Sunday, December 29, 2013


People say that before death your entire life passes in front of your eyes. The veracity of this cannot be tested like most other life theories but I do believe it is possible. As humans we are hardwired into doing “postmortem” of everything in life, many times at the cost of efficiency and time but we love doing it. It has its benefits too but mostly where money is involved, not in life. In life what happened a second ago is gone. Gone for forever. Unfortunately we are still to develop ‘ctrl c’ button for events in life. Good in a way otherwise we would be in a ‘hang mode’ on most days. Well, I don’t intend to live for forever and so far has been good. Want the rest of the journey to be great as well.  

You can pull out a consultant from consulting but can never take out consulting from a consultant. So after achieving major milestones in life I tend to look back and do some introspection. On most occasions I can’t complain about doing so much and getting so little because whatever in life did not work, taught me a lesson. So turning 40 made me take up another of those self-realization sessions. Many things have been said in the past and thousands more will come but still I don’t want to miss my chance of being under the sun and enjoy the warmth. It is said that every soul is allotted 108 existences to achieve its true self-realization. I am glad I got mine in my first one itself. Thanks to the life lived and the people around me. Will atleast get to live the remaining 107 now.

I call my “self realization” outcomes – KLFS. In today’s world of instant gratification and short term memory loss, I had this daunting task to come up with something brief and sweet to remember. Let me take you through each one – step by step.

Its quiet amusing to see how quickly people say “I don’t know how to do this” for something they don’t want to do. It’s very easy to take sides but very difficult to take a stand. I honestly feel blessed are those people who either have no ambitions or are highly ambitious. Both will not leave any stone unturned to achieve their goals. The ones engaged in the balancing act will always fall and hurt themselves. It’s the middle path which is arduous and tricky. I have taken the middle road and tripped more than I have been able to walk. Every nook and corner, turns and crossroads on the road have tested my beliefs, my values - forcing me to rethink on priorities and the way forward, be it relationships, family, work, friends etc.        
So here is my KLMS.

Keep Quiet (K) – Whenever you find yourself in a situation where your beliefs are being put to test and any utterance in its favor will be held against you. Keep quiet especially during discussions – family or otherwise. There is no power greater than silence. You can never be held responsible for something you have never said but you are slave of those words that you have slipped anyhow. Speak where you know you will be heard and understood. Speak where it makes a difference. Choose your audience well. It matters. No point in barking up the wrong tree my friend. There is noise but no outcome.   

Let Go (L) – Nothing in life is permanent. Change is the only thing that I can depend on. So all that hurts me, I let go. What remains is what is required. Not every relationship or person needs to be held on to. This doesn’t come easily but it happens. I have realized over the years that most of the things I have let go were not critical to my existence. Important maybe, indispensable not at all. Many a times my beliefs have been shaken and ridiculed which left me battered and defeated. Best part is that in spite of all those moments I am still around – with my soul untouched. Just let go.  Not every parting is sad. Some are required to maintain your own sanity. Going down without a fight is not a lesson learnt very early in life. Thanks to the support system that I had in my family during my growing up years. Your parents matter.

Move On (M) - Robert Frost famously said - "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." Life goes on no matter what happens. Believe me there is no strength which can match up the indomitable spirit inside each one of us. You kill someone only when this spirit is crushed. This spirit does not require any reinforcement except love and respect. I have seen wherever you don’t have these two, not either / or, in a relationship, the relationship will not hold on for long. Look around and you will see the truth. Whenever I see the writings on the wall, I have learnt to just get up and move on. Not look back, they are not worth it. Not running; just walking away quietly while my dignity and strength is still intact. If they don’t need you, you anyway are not required there. Right?

Stay Calm (S) – The idea of calmness exists in a sitting cat. That’s where I want to be. That’s where I will be. Even when provoked just step back and have that calmness take you out of the situation that you anyway would want to get out of. There is nothing more infuriating than an opponent who is not willing to give back. Oblige such situations. Whenever thinking of fighting fire with fire, please remember even our fire fighters use water.  Just stay calm. What is the ultimate in life that I would want – peace. Calmness is a state of mind and peace is what I will get. Not very difficult to understand and the bargain is great.

Last but not the least the four for me move in a linear fashion. You can try them individually in different situations but I have tested on many occasions, it generally flows in only one direction – KLMS. All situations can be put through this cycle.

Nothing in life is more important than me. If I am there, everything exists. When I am not around, all is over. Honestly I am still in the process of mastering these elements but since the fire has started; it will burn down all that is not essential to a happy and peaceful living. There is something inside so strong. My ultimate aim, the last movie I plan to see before I die has to be great...a pure masala should have action, drama,  love, tragedy, fun....because after that I would want to have a nice sleep and sweet dreams.  

Welcome 2014….

Thursday, December 05, 2013

My Tipping Point...

According to Malcolm Gladwell (staff author for The New Yorker and author of some bestselling books) the “tipping point” is the magic moment when something small gathers steam and gains critical mass - it could be a fashion trend; social behavior or even an epidemic. Essentially something which might have started just like a small idea but owing to its sticky concept to the minds of people and the time at which it was brought out, gained momentum and proved to be a tipping point.

For me personally ‘tipping point’ would be when I would be able convince myself that my child has understood the essence of the unsolicited advices given by me and is able to live that “good life” that I have been dreaming of ever since I first held my bundle of joy. When she will start living and working for her dream - that magic moment would be my tipping point.

Few days back, I was caught in this animated discussion with the children in my family – all ages and sizes (size does not matter was one momentous lesson learnt!). By mistake I asked one of them “well, do you like studies?” Without anticipating I had touched a raw nerve, the Pandora’s Box was opened unknowingly. Apart from all the lessons on life, there came a volley of responses (centering on my temerity in asking this question). But one response that touched a chord was “I slog not because I love studies but because I want a secured future”. This declaration stumped me. In the end I surrendered knowing well that defeat was inevitable with this current lot. However, this particular response has lingered with me since then. It’s been playing on my mind like an ill-placed and timed re-mix number which just refuses to go even when I am in the most precarious situation. Anyway I thought of putting my limited thoughts and dilemmas down today to get it out of my system.

There are all kinds of parents – rich, poor, straight, strict, lenient, friendly, monsters, outgoing, introvert etc. – but parenting for each one of them has the same purpose – to make life of their child happy and successful. No one would agree that parenting is easy for one type while difficult for the other. I am sure rich parents must be finding bringing up kids as difficult as the poor ones. Poor lack means and the rich the techniques to teach values which they themselves have been brought up with.  This is more pronounced with the middle class working parents who have come into too much money by submerging themselves in work for making sure that the child has it all. Then how do we teach the children values of respecting money and time when they are not working for anything in their life? ‘Your wish is my command’ – philosophy for most of the upwardly mobile cool parents. Their notion is “after all this is what we are earning for”? Right? I seriously don’t know. I think children need time more than excess money.

There are these paradoxes which I struggle with everyday of my parenting. I fail to understand how by giving all can we teach the children value of differentiating between wants and desires? I fail to understand how by ignoring signs of disrespect, insensitivity and rebellion can we teach them the value of respecting things and people who should be respected (others time, old, under privileged, helps etc.)? I fail to understand how by not giving any responsibilities’ like budget, room, clothes, books etc. today; can we teach them to be responsible individuals and citizens tomorrow? I fail to understand how by letting them have their way all the time (for whatever reason like crying, stamping of foot, shouting back etc. –list is endless for parents looking for excuses to save their skin and time) can we teach the value of understanding that my rights end where others’ begin? Here when I refer to children I don’t mean 4-5 year olds. That’s a different set altogether!!

Coming back to the response plaguing my mind, I feel that it is very important to make the children understand that they are not studying or pursuing their choice of field for us. Their achievements and failures are their own. Their highs and lows in life are their own. Their life is their own. Parents are for support as sounding boards and good listeners. I guess parents are satisfied when children work hard because they know the child’s future will be secured. They will be able to live well and be happy.

I feel that the day this realization hits the children and then they start moving towards their goal in life, it will be our tipping point. It’s not impossible but it’s doable.  Not everyone has the skills but the understanding of what is right and what is wrong for my child should do the job for now. Otherwise simply read, observe and learn and then put into practice.

My tipping point will arrive when……..