Unforgettable Moments that Subtly Change Your Life

There are 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. No matter how long you live, and how well your ability to remember is, inevitably most days will be forgotten as we move forward in time and rightfully so. Our minds and hearts need to be focussed on the present most of the time with occasional drifts of thought and experience forward into the future or backward into past.

If you have lived long enough to be able to read this then you know what I am talking about and there can be no exceptions, unless you have Hyperthymesia( and even then I understand you will remember most days in your life)

Many days and many more moments will be forgotten but there will be some that will remain forever engraved into our memory for as long as we live. I can pick out a few of those moments which I will never forget.

The Spiritual Bridge

In 2001, I was in India with my family. We went to visit places in North India. Places like New Delhi, the capital of India and Agra, the home of the symbolic Taj Mahal were on the itinerary. One place which was not really on our itinerary, but which later become one of the place that we visited out of being a transit place en route to one of our main destinations was Rishikesh. I can’t remember where we were headed, but in order to be there at a particular time we had to depart from our starting point very early in the morning. We got onto a big open rickshaw at four in the morning with 6 or 5 other tourists. It was a dark and chilly ride to Risikesh. My family huddled together. No one including the other passengers uttered a word. All we could hear was the sound that the rickshaw engine made and the wind that blew on our faces. It was too early for chitchat, everyone was sleepy.

Rishikesh_-_Lakshman_Jhula
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakshman_Jhula

It was still dark when we reached Rishikesh. We visited two very small temples and then were instructed to visit another temple before crossing the famous suspension bridge called the Lakshman Jhula. We were slowly making our way across the bridge when I started to notice something in the water of the Ganges below and the forest on the mountains behind us. At first I thought I was only imagining it, but then it became evident that it was really happening. The colour of the water started to change. It had been hidden by the darkness before and all that was evident was the sound of the water, but now it was displaying a dark shade of green. The trees behind us started to make themselves visible. The cables of the suspension bridge were becoming visibly clear. Then the water below us turned into a slightly brighter shade of green and the sky became brighter. I stopped and stood watching  the water below, the trees behind us and the sky. I then noticed the colour of the water changing. A certain sense of unprecedented awe took over me as I finally saw the sun peek ever so slightly and then I witnessed the colour of the water turn emerald. There were many little temples on the other side of the river which now glistened with gold as they were getting revealed by the sun’s rays.

But the time we were on the other side of the bridge, I knew there was something inside of me that  had just changed. I knew that that moment was going to be special and even today as I write this I am awestruck by its memory.

Standing in the Sky

 If you have never done sky diving or parasailing or paragliding, then you definitely need to do it at least once in your life time. Sky diving was one of the things on my “list”. If you don’t have a “list” I suggest you start building one. It was basically a list of things that you want to do, places that you want to go to, goals that you want to achieve in your life.

I am not going to lie. Sky diving is a scary experience. The fear was there and in huge doses, but I learned to live with the policy ” If you fear it, you must do it” and so I did it. Unlike most people, my real thrill was not jumping from a plane and it was not even falling 200 kms. Don’t get me wrong, those were part of an amazing experience, but for me the moment that I remember best is when the parachute opened and it felt like I had suddenly stopped falling. I looked down and I could see the trees, the runway for the plane from which I jumped from and the sky meeting the horizon. That moment, that sudden change in pace was the moment that I will never forget. It was as if after falling uncontrollably I had suddenly stopped and was standing mid air looking down at the world. It didn’t matter where I was, what had happened yesterday or what was going to happen tomorrow. I was in that moment and that moment only.

The Golden Goal

I have tried to describe this moment many times in the past, but I have yet to come up with the perfect words that really encapsulate this moment. All the times that I have talked about this moment has been around people who experienced it first hand and words don’t need to be used because they know what the moment was and how it felt and an uncontrollable smile of pure joy gets painted on their face.

2010_Winter_Olympics_logo.svgThe 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics was a time when the entire country of Canada was united as one. I remember getting my picture taken with me holding the Olympic Torch when it came to Toronto – it was surreal. As the events progressed, the people who were not fully hooked by such an event an the Olympics started to get engulfed in the spirit of the games and in the spirit of Canada. There are many other memorable moments including the song “I Believe” which did as much as the games itself to bring the nation together.  But the moment that will go down in history is the golden goal of the golden game, the final event of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Men’s Ice Hockey Final between Canada and the USA. Hearts stopped when USA scored an equalizer 25 seconds away from a Canadian victory taking the game into overtime. Then 7 minutes 40 seconds into overtime magic happens and the whole nation all at once jump with arms in the air. If you’re a Canadian you should watch the video above.

Those were my top 3 unforgettable moments yet. What are yours? Please comment below and share if you like or if you have any suggestions.

The Car-free Life

A little over 6 months ago I was forced to let go of my car because I was involved in an accident and the car was a write off. Instead of getting a new car, I decided that I would not get a new car until I was certain I actually needed one. The car free life might not work for everyone, but it does work for a surprising number of people if they are willing to make some adjustments in their life.

In my case, it was a very easy decision to make and one that I do not regret at all. In fact my life probably has gotten better because of not having a car. But that can also be because my life is as such. I have deliberately designed my life in such a way that I do not have to commute to work, I choose my work hours, I choose whom to work with, what to work on and how much to work on it. Of course all that freedom can be the ultimate boon, but if not handled with care, it can also be a curse. After all with great power comes great responsibility, and in this case the power is total freedom. But what does all that have to do with living a car-free life?

Not having a car meant there were some constraints in my life. I could not travel when I wanted to, I could not be spontaneous with my travel plans, even grabbing a cup of coffee or breakfast became something that needed some planning. Of course there is also the status symbol to battle with, but thankfully I was not victimized by my mind in this respect because I almost always live by the saying

Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.

Challenging The Status Symbol

source: www.cartoonstock.com
source: www.cartoonstock.com

If nothing at all, it has been a great social experiment. For example,  I was with a group of friends when the topic of cars came up and a particular car brand was mentioned(I can’t remember which car it was) but I casually said, “Nah, I don’t like that car”, to which my friend mockingly replied,

“That’s coz you can’t afford one” letting out a laugh and an insulting look on his face before realizing that his remarks may have come off as being insensitive, yet not enough to warrant a genuine apology. As I write this, I wonder how they would react if I drove my new Tesla S to their driveway. If there is any car that I actually want to own in the near future despite of my car free philosophy that I’m experimenting with, it as to be the Tesla S – you know because it’s an electric car and it’s good for the environment and all. ;-).

There are numerous other situations like these that tested my commitment to go car free for as long as I could. It has been 6 months now and things just keep getting better.

Increased Savings

Hand and money staircaseNot owning a car saves quite a bit of money and yes you might know this logically or mathematically but when you actually see how much you’re saving, it may just surprise you a little bit. You don’t have to pay for auto insurance and if you live in my city, you know that that can be a big deal! Cost of fuel and maintenance is another thing that is out of the list of bills. There will of course be times when you do need a car because public transportation might not cut it. In those situations you can take a taxi or rent a car, and even then, at least for me the savings are very visible. For that to work, I had to develop another skill.

More Organized, Better Time Management

TimeYou cannot keep hiring a taxi or renting a car every time you need to go somewhere. I scheduled my meetings in such a way that I could get away with renting one car for the day and getting all my work done on the same day. Out of necessity I had to get efficient at my work and get better at scheduling meetings. I was always accustomed to steering clients towards having phone or Skype meetings when possible, but with the added constraint of not owning a car, I became better at managing my time. Scheduling back to back meetings means you have to learn to squeeze your preparation time and doing it enough number of times means you can get very good at it.

Health Benefits

2014-04-25-Walking_JR_604When I owned a car, I would sometimes drive in the middle of the night around 3AM to Denny’s or McDonalds to have a big meal while working on some project. Things like these of course causes your health to deteriorate slowly over time if you do it frequently. But if you remove the flexibility of having a car, the temptation of driving to a fast food place is removed(at least partially).

I started walking as part of my exercise routine, I then increased my frequency of walking and the distance I travelled every time I went out of a walk. I can now confidently walk for an hour and  I use walking to get things done. Things like going to the bank, getting stationary or getting groceries are now tasks that I feel are quite easy  even without a car. Not only am I staying active, I’m also noticing a lot more of my surroundings than I would if I were to travel the same route by car. It’s an amazing experience every time.

241617539_1399307542Recently I took out my old bicycle from my garage. It had collected some dust and rust because of all the neglect of so many years. I cleaned it and applied some needed fixes and started cycling. Now sometimes instead of walking to my destination I cycle to it and it takes me half the time. Not only is cycling healthy, it is also a lot of fun. I was an avid cyclist when I was in high school but as time went by, I went from an avid cyclist to the guy who says “I had a bicycle once”. Cycling has brought back so much joy and fun that I had all forgotten about.

I also bought a Misfit Flash fitness tracker so that I can hit my daily activity goals. Please be sure to check out my thought on the Misfit Flash.

originalAll these are benefits to me, but living a car free life is not all a selfish act. I am helping the environment by doing my part in reducing greenhouse gas emission. Living a car-free life also means you’re doing your part in easing traffic congestion.

As you can see living a car free life is a win-win for all. This is my take on living a car free life.

If you liked this article and want to read more like these in the future, please leave a comment below and please share!

 

What Should you write about?

Recently I was asked for some advice. This person said that they were always interested in writing, but never could really figure out what to write about. After following some of my blog posts, they asked me for some insight into how to decide what to write about, how to plan their writing, how often write, how to determine who the target audience is? etc…

First and foremost, I was flattered that someone asked me for advice on writing. I also felt some pressure to give appropriate answers to their questions. However, when it finally dawned upon, I realized that the real answer was very simple.

The question as to what you should write about is like the question “How Should I live my life?” The answer really isn’t that complicated. You just do. You just live. That is as simple as it gets and as complicated an answer as it gets, there is nothing more to it. Likewise, if you want to write, you should just write, there is nothing more to it.

You may ask, but don’t I need to know what to write about? Don’t I need to plan? Don’t I need to learn the different styles of writing? Don’t I need to be interesting? Don’t I need to know who I am writing for? Who is my target audience? What is my purpose for writing whatever it is that I am writing?

No… Don’t think about all that – Just write. In due time, you will discover the things that you are passionate about, in due time you will realize what your style of writing is, who your target audience is, who you want to write for, what message you want to send across the screen, or the glossy pages of a magazine, or whatever medium you choose.

The best way to learn anything is to start doing it.

How do you learn to ride a bike? How to you learn to swim. How do you learn to play a guitar? How do you learn to drive a car? Never mind that, how do you think you learnt to walk? Too often we ponder upon the result of our actions for too long and never actually see any result because we never really try to do that thing.

The biggest price that you pay for an action is the price of not taking it.

In Pursuit Of…

In-pursuit-of

If every action is performed in succession, then the consequence of those actions is inevitable. There is basically a formula to life. There is no mystery, it is simply mathematics. Action and result. Cause and effect.

This video is both funny and deep, if you really think about it. This is the conclusion to  the coyote and the road runner, the never ending chase. We have always been led to believe that the coyote is the bad guy and the road runner is the good guy who is smart, fast and funny.  But this video tells a different story. Yes, it is funny, but think about it again and you will see a different picture emerging behind the humour.

When the viewers who watch the cartoon think that the coyote is never going to catch the roadrunner, the coyote persists. Real dream chasers, the mad ones, the crazies, keep chasing their dream even when everyone around them begs them to stop and give up and pursue something else. When one thing does not work, they try something else, and then something else, they change their angle, their technique, beaten up, broken down they keep persevering. See they know a secret that most people don’t, or perhaps choose to ignore because of the pain it may cause.

If every action is performed in succession, then the consequence of those actions is inevitable. There is basically a formula to life. There is no mystery, it is simply mathematics. Action and result. Cause and effect.

If however, your actions do not get you your desired results, then it is not that you have failed, it is simply the result of your combined actions. Perhaps you have not performed an actions well or the timing was not right, perhaps there are some factors that you have not considered, maybe your approach is not optimal. Dream chasers, those mad ones know this and they change their approach, change their technique, change their angle, or whatever it takes to get them to where they want to be.

Eventually they do – they all do!

But we know that don’t know? We need only to look around us. But what happens after you get to where you wanted to be, what happens when you finally achieve ‘success’, what happens after you have made your dream into a reality?

Sometimes people keep chasing a dream and forget about everything else, their family, relationships, health, and instead they become obsessed about it, putting themselves on the line, risking everything and never giving up.

When they finally achieve their dream, they are sometimes left with a void and the question:

Is this all there is?

The chase is over, the task is complete, the chapter is closed, so now what? Sometimes people develop an identity crisis. The passion, the thrill of chasing their dreams leaves them hungry for more, but they don’t know what else there is to chase. Just like the coyote, they try different things, fall into a lousy state of mind, anger, depression, feelings of worthlessness. This happens a lot with very successful people. Even if people manage to maintain a healthy state of mind and do something else that brings meaning in their lives, they still miss the chase, they crave the process of converting raw power of their passions into their desired results.

We have seen many athletes, after achieving unimaginable level of success and retiring, return back to the game, or a businessman after retiring comes back, or a filmmaker keeps coming back because sometimes that is the only thing that brings meaning to their life.

But the question I ask is: Is it worth sacrificing everything you hold dear? Should you chase a dream at the expense of your health? Should you pursue success while sacrificing the love of your friends, family or your personal relationship?

I can’t speak for everyone, but perhaps they key is balance! But an even bigger solution is the answer to

WHY?

Why do you want what you want? The answer to that question is perhaps the starting point to brining balance. When you truly answer that question, either you will realize that it is not worth pursuing, or you will find that you can achieve the same ‘why’ by pursuing something else, something which you may not have to sacrifice the other things that are dear to you for, or you will realize that the WHY is what brings you joy and power in your life which you can directly inject into your work as fuel and move forward.

Take Stock

Another way to bring balance is taking stock of your accomplishments. Think about it! Many things that you now take for granted were once a dream, a goal, something that seemed so far fetched you couldn’t even comprehend what it would be like achieve it. Maybe it was graduating with a degree or a diploma, or owning your own car, getting a job, earning $X dollars in salary, owning a house, asking someone out, or getting married to someone that you love, travelling to a destination you always wanted to go to, starting a business, or getting that promotion. Just think about it?

Stay Thirsty…Keep pursuing…

If you’re not growing, you’re dying.

The human spirit needs growth, no amount of success brings as much meaning and joy as growth does and in fact that might even be one of the laws of nature. Companies need to grow, to invent, invest, innovate, people need to grow financially. One dollar 10 years ago is not worth one dollar today, and today’s dollar will not be worth that much in the future. Likewise with your dreams and goals. If you are in pursuit of something, keep at it, if you don’t have something to chase, go find something. Mind you, your dreams don’t have to be materialistic, it can be to better a relationship, it can be spiritual, it can be a health goal. Whatever it is, go get it.

I end with this video. It is one of my favourite scenes, a tear jerker, a real inspirational moment.

Zindagi – Enigma: The Greatest Show on Earth

On Saturday, September 7th ,2013, I performed a mix of Hindi and English prose at Shri Kshatriya Mitra Mandal, Toronto's (SKMM Toronto) annual function at Rose Theatre in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

Zindagi Enigma is philosophical examination of the life of an individual from the birth of his child going backwards in time, meeting his soul mate, starting work and experiencing uncertainties of his career, going to college while searching for him identity, conflicts with religious beliefs handed down to him, falling in love for the first time, growing up as child, and then finally his first breathe at birth and then it all begins – The Greatest Show on Earth.

Due to time constraints, the act was cut short. If I get a chance, I shall post record the full version some day, but for this, enjoy! 🙂

For those who have asked me whether this is story is based on my life, the answer is no. This story and the characters in it are fictitious and any resemblance to any person, living or dead is purely coincidental.

 

The Power of Intro-Extro-verts

Just a few weeks ago someone commented that I was a bit shy. That came as a bit of a surprise to me as I do not consider myself as even a remotely shy person. After a bit of reflection I realized that at some point in my life that in fact may have been true from one perspective and even today to some this may hold true. I do not usually tend to speak unnecessarily. If I do not bother speaking up, it is mainly because the situation or topic at hand does not interest me or I do not have anything worthwhile to add to the conversation because it does not add any additional positive value.

Although I have a blog which may seem like an open expression of my personal thoughts, a twitter page which paints a picture of what goes in my mind and a Facebook account where it may seem that I share my intimate thoughts amongst my Facebook friends, it is only what one sees on the surface. I have learnt from experience that things are not always what they seem. I like to express myself freely when the time calls for it, but my biggest breakthroughs in thinking and understanding have come from seeking solace in solitude.

I like to deal with certain things like figuring personal and business solutions to problems I face on my own,. The bigger the problem the more silence it requires. But the fact is, this is not just true for me – this is true for everyone. Even the most extreme cases of extroverts need to at times find their inner voice in seclusion.

The key here is not to categorize oneself as either an introvert or an extrovert. There are different times that requires one to taken on introvert or an extrovert traits.

When making business deals, giving speeches in public, working in teams I have to take on an extrovert persona and during planning, projecting, writing or doing any kind of creative work I have to take on an introvert persona. The key is to realize one's natural state and then balancing it according to the situation that one is in.

 

Why You Should Set Your New Year’s Resolution in November!

Two years ago, I wrote an article on "Why not to Set a new Year’s resolution!". Now I like to catch people's attention like that. The fact was that I was not telling people to not set new year's resolutions, but instead I was showing why you should set them in November.

It has worked well for me and I have made some amazing changes in the past two years. Some of my friends and colleagues have also adopted this out-of-the-box way of making self improvements.

Now remember, you do not need to restrict yourself to health goals like losing X pounds or just financial goals like earning $Y within the next Z months. You can set new year's resolutions for your company, for your community, for your family or for your circle of friends .

You can check out the article here: http://www.kapilbulsara.com/2010/01/why-not-to-set-a-new-years-resolution/

My Prayer

I pray for wisdom of a 100 year old, imagination of a 6 year old, curiosity of a 2 year old, energy of a 20 year old and audacity of a 17 year old!

I pray for steadfastness of a loyal married man, the power of unconditional love of a new mother, the equanimity of an enlightened monk, the passion of a first time lover and the universal connectedness of a prodigy.

I pray for the deep understanding of the just, the burning desire of a new soul searcher, the unwavering firmness of an incorruptible king, and the indestructible courage of a warrior of the highest order.

I pray for the peace that exists in the deepest trenches of oceans and in the furthest regions of the cosmos.

Perfect Moment

Perfect moments don’t come. The moment you act, know that that is the perfect moment in time for at that precise time you have taken yet another step to weave the beautiful tapestry of this thing you call Life.

Perfect moments don’t come, you bring it in by deciding to move forward and cut off all other possibilities, because ultimately no matter what, anything that happens in your Life is your decision.

Perfect moments don’t come, you keep hammering at it like it was a boulder again and again until you achieve a breakthrough.

Perfect moments don’t come, you keep chipping away slowly and relentlessly to create a masterpiece sculpture of this thing you call Life.

Perfect moments don’t come, not the way you imagine it would. Whatever that has happened is in itself a display of perfection for any event any other way would not make you you!

Hurdles

This morning I woke up with an epiphany. For quite some time I had been thinking about what makes the difference between doing what you love to do and doing something that you have to do. For some reason some things happen with such ease and with other things there always seem to be obstacles. The question as to why this happens had been bugging me for years, until today. It's my belief that any goal you have in life, whether it be as little as reaching on time for a date or for a meeting(I know this one usually makes it to the top of my list) or something big like making a million dollars in a year(note that no goal in truth is too big or too small, it's really dependent on how you perceive it and your decision makes it so, but that is a topic of discussion for another day), there are always hurdles of some form.

It's my belief that it's Life's way of testing whether what you are striving for is something that you really want. Today when I reflected at certain things that I achieved in my life, I realized that those things that I  really wanted were quite easy to get not because there were no hurdles. There always were hurdles but what made the difference was the intensity at which the desire to achieve that goal was burning inside of me. When you either really want something or you really enjoy doing something or are passionate about something, obstacles somehow simply weaken in intensity when coming face to face with this burning desire to achieve your goal.

 

Imagine running on a track and the finish line is your end goal. There are hurdles that you need to jump over. If you are not really compelled to achieving your goal then the hurdles can seem like mountains, but if you really want to achieve your goal these same hurdles seem like puny little puddles that you can simply jump over or even if they are like mountains you become this Super Mario with star power that simply blasts through those mountains(geeky gamer reference..haha.. come who doesn't love Super Mario?).

When we really want something, we jump over walls, go under, go around or just blast our way through them. So the next time you notice hurdles and they seem to tire you, ask yourself the question. Is the thing you're after something that you really want?