The train called life…

crowded-train

sitting comfortably in a train

enjoying nice book and starbucks coffee

i mostly don’t notice

the people

standing or passing by

don’t even care

how crowded is the train

it’s when i’ve to stand

holding the railing

rubbing shoulders

i take notice

feel the struggle

the effort

to balance the feet

in that fast moving train

and

to reach the destination

without falling…

…is life any different?

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My money (focus) is on 7

1

I am a Jack Canfield fan. Following him for quite some time now and recently completed his Success Principles 10-Day Transformation program. It’s an amazing program that helps you practice few of Jack Canfield’s success principles through 10 days.

One of the exercises was to list down the life goals: short-term, long-term, dream goals, etc. And so I did. But this post is not about the goals (I may write another post on goals).

This is to emphasize on the power of goals  – which help us see through the key things in life and remove clutter (such as watching any random Netflix series or scrolling Facebook wall zillion times a day).

Here is list of 7 key things my money is on (caveat: few of below wouldn’t apply when I am on vacation exploring new places, which in fact is also one of the core things for me):

  1. Improve knowledge on asset & wealth management, digital and product management
  2. Write daily – fiction story or blog post or private journal
  3. Read book or listen podcast daily (alternate: watch meaningful movie)
  4. Exercise 4 times a week – yoga, crossfit, running
  5. Practice gratitude and visualization daily
  6. Spent more quality time with Kiaan, Isha, family and friends
  7. Simplify life (I may write post on this later)

Everything else is a clutter. And which means I was all in clutter for so long… duh!!

By the way through entire last week, I successfully managed to do all of them expect #4 (which I started from today).

Now, if I would continue this or fall back into my clutter pit… that depends on my determination and commitment.

But did you see, the clarity of goals.

Introducing Kiaan (daddy blog post 1)

Kiaan

You are the most precious gift to us who promoted us in life from wife & husband to mommy & daddy!

Your mommy & daddy stole each other’s hearts but never thought their hearts would be stolen again on 28th May by such a cute little man!

You are just five days old and learning ways of life, and your mommy & daddy are learning along with you: lullaby melodies, power naps, surviving sleep deprivation and most importantly unlimited & unconditional love!

You are a Grace of God to us, and that’s why we call you – KIAAN!

What-the-fuck & Low carb diet

What-the-fuck!

I am sure everyone – almost everyone – of us must have had used this expression at least once. It’s that moment when we scan ourselves – in front of the mirror or in a digital image shot by a camera or in an internal image shot inside our head – and not happy with what we see, we say with a big sigh – ‘what-the-fuck I’ve done to myself.’

It happened to me in May of 2015.

Isha and I had just returned to Singapore from our home in India after long three weeks. Isha was reading some article on her iPad and I was changing my clothes. As I removed my vest, she looked at me and shook her head with a smile and a little frown between her eyebrows. She didn’t speak anything. But it was enough to made me observe at myself in the mirror. ‘What-the-fuck I’ve done to myself’ was the expression.

I don’t want to get into the details of explaining that image I saw because of obvious reasons.

The best part of this ‘what-the-fuck’ expression is that it’s more often than not strong enough to get us started in a right direction. It inspires us for a positive change.

The Four Hour Body

body

And so I started looking for diet plans for myself. I read a lot of articles, consulted my dietician cousin but what actually stuck me was a book by Timothy Ferris: The Four Hour Body. Maybe because of it’s a catchy name. The more I read about this book and about the author, the more inspired I felt.

This book is not only about dieting. It is about complete health: diet, exercise, physical stamina, etc. However, I’ve used it only for diet. So far.

Low-carb diet

Diet

It explains low-carb-high-protein diet. It is not a new concept after all but the way this book explained inspired me to follow it.

In short, it says NO to anything white except eggs. It says, everything white has carbs, so we shouldn’t eat them.

No sugar, no wheat, no bread, no brown bread (it is actually white), no rice, no milk, no potatoes, and for some reason no fruits or fruit juices (even though they are not white). The author explains medical/ scientific details for every point he mentioned in the book but I didn’t bother myself with those details. I simply followed.

Measure and Record 

The second important thing is to measure weight every day in the morning before breakfast and measure size (chest, waist, hips, biceps and thighs) every week and maintain all the records in a journal.

My daily diet

I started on 22nd May. I weighed 74.5 Kg.

8:00 am: Two eggs (boiled, scrambled, omelette, etc.) – within an hour of waking up.

10:30 am: One vegetable salad portion (carrot, cucumber, tomatoes – though not white but allowed)

12:30 am: One big bowl of lentils or beans

4:00 pm: One big bowl of lentils or beans

6:30 pm: Something full of protein such as stir fried green peas (optional)

9:00 pm: One big bowl of lentils or beans

Binge day

Now, this is the best part, probably the reason I was inspired to give this diet plan a try (apart from book’s name). One day in a week, it allows (in fact encourages) to have a cheat day to savor anything on the earth you want to eat or wanted to eat in last 6 days in this diet. It also encourages to keep making note of stuff you desire to eat during the diet days and then eat all of them on this cheat day.

I chose Saturday as my binge day.

Result

I followed diligently for 40 days, maintaining records of each day. On 28th June, I weighed 68.6 Kg. I’d lost 6 Kg. All my shirts looked better fitted and all my trousers went loose. It was an exciting feeling. My friends also noticed this change.

And then Hong Kong happened. I took a week break for my Hong Kong vacation but never went back to that diet routine. Eventually, in last six months, I gained all my 6 Kg back.

Sighed. What-the-fuck I’ve done to myself… again!

Give it another shot

I am determined to resume this diet plan from around mid-Jan once I get settled in my new place. And, I am confident it will work for me as effectively as it did last year.

Cheers!

Image courtesy:
http://www.wikiihealth.com/
http://fourhourbody.com/

The blessed memories of Diwali

Hands folded in Nameste and head innocently bowed in front of Goddess Lakshmi’s in our small temple in the living room, I am sitting next to my Grandma. Now, dressed up smartly in black achkan (indo-western jacket) and white churidar pajama with a white pearl necklace around my neck, I am putting tikka on my grandpa’s forehead. And here at our terrace with my beautiful mom smiling in her yellow chiffon, holding a phuljhadi (sparkler) in my hand from behind and asking me to look towards my dad taking our picture, but looks like I am more into that phuljhadi than the picture. Thank you dad for capturing these memorable moments and many more, for these are the ones through which I still, after so many years, cherished my childhood Diwali celebrations.

As a child, I was madly fascinated by Diwali – the festival of light, though for me it was more a festival of crackers. I don’t remember my age then, just old enough when kids are allowed to step down alone to the nearby market. That street near our house is very narrow, and during the festival, with the crackers and sweets shops stretched almost to the middle from both ends, it used to become crowded, noisy and “lively”.

DiwaliMy crackers shopping used to begin a week before Diwali with pencil bombs and taabeez (triangle shape bombs). They were 100 for five and 2 packets a day were decently budgeted in my pocket-money. All that week, morning to evening, mostly alone at my terrace, except a few times with my friend Varun, I used to blast those bombs. Crazy isn’t? Divyang, my younger brother, was least interested in joining me. I am still not sure why he never enjoyed crackers. In this case, he is very much like grandpa who always refrain us from bursting crackers. His reason is pollution of course which I am sure is not Divyang’s. But grandma always use to give me money for crackers (the expensive and fancy ones). She is simply the best.

A few times I got light burns but no one knows about them yet. After that “bomby” (to avoid writing “bombing”) week, the terrace used to look like a dirty pit with busted bombs, ashes, burnt papers and match sticks all over. On the Diwali afternoon, I used to sweep clean the terrace by myself with the same enthusiasm and excitement. Then after putting a folding bed for everyone to comfortably sit and enjoy the show of fancy crackers, I used to light hundred of candles on all around the terrace boundary to brighten up our Diwali house some more. The very next morning, I would be the first one to go upstairs to gather the melted wax of those candles for making the hand-made different-shapes candles. Recycling, you see.

I had a similar passion for greeting cards then. I used to handmade Diwali cards for all my close relatives and friends – trying to make all different and as beautiful as I could. Then with my Grandma’s help, I also used to prepare envelopes for them, matching the color with the card (those were the days when we didn’t have loose envelopes in the nearby stationary shop).

I loved to watch my mom making rangolis and painting on our doorway the little footsteps, white and beautiful, welcoming the Goddess Lakshmi to walk through our house on that auspicious evening to pour her blessings on us. We also used to hang a kandil, with an electric bulb inside it, high on the television antenna, so that at Diwali night, it lit colorful inside the kandil. At every house, there used to be at least one Kandil of some weird shape and bright color. In this cable and internet era remain no more television antennas and no more kandils on them, but still we buy a kandil and hang it somewhere inside the house.

Dad used to take me along with him to greet relatives and friends with Diwali sweets and gifts, and eventually, as I grew up, dad handed over this responsibility to me. I never enjoyed doing it alone except for visiting some close relatives. And so I handed it over to Divyang as soon as he grew up a little more. I think he, being an extrovert, loved it, except when not lazy.

Amidst all these beautiful blessed memories, I have a memory which is not pleasant but equally blessed for no one was hurt. I was very small then. My mom-dad, uncle-aunt, Divyang, all were there on terrace celebrating the Diwali evening. Someone gave me a sparkler and after a few seconds, scared of getting my hand burned, I just dropped it completely ignorant of the fact that I am standing next to the box full of crackers. The only scene I remember is that the rocket bombs going all over the terrace, my mom running towards the staircase holding Divyang and dad rushing towards me to drag me inside our terrace store-room. Thanks Almighty, no one was hurt. BE VERY CAREFUL and SAFE THIS DIWALI!

For the Diwali pooja, everyone in their best outfit sit next to each other, bow and pray. A few times, we used to celebrate the festival together with our close relatives and the joy was manifold. I pray to feel that joy again. After the pooja, we used to dance on the loud music and run towards the terrace for the fireworks. One time along with Nishtha and Suketu, I had this crazy fun of having a bonfire with piles of old newspaper and throwing bullet bombs in it causing the ashes and pieces of burnt newspaper to blew up creating beautiful images and we used to dance around that. After getting tired with all the dance and fireworks, we used to play cards together till the wee hours of the morning.

And this is how I celebrated my Diwali as a child, as a teenager, and a few times as an adult. The best of times and celebrations! I miss that. I miss my family. I miss that fun. Well, I am going to attend Diwali pooja this year with my lovely family…over FaceTime.

WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY, SAFE AND PROSPEROUS DIWALI!

Say “Thank you” to those who changed you and feel “Awesome”

“Do you have people in your world who changed your life positively?” asked me the morning, when I stepped in the balcony rubbing my eyes.

“Of course I’ve!” I replied, surprised why it is asking me that suddenly.

“Did you ever thank them for that?”

That question made me think… many times people changes our lives forever with their actions, words or just by their presence, and often we forget to thank them for what they did, taking their love and care for granted. I was no different, I am now… from this very moment…

So go ahead and thank those who really have changed you, your life and the way of think… It feels AWESOME!!!

Nishtha

Thank you Nishtha for always there in my life. I am so grateful for that. You are the bestest sister ever. I remember vividly when I saw you for the first time, a little more than my palm, I felt an angel has entered my life. And after so many years, I feel exactly the same…just never knew my little angel will grow up so fast!

I know you miss me the most when I am away from home. I miss you too but I am a little poor in expressing. You’ve taught me many things in your own way. The way you believe in me makes me more confident and responsible. You make me go for knowledge by relying on me for answers, making me more aware. Your trust in me makes me a believer, affirming my belief that I will always be there to hold you, to support you in all times, and the way you listens to me makes me feel I’m a good speaker. And, I go to gym to look like a handsome brother of such a gorgeous sister ;)

I LOVE YOU and want the best of the bestest for you in all the spheres of life.

Sonal

I am so thankful to you Sonal for being such an amazing and caring sister. The way you care about me and the way you are a little possessed (in fact, for everyone you love ;-)) shows and reflects your pure love.

Our childhood memories are so precious – long summer vacations, playing hide and seek, going to the park for orange bar, and running from p l sharma to begum bagh for no reason. But even though we have our busy lives now, I want to thank you for always making me feel that you are always there for me.

I am really grateful that you introduced me to Isha, the best thing happened to my life. I am really thankful to you for that. You have changed my life.

The way you go an extra mile to take care of Nishtha is commendable. I never mentioned this but I really appreciate (I know you must be thinking now, ughh…isn’t she my sister ;-)). You left your work pending to attend my roka-ceremony on such a short notice made me feel really special.

I can go on and on saying how grateful I feel for having you as my sister, but I want to finish it short by saying, I LOVE YOU SIS !!!

Abhishek

Thank you Abhishek for many reasons than one. First of all for always being my best friend, standing on my side in good times and bad, in right and wrong. For always listening to my stuff patiently and always believing in me. For never shouting back on me even in our fights. For making me think I am much better than what I think I am, and that I deserve the best in life.

For leaving your college classes to support me during dad’s abduction. For making me calm and strong when I was at my lows. When we’ll meet again, and I know soon, we will follow our tradition of mall road and hariya ki lassi ;)

Thank you for being my bestest friend. You’ve changed me and my life in many ways.

Friends Forever!

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PS: There are so many other people whom I want to thank equally… Surely will, on some other beautiful morning :-)

The law of attraction and my US stay

YES, it worked for me. The law of attraction actually worked for me. WOW! It’s real and now I aspire to make it work for my bigger dreams! And well, it worked for me…so it could for work for you as well.

I am sure you must know what I am talking about. Because “The law of attraction” is not a secret anymore…it is revealed by “The Secret”. Thanks to Rhonda Byrne. Millions of people across the globe have experienced miracles in their lives following this law and its secret. Well if you are not in those millions of people, I recommend you to know The Secret. 

I would have been in India now, I am not…I am writing this post sitting in my cozy apartment on 6 Danforth Road in US. So, here’s want happened:

Well coming to US was always one of my dreams. I know it sounds a little childish since these days every other person from software industry is coming to US for work. Thanks to globalisation. The world is getting flat as they call it.

In my case, it took a little long. After waiting for seven years, I came to US on a work assignment in mid 2011 till June 30th 2012. And since it was one of my dreams, I fell in love with the country. But as my end date was approaching, the feeling to stay more in US was getting rooted. I started thinking that I am going to stay in US much longer. I shared the same with my US Director in April 2012 and he pulled some strings to extend my stay till December 2012. I was very excited but suddenly, some issues arose back in my India team because of which my extended stay got cancelled. It was very disappointing but somehow I always had this believe that I am not going back on June 30th.

Then, in early June a new US Vice President took over our group and he showed his willingness to have me stay back till December 2012. It again got finalized and I was verbally conveyed that I am not going back till end of the 2012. But this time I wanted the written confirmation. But again some misunderstanding happened between my India and US group, and on 20th June, just 10 days before my departure date, the extended stay was again cancelled and I’d to go back on the same 30th June – and this time it’s final and couldn’t be changed. I remember when my US Director was conveying this disheartening news to me, I knew it is just 10 days and now it is over. It is impossible that my stay would extend by any chance now in such a short timeframe. The case was closed. But still my thoughts were – ‘It will still happen. I am staying back in US beyond June 2012’. Though at that time I didn’t know – How it will happen?

My wife and I started packing our stuff and suddenly I asked her to check our 30th June air tickets to confirm the time. She logged in to the British Airways website and guess what tickets were not there. We were completely shocked. Never in our wildest dreams I thought that British Airways could cancelled our tickets without any warning or notification. Next afternoon, my wife called British Airways customer care and yes, they actually did cancel our tickets and put it on us that we requested a cancellation. The most weirdest thing we ever expected. And then they informed that they can’t help us in anyways. The only option is to buy new tickets which were 5 times expensive (approx 1.3 lacs per person) than the one those stupid people cancelled. My wife got so scared and tensed to cry. I went home early and called customer care several times. Same cold response. (I am going to share the further details of this “unfortunate” experience with British Airways in my next post, this post is for the “fortunate” experience with the law of attraction).

So, finally I informed my US director about this unfortunate incident. And he calmly said – “okay let’s extend your US stay for 2 months. By then the air tickets price would also go down, so you could afford them. Also we will reconsider your situation to extend further.” I didn’t believe my ears. That unfortunate event was actually a miracle which actually did what I really wanted to happen – to stay in US beyond June 2012. At that time I didn’t know how it would happen but see it made its way and I am still in US writing this post. Though I’d to spent around $1200 more from my pocket for the new air tickets for which I’ve filed a complaint against british airways for compensation, but most importantly I am still in US and my dream for further extension is still alive (and I will let you know when the law of attraction will work again :-)).

I called my wife to tell – Baby, The Secret is no more a secret now…It actually worked for us. INCREDIBLE! 

Like HER, give chance to your DREAMS to FLY!

Many of us, times and again, have that dream to take our hobbies or interests to the next level, but then before any action we suppress that feeling by rather stronger feelings – it’s too late to switch careers now or it’s too risky to make name or living out of a hobby. 

But then among us is Srikala, my technology project manager, who last week left her blooming career of 12 years to go after her passion of becoming a painter. Knowing her for three years and  seeing her artistic skills, I am sure she doesn’t need luck to succeed, but I’m still writing this note to wish her all the luck and more importantly fun for her exciting new journey. I’ve utmost respect for her zeal and passion. Hope she’ll make it large, and inspire us to believe in our dreams and give them at least a chance to fly.

I happened to visit an exhibition in Key West with my wife, Isha. The paintings were simply mind-blowing. The artist was there, painting LIVE in front of the invitees, showing his brilliant skills. He obviously didn’t notice us because he didn’t know us. And, I mentioned to Isha that very soon we will be visiting a similar exhibition with the par excellent paintings, and the artist of that exhibition will surely notice us.  I am keenly waiting for that exhibition Srikala.

As a manager motivating me always with a smile, as a mentor telling me where I need to improve, as a friend always praising my blog posts and portraits, or as a painter I just met in that painting class, Srikala you are simply charismatic and I am sure you will always leave a positive impact wherever you go!

I wish you all the very best to come out shining in the world of art.

Keep in touch!

This is how I invited my friends for my wedding

After three and a half months of marriage, while scrolling down to my old e-mails, I happened to jump over my wedding invitation I sent to my close friends.

Feel like sharing!

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Dear Friends,

I won’t be bachelor anymore in a few days. You understand the gravity right!!!

My parents are really elated about this happening and to express their immense happiness, they are throwing a grand party named ”Ayush and Isha wedding ceremony” on 18th December, 2011 at S.G.M Gardens, Meerut. I will be delighted to have you at this auspicious ceremony to shower your love, blessings and yes, genuine support, so try not to give me that ek-aur-bakra-katta stares and smiles at the party, alright ;)

Before my d-day, they are giving me one “jaa-ji-le-apni-zindagi” type of day which happens on 17th December, on which I would love to enjoy my last bachelorhood moments dancing and drinking with you all. On the same day, after I’ll be drunk, they are planning to have our wedding rings exchanged. You know what I mean.

Scanned Card having details of both the ceremonies is enclosed in the mail. Just confirm you are coming single, with spouse, with boy friend, with girl friend or with girl friends. I would prefer the last option for 17th ;-) Accordingly I will make arrangements for your stay. And after admiring the invitation, kindly click on the reply button to acknowledge it ;)

So, be there guys! I am looking forward to your presence!

Love

-Ayush

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Some of my friends’ responses:

‘creative invitation. loved it!’

‘enjoyed reading it. will surely be there and give those looks :-)’

‘very toughful. well written!’