Empathy is the Soul of Humanity!

Since time immemorial, displaying empathy towards other fellow humans and towards animals have been regarded as one of the finest and noblest abilities- which were of immense value when it came to judging personality attributes among the noble and kinsmen!

Well, I don’t want to use up more words to further elaborate on the above premise; multitude of  books and volumes have been written by scholars and historians to suggest this- at times directly in poetic expressions of art or paintings and at time subtly through dossiers of history as they witnessed things unfold in front of them!

Empathy- the ability to empathize with another- being able to underline, appreciate the other person’s/ animal’s feeling (this has a challenge of Himalayan proportions), like any virtue, empathy when practiced right, liberates and ignites the soul!

Join me further to appreciate what this empathy stuff is all about!

Have you seen kids- yes, the one’s in a day care- speaking/blabbering to fellow babies- in a language that has no science- rules- rights and wrongs- yet these fun bags connect with ease – so what’s happening here- well ask any child psychologist and they will come up with theories and research stuff about how human mind is being wired as it grows and all that stuff- well all of that certainly is valid, but alongside what also happens is that- these angels are feeling and thinking beings – yes in that order, feeling first and then thinking. Therefore, even in their little mischievous pranks no one gets killed, neither hearts are broken, nor are friendships lost!

This is fundamental to being human- being able to relate to the other’s feelings and appreciating the rainbow hues of all emotions and then responding (not reacting) to the shades with a shower of emotions that reciprocates and completes the emotional canvas!

As humans we are Feeling Machines, which with time have been turned into Thinking Menaces! There is nothing wrong with being a thinker- the challenge with thinking is that thinking is acquired and acquired through influences and at this stage that thinking branches off into good thinking and not-so-good thinking! Emotions and feelings are raw- hardwired and more often then not carry a genetic fingerprint of values and emotional hues that one would have acquired through ancestral heritage- of course these too experience and alter changes with changing environments, but empathy- like a few other virtues is intrinsic and is beyond the realm to be impacted by outside factors and be influenced to a substantial degree to be turned into something else!

As you grew up, did you experience the hues of emotions- friendship, love, anger, pride, sadness, all of them seemed so obvious and have touched each one of us at some or the other time in one way or the other- so where was empathy in all this- well it was there- as it always will be- around your soul- the last defence that shields you from onslaught of manufactured emotions and thoughts that keep on barging into you ceaselessly! (Thanks to growing up!)

When was the last time as a grown up, you took time to empathise and understand what the screaming boss is going through, when was the last time you looked into the eyes of your child and laughed at the funny joke crafted by the kid, when was the last time when you said- it’s ok to lose and ok to buy some peace rather then go on with a maddening race with no finish line and no sense of achievement that can fill  your soul- well the chances are- if you are still high on your hormones- this all would seem bullshit and nonsense- but if you have been scarred by time and healed by it- you would know immediately what I mean here!

End of the day, your intelligence will fade away in front of any powerful emotional surge that reaches out to you- as long as you have a beating heart and a soul that is able to relate- feel and share the emotion being received- this, my friend is what Empathy is all about.

This is indeed a fundamental intrinsic attribute to a beautiful soul!

Choose any religion on the face of the earth, next to the concept of The Supreme Power as called by respective religions, stands without doubt the value of being “Empathetic” to fellow humans. There must have been and there is a good reason why the wise people had it this way.

Empathy is a virtue which provides nourishment to the soul, to the very existence of our being and gives a purpose to the soul’s journey in a  specific manner- the degree of empathy displayed makes one a seer or a warrior- everyone right in their own space, even the warrior is driven not by hate towards the enemy but ironically the love and empathy towards his immediate clan!

As long as humans have a beating heart which is complete with values of empathy with or without intelligence (certainly helps with intelligence), there will be hope, hope against all the odds that come our way- individually or collectively. As long as societies/ nations have a few good leaders leading with an emphatic vision for the larger good- a collective future that is realistic and all-inclusive (rather than an utopian promise which feeds on greed-driven by agenda of a few that shreds p[principles and emotions on the way!)- there will always be hope and Humanity will prevail!

For someone like me- who has spent time reading people- appreciating them (no judgement, no prejudice) just taking in all the hues of the rainbow, it is an amazing canvas that is painted all around- an empathy filled soul can always see beyond the obvious and work together for a future that rewards all!

Empathy is indeed an elixir of a beautiful soul! Here’s celebrating your soul as I sign off now!

The mystical “frame of context”

Well, as my title suggests, if you were wondering why my new blogs have not been coming in for the last few days, it’s time to start wondering and seeking the answers using this much abused technique of “frame of context”!

Well, friends no matter which nation you belong to and which town or mega city that you come from and how comfortable or uncomfortable you are in the moment, we all have been entrapped at some or other point in time either failing to use or using it with great perfection- “the concept of framing the context” It looks like a trivial aspect of our lives but don’t be fooled it is as important as anything else for your ability to build meaningful contexts around what you obeserve and see goes a long way to alter your psyche and the resulting behavior that comes around either pleasing or screwing up everyone and everything around you!

In an era where we have a chronic ailment of diminishing attention spans and focus, it is just obvious that in many cases, people end up simply missing “the context” altogether – in some cases with dire consequences.

How does this manifest- well if you have ever been part of those dreaded weekly update meetings (whether they are on a Monday, Tuesday or a Friday, really doesn’t matter!) which often end up with more issues and agony discussed rather coming up with solutions and answers- people end up leaving those social gatherings with more confusion and more new questions instead of finding answers to the already existing challenges- this often happens when context goes incognito! I am certainly not suggesting all meetings end up this way- but if you were to compute the number of meetings that happen around the world across offices and across levels and if you wanted to assume that all these are meeting their objectives of the meetings- well then our world would be a different place by the time I finish writing this article! So now you may want to ask me to stop whining and suggest a meaningful way around this- well that what we do from here!- since the context is set!

Like I mentioned in my previous blogs- in a way the context of our times is hyper-dynamic– for everyone that we deal with and everything that we do! You walk into the office- all geared up in the morning and the junior colleague (who was your best pal until last evening) has suddenly become your worst nightmare- courtesy a major goof up at work which has got your client and two levels above you fired up and going for your jugular- So now what just happened- in a matter of minutes- contexts are fleeting – one aberration (possibly beyond control) has got everyone into a vicious circle and zone of calibrating their engagements with each other for an act which has already occurred and importantly which may or may not happen in the future with similar severity! It is in times like these- the need arises to rush in and “frame the context” and let everyone know what it was and because of which – whatever shit happened – did happen! You may call this as retrospective problem fixing or morgue analysis (as the incident has already occurred with no way to salvage the incident- the impact may or may not be alterable!) but the necessity is very much real and much required to mitigate further damage (which would be completely unwarranted!)

This singular act of being able to decipher about what led to what has happened and what must be done to ensure that a similar environment is not created or offered (because of which the probability of this event getting triggered again may increase) is the essence of framing the context to events and people at workplace to have a truly sensible and meaningful scenario of team dynamics- certainly other variable factors will kick-in depending on what the organisation does, type of skill sets and personalities working at a given place- but as I said the whole approach is through offering solutions by framing the context well!

On the other levels of engaging with people out of work engagements- the personal sphere- often people miss out the “context of the statements or acts said and done” which – if you are an alive and kicking human- would have experienced aplenty- both to your advantage and disadvantage with equal measure! The only way to correct this is to give time and when it comes to building strong engagements with people- it is all about staying with them in the context that they wish you to remain and ensuring that the contextual frame is around that engagement- a slip through a word or deed which nudges you towards the edges of the contextual frame is just enough to have you ejected completely from the consideration set of the other person (don’t forget we live in times where choices are many and no one really cares or has time to do an evaluation based on meritocracy and none of your laurels will come in handy!) So the way forward…

Well keep a few simple tricks up your sleeve as you navigate the minefield of life and you go on with people and work engagements! Firstly engage only as much as you need to- limit this and you will save yourself from all the unnecessary melodrama and headache- the fewer the people and things that you manage -lesser are the frames that you need to juggle around with for managing and monitoring the dynamic contexts all the time with your fragile frame!

Next, be honest- about yourself to begin with and what you do and be a giver and stay away from the taker mindset! Ensure your frames do not end up becoming windows of your greed and slyness to meet and reach personal objectives and gratifications- this will just burn you out eventually sooner or later and leave you completely messed up- intellectually and otherwise with s sense of stagnation which will not be a very happy place to be in!

Finally always ensure that you have a grip through a strong and refined moment to moment awareness about what you deal with– whether people or work- ensure requisite ownership is displayed and is visible– remember- the trick is to ensure that your frame is also acceptable to the people involved with the context or to the activities and the people who all are going to be affected by the event!

A right frame to the context of your life- people and events around you- in a dynamic manner which is managed and monitored well- with reasonable acceptance from all those involved will help keep away a lot of meaningless conversations, conflicts and spooky thoughts that originate from failing frames and fallen contexts!

Spend some quality time with yourself and as you do so; think about your frames of context that you hold for everything that you and everyone around you! What is that you are staring at? What is coming back tom you- ease and happiness or discomfort and anxiety?

I leave you with these thoughts for now and promise you will be back soon with another interesting piece as we race ahead towards the festive season! Stay blessed and stay wise and hold your frames high and right!

Is your rear-view mirror larger than your windscreen?

I was keen to provide some decent weekend motivation, so as you ramp up your weekday, if you do get time to read through this, I am sure you will plan to have an engaging and introspective weekend- some quality time with yourself! This is something that will give you some much needed hope and make your life that bit less miserable!

Observation is a powerful tool, if you take a moment off – from whatever you are doing right now (unless you are driving or operating someone!) just hear the people around you- what are these enlightened beings talking about?, what is the content that they are referring to? In all probability they are collectively looking into history- as recent as five minutes back or as old as ancient roman history and fleeting references to times in between- this my friend is the aspect of the “rear-view mirror” each one us have them on our cars and vehicles- conversations of these types are the intellectual personification of the state of mind that an individual is in (as that person speaks to you!)

Certainly rear-view mirrors have a certain value and purpose. More often then not, it is to be sure that we are not caught off guard from something that’s heading our way (as it is not intended to)! Well likewise these reflecting conversations help discuss examples and happenings from the past to help us avoid what must be and repeat what should be and can be. Problems start happening as soon as we focus more on the rear-view mirrors and loose focus of the big windscreen bang in front of us which is vying for our attention, that windscreen my friend is our present moment- our now- which ensures us that we reach our tomorrow!

The fallacy of our times, is that people spend so much time and energy discussing, debating what worked and what did not work,they often end up loosing all the needed time and focus to know where they are heading and what is that their gossip and bitching is manifesting– well needless to say, like an automatic vehicle gone wrong, they tend to just keep driving around in a big never ending circle- bitching away to glory same things over and over (only references or names change but the underlying nonsense tends to remain the same) case in point- each one of us would have had that odd colleague who speaks about all the bad bosses that this person experienced (well there can be genuine exceptions)- but more often then not, it also reflects something cranked up and broken about this person as well- either emotionally or intellectually! Move over to a societal problems- no matter which country you come from- everyone will agree politicians are f**king a**holes and do nothing, but yet- every four or five years- its is these same set of morons that keep on coming back and with every term seem to get better and better by offering more varied subjects and topics to gossip and bitch about! So what does this basically say about each one of us- what is that needs to be corrected? what are we missing in here?

The plain fact and the only fact that we have taken our eyes off the windscreen- that windscreen, my friend is our now- and the only thing that provides you a sneak peek into the destination where you are driving to arrive to a future of your choice- the constant bickering and needless glancing into a rear-view mirror can generally give you neck sprain bad enough- with you actually wanting to throw away the mirror altogether! Loosing site of the windscreen as you cruise ahead on the engine power(of your actual and perceived competencies) can be fatal and consequences often put you back by a few years if not months and you need to start for your journey all over again- this is something like the age old- snake and ladders game! So what’s the right way to go about this?

Well, as a a coach, we always ask our clients on what they feel and what they think and through an exhaustive process, enable them to de-clutter and simplify their present in context with their past and align them to the future of their choice! It’s a strikingly similar process, while your past and things may be important, what is required is to assign each incident from your past a weighted value- one simple way could be- what you do not need to remember can be directly flushed away and what was most rewarding and most threatening should be remembered and recorded so that next time you face a similar or a worse situation you have a plan to overcome the same! Societies world over rest on past and this is one of the biggest fallacies of human behavior- we tend to look more into the past to justify our present and create and develop hope for our future (which ironically we seldom believed into it with the exuberance that we must or should). Societies based on memories and past laurels never prosper- look at the difference between the developed nations and developing nations- the biggest difference is that developed nations have been as a society looking more through their windscreens – into their now and future while the developing one’s spend more time looking into past references and past standards and believe that this will help them move ahead- which never really works and these nations tend to keep going in the same cycle- much to the benefit of the developed nations- as their competition is automatically taken care of!

As for nations, likewise for us- individuals- learn to take control of the Now and trust me your next moment will be automatically calibrated to the efforts and merit you have given now! The past is a bygone cannot be changed nor altered, each one of us is a fascinating story- all of us have ups and downs- what matters is remembering what works and what does not work given in the totalitarian context of who you are where you are and what is that you are seeking! People often try finding examples- that’s the most stupid thing to do- as Is aid in my earlier blog, each one of us – each one of us is unique and one of a kind!take pride about that fact and do justice to yourself for your own sake!

So until next time, adjust the size of your windscreen in context to your rear-view mirror and ensure you don’t end up loosing focus or start driving in circles by engaging in those Friday afternoon corporate bitching sessions (often disguised as corporate strategy sessions!)

Ciao for now and have a great weekend! Keep writing in your suggestions and we will keep sharing and discussing intriguing facets about the time that we live in and about we all are! Unique masterpieces! Each one – One of a kind!

So many experts and a screwed up world!

We are all, I presume safely living in the fag end of 2019…a few more days and the world media will drive home a rhetoric of how 2019 was bad and how 2020 holds the promise and elixir for a better and safer place- each year the same shit!what changes is just the year number! As we complete the second decade of the 21st century- we all have moved a little closer to embrace our own end- climate crisis, plastic menace, man-made disasters, natural events- you name it and instances across the world are quite unsettling! No I don’t want to freak you out and proclaim doomsday is here or promise all will be fine- the pint here is a comical- paradoxical and interesting one-It is about the people who manage the affairs of the world- in some cases these jokers have been at the helm of the affairs for years and decades all the way- then the next question, Why the f**k they could not see any of the challenges of today developing while they were still manageable and preventable- what made us to realize all shit has broken loose only after it hit the roof and drenched us all into a colossal shit shower! Well my friends, one of the contributing reasons behind all this hellish nonsense are the so-called experts- yes- those yesteryear- silver and pepper styled fragile bags of bones and brains (with or without intelligence) and more recently these young so-called flashes of ingenuity (which appear so from levels of diminishing IQ’s)- who are a major reason for getting the world into the mess that we have all straight walked into even as the planet maintains a circular path along the Sun without ever returning to exactly the same spot (just to remind you, we are all traveling in space- the Sun, the Moon, the solar system in it’s entirety moves- so actually for all practical purposes you are never in your life exactly at the same spot ever!- for more details- pick up any Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics)

Who are these experts- well long before the advent of modern developed nations and the modern slavery that we are all a part of, societies all over the world had a concept of “wise men” these were trusted aides to kings and emperors and often had innate know how about certain aspects (if not all) which would go to develop strategies and consolidate the future of the kingdoms- the future as in – as seen in their context of being in that time! Subsequently as societies evolved, documented histories and wise words began to emerge all around the world pertaining to different subjects and aspects- then there began the race to be a knowledge leader- “the wisest among the wise” This too helped to a certain level with rapid technological progress being made possible- as modes of transport began to develop- societal connect began and with started the times of knowledge hybridization- wherein the purity of form and context was lost forever and rapid templates began to emerge in the maddening rush to develop processes to optimize utility of resources and materials! This is where the modern day experts (who are nothing but manipulators- who have been given the role either by virtue of the business systems or the political institutions! It is the emergence of these new types of modern day experts that has led to major screw ups that the world has to sit and clean today!

These dangerous experts (driven by agenda’s of business houses and government’s) have only one goal to carry out a propaganda machine and keep yelling and shouting in one direction for a decade, then make a 180 degree turn and start shouting the other way around! Case in point- Plastic- well it was hailed as the modern day equivalent of a path breaking invention- when polymer industry made rapid progress- with nylon and other polymers entering into virtually every bit of our life- not once did any of these gifted experts pause to think what do we do to do away with the lot after use- the reason for this is simple- it was more of an economic and political necessity to keep offering society some new toy , some new nonsense to deal with as the really wise (read sly) people ended up making and raking in their dollars across the world even as it cost lives of people and animals through exposure to the new materials in a hazardous way- not to forget the irreparable damage done to the environment!

These modern day so-called experts are outright dangerous and idiots (exceptions to this rule are there- and it is these few exceptions- miles away from the limelight of awards and business gangs and political influences-the real ones’!) The modern day experts have only one agenda- either self driven or an organisation driven or a political establishment driven- to sell a concept to the society in context to believe what is been told is in their larger interests and these people are doing a f**king favor to the whole universe by slogging to get it to them- and are always ready with the gracious award speech even before these idiots get one- the ones’ awarding them are equally idiotic and melodramatic in their own charming ways!

So, by now, you may want to ask me so what is this whining and agitation all about and can we even do anything about it- if yes what? Well my friend, the good news is we can do something about it, each one us little and smart things, the bad news- well it is too late- even if we start to change to lead and develop mindful societies- for us to see the change translating into real life- we will have to take re-birth and be back in another 100 odd years- provided these idiots don’t nuke the planet out!

The reason why we live in an era of chaos and uncertainty with so many so-called intelligent whiz kids and experts around is precisely because they are first rate idiots who are nothing but communication machines educated to believe that they are experts!

The only way to beat this nonsense and save some sanity for yourself and for anyone that you think you care enough is- use Common Sense. Yes, common sense – not so common- the only ingredient when used and tested against the experts- rips them naked and exposes their idiotic belief systems and hypocrisy loud and clear! This again has to be an initiative at a society level- remember- you may be wise- a lion too- but against a pack of jackals and manipulating wild dogs – individually you will not stand a chance! That’s the law of nature- Loud voices are often heard and truthful whispers are melted away into the oblivion….

So till you become someone, or are part of an ecosystem that is led by “common sense” keep life simple- and have a realistic approach and cut down on the insane desire to consume everything around you- be a product or a service- every time you negate a consumption- you would have done your bit to screw up a so-called expert in some remote corner of the world and that will help the world become a better place with one expert less – each day- each act! Needs are few and can be managed, greed knows no bound- greed for ruling the people, their behaviour, their lifestyles, their thinking, this insane greed to develop a new technology lead slavery- will be the ultimate fallacy of the modern society that we live in and at some point in time in the future all these crazy consumption lead life style will come crashing down like a pack of cards! No prophecy here- plain common-sense, apply and see for yourself!

I will cut it out here…allowing you to think and play with your neurons a bit and see what you can do to have that one so called expert out!

Ciao…bye for now…will catch up soon, in the meantime do drop in suggestions on what you want to read next at parimal.aluri@simplifylives.com!

Attitude defines Altitude!

Yes, I am back and with this piece on one of the simplest and among the most fundamental aspects of our lives- our Attitude- towards- well almost everything and everyone around and what it ends up doing to us- well the altitude that you trim at eventually!

As a kid, growing up near a premier air force base, it was fun watching the fighter planes, bombers and freighters take off and land and with those scheduled commercial planes taking off regularly and with each of these instances- a purpose served! What was intriguing for me then (as a kid- not anymore-education and the wise world has done enough damage! This constant battle to retain sanity among certified idiots- both individuals and society -occasionally!- continues..) was the simple fact that each of those machines was different and valued for what it could do- All of them were similar until the lift-off- and that is where similarities ended and uniqueness came into play once they were airborne! You may not believe it, but this one simple observation is fundamental to what we do to our lives and where we end up being and doing what we do…Its all a matter of the attitude that you choose as you ramp up to your lift-off!

Continuing with my love for aviation and my observation; military jets can perform amazing maneuvers in the air and needless to say are one of the most potent weapons of choice in any modern day warfare- commercial flights seem to be more placid, graceful and serene in terms of the flight profile, the scenery along the way- sans the commotion and nuisance caused by those naive and annoying passengers in your next seat… Yes, you may argue that these are technically two completely different machines and are built that way- and this my friend, is my point! Each one of us- though similar in terms of physiological and neural hard wiring- we have that streak of difference within each one of us.

That slender streakish difference is based on the ingredients that have gone into us, through our formative years- family, friends, religious beliefs, orientations, etc. and all of this in totality culminates into creating a custom built model- one of a kind- tailor made- to overcome and deal with your immediate and future challenges and allow you to perform what you can achieve to the best possible extent given the context that you have been created in!

Of-course no commercial airliner is designed to perform a barrel-role or a n inverted Charlie, likewise no fighter plane was designed to use the entire 4000 meters of a runway and cruise at subsonic speeds at altitudes below 40,000 feet- the point here is their Intrinsic Attitude (their make- their formative genesis, their purpose and role) determines their performance, utility, deployment, fame, grandeur and their Altitude in their “machine life” whether these machines have served as envisaged by their designers and developers!

As humans, we too have a formative code, deeply carved and etched into our psyche by our education, family, surroundings, immediate society and the world as we perceive it- from the window seat that we get as we develop from different levels with the society elevator. Our composite attitude (approach towards life- on the basis of who we think we are and what we think we are capable of (as determined by our immediate influences and our own belief systems) goes on to decide what kind of runway we will seek in life to get airborne and pursue our aspirations and purposes that we think they are, based on our interpretation of who we are! Once airborne, the purpose we serve, the objectives that we meet and how much of appreciation we get, who watches us and who manages us to ensure our flight is completed is all a factor of the Altitude we strike! This is where your Altitude trim sets in- a trim level- which basically is a pint – you cannot push any further beyond it- for you are simply not designed to perform at the levels beyond!

There have been instances in the airline industry wherein air crashes have occurred going past the trim level (of course there were other contributory factors too), but the point here is; whether you are a machine or a person- you will falter and be ripped into your elements if you try to push yourself beyond the guidelines of your operating manual- read- your attitude- your personality make- the totality of who and what you are!

A lot of lives get wasted simply because often the realization and clarity of who we are is often delusional- end result you may be a personality type of the likes of a commercial airliner and end up trying a barrel role with a huge burden (read responsibilities and accountability) and you end up either in a crash landing or are simply obliterated! It is also about knowing your range- how long can you sustain doing what you plan to do (based on what you think who you are!) Flying over the Pacific with no fuel, will not be a very good idea- irrespective whether you are using the right aircraft type or not! Having a through check and know how about all that is needed to keep you afloat is around and available and is accounted for should be always at the very core of everything that you venture to do! Every flight dispatcher knows this, a well documented and detailed flight plan is a back up like nothing else- the more details you have about yourself and clarity about who and what you are- the greater are your chances to have a safe flight and end up at the destinations that you choose to visit- without suffering any collateral damage en-route!

Of course yes, there are more finer aspects to this whole attitude aspect, but the fundamental point on which I wanted to get you guys thinking was- Know yourself and have clarity (no delusional thinking, no day dreaming) the more clear you are about who and what you are- the more clear you will be about the journey you want to undertake and how you want to get there! The choice of being a fighter plane or a commercial airliner is all about the choice that you make about – who you are and what you want to be known as , how you want to achieve what you have set out for and what is the final cruising altitude that you have aspired and planned for! Certainly there’s a lot more that goes into all this fine application of flight science, but to get started, getting clarity on the fundamental is the first and biggest basic step- as they say, Know your Attitude and you will find your Altitude!

Leaving you with these thoughts- to reflect and think- who you are- what you are, where you wanna go and how you want to plan around it! Whatever you choose, whoever you are- remember- you are unique- each one of us is and even we are the same model- we will still have our won unique signature- what they call in the aviation parlance- Our “Call Sign well, that’s a topic for some other day! Until then keep planning and keep soaring.. this festive season plan a runway for your success in the times to come!

Ciao until next time…. always remember…your f**king attitude alone will give you “YOUR ALTITUDE”!

The mystery of the missing success template!

As I begin to punch in words and share my thoughts; we are 7.7 billion on this planet and by the time I finish writing this and you complete reading and begin to think, we would have added a few more numbers to our clan even as a few are weeded out for different reasons- albeit we will certainly register net growth!

With so many of us, irrespective whether we are that vulnerable infant or the feeble old person or that youthful streak- we all are stories breaking out in real time- all the time-within the ecosystem that we come to exist! No matter how hard it is to believe, but the fact is that each one of us (yes even your twin is a separate individual) is a personality and a unique genetic print with a hardwired network of neurons which is programmed to excel and do the very best with whatever resources that are at your disposal and reach the self actualization goals that you crave for! At this stage there is nothing right or wrong (remember- be mindful and not judgmental or moralistic- one person’s nectar- another’s poison) and that is how things have always been and that is how they will always remain- whether we agree or not- it doesn’t make a f**king difference to the developing circumstances and the human story of individuals- a whooping 7.7 billion of us! Just imagine 7.7 billion individuals and unique stories and acts are being played out each second each time- no retakes- no re-shoots- just one shot and that’s about it- with every act- your screenplay for the next act gets written! just like that- in a snap- in that fleeting moment! This is an amazing aspect of life and for all the right and wrong reasons just ignored and forgotten!

Different cultures, belief systems have long advocated the above fact and tried to explain (earlier explaining was difficult owing to ignorance- today it is equally challenging owing to arrogance (associated with thinking that you know it all!) but seldom these things have percolated as they should have and ended up getting mired into controversies and meaningless agenda driven conversations and witch hunt leading to nothingness!

The whole business (which is booming now then ever before) of being able to provide a “short-cut”, “the route”, “the established way” to success has been the reason for innumerable misery, confusion and chaos (something I wrote about in my article called “Fatal Optimism“). It is a pity that few wise men and women decided to hijack and alter the course of this sublime fact of our existence that each one of us in unique and not a machine produced bag of popcorn which serves a mundane purpose and ends up in a dust bin! The hidden agenda drivers of the opulent class have since time in memorial created staged hallucinations at a societal levelmaking the masses believe that what is being said must be true – because I see what I do and since I see what I do- I believe what is being said about what I see! This fallacy is the underlying reasons for the fall and decay of valuable and precious human lives and individual streaks of greatness and bolts of excellence! Societies have long but conspired together or in isolation to set and define standards and decide what constitutes to be called great, good or average- who the hell gave them this authority? well yes- it is our own undoing and hence it comes back to bite! You do remember right- karma is a b**ch!

Just imagine what would happen to the agreed world order- if we just start to question a few fundamentals (these have nothing- absolutely nothing to do with anyone’s belief system) this has everything to do with our value systems- something that we have devised and decided to give it unto ourselves(pretty much like the Constitutions that run or ruin the nations!) So the million dollar question- if Constitutions can be amended/altered why can’t these fundamentals be revisited! Well the answer is a yes and no- Yes it happens subtly with those revolutions in societies one small congregation at a time to those individual eccentrics who make a fierce dash and are gone in a flash! and No because it would simply alter the ecosystem of balance that societies have created over the last three centuries wherein our value systems are more driven towards wealth creation- consumption and death! (yes, yes, grow- earn- pay your bills and die!)

There indeed doesn’t exist any real template to success- for the simple reason that each one of us are unique and hard wired beyond the comprehension of human intellect (individual or collective) hence a lot of talent each year goes waste– you would have heard cases in your close circles- “x wanted to be a “abc” but ended up being “pqr” because of “1234”. Yes this is the testimony to what I am trying to drive home a point! The framework of the society created over the last few centuries has become counter productive to further and advance human intelligence and development(unlike what it has been through the ages earlier!) Ask any psychologist and you will get the answers – the average IQ levels (because you will not trust any other metric!) has been going down, human dependence of gadgets is on the rise, trust has dwindled from old school pure research by travel and experimentation to putting a search query on the “browser search bar” and the list can go on and on- select any age group of your choice- babies, toddlers, high school kids, college students, working professionals- it’s all over the place that hallmark of dumbness and stupidity which has crept in (rather has been allowed to creep in) just to manage and maintain the balance of ignorance and wisdom is not altered in a way where the elite few end up loosing control on the direction in which they want this huge swarm of 7.7 billion to keep moving! This is precisely why we see the gung-ho world leaders meet and greet, flex muscles, put embargoes, come up with sudden emerging world issues like plastic, climate change …you name it and you can sense it!

Life is never what it seems to us- with our limitations we get entrapped into believing our narrow window of vision and the brains does the rest by playing on our insecurities and strengths to extrapolate and create a fictional understanding of our real world! This my friend is perhaps the greatest fallacy of the times that we live in and our great undoing for the sheer grace and intellect that each one of us as Humans have been endowed with – by nature through the process of evolution to make us a superior species!

Before I leave you with your wise space to introspect and think over a cup of coffee or a drink, just remember this fact- each one of us is as unique as we are and we can be, physiology unites us and our intelligence and cognition makes us different and one of a kind- one in over 7.7 billion! always remember that- never get sold into templates and continue on the path to move and walk along- to create your niche and enrich your journey as you traverse the universe endowed with the senses that the body you hold allows you- for your soul is yet another matter and may be another topic for another write up!

Ciao for now- stay wise and stay U!

All about the “Mindful Traveler Mindset”.

What better then starting a month, creating this piece from the waiting area of India’s third largest airport! Well, not that I traveled to the airport to pen this article, but as they say…destiny!

This piece, my friends is about being a “Mindful Traveler” and how being one goes a long way in helping you discover yourself and empowers you to stay away from classical nonsense that the world keeps on throwing at you!

Irrespective of your age, location or the choice of your transport, travelers can always be fundamentally classified into two types: Type I who are the Reluctant Travelers and Type II- who are the ones’ who live off the vibrant energy that travel brings along with it!- well I call them Travel Babies!

The Reluctant Travelers have it written all over their face and their despise towards traveling oozes out through their unmistakable rude body language! Interestingly, this phenomenon is not one off and is an ongoing adventure and can offer experiences ranging from humor at one end to rage and violence i(in cases of extreme discomfort and mental delusion!)

These travelers are often seen arguing with the the counter staff, haggling over that odd dollar to be paid for excess baggage, the ones’ who will cut across and look at you- as if you had just committed one of cardinal sins- by being ahead; if this does not ring a bell, then yes, bringing it a little closer to you, the traveler who kept nudging that elbow into your abdomen and kept struggling and arguing with the cabin crew over the freebies and about the aircraft seat, the air conditioning, trying to push in that odd sized bag into the overhead bin!… well…I almost summed up all the hints that I could have provided for now!- hope it did bring something to your active self!

On the other hand, the Travel Babies- they seem to be floating like butterflies, no worry about their luggage (which is either completely absent or limited-organised and managed with minimal or no effort!) with a smile almost stuck on their face (even if the flight is delayed!). You can find them busy checking the stores, indulging into some new experiences, even on the flight, reading that odd monthly in-flight magazine like a newly found scientific break through!– well they are so much engrossed into their own world and into themselves- they hardly ever (unless they have company which belongs to Type I) get time to notice defects, shortcomings and irregularities and absolutely have no space to crib and whine over that odd cup of coffee that went wrong or the burger which did not taste as great as you thought it would! They are mostly busy consuming the totality of the experience- the experience of travel and everything that it brings along with it!

This fundamental difference between the two broad categories goes on to determine their approach and take on everything else as well! Yes- travel is but a real life metaphor that plays out in front of us for a short duration- but it also provides a definite crisp window into the way these people on a broader canvas manage themselves and their lives!

To put things in context, life is nothing but travel- few of us have it done in a directed-purpose driven way and then we have a few of us who like to float and surf through what comes our way. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with either of thee approaches, the challenge lies in the mindset that one carries irrespective of the approach taken to travel!

A journey, undertaken with a conscious effort to remain in the moment- is the essence of being a traveler whom we can call as “The Mindful Traveler”. Do not mistaken, these are not vagabonds, or happy-go-lucky hippies on the move, on the contrary these are seasoned travelers who know exactly what to carry- where,when,why and how of everything that goes with their itenary! If you have been lucky to see the movie “Up in the Air” there is a similar anecdote in the script (which refers to “What’s in your bag”….something around those lines!)

The secret to our lives, my friend, lies somewhere within the paragraphs above and as I always say; I will not try and put things and suggest what is right to not so right- I leave that for you and your experiences to decide! We seriously live in an era where one person’s nectar often turns out to be yet another’s poison!

As in travel- so in life- as long as you agree to carry with you a baggage that is coherent and in agreement with your journey and pursuits– the experience is bound to be rewarding and self propelling, the moment you add to your baggage – values, things, people, experiences that are incoherent and divergent- you tend to experience the burden of your baggage and your travel tales soon start to change into travel woes! Instead of experiencing life, your life ends up coming an experience of a kind for yourself! This is the moment where you then no longer cease to be a mindful traveler- who can be in the moment and experience rather you switch to become the Reluctant Traveler- who ends up soaking in every aspect of travel (and life) as an effort and this begins the downward spiral and gradual denudation of growth or enrichment of your life experiences!

The secret to a meaningful travel (and life) is enshrined in the premise that your are ready to accept what you are being served – each moment unto the next and as you move ahead- you ensure you are giving your best each time- it is not about winning or loosing- it is rather of being there in the moment to experience and enrich yourself and subsequently share with everyone around you with the learnings and secrets that your experience has got you- either being a winner or loosing at that odd time or at times just being an engrossed spectator! Whatever you do, what matters and the only thing that matters is being there in the moment completely and having a crisp moment to moment awareness!

Another simple fact remains, how we travel or rather how we prepare to travel also speaks a lot about how we plan our lives around and what we seek from our lives- but this in itself is a very broad topic as it banks of multiple cultural sensibilities and will vary society to society- but irrespective of what is argued in favor or against of this facet, the truth will always remain- If you know how to travel smartly )less baggage, less selfies, less social media posts, and less grumpiness – you are more likely to experience wholesome travel and extrapolate these aspects to your life and you will be surprised to see how much more you can seek and offer as you begin to enjoy the journey of your life holding the Mindset of a Mindful Traveler”

I will leave you with these thoughts for now, until next time…ciao…happy journey!