2016 – A thing to remember 


First times are always remembered. Good or bad, the first kiss. First dip in water. First time you scored an A (or a F :P). It is hard to forget those experiences. The older we get, the harder it becomes to experience firsts. 2016 was a year when I was blessed enough to experience a new first. 

It was related to a meditation technique (vipassana) I practice in daily life. To strengthen this technique you are required to go into 11 day camps where 10 days of silence and strict meditation routine is followed. In January, I sat in a course and in September, on my birthday, I went as a server. The camps are only occupied by servers and students. Students are meditators who come to learn and practice. Servers are old students who come to serve, i.e. provide students with the necessary environment and all facilities required for them to do well in the course.

As a student you are not allowed to communicate with anyone other than your teacher, mostly initiated by her. Your last meal is at 11 am in the morning. If you have established well in the practice, after 5-6 days, you don’t sleep normally. Either you sleep very deeply for a couple of hours or you are in a continuous meditative state of mind. Whatever you might be doing – eating, bathing, walking, watching, sleeping, you are in the same state of mind as you are with your legs folded, sitting still and meditating. Time passes extremely slowly. You can observe threads of thoughts coming in your mind and disappearing, very similar to observing vapours getting dissolved in air over a hot cup of tea in the morning cold. It is beautiful. It is very obvious, at that time, how insane our minds are.

Talking about vipassana is very similar to describing your first sexual experience. You know those who have done it would be able to understand you immediately, without you having to explain much. And those who haven’t done it, won’t be able to understand you properly no matter how much you explain. And yet there are poets all over the world attempting to describe their passion and love and share that experience with one and all, because that’s what we humans do. We communicate.

After those 10 days of intense experiences, on the 10th or 11th day, when you open your mouth to speak and communicate with servers and students, it seems quite unnatural. However, on these days, your body and mind remove it focus from itself and start observing and paying attention to the outside world. All the sensory organs can start working full swing now. It is then you realize your part in the world. The highly crucial role you play in the world.

I was a third born. Honestly, an accidental child. Hence for me the question, why am I here on the face of this planet, was a very obvious one. The more I read, the more I found out that no one knows an answer to this one. Everyone is here pretty much like me. Accidently. Well, that didn’t help much. If we all are here accidently, might as well stop being here, stop all the killing, stress, hate or even love, which is mostly longing and desiring. Why run all through the life to die. The only theory which made a little bit of sense was to have fun, do whatever makes you happy. You will anyway die sooner than later! Hedonism seemed better than most of the other farce of theories.

I challenge all those who practice hedonism properly, with all their heart, to come out and say, it gives them the highest form of happiness. I can very much say, been there and done that. It can give you a lot of satisfaction and a purpose to life, however, there is much more to life than that, I believe now. This realization happened in the year 2016.

When you serve for others, it is not much different from working. You have your role and responsibilities defined and you just need to act on it. The key differentiating factor is “if at any time you are not at peace with yourself, if you are agitated or disturbed, you are required to stop the service at that very moment and find your peace within before continuing”. Now this small piece of difference is a huge one.

Imagine you didn’t do a very important task which was assigned to you. And your boss finds out. You make excuses. Boss gets angry and blows you off. He had every ‘right’ to be angry with you! Now in his state of anger, he attends a meeting where he rejects a proposal of a new project which isn’t very crucial to the company. The enthusiastic employee who worked for a week on this project gets pissed off. He might end up leaving the company, a huge loss to the team. All because you didn’t do the job and the boss got angry. You would obviously say it’s coz the boss is incompetent and gets angry. The boss will say it’s coz of lazy people like you that company culture gets rotten. The fact is Anger is very expensive. There is never a negative emotion which can be justified, no matter whatever a reason, a so called cause. 

The practice of being able to observe your emotional state and act accordingly is what you learn as a server. You also learn that if you don’t let your emotional state affect your actions, you can actually bring peace, productivity and sense of fulfilment to the world. If you can be peaceful and avoid all negativity, at least a very small world around you will follow the path. What that means is, every individual is immensely powerful. We have the power to bring or to take away not just the happiness of ourselves but also of other human beings.

Happy people spread happiness. Unhappy people spread unhappiness. Angry people spread anger, sorrow and disappointment. This becomes very obvious after vipassana. And so does your role in the world.

Like the title mentioned, this is the first time in life when I found the meaning of life to be so simple. There is a lot more to be seen, to be understood. Many more years to live. Amen.

Confessions of coming out…..

Cathedral Innsbruck Dom St. Jacob

“No I can’t do it anymore.” I cried out and ran away.

Ran into my room and locked it. I was crying and sobbing. He was standing on the other side of the door. I was angry and upset and devastated. I knew this day would come. But I couldn’t have expected his reaction to be so different from what I imagined.

He was crying too.

Usually a man of infinite calm and patience, he is not easily perturbed. Obviously, this was something that has shaken the ground beneath him.

You know I can’t do it. You know it.

I tried. I tried my best. Last night, I was doing everything I could to like it. But I couldn’t.

Please open the door. Let us talk about it calmly.

Ok, but you will not force me.

Yes darling. Please open the door.

He seemed to have calmed down. I opened the door.

Clean yourself up, I will make some tea. Let us talk about it.

Yes, let us.

See, some people are different. I tried being like everyone else. Being normal. I thought I enjoyed it too. We had some fun years too, remember? I loved it then. We used to stay up all night. The entire weekends were full of passion and ecstasy. The neon lights, the wine, the haze and our bodies moving rhythmically together to the hypnotizing music. It was amazing. It is all like a dream now.

I have changed. People change. I hate it now. The very thought of it fills me with despair, fear and disgust.

I am sorry; I just can’t do it anymore. Please try to understand.

He was all quiet. I know him to be very sensible person. Very mature and flexible sort of man. He accepts everything. Why is he being quiet now? Why is he not saying “Yes babe, I understand. It is your decision. I would never force you again.”

Please say something.

I am thinking if we can work it out.

I cried: There is nothing to work out. This is it.

Yes, but have we tried everything?

I have tried everything. I told you my preferences were changing about 2 years back. At that time, I felt it was unnatural of me to feel this way. I thought my needs were not real and so I was ready to try everything to stop those feelings. You remember, at that time we have tried so many things.

We went to different hotels, unique places, even different countries. We would try to mix up things, learn new skills, new moves, spending lot of money to perfect the experience, improving ourselves. You know we have tried.

I still hate it.

Silence. He knows we have tried. Every weekend we would plan something new to try. And yet, every Sunday night, I would be sick with myself and angry with him. Why is he forcing me? Why can’t I just be me?

Obviously, I understand you have your needs. I can’t stop you if you want to explore other options, if you want to continue without me.

But baby, I want us to be together. We have been together in everything. We even run a company together. We can do this too.

No we can’t. I am sorry. That is why I want you to go to Amsterdam. I want you to enjoy the pleasures which a man can get. I want you to live the life the way God intended it to be. I will keep myself away on your birthday too. I can’t see you suffer for my peculiarity!  I will stay away!

I have been desperate. I have been so lonely. I couldn’t talk about it with anyone else. I was afraid people would laugh at me. Being one of the most sought after experience in the world, people love that feeling of intoxication. They love what it does to their bodies. It is the most popular way of rejuvenating in an otherwise busy shitty corporate world. It is the world’s second most favorite sport. It was what attracts two complete strangers towards each other and finally unite them! And I hate it!

After wasting nights after nights in trying to be someone I am not, ending up in anger, weakness and pain, I decided to confess. So I told him.

Yes, I am no longer afraid to confess now. I am different. I do not like partying all night long. I do not like going to bed at 5 AM in the morning. I don’t like my body all dehydrated and lumpy. I don’t like not being able to meet my friends because I hate partying and there is no other way of meeting them! I don’t like to wait for 3 hours before people can get drunk and move over the dance floor (I love dancing!). I do not like being forced to drink and be frowned upon when I choose not to.

Dear hubby, Yes, I am different. If you can accept the concept of homosexuality, you owe it to yourself to accept this too. Please do not force me to drink endlessly again!

Disclaimer 1: This is a fictional piece of work. Please do not take it at its face value.

Disclaimer 2: No, I am not homosexual. Looks like a lot of people mis-interpreted this post. The idea of writing this post was to draw parallel between the “normal” sexual preferences and “normal” weekend activity. In the first case, coming out of closet is considered pretty sensational. In second case, those who do not drink or party are considered as pretty weird too. Something is definitely wrong or abnormal with both these kinds of people. Apologies for first shocking some of you and later maybe disappointing others who got hopeful! :P

Don’t just consume

Also P.R.O.D.U.C.E.

Don’t just read, also WRITE.

Don’t just watch, also PLAY.

Don’t just drink, also MIX.

Don’t just eat, also COOK.

Don’t just smoke, also GROW.

Don’t just wear, also WEAVE.

Don’t just buy, also CREATE.

Don’t just breathe, FOCUS

Don’t just see, OBSERVE

Don’t just sleep, REJUVENATE

Don’t just travel, DISCOVER

Don’t just meet, CARE

Don’t just start, COMPLETE

Don’t just believe, INSPIRE

Don’t just learn, TEACH

Don’t just work, INVENT

Don’t just wait, START

Don’t just consume, also PRODUCE.

(This was my birthday note to myself.)

Why fewer women at the top of their professions

While working full time is a privilege for most of the woman around the world, it is not a necessity. The reasons and the nature of work for men and women are different. Here I present my case why there are fewer women in top circles of the work force.

EXPECTATIONS

The scenarios below show how women enjoy a sort of freedom which men never have.

Her income does not pay bills. Mostly goes into saving accounts. No stress about earning.

Men = -1 Women = +1 (Freedom women)

Choice to get a less paid, more rewarding job in a low paying sector. Choice to leave job.

Men = -1, Women = +1 (Freedom women)

NO Expectation to provide support, money to external family or friends in need. Societal pressure.

Men = -1, Woman = +1 (Freedom women)

There are quite a few benefits of having an option not to earn to feed the ever rising consumption and demands (read diamond jewellery and Vacation in Hawaii). The freedom to not work is what women have. They work and earn to feel liberated, to have an option to live independently, to spend money as they like. On the other hand, men have to work to provide. They have no choice about leaving their jobs or even take a break when things are tough. They do not have an option to try out different career paths. Money matters (for earners). They do not have an option to spend money as they like. If an earning woman buys a 10k USD worth bag for herself, it is cool. Whereas, if an earning man spends the same amount in casino, it is a crime. Why did he not invest this sum in mutual funds?! Does he not care about the future of his family?!!

However, the reason why such gender bias exist is because of:

The expectation to make it large in life, earn a lot of money, climb the success ladder, where success is defined as achievement in career. This expectation is only from men.

Men = -1, Women = -1 (No freedom)

Feminists keep stressing on the importance of having women at work. I was listening to this powerful video by Sheryl Sandberg and I realized a key reason for this problem “why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions” is the pressure/stress which men have to reach at the top.

The problem why women are not on the top is the other side of the problem why men at the top are so stressed and unsatisfied. The answer lies in one word: EXPECTATIONS. It is no surprise that expectations motivate you and shape your future. We all read in ‘To Sir With Love’ how the power in a mentor’s expectations completely redefines a student’s future. However, in this case the problem is too much expectations and not the lack of it.

The problem is not simply that the world does not expect women to perform best at work or reach the highest step in the success ladder. The problem is that, this and more is expected from every male. His individuality, his choices, his skills, his temperament, his freedom, does not matter. You are a man if you earn well, you do pretty well at your work, or, you are a loser.

And even those women who are pretty good at their jobs, who can provide for the entire family, who enjoy their jobs more than their house chores; even these women would not accept their men to be sitting at home, doing nothing. These women would rather choose to sympathize with their husbands on corporate politics and competitive work environment, rather than ask him to take a back seat, chill at home, while they take the front seat. “You don’t like your job. Its is okay quit it. Let me earn for both of us. You do what you want to do. ” How many times have you heard a woman say these words?

Reaching at the top isn’t easy. It requires a lot of sacrifices. It means not having time to spend with your kids, your parents. It means not able to pursue your hobbies. It means not catching up with friends. It means not having the time to learn new skills.

It is overrated. It is risky. It is difficult. It is not for everyone. And yet every man is forced to reach the top. No matter how unhappy the process makes him.

The first step in resolving women’s inequality issue lies in first tackling men’s inequality problem. It lies with people who are not able to imagine all husbands earning less than their wives. Men leaving their jobs to explore things they like to do, while their wives provide. Such attitudes have led to the main problem: a dearth of good leaders from any gender or race. When the pressure from men is released, both men and women can compete together for the top roles based on their “interest”, “aptitude”, “personality”, “skill set”. Based on their merits. Women can only successfully compete in the highly competitive environment at the top, if their men/partners truly believe in them and stand with them strong in this pursuit. Same is the case for men. Expectations from women will rise only when they fall off from men. Which will be a win-win situation for both.

If we want equality, let us be ready to be equally responsible for the duties. How many of us working women out there contribute to more than 50% of the household expenses? If you are a true feminist and actually believe in equality, the time has come to step up and start taking care of it 100%. Let your man take a breather. And only then will you find yourself living with a true feminist man!

To believe

What do you wanna do today?

So many things. Go to ECP and take my first lesson in sailing. Sleep under a tree afterwards.

Clean the house. Arrange the cabinets. Fold bulk of clothes lying around. Dust off my room.

Nothing as such. You tell. O ya, I need to cook some veggies for the week. But I will be done by 12:30.

O ok. Wanna go out somewhere?

I just told him I have to cook. Why is he pushing me?

As in?

As in, for a run. Or a hike.

Ya can go.

I haven’t stretched nor done myofasical release from the last one week. I need to do that too. It’s a must. When will I do that? I haven’t written anything in this month. Haven’t painted in the last many months. Haven’t finished reading any of the 2-3 books that I had started.


The other day I touched the feet of my mother-in-law asking for blessing. She blessed me with her heart “may all your wishes come true!” O my! Is that even possible?

There is no end to wishes. Before one comes true, there is a new one which is already being pursued.

Before one course goes live, another one is in pipeline.

Before one lecture’s notes are ready, another one is to be worked upon.

Before one art is mastered, I am dreaming of another one.

Before one sport is played to win, I wanna try a new one too.

Before one injury is healed off, another one is received.

New pictures to take, new blogs to write, new books to read, new movies to watch, new clothes to buy, new paths to hike on, new roads to drive on, new countries to visit, new skills to learn, the list keeps going on endlessly.

Then there are things which I must do, which are not on the list. Cook, clean, work, entertain guests, manage social circle, be there when and where required. Be responsible. Be a good wife, good friend, a good daughter, a good sister, a good citizen (keep reading news every min on twitter!).

And yet every morning, I find it difficult to get up. I lay awake waiting to move out of bed. I am unable to sit through an hour of meditation. I feel like 24 hours is too less and I am too ineffective to do everything that I want to. Forget about wishes coming true, I am not even able to try everything that I want to. I feel so exhausted, overwhelmed.

My boss in my old company, who is my only ideal in life so far, used to say, you should take up more tasks than you can manage/complete, you should dream to become great. His funda was simple. The more tasks you have in hand, the more targets you achieve. You will learn to become efficient. Tasks are inter-related in a way that we do not understand. Doing one task will, in some way or other, help you complete other task as well.

I do agree with him. It is not very difficult to try so many things at the same time. To be on your toes at every moment. The testing time is when you actually encounter a failure. To get up and start again is not very difficult. To believe in success, is.

To believe is to be non-calculative, unrealistic, crazy, unscientific, irrational.

It is the need of the hour.

From unable to run for even 5 mins, in less than 2 years, I can run non-stop for min 30 mins at any day/any time.
From unable to run for even 5 mins, in less than 2 years, I can run non-stop for min 30 mins at any day/any time.

Mind games

 

IMG_5572

“Ok, so what do you want me to do?” exasperatedly I asked.

“Have fun! What else?”

What a shallow answer that was.

“Is that what you think is the purpose of our lives?”

“Do you know of any other purpose?”

Yeah. Of course not. There is no freaking purpose of existence at all. We just happen to fill a time period in the evolutionary time scale on earth. I might end up doing something amazingly awesome without as much as a clue whether it would make any difference, positive or negative now or in billions of years to come. Everything one does is wrapped into different time frames.

Taking advantage of my silence it continued: “Yeah so have fun!”

“Why the hell am I even living then? I might as well discontinue this existence right away if it anyways amounts to nothing.”

“Yup. You can.”

Wow. This does not help me at all. Not that I am suicidal or desperate. Without a project at hand that can help me get a jump start in the morning; that can maintain the adrenaline rush through the day; that can keep my mind off these random crazy thoughts, I suffer from these bouts of ‘existential crisis’. I know they will pass. Nonetheless, the question is valid. What is the meaning of life? Are we just looking for reasons to pass time till we die?

“Have a kid. Your perspective will take a U-turn.”

Obviously! That is why I do not have a kid. I do not need another perspective. Obviously if I have the responsibility of giving birth and raising another human being, the question would no longer remain valid. Like any other living being, I would be alive to procreate and keep the species growing.

“Meditate and the answer will come to you.”

That is true. Life is exactly like meditation.

Both consist of an infinite series of games in which one is constantly playing against the mind. Mind is by default lazy, negative, destructive, emotional, and fickle. Every moment, you need to fight that impulse to be able to create, remain positive, and maintain stable and existence.

When there is work in life to keep your mind occupied, it is like meditating with a chant. Easy to keep focus on. Just keep repeating the chant, as if in a trance.  Work is like trance. It has a similar effect on life as chanting in meditation; the effect of being ‘high’, inebriated.

The real struggle is when there is no chant, no sound, and no stimulus. No work. No project. Nothing to look forward to. You still need to keep your focus on.

Life is just a mind game. And you must play to win. Every moment of it.

Someone else’s business

Quick with advice

Offered for no price

Deprived of wisdom

Poking nose in someone else’s business


The poor soul who works

Who knows the system

The man with a vision

Understands the difference between will and indecision

Has a meaning for his existence.

He who works, becomes the victim


The one with free advice

Has to prove his point

With no experience, no knowledge

No wisdom, no mission

He speaks and argues and questions and pretends

Hopes his words will become a reason


The man who does

Hears the man with words

Wonders if he can show him the difference

Between talking and doing

Wondering and knowing

Asking and answering


The man with words

With nothing better to do

Hopes his word

Would stop someone else too

From doing and trying

Failing and succeeding

Getting a high

At 5: buying a new dress for the dolly, getting an ice-cream

At 10: being able to run as fast as elder brother, drawing a duck with curves at the right place

At 15: getting calls from so many different friends (& friends who are boys) at home, writing poems, singing at the top of my voice

At 20: spending a night out walking around the campus roads, singing while cycling in the rains

At 25: visiting unknown places alone, meeting strangers, making friends, getting to know a strange place called world

At 30: starting something new from scratch and finishing it, running 10 k and counting, climbing mountains, rowing in rivers, swimming laps

In these first 30 years of life, getting high on life has been one of the easiest and quickest results. I read books, get a high and fall in love with authors. I attend courses, get inspired and fall in love with professors. I listen to music and it takes me to the highest emotional and mental state ever! I have been influenced many a times by ideas and philosophies. Inspired innumerable times by high achievers especially those who have additional challenges (Catching Kayla). It is just too easy to get a high.

On the other hand, it is extremely difficult for me to get a high by the literal meaning of getting a high: by drinking or boozing mindlessly. From my first experience of binge-ing in my first job in 2006, I have always hated it. I have always found the weekdays-weekends lifestyle suffocating, unnatural. I believe in taking the time off from work but find it extremely restrictive to take the time off on specific days. For me, freedom means I can work on a Friday or Saturday night and complete a project that means the world to me!  Freedom means being free from the routine and pressure to “party” on the expected days! For me an off-day means having fun doing something I like. Not necessarily doing something that is considered fun by general definition. I like doing something that actually develops endorphin in my system, doing something which makes me a little better than what I was the previous day, doing something which is beautiful and rewarding.

The amazing thing is how easy it has become to find like-minded people, hobbyists in the time of internet. You can have a jogging partner, a swimming partner, a climbing partner, a rowing partner – all just a click away! Another Wodehouse fan, another budding artist, a ballet-lover, a photographer, a story-teller, you can always find at least one person who will share your interests! And, you will find millions of people who would appreciate your tiny contributions, minuscule improvements in those hobbies! Whether it is taking pictures (instagram followers), writing blogs (blog followers) or general encouragement (on facebook), everybody is giving you that slight nudge every single day so that you keep following your dreams! Getting a high is just getting simpler and simpler! Thanks to the positivity around! This is time to find out what gives you a high and just do it!! :D

Life is a point and figure chart

(Point and figure charts are one of the oldest technical indicators, created more than 100 years back. Simply put, they trace out trends in the price movements of a stock or equity. And based on these trends of upwards or downwards movement, a trading decision is taken. It is assumed that market usually attains a trend and if one can locate it’s direction, one can bet it.)

Life is a point and figure chart

The benchmark or threshold keeps getting updated in real-time.  The benchmark is used for comparing the next movement in life, to generate signal for one’s perception about things, inform mind about one’s ‘reaction’ to the movement. The perception could be about anything: “I did well”, “he did bad”, “she has improved”, “this city is unsafe”, “that restaurant sucks” and so on. Every judgement is just a quantified measurement of the change in status quo with respect to the threshold. Threshold gets updated at every time there is a change in status quo.

When you have never run in your life before, the first one km is the first benchmark. The threshold for next run is set. You continue to run and benchmark moves to 2 k, 3 k, 5 k. You take a break for 6 months. No run, no jog. The threshold falls back to 1 k or even lower. You start to run again and threshold starts moving up again. This time it crosses 5 k, continues to move over 6 k, 7 k, and so on.  The upward trend is strong enough for you to bet on it. At this point, even if there is a downfall, due to a break in the running routine, the probability that you fall down till 1 k is really low. Your muscles and body has worked hard enough to brace you against small downward falls. Your upward trend has been strong so far. You are hopeful that it will continue moving upwards till 10 k, 12 k, or even 15 k. Even maybe half a marathon. Next the parameters change like timings, altitude, weather. You can bet on parameters change also. From taking 40 mins for a 5 k run, you move to 35 mins, then 33 mins, then 30 mins. Another trend, another point figure chart.

If life chart is indeed in the shape of is a point and figure chart, words like equality and freedom do not have any practical implication on life’s proceedings. At every moment, the benchmark re-defines an individual, his dreams and his abilities. He can’t be compared with the person he was two benchmarks ago. He can’t be compared with the person he becomes after crossing next two benchmarks. He can’t be compared at all with any other individual. Without comparison, notion of equality is vain.

Since at every moment you present is defined by your past, you can never truly be free. At any moment of present, you have already taken a significant decision for your future by re-adjusting your benchmark. You can never experience freedom unless you are free to experience a moment without comparison.

Without comparison, life would not be a point and figure chart. There would be no benchmarks, no upward or downward trends. There would be no probability and hence no hope. It would cease to exist as we know it.

Why been born in India was the best thing that happened to me

When I was living in India, being an Indian didn’t really mean much to me. In fact, I used to think of myself as a global citizen. My fellow country people would also express their nationalist feelings very occasionally: either during cricket matches with Pakistan, during election times or on the national days. 

Now when I am no longer in the country, I am reminded of being an Indian almost all the time. Here, living among so many nationalities, when you meet anyone, anywhere, either on a street or in an office, the first identification is that of your nation, your origins. After that comes gender, age, and the other characteristics of your identity. So for me, while living in Singapore, ‘who are you’ actually means ‘where you are from’. 

What does being born and raised in India mean? A lot of things actually. It means developing a self-identification based on religion, caste, class, language, region. I remember in our school civics books, this diversity of India was always praised and glorified. I often thought this extreme diversity in India is a disadvantage in making it a modern nation. Now I know it has a huge advantage as well. Being born in a country like India, among so many different cultures, faiths and philosophies, you get a superb opportunity to develop a high level of tolerance within you. A tolerant and patient person finds it much easier to manage demanding and stressful leadership and managerial roles. Even though, at times we behave otherwise, I believe, growing up in such a diverse cultural background have given us an edge over other countries in developing these qualities. No wonder, India has a strong service industry with Indian CEOs and heads all across the globe!  

I realize how many opportunities India has offered me when I meet people of other nationalities. This usually happens during adventure sports or outdoor events. Since my country people are traditionally not too ‘sporty’, I am often the only person from the Indian sub-continent. I realize how everything is easy for me and how I don’t have too many dependencies. For example, not having paper tissue will not create an emergency panicky situation for me. The cleanliness level of bed linen in a hotel room doesn’t bother me as much. If go to poor countries, with dirt and noise and traffic, I feel at home. If I go to rich countries, I feel awed. When people look at a 500 yrs old building and get impressed, I tell them about Badami caves of the 6th century and they are fascinated! When people find it remarkable that 5-6 kids in Tibet have to ride on a single motorcycle for an hour to reach their school, I tell them the stories about our current PM and other leaders who had to cross rivers and walk for miles to reach their schools. When people find it appalling that there is no proper sanitation in remote villages, I find it perfectly normal. 

The cherry on top of the cake (of being an Indian) experience is when someone starts talking about mythology. Oh boy! I had no idea all those Amar Chitra Kathas and Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan and B R Chopra’s Mahabharat would become useful to me one day. I can go on and on about Hindu mythology for a rapt and enthralled audience of foreigners! While telling such stories, I myself realized how fascinating they are! The very idea of three Gods for creation-maintenance-destruction is mind-blowing!

Being born in India, in a household of plenty, I have had the best of all the worlds. I got the best education, best health care, could see mountains, rivers, birds, wildlife, beaches, plateaus, temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras, had friends from so many different religions and regions. I could see extreme poverty and extreme riches. I learned to live in contradictions and extremes. I got a chance to live outside the country to be able to appreciate all this. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether my being born in India was (one of) the best thing(s) that happened to the country or not. :-) 

Being an Indian in India is completely different from being an India in a foreign land. But that is an another post! 

Happy Independence Day to my desh! :-)