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When was the last time you felt happy like crazy???

September 10, 2009 2 comments

It was … …

Can’t remember … uh…even I couldn’t remember! It’s funny… because we keep telling everyone, that we are enjoying ourselves and are living life up to the brim.

Ya… go ahead, say, “ But Yes I have been living life in a great way, doing what I want, being where I want, buying things, spending money, going to places where I had wanted to. It is not at all bad, infact its good, there have been fewer depressions, have had a positive outlook, & am definitely not getting bowed down by problems. This is all going good…”

My question is then why can’t you cite even one or two experiences, when you were happy?

Well, the reason is simple. We confuse happiness with Success.

You have had happy times all the way…but the sense of achievement is missing – there is no satisfaction of having reached there… of having done that.

Though there may be other reasons also, like may be you don’t consider your job good enough or you are not satisfied with your personal life or you think you are being cheated by someone close… all these are nagging doubts & they do lead you to dissatisfaction.

You feel no sense of achievement; no feeling of success – the kind you felt when you got selected for MBA or IIT or when you managed the college skit single handedly or when you finished your summer project.

These had given a feeling of being great & reaching a point, at a coveted position. It is usually this that we define as the happiest moment…the moment when something came through successfully or when we received some thing in totality or when something happened out of the way.

That’s how it is… but then you can’t be having this kind of experiences everyday…what you feel now is only a moment of joy at having done something and then you get busy with a lot of other things happening around you.

So it’s not that you are not happy….its just that life after some time acquires a more or less straight path and then there are some high points & some low ones. This is the reason why people keep doing something or the other to keep themselves from feeling static. Because when you are moving in a straight line, after sometime the movement begins to look dull & null and you crave to have some action.

This is what is happening, so it’s not necessary that the problem is with your job or marriage or anything else…it’s just that you are moving in a straight line with rhythmic movement. This is pretty normal and boring too causing you unhappiness and no satisfaction.

A lot of people feel restless at this stage… they want to break through the normal and do something else but then they are the one who chose this life and thus there is no running away.

Marriage is one such example – it is a big thing and for many months before marriage everything revolves around it and once the event has happened… everything suddenly stops… rendering a fast moving boat absolutely static. It is then that people feel lethargic, bored and in some cases depressed also. For the event has occurred, goal has been achieved.

In such situations all you can do is keep your calm and go along with your daily work. Bring changes in your life – minor changes and see everything changing. One and only one way of warding off this boredom and making life active again is to keep picking up something new after every few months or so… now here I am not referring to new relationships or new clothes … though these two do help!

I mean pick up some new activity… like maybe a dance class… or art appreciation class… or make any sport a routine- like maybe cricket every second Saturday!

If u think u can listen (I know all men nodding..!) then why not spend an hour a month in an old age home… you can even collect old books and magazines and donate them to an orphanage or old age home.

Blood Donation is one such activity that can be taken up on a regular basis… or may be enroll as a volunteer in the nearest non formal education centre / school.

If u have a technical expertise such as … if u r a defense person in Army, Navy or Airforce… u can speak to your child’s school or any other school and take one session introducing them to your line of work. The same goes for an engineer, doctor, lawyer, banker, sales professional … there is always a lot to learn from experiences and the children need real role models also.

You might be knowing some old people living in your neighborhood who may benefit if you can help in sorting out their tax matters or making them understand their mutual funds.

Get attached to some NGO … n actually do something rather than just writing a cheque for the tax purposes and for relieving yourself from the guilt.

All these are small things… do not require much time… and get finished in one go … most of the time.

They can add to your sense of success and achievement and also give you some time away from the regular mumbo jumbo of mess called life… distracting you from the chaos and in the process helping in understanding this chaos better… and will also help you in respecting your own choices and decisions making them look attractive and appealing once again.

And so next time when the question comes … your happiest moment … you ll ask to change moment to momentS!

Categories: Trivia Tags: , ,

A trip to Vaishno Devi

September 10, 2009 1 comment

Traveling gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction.

It’s only when we travel that we learn a lot, experience new and sometimes unheard things, become conscious of our behaviors thus opening ourselves for correction and changes and broaden our horizons in the process.

Also the everyday routine does not leave us with much time to think and ponder on various things and thus what better time then travel to connect with oneself … when there is nothing else to do… when one is out of the routine… has no rules to follow and no set structure to adhere to.

And if the setting is natural too then nothing better!

So here is yet another of my travels… This is an old piece which I wrote some 5 years back…again about a journey… a trip to the shrine of Goddess Vaishno Devi.

“Chalo Bulaava Aaya Hai Maata Ne Bulaaya hai”

She beckons you, and you have to obey.

Had heard this very often, though believed in it with reluctance and an unbelieving nod. But everything, which is sacred, above human beings and also out of their control has an uncanny power, which it proves at a point when you start believing that these things don’t exist!

Same thing happened with me…I was becoming very engrossed in day to day life and had started taking the nitty grittys of life very seriously. The happenings of my office were becoming my breath and then suddenly came to light “A TRIP”.

A trip to none other than the sacred, respected, highly revered Shrine of Maata Vaishno Devi.

It was to be a very short trip (owing to leaves at our respective offices) stretching to only 2 and a half days.

There were four of us, Eakta, Pooja, My Bua and me, who had decided to go together.

On the First day of Month May 2004 and Last day of the week, Saturday, we started our journey for Maata’s Home. Our train a Summer Special “Jammu Tawi” left Delhi at around 8:30 P.M. in the evening. All four of us were charged, excited, anxious, though for different reasons! I was going for the first time, so were Eakta & Pooja. Though Bua has been there but that was a long time back. For us, it was like ‘Baby’s Day Out’ with no one to show right & wrong, and only ourselves to make decisions.

Our train reached Jammu in morning at around 7:30 A.M. The wind was chilly, though Sun was already high up there.

From Jammu, we had to go to Katra… so we started for Katra after having a light breakfast.

Katra is a small city, the home of one of the oldest pilgrim centers. Its main business comes from the tourists and the devotees. The occupation of natives range from selling merchandise to pilgrims, providing accommodation as in hotels and dharmshalas, rearing horses for taking devotees to the top (Bhawan) etc. In short, the population thrives on the tourism business. Otherwise, Katra is a normal hill station, with scenic beauty and calmness peculiar to such places. We reached Katra in about one and a half-hour, after crossing many military check posts and the River ‘Jammu Tawi’.

In Katra, we had booked ourselves in Ambika Hotel, which served us to the best. Once there, we took some time to freshen up and to ready ourselves for the great “Climb” ahead.

We left the hotel around 3:00 P.M. and hailed an auto, which took us to Baand Ganga. Baand Ganga is a small town, no different from Katra… but it is from here that the actual chadai or trekking starts. After that we were on foot and on our own as Bua took a horse and went ahead us. We met her only when we came back to Katra the next day. So for the entire trail, we three girls were on our own!

By the time we left Baand Ganga and started the real “Chadaai”, it was 4:45 P.M. The sun was still shining brightly and we each had one bag on our backs and one Hand support – a stick in our hand.

This was the real thing, so many people – some going up, some coming down all bound together by the same thread – Love, Respect & Trust for the Goddess – Maa Vaisno Devi. The first few kms were easy because of the fresh energy and motivation. Even the scorching heat of Sun didn’t deter us. After that it was the inspiration and the feeling, that a long cherished dream was coming true, that kept us going. The scenery on both the sides, at every point of time was enough to fuel even an amateur artist’s imagination.

The mountains were formidable, solid, natural and yet very inviting. No where I came across mountains which appeared to be hostile. The man made roads which criss cross the mountains, are all well built and also well lit. They are cleaned at regular intervals, to make the journey easier for all those devotees who go barefooted. After every 15 minutes or so, you come across vendors selling tea, coffee and lots of eatables. There are quite a lot of places, where one can sit and gain energy for going further. We made use of a lot of such places. These rest places also give a chance to view the natural beauty in different forms and colors.

We reached our next stop point ARDHKWARI at around 7:30P.M. Reaching ARDHKWARI tells you that you have covered half the distance. This fills you with renewed energy and you want to start for the top without any delay. We did the same, had our dinner, and started again. The weather had changed dramatically. It became cold and some protection was needed against the chilly wind. We made full use of our woolens and kept walking.

Now the number of people going up was more than those coming down. Everyone was chanting “JAI MATA DI” and all believed firmly that Maata heard them well. Such is the belief in Vaishno Devi, that the devotees included a large number of children and old aged people. All so engrossed in the business of praising and singing songs for Maata Devi, that the burns in their feet also could not demean their spirits.

We reached the Bhawan Of Vaishno Devi around midnight.  A look at the town, with its sparkling lights & streets bursting with activity can easily fool anyone about the time of the hour. We took the Prasad from one of the various shops in the market area and then headed towards our contact person, who was to help us for special DARSHAN.

Once we had our passes, we took some time and freshened up and got ready for the Darshan. Because of our passes we were able to reach the main temple within 10 minutes. The DARSHAN took another 15 minutes or so. We had good DARSHANS, though the time we got inside the temple was very less. The reason being large number of devotees…

After that we did a quick darshan of Bhairon Nath Mandir and set out for the journey back to Katra. It was on our way back that we witnessed yet another of nature’s beautiful scene.

As the Sun was rising, its rays were falling on the snow-covered peaks of Himalayas and being a clear day, we were able to see the entire mountain range. They appeared to be the last thing, which a human eye could see. So white, so distant and yet so clear due to Sun’s rays, which were playing with them and giving them all the seven different colors at just one point – their peak.

It was yet another way of the Supreme Power telling us that he still is the greatest artist!

We stopped there for almost half-hour, just couldn’t wean ourselves away from this scene. This point was above the Ardhkwari, where we reached in the next half-hour. Now the Sun was starting to go from being a soother from the chilly winds of night to a scorcher which can make skin go red & itchy. So we increased our pace and kept going down. The number of people going up had again increased now.

We finally reached Katra at around 11:00 A.M. Bua had come back in the morning itself and had rested well. All of us realized how tired we were for the first time, when we saw the beds in the Room! We somehow stopped from lying flat & freshened up, ate breakfast or brunch and got ready for going back to Jammu to catch our train.

On our way back to Jammu, we came across a very special place – Amar Singh Palace. There is a palace converted into a Museum and then there is a hotel. We couldn’t see museum as it’s closed on Mondays. But the mere picture which the palace made from outside said enough for the closed interiors. The palace looked as if it has come out of a painting, very English in its look – a solid structure less like any Indian Palace and more on lines of a British Fort. It was built by grand father of Present Raja Amar Singh and is located on the outskirts of Jammu City.

Next to the palace is another building, which has been converted into a hotel. It has a terrace garden, which gives a panoramic view of mountains, valleys and the river beneath. We had our dinner out in the open with stars all over. Then came out the moon and made the evening electrifying, even more beautiful. No other way could we have had a more fitting end to our long awaited, well planned, full of fun trip.

Our taxi then took us to the Railway Station, where we just managed to catch our train. Once inside the train, we took our places and went off to sleep, to wake up barely 5-10 minutes before reaching Delhi.

And so our Journey came to an end. This trip has left us with lots of memories and has also taught us a few new and a few old things!

It has taught us to be ready for any kind of contingency, to keep silent in the face of opposition rather face it with facts, to keep going, to always respect other person but still maintain one’s own dignity.

It has made us relearn some old things like Team Spirit, bonding between members, helping others, being open to changes, being accommodating and never giving up.

All in all, we had great fun, enjoyed a lot, saw beautiful nature and collected fond memories.

Bas ab hamari wishes bhi puri ho jaye…then All’s well that ends well.

JAI MAATA DI

Categories: Travel

School Admissions

September 10, 2009 Leave a comment

Had heard of it many times that the most important decision after marriage is choosing the right schools for one’s child…the situation has been the target of satire by many on the TV and Movies…where people have been suggested to apply for admission either at the time of birth or even before that!!!

Now since I have not yet made the first difficult decision of choosing a person to spend my entire life with … question of selecting a school should not have arrived. But as in my life things never go in any particular manner I have just been witness to the admission scenario in one of the elite schools of NCR.

One of my friends had to go for the first round of interaction of the admission procedure and as unfortunately the husband was traveling so I offered going with her.

The entire thing was an experience … first of all seeing her prepare her son for the interview…making sure that he is properly fed and dressed and is at his best behavior… (doing the same for her own self could also be seen!)… then reaching the school after braving the heavy continuous downpour and somehow managing to finds a parking space.

Till now I was on a familiar ground but once we reached the gates of the school it was a completely different ball game. Schools always remind me of my school time and make me nostalgic… there is this feel about schools which I find same everywhere … that smell of playgrounds… the no worry attitude of children… the busy bee nature of teachers…the row of classes… silence near the principal’s office etc. But all this I had seen like a student and thus with a different perspective and now I was on the other side… n it sure did change the view…

Inside the school there were scores and scores of parents with their tiny tots…with worry and concern on the faces of the parents and curiosity and in some cases fear on the faces of children. A colorful sight it was… and u can imagine with more than 1000 parents and around 500 odd children … the place was active and buzzing.

We reached there in time and were guided to a particular block and then this room which had registration numbers of 30 children. Every block and room was properly marked and there were signs and symbols to help the parents. Once in the room… we were asked to check our registration number and forms and get a name tag for our child. This tag was pinned on to the child’s dress. We were then asked to sit down patiently as a teacher came in and collected the children and took them to a different room for initial interaction. Some children were Bond and went away waving to parents while some other decided to show their emotional attachment and proved difficult. All in all after some crying and persuading by both the parents and teacher all the kids did go away.

Dunno if it’s right or not but I felt some mothers sighing a relief!

After that a question paper was handed out to all the parents and though there was no time limit and no pressure of negative marking silence fell over the room. There was anxiety all around as people started filling out the paper and mostly it was the fathers who were writing while the mothers were prompting and telling.

Now about the question paper…it had some 50 plus questions… of all sorts… MCQ’s…Spot the correct option…Tick the most appropriate one…small descriptive answers…imagine and answer … hypothetical, real situations…and some factual questions. It was one exhausting paper…testing u on all soft skills… knowledge of current ways of parenting…ethical and moral values and much more.

To me it looked like a psychometric test done without MBT and 16 question format with a lot on stake!!!

People kept on writing and writing … ensuring nothing goes amiss…some even called up their parents to check their qualifications and experience! All in all it was an examination hall with a difference … where success was going to be the ingredient for future of some one else… their children.

It was a normal process for teachers as they have been doing it for years and hence did not get ruffled by crying children or fussing parents… they just went on doing their job. What was interesting to see was that at least one of the parent in each couple was acting like a school kid… raising hands… saying yes mam… n looking expectantly at the teacher while their other half was the confident and self assured one not giving away their anxiety.

Within half hour the children, one by one, started coming back looking happy… seeing them parents increased their pace of writing and finished the paper sooner and left the rooms with their individual bundle of joy… praying that their answers meet the acceptance level, hoping that their child gets enrolled in the school while wanting to know what all did their child do hoping that he/she scored the goal too…

The results would be announced in a fortnight or so … but the parents can not relax as they have to get ready for another interview and yet another similar day … full of anxiety, concern, nervousness and hope…

Categories: Trivia