Overlooked Outdoors- #AtoZChallenge


The month of April reminds me of the excitement I used to have as a child for summer holidays. April meant, the last few days remaining to expel the year long struggle of studying. The fun part of summer holidays was definitely ‘playing outside’ the whole day. I remember how my brother and I went home only to eat and sleep. The rest of the day was spent on the streets and the playground. Wow! For some reason, the words ‘playground’ and ‘playing outside’ sound so strange and alien now!

We never ran short of games and sports to play outdoors. Summer to many meant watching kids jump around in the neighborhood. There was chaos, excitement, a breath of fresh air with kids reminding everyone of their wonderful childhood memories. Now I’m past the summer holidays phase, as all I look forward for is only the weekend. But thinking of my time in India during the summer of past few years, I hardly got a sight of kids jumping around on the streets. That always made me wonder, if there are no kids around? Or do they just stay indoors playing on PlayStation or Xbox? Is that even real playing? Or are they busy ‘utilizing’ (wasting) this valuable time at a coaching center to crack those crazy entrance exams?

In a country like India, where physical fitness and wellness takes a back seat, the need for outdoor activities has lost significance. Schools without playgrounds or physical fitness hours are no longer rare. The main target for most schools is to produce a bunch of ‘toppers’ of Board Examinations or Mathematics Olympiads. They no longer care to allocate time for outdoor activities. Even if they do, it’s just for the sake of it and not for training students in their areas of interest. Schools who stick to their principles of ‘overall development’ of students still exist. But the craze of parents to get their child ahead in the rat race, makes such schools lose their reputation. As a result, even the good old schools have to end up following the herd to survive.

As a kid, I used to wait for an opportunity to get out of the house to play and have fun. Once I got back from some physical activity, I concentrated better while doing homework. Whereas, days when I never played, my concentration levels dropped. This is true for every child. It is proved that engaging in an outdoor activity/sport and an art enhances a child’s concentration and grasping. Making children aim to nail those exhaustive entrance exams due to the country’s fetish with mainstream career goals, does no good than a wasted childhood.

I see kids now waiting for an opportunity to grab the iPad or the smartphone to play virtual games. How can this be even close to a physical activity? Spending too much time with electronic gadgets and video games only strain eyes.

My young, smart cousins are not even aware of the games or sports that I used to play at their age. While they laugh at my inability to play a virtual game any better, I pity them for missing something called ‘actual fun’ a.k.a ‘playing outdoors.’



Newness- #AtoZChallenge


“Wow! I’m so excited to get my hands on the new phone I just ordered!!” 

Few months later:

“Nah! This phone is just okay. I’m waiting for the new phone that’s gonna release in the market next month. It’s got a bigger screen with better front camera for my selfies!”

Obsession with newness is nothing strange. It is human tendency to be amused, anticipate and show eagerness on anything new. The enthusiasm when encountered with new things or new places or anything new is highly usual. In a fast paced world, where ‘next’ versions of everything never stop emerging, we have the privilege of always looking forward for something better. It’s fascinating to watch every new innovative invention make our life easier. But how long does the enthusiasm from something new last? Few months? A year? Newness fades. 

It is acceptable to lose excitement on materialistic things. But our obsession for ‘something better’ ended up reflecting in our relationships as well. The excitement during early years of marriage hardly continues for the rest of our lives. When it comes to the current generation, the excitement lasts for just few months. Their tendency to expect better from everything is a threat.

 It is pathetic to realize that young couples feel that their love is lost with time. Love is never lost. It will continue to be there. But people fail to recognize it in everyday gestures. Preparing breakfast for their partner during early days of marriage makes them go gaga over each other. But the very same act after several years of marriage is perceived more as a duty than as a way of showering affection. Failing to acknowledge love in small gestures fades newness in relationships.

Sometimes we need to get accustomed to using the same old phone. May be atleast then, we’ll give a second thought about relationships!

Magic of the Mind- #AtoZChallenge


Mind: A beautiful servant, a dangerous master – OSHO

This blog came to life with my intention to emphasize the power of psyche or the human mind. I cannot stress enough about the influence the mind can have on one’s life. Every aspect of the very existence on this planet is an outcome of one such human mind. It has the capacity to think above and beyond anything real. Every revolution or the mind boggling advancements in technology are mere examples of the greatness of the human mind. While the world is busy with the wildest and the craziest inventions, a normal person like you and me, often fail to realize this influential element within ourselves.

Whatever good or bad is happening to our lives, it is an outcome of how our psyche functions. The good part- We are bestowed with the ability to tune our mind and our thought process to make our lives better. The worst part- Our ignorance of this very fact or the laid back attitude of considering it trivial. It’s never too late to willingly change anything we wish to about ourselves. All it needs is the magic of the mind!

Determination is a gift! The greatest gift anyone can ever have. A determined mind has the power to overcome and achieve anything and everything. It is definitely not as easy as it sounds. Determination has to be born out of weird madness and stubbornness. There will always be something that we want or can get better at. But our inability to stay motivated and determined for the very change, makes our life miserable. How many times have you wished to change some aspect of yourself, yet failed? How many instances have you tried being happy, but felt happiness never came to you? How many times have you prayed to get you out of your troubles? There can be innumerable examples that portray the lack of mental strength to overcome agony or stay determined. Strong will power needs stubbornness to practice it over and over again, despite failing to do so. Again, the mind is the flexible tool here that needs to be put into practice.

Enough is said or read about being positive. Anyone with a depressed mind or a hurt soul has definitely read or heard about being positive. Because that is when we are weak and try different ways to overcome pain. ‘Stay positive’ always sounded impossible to me. Not everyone can really think and act positive all the time. Even this needs intense determination and practice.

Happiness is not an outcome of favourable situations happening to us. But a state of mind that can be controlled and achieved. External factors do not determine happiness, our mind does. I see live examples of people who are not rich monetarily, but live happily. While the real wealthy people are always craving for something more from life. The difference is not money here, but their state of mind. Their mind’s ability to count blessings and lead a content life. Even the rich can attain this, by making up their mind to practice gratitude, before it’s too late. Rich here may not necessarily mean monetary wealthiness, but having anything worthy enough!

The mind is always an answer to every problem, irrespective of other factors. Tuning it for self improvement or turning into it’s slave for sorrow is definitely in our own hands!

Lesson Learned-A Lazy Lass’s Tale: #AtoZChallenge


March, 2000

Mia was busy switching channels on TV while lying on the couch. She just got home from school after giving an examination. As she kept restlessly shifting from one channel to the other, she heard the door get unlocked. It was her mother, who was home after a hectic day at work. “Make me something to eat. I’m hungry and I’ve got lots to study for tomorrow!”, yelled Mia. “Okay dear!”, replied her mother, sighing at her 15 year old. Mia was least bothered to make a sandwich herself as she was lethargic. Nor was she concerned about her mom’s busy day. All she would think about was about the test, the next day. Her mother ran into the kitchen for a quickie, so that her studious daughter could eat and get back to her mission of acheiving good grades.

The next morning, Mia’s mom was busy packing lunches for her dependents who don’t consider multi tasking a big deal. “Mom! Where are my hair clips?? I can’t find them here!”, screamed Mia from the bathroom. “Look for them on the table, I saw them lying there last night”, answered her mom, sans any grumbling. Mia was not only lazy enough to find the assets for her mane, but also seemed inconsiderate of how hard it was every morning for her mother.

August, 2005

Mia was now in college. She grew up to be a smart and matured woman. She very well realizes how much work her parents put in for the family. She appreciates her mom’s sacrifice every morning. One night her mom fell sick and her dad was out of town. Mia was upset about her mom’s health and had to take the responsibility of chores. She was willing to take good care of her mother, but her lethargy dominated her willingness to cook or do the household chores. She pacified her mom saying, “I’ll order food and let the maid do the dishes and chores tomorrow.” Mia’s mom had no complains about her daughter not helping her, but was worried about her laziness. She was concerned about her future, as someday she would have a family of her own to take care of! 

December, 2009

Mia had bigger plans. She moved to another country for her higher education. Her parents never stopped approving her decisions, but were concerned about her survival on a foreign land. 

Mia is now living independently and has many responsibilities. She needs to attend school, do her assignments, work part-time, cook, do chores as well as pay bills. She enjoyed her new newly found independence. But once past the honeymoon stage, she realized the pain her parents have been going through for years. Best part was that they never considered it to be hard to manage their family. They enjoyed their responsibilities. Mia is now finding it difficult to manage everything she has to, as she was never used to! Multi tasking is alien to her. After a long day, she needs to cook her own meal. She has to go to work on the day of an examination. She needs to keep a track of all the bills and their due dates. She repents, she curses herself for being lazy all her life, as she is unable to relish this independent life of her’s. She hopes to get used to this newly found lifestyle with time.

Why didn’t you ever order me to do things? Life now would have been so much easier!”,Mia whines. “But I learned my lesson!”, she continues, each time she calls home.


Kismet- #AtoZChallenge


 Success is when right things fall into the right place at the right time. One among these fail and you end up ruining your success story. There are times when we strive so hard to reach our goals, that failing cannot be taken as a lesson learnt or a stepping stone to success. Disappointment from failing is directly proportional to the hard work invested in achieving. 

You’ve put in the right amount of work, met the right people, grabbed the right opportunity, yet failed. What went wrong? That’s when we end up consoling ourselves with ‘kismet’ or fate as an answer! Well, may be that’s something really undeniable. No matter how much you strive to attain your ambitions, you will not succeed unless you are destined to. 

This conception may be wrong. I cannot fully justify the fact that there is nothing like fate/kismet. Atleast from my experience, I somehow had to believe in it. I have been a destiny’s child, as I always ended up doing things that I never planned to, or ended up with people who I never imagined to know. But I have no complains. Sometimes I feel this was meant to be. May be this is right for me. The ones that I planned for, may not have been good enough or I may have sucked at them! At the end of the day, what is right for us will eventually make it’s way to us. 

Disappointment from failure is temporary, as it fades. But time waits for none. Repenting and brooding over failures cannot bring peace. Panicking about the future is also definitely not the answer. One of the best ways to diminish or slighten the blow of failure if encountered, is to never worry about the results. 

As cited in the Bhagawad Gita, it is a safe bet to “Do your duty and never expect the results.” Duty here is the work required to achieve the goal. Working hard irrespective of the result is a great knack for succeeding even if the results are futile. If the outcome is positive, then great! Hard work paid off! Otherwise, something RIGHT is definitely in store! 

Judgemental Jungle – #AtoZChallenge


Did you look at her size? Wonder what she eats!”

“He hardly talks. He is so boring!”

“They are a bunch of party poopers. Better not invite them!”

“He is one of those, ‘know it all’ types.”

She’s been divorced twice. How is she ready for another marriage?!

Judging is a part of natural instincts for homo sapiens. It comes so naturally and effortlessly to humans, that they don’t even realize it to be an area of concern. Because it’s so easy. All they need to do is just rub their so-called morals and perspectives over other’s principles that are contrary. And if they don’t like it, they can atleast judge it! 

It takes immense maturity and open mindedness to not judge someone based on what is seen, perceived or felt. The vibes received from a person, may not actually signify their personality and existence. Each one has a remarkable story of survival in this sapient, civilized jungle. Not everyone has the strength to sustain, hence the pretense. 

Thinking and empathizing by steping into other’s shoes is considered a pain. Oh, wait, do we even ‘consider’ stepping into other’s shoes? May be not always. Being judgemental can only limit one’s capability of self growth and improvement. Assuming what we see or apprehend to be always right can be foolishness in disguise.

Someone assumed to be boring, is actually a great entertainer among people he/she is comfortable with. A girl’s excessive weight may be because of her suffering from hormonal imbalance and not over eating. A person considered to be ‘know it all’, may only find happiness in sharing their knowledge, with no intention of showing off as they are presumed to be. People who are labeled as party poopers, may only wish to overcome their social awkwardness. A woman divorced twice for reasons unknown, may actually have had a hard time making a decision of getting re married.

When every individual  is trying their best to conceal their scars, it only needs a tiny bit of consideration to embrace each other’s growth. 

Never judge a book by it’s cover! 

Idle Intellect- #AtoZChallenge


Ever wondered how successful people are actually successful? How do they do it? Does it come naturally to them? Are they fortunate for the right opportunity? Is it hard work? Or is it mere luck?

Whatever might be the reason for their taste of success, their ability to sustain it, is only because they are never idle. From the innumerable success stories, if there is one takeaway that is common, it has to be their ability to never quit and never remain idle. A successful sportsman does not stop practicing his/her sport after a win. A writer or an artist does not put an end to their creative ability once they attain their big break. A successful entrepreneur does not stop digging for new ideas all over again. Is it easy? Of course not! It requires lot of effort, discipline. This is what separates successful people from the ordinary.

While most of us take the privilege of labeling success to mere luck/ opportunity/ intelligence, we fail to realize the amount of work that goes in to accomplish and maintain success. Each one of us are gifted in some or the other way. Most of us strive through our initial days of youth for a living. Once we develop a sense of settlement, we tend to go easy on our lives. We feel the need for being idle for a while, the need for break. Well, taking a break from your busy routine or a vacation is no sin. The break here is the long term interruption. Taking a break from your job or daily routine is no big deal but utilizing that break to keep your mind engaged is necessary.

Take time to garden, pursue your interests, learn some form of art that you’ve been struggling to learn for years, focus on your fitness regime. Do anything and everything, but don’t stay idle. Idleness can be more dreadful than it appears to be. It leads our intellectual minds to open the gates of depression. We may encounter unnecessary thoughts of hopelessness, dissatisfaction and unwanted comparisons. A feeling of emptiness is all that the mind needs to lower one’s self- esteem. A break should be an opportunity to improve one’s intellect and not degrade it.

Nothing in life comes easy. Everything requires nurturing. The mind is no different. Even the smartest and the most intelligent minds, fail to keep up their intellect when they are bitten by the idle bug. With idleness, we tend to lose our ability to be good at something that we were once adept at. Keeping the mind engaged is also one of the best ways to cope up depression. It is a great way to stay distracted from an otherwise jaded and wretched mind.

Keep the mind engaged, because an idle mind is a devil’s workshop!

Heaven-sent Hint: #AtoZChallenge


 It was just another Monday. Jeff is busy making breakfast in the kitchen. He cannot stop thinking about his last court hearing, while gently spreading peanut butter on the bread.  There is just a week remaining for legal seperation from his wife, Linda. They have been living separately for a while now but are not really sure if they moved on with their lives. 

As Jeff heads to work, he receives a call from an unknown number. He answers the call while driving. “Hello! Is this Linda’s husband?”, asks the voice from the phone. Jeff casually replies, “Yes, who’s this?” “I’m afraid your wife is in a critical condition after meeting with an accident. Please come to George Mercy hospital”, comes a reply from the called party.

He skips a heartbeat on what he just heard and heads right away to the hospital. He enquires at the reception for Linda and rushes towards the emergency ward. He waits in fear and anxiety, only to find out that it was actually not his wife who met with the accident. He enquires at the reception for Linda Forman, but realizes that the person admitted was Linda Smith. “How about the call?” How did I get the call?”, asks Jeff curiously. The receptionist checks for phone numbers and realizes she dialed the wrong number accidentally. 

Jeff sighed in relief and reminds her to call and inform the right person. He prays silently that Linda in the hospital gets better. But he feels thankful and relieved that it was not HIS Linda.  The very thought of his wife really being in such a situation, was very hard for him to digest. He felt this incident might be a heaven-sent hint to make him realize his love for his wife.

He skips work and heads right away to the bank, where his wife works. He knows he hasn’t seen her for days and their relationship hasn’t been comfortable for months now. But nothing stopped him from rushing to see his wife, thinking of the incident that just happened. He parks the car and hastily walks towards her cubicle. His sudden appearance stunned Linda. “Jeff! What are you doing here??”, she asks surprisingly. Jeff hugs her without hesitation, and answers in a shrill voice, “I love you. Can we please nullify the divorce?”

His reply thrilled her and left her speechless. She takes a deep breath. “Are you sure?”, she asks doubtfully. “Very much!”, answers Jeff with assurance.

Gratitude – #AtoZChallenge

 Mr. Roy was returning home after a hectic day at work. He felt relieved for having found a seat in an otherwise packed local train. This made him realise how late he was heading back home. 

Roy is a middle class man, who works as an assistant manager for a financial firm. He was an achiever during his student days, but is not really satisfied with his current position and stature. He is a happily married man, but the stress of providing a better life to his family never stops to haunt him.

He noticed countable number of people in the compartment, which was obvious during late nights, but never the case during the day. He counted the number of heads he could see, while pondering over an interview he attended last week. An interview for promotion which hardly occurs on a regular basis. The interview meant a lot to him, as he never got promoted since five years. All he could do was sigh in despair. 

While he was pre occupied with the if’s and but’s of his life situation, he tends to ignore his desire to eat out of hunger. However, hunger always triumphs over all odds, which made him look for a vendor on the train. He noticed a samosa vendor approaching towards his compartment and eagerly waited to satisfy his craving. 

The vendor looked pale with significant wrinkles and withered skin, showcasing his old age. “Good evening sir! How many do you want?”, requested the vendor with a smile on his face. “I’ll have two”, Roy responded while watching the vendor wrap samosas. The radiant smile on the vendor’s face, made Roy strike a conversation. 

So, how were your sales? Did you make enough for the day?”, Roy enquired casually. “Today was not satisfactory sir, I’m trying to make it up by selling late in the night.”, replied the vendor while making himself comfortable on the floor of the moving train. “Is it hard? At this age?”, asked Roy intriguingly. 

The vendor’s face lit with delight as someone actually showed interest in him and not just his samosas. He replied saying, “I have a family to support. Children are studying. They depend on me, which does not make me think about age. It’s hard sometimes when needs are not met, but I’ve no complains! I’m very grateful to God for blessing me with a family to work for. I’m thankful that I’m hale and healthy, which gives an opportunity to work even at this age. What if I was ill and handicapped? How could I support someone depending on me? As long as I have the strength, I’m willing to work, pay for bills and my children’s education. Atleast I have a family to look forward to and work for!

Roy was dumbstruck on hearing what the vendor said. He was amazed at the way an ordinary samosa seller perceived life with gratitude. Appreciating his thoughtful reply, Roy uttered, “You are a wise man! I hope you sell as many samosas as you wished to and lead a content life! I’ll have two more.

 “Thank you sir! Here are your samosas. You have a good night!“, the vendor replied with a warm smile again and left the compartment. After a thought provoking conversation, Roy felt lighter. The thought about his interview result seems to be nowhere. He wondered how blessed he was when compared to the samosa selling old man and yet never realized his blessings. 

As his heart was filling with gratitude, he noticed the train halt at his station. He got down the train with a sense of completeness. “Someone is going to have a peaceful sleep tonight!”, echoed his satisfied soul.

Failing Family Ties- #AtoZChallenge


A man travels the world in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it. – George Moore

No matter how accomplished or lost a person is, family gives comfort. Family ties are a great blessing and they offer immense emotional strength. As the world progresses for betterment, there are few elements that are losing their significance. One such instance is the failing family ties. Several reasons can be quoted for losing the essence of family relationships. 

Technology has made life simpler. With advent of texting, skyping and sharing, families always stay ‘connected’. This connection is only virtual and can in no way replace physical existence. But we conveniently convince ourselves with “Something is better than nothing”. 

Independence is a good thing. It helps an individual grow in every aspect. But the very same freedom may result in the concept of ‘I, me, myself’ rather than ‘We, us, ourselves’. Thus resulting in failed family relationships due to lack of emotional backup and support for one another. 

No matter how advanced technology gets and how better lives change, there should be certain fundamental elements that need to remain the same. Giving the required importance to roots and family ties should remain unchanged, irrespective of advancements. 

One way might be to limit addiction of use of technology to replace emotions in a relationship. Because few elements of mankind are better left basic and oldfashioned.