Not To Be Moment: The Two Roads

Yayyyy! I left an awesome job in Mumbai to start a startup on the night of 18th October 2014, and  today here I am thinking about what to do, and what not to about it. I don't know whether this is normal for every startup before it's first version or not, but I'm worried a lot about the first impression! What if the first impression makes users mark the product as one of the most useless sites ever visited? Ohh man! (In Joey's voice from Friends) That stain will be hard to remove from the minds. Re-build? Oh yeah I will, but what if someone else builds upon the experiment in a better and faster way? Ohh man! (Yeah, you got the voice)

Ok, whenever in trouble, always listen to the kid inside you! That's what I believe in, even though I know it sounds silly (winks). I have just noticed many times that children always give the most awesome answer (Ok, not always, but let me believe that thing!).

Let's weigh my options, possible outcomes and then decide what to do, and what not to.

Option 1:
Quit the idea, and apply for a job somewhere! Go easy way man! Promotions, guaranteed salaries, and what not? No tensions, no worries, nothing to fail about, nothing much to be tense about! Everything will be fine. Just activate your Zen mode O:)

The kid's verdict:
No way dude! What were you saying the day you had founded your first startup What were the Knights dreaming about at that time? You wanna let them down? The Knights were dreaming about battlefields to conquer, they were dreaming to change the world forever! Yeah, they were dreaming to make a dent in the universe! They were ready to take any challenge head-on! Right? You had promised the Knights in your mind to never let them down and keep fighting no matter what it takes!
As a result, you had promised yourself that you will only work: for an exciting startup, or for your own startup.

Option 2:
The idea won't work? Fight! Users won't like your first version? Fight to awesomeness! You will fail? Fight harder not to fail the NEXT time! Fail hard, Rise up harder than that!

The kid's verdict:
I just remembered this: "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up!"

The plus points of this option?
1. An awesome life full of adventures!
2. Lots of failures, and lessons to pick yourself up again and again only to rise stronger!
3. Lots of ups and downs to tell my grandkids about. ("Oh man" moment!)
4. Rise and rise again, and again!
5. An attempt at making a dent in the Universe!

The negatives in this option?
1. Regret - Why didn't I just take the first step in Nov 2014 when I had the chance? I had left a job only for this, and still? I had left and came all the way back from Mumbai for a reason right? So I should have fought for it!
2. A normal day to day life. (Yup, that's a negative for me. I hate the "normal".)
3. Not trying.


Enough of points, way to go for Junkmat!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dream On! The Mystery Called Life

Aahh! The question what is life has always kept me puzzling, and it still does! What is it exactly? Just a bunch of living organisms on a planet left to take care of themselves while they are alive? What is their purpose? Who left them? Who created them? What are they doing by their existences?
Ok, I know these questions are enough to make a brain explode, but still, WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?

Juhu Beach, Mumbai. 26 July, 7:11pm

Religious people say we are here to get to God, to do good to every other being and be good in the end. Others say we are here to just enjoy whatever comes up and not worry about the thing called purpose. Whatever be the view of people, the question of our purpose on Earth still keeps ringing bells in my head, a sound-less bell. It just makes me feel de-motivated, to give up on everything and just lay idle because whatever my purpose is, I'm automatically supposed to get there and finish it right? Why should I go after the so called "purpose"? Why? I'm still searching for this question.
Meanwhile, this is just a thought that comes to my mind many times, and the only answer to silence it is staying quiet, mentally, as A Peaceful Warrior movie has taught.

Oh, if you haven't seen that movie, it is a must watch! Go man go see it first then read the remaining post! Go go go!

Anyway, if you're still reading, let me write more of my random thoughts.

Whenever in a dilemma about my purpose in life and things like that, I just think about the only purpose that everyone should have: to bring peace and joy in everyone else's lives, to make the world a peaceful place, with no borders, no discrimination, just harmony. Even if the world seems without purpose to me, if one can bring joy to anyone, there's nothing like that! If you can make people happy, there's nothing like it! If you can make people genuinely smile, simply nothing like that! :)

So I'm going ahead, once again, with a smile on my face and a hope in my heart that I will succeed in doing this to the world. Hatred never does any good, love for all living beings does!

Good night time. Aah! 2am!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

5th July 2014- The Biggest Jump of My Life: Dreams vs Love

10am of 5th July '14, I woke up as usual, probably because Mom must have sat beside me asking me questions on purpose so that my brain gets activated and I wake up. Yeah, that's how she succeeds in waking me up! (Although extreme case involves use of water or very cold hands too!)

It was a nice morning and as usual I had a nice breakfast all set for me to attack but still, something deep down inside me was troubled. Anyhow, I enjoyed the breakfast as much as possible, although the "trouble" within was getting intense with every passing minute. It was an inside battle between a big change in life and ending a chapter which I was reading for the last 22 years.

I had just finished my graduation in May 2014 and started a job hunt in mid June to join the startup culture of India. Being an enthusiast for startups, I always believe startups to be the sources of innovation. I just love the idea of not having to follow what everyone is following and going on a different path. The adventures, break-downs and feelings of hope and hopelessness every now and then is what makes me feel alive, and I just love it! The feeling of doing something against all odds, when no one hopes you to succeed just because you are not "experienced or professional" and yet you going after the idea with all you have got is simply AMAZING!.Yes, that's what I would always want to do, till I breathe my last. As the startup culture in and near Patiala is almost negligible, I had to move out, and the night of 5th July was the time when I had to turn to the next chapter.

I had always lived with my parents right from birth up to that day. I could feel the nervousness of going to a new place all on my own, and not living under the warmth of their love anymore. A part of me wanted to scream "I don't want this change! I want to stay as I did till now! I want my Mom to wake me up daily! I want to talk to my Mom-Dad and sister as usual WITHOUT any change!", but I had to silence it. One of the toughest things in life is knowing when to silence your feelings, and when not to.

The Air India flight from New Delhi to Mumbai, 6 July '14, 9:21AM

Needless to say, the other part of me which was happy for the journey ahead was excited, and full of dreams to Just Do It! I just thought about how my parents also must have been struggling with the "trouble within", having to part with someone they love dearly, as I do. And yet, all I was seeing was a smile on their faces, with just a few concerns but no worries. They chose to see the brighter side while I was still battling the Dreams vs Love thing inside me. The smiles inspired me, made me rise above the battle to choose both: Dreams and their Love, with a few adjustments here and there, and a hope that we'll all be soon living together again, in yet another chapter that I will begin.

Soon, it was 9pm, and I was to leave at 9:30pm towards IGI Airport New Delhi via bus along with Dad. May be it was too much over-eating during the day, or the feeling of parting for a long time, I just was not in the mood of eating anything and lied to her: "Mom, I'm not feeling hungry at all!", and yet she managed to make me eat the Custard she had made. I still remember it's taste! :) Yummy it was.

It was time. Everything to go ahead was ready, and awaiting me. I will always remember the hug Mom gave at the last moment till eternity. She was all smiling, yet her hug was sharing the same "trouble" as mine. With determination and promises in my mind, I smiled back at Mom -Dad and Dee-dee because deep in my heart, I knew they are always with me, no matter what.

The journey called life is all about moments after all. Make sure you treasure the best ones!

Mom Dad and Deee Deeee,
Love you till eternity!! We will be together soon! :-)
"Noooo Deee Deeee NOOOOOOO!" :D