Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Through my specs.. (4)

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Green leaves and a pinch of salt

Imagine us being in the buffet of life, full of recipes, sweets and savories. Say for instance, a cheesy toast - soft, warm and delicious just like mothers, a pizza – delivered in 30 mins when you are in need like friends, chocolates like love and so on . I am sure if you think about it, you can actually relate all the people in your life with some or the other dish or spice. However, sometimes we have to compromise and give up all the tasty things we love to eat. Have you ever been on a diet? The reason could be anything, a good figure, a healthy body or a prescription from the doctor. The reason makes the journey no less difficult. So, when we have a bowl of raw lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli in front of us to eat, what do we do? Yes, you know the answer. You add a pinch of salt.

Why can't we replicate it in life? A failure or a breakup, a lost game or a lost path, a failed exam or a failed venture, when life gives you nothing tasty to cherish and things seem bland, look around for your PINCH OF SALT.

Many failures are not as bad as we think them to be. Some teach us a lot and some test what we have already learnt. Our attitude plays the most important part as to how we perceive them. Out of my personal experience I can guarantee, that if we train our brain to accept the failures and believe in the brighter side of them, we will never be short of opportunities. Things would have been much easier if the failures were limited to examinations and ventures. Unfortunately, that's not the case. The most common failure that leaves us into pieces is an emotional one. An emotional failure is the toughest to handle. Deep inside we are burned and no one can even see the ashes. When we are in love, we become vulnerable. This vulnerability sometimes costs us everything in our power.

When the circumstances are tough we often get tempted towards the easier path. Giving up is always easy. However, to hold ourselves is not easy in those minutes of despair and darkness. Sometimes we just give up because we are tired of being strong, tired of being the guinea pig of the destiny. We no longer have the strength to fight and we are angry on everything around us. We all have been at this place, haven't we?

At least, I have been at that place many a times and all I do is to look for my ray of sunshine, my light of hope, my pinch of salt. Somehow, I find it an answer to everything in life. HOPE.

Have you found your salt yet?

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Unsung Heroes

Have you even been to a UV light show. The artists play with ultraviolet light and use props to perform mesmerizing acts with brilliant colors. The most fascinating part of these shows is the team which works together in utmost synchronization. Like this picture above, we can see just one or two people on the stage performing like magic, but when the lights will be switched on it can be a team of may be 10-20 people who made all this happen. Any entrepreneur can relate to this very easily. After all, any idea however great needs people to implement it, some on the stage and some behind the lights synchronizing to their best.

There is something common in being an entrepreneur and homemaker, both of these tasks are round the clock 24x7x365, energy draining and thankless. However, there is something more hectic than both of the above, being the spouse/partner of an entrepreneur. Success and failure of an entrepreneur may be dependent on many factors, but his/her growth depends completely on the partner. When I say growth, I don't mean growth of the venture but of the individual as an entrepreneur and person. Any entrepreneurial journey however big or small is never smooth. It has many ups and downs, many predicted obstacles and many not so predicted pitfalls. All this is managed well, if you have a supporting partner. This person who plays the most vital role in the life and business of an entrepreneur, goes through a lot to support them. Here I wish to address you directly Mr/Ms Entrepreneur and bring into light the ten major problems your spouses/partner face and come out strong:

10 ) Handling the parents/relatives

The elder generation has always been very conservative about taking risks in life, and entrepreneurship is all about stepping outside the comfort zone. Thus, when someone decides to be an entrepreneur leaving a paid job, it creates thunders in the life of parents, in-laws, relatives etc. They don't understand as to why they are leaving a comfortable job for something unstable.
Entrepreneurs keep busy, so generally these concerned people don't get to talk to you. So all their questions, complains, astonishment and frustrations are directed towards the spouse. They have to handle all this with utmost care, because at the same time they can not afford offending any elder.

9) Being almost like a single parent

If you have kids, it becomes much more difficult for your spouse to manage things. They have to take complete care of them and simultaneously compensate for your absence too. They also make sure that the kids love and respect you and don't let your busy schedule come in that way. Although you are there for them, but they handle things just like single parents do. They don't come up to you with every thing happening to/for kids.

8) Managing the complete social life

There are no Friday nights, Saturday brunches and Sunday dinners in your life. If it is mandatory to attend some social evening, then your spouse attends it on your behalf. You think, it is sorted but it is not. Your spouse has to answer to all the embarrassing questions about your schedule and smile to satires directed to you for being extremely busy.

7) Managing the household/office completely

When you both were in job, you helped her in the household chores. But since you have chosen a very different life you don't have enough time for yourself, leave apart doing dishes. The house becomes completely their responsibility now, anything and everything. In countries like India, you get house helps, so things are still better but in the first world countries where there is no such house helps etc, things are very difficult to manage. Along the complete household, your partners have to manage their own offices too. Now, you don't have time to listen about their day or advice them professionally.

6) Being a patient listener and learning your language

You are walking a new way of life and everyday something new happens. Your partner listens to you very patiently and with almost same excitement. They hear your stories, about your meetings, prepare with you for your presentations and do every bit they can to encourage you. They even learn your business language to make you feel comfortable while talking to them.
5) Managing the budget

Being an entrepreneur may mean months without paychecks at least for few early months. They are not scared of financial instability. Your spouse manages everything when it comes to budget. It becomes little difficult without compromising your life style but they make it happen. The make very clever cut offs and most of the time the first thing they cut off is their own expenses.

4) Entrepreneurs are wired differently

You are born to be an entrepreneur, you don't learn to be one. You are wired differently than many others. You take risk, walk out in rain and sometimes you can be the most illogical person on the earth. It needs a lot to work out things with you. Your partner manages whole this mercurial side of you. They agree, they disagree, get stressed but still are always by your side.

3) No me time/we time or any time

Since you have been an entrepreneur, there aren't those lazy Saturday and Sunday mornings. You have demanding hours at work and they support you in that. Everything is scheduled and you follow a discipline. Sometimes your weekends are busier than the week days. You have meeting lined up and there may have gone weeks without a relaxed interaction with your spouse/partner. They not only understand your too busy schedule but also cope up with it.

2) Being very strong emotionally

Being your partner is not easy at all. Handling home, their own office, your office, friends, relatives, parents and a long list of errands can't be fun. They take care of everything, so that you can be in peace and focus completely on your entrepreneurial goals. Once you become an entrepreneur, there is no turning back. You get busier with each passing day. You have ups and downs and they stand by your side in everything. If you fail, they are with you to hear all, 'I told you so' comments from endless people. They are not scared of public shame in case you fail. They go through lot emotionally and mentally but always come across as your strength. Sometimes they have to be much stronger than even you.

1) Keeping the dreamer alive

This is the most important and challenging task faced by your partner.
Any entrepreneurial journey goes through a lot. Sometimes you are a success, other times you fail. But whatever it is, they don't let the dreamer in you die. They encourage you to leave everything on them and follow your dream. They believe in your dreams. They are not scared of failure and don't let you live in any kind of pressure. They don't play an equally vital role in your success, they play much more important role than you. They never let you give up. 

However your journey was/is/will be, they are the unsung heroes.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Streak of Light

I am sitting alone in a room, thinking about future. I am in pain and despair. Something has happened and I have to start my life from the scratch. When I say 'from the scratch', I mean it. First of all, I have to learn how to walk. Yes, there are few unfortunate ones who learn walking more than once in a life time. My efforts, sweat and blood of years have gone in-vain. Before this room, I was in another room, with people yet alone. Since few months I am just changing rooms and roommates but in same state of mind. I am just thinking, I guess that's all I am able to do. I laugh a lot and crack jokes about everything possible. I have no idea why I do so, may be I want to evade from thinking. Sometimes, I play guitar too. I have always loved to compose new tunes on it. I go no where without it, no room.

When I was with people, I met a variety. When you are on the receiving end of life, you meet the real of them. They were kind, friendly, positive, negative, mean, rude and neutral. Some were cruel too. Adversity handpicks the best and worst people and gives them to you. I too met both kinds. The worst one to meet were, Mr & Ms. Iamthebest, Mr & Ms. Oh!SadToHear, Mr & Ms. Don'tLooseHeart, Mr & Ms. WeAreConcernedRelatives etc, etc. There were many more I can talk about. However I am sure, many of you must have met them sometimes in your lives. Life seems to be very particular about making us meet the real part of people around us. None of us are happy to meet them, but for me every meeting was taking me further in a darker abyss. They made me doubt my will, determination, strength and confidence. I questioned my capabilities and thought about my limitations. To be honest, I can't say they were wrong about anything they said. It was me who was struggling to accept the reality. The first step to life, success or happiness is being completely transparent about your own reality. I needed a hand to hold and not to push me further.

It is a hot day. My fingers are trying to produce a new tune. Since my troop has stepped on that landmine, I find it hard to focus. Neither that cloud of blood infused dust has left my mind nor the loud sharp sound has given my ears any rest. I can hear it even in the softest tunes. My vacillations make it hard for me to find the right scale and focus on right notes. Yet I try and manage to come up with a soft delicate tune. It soothes me, I love it. I save it in my recorder to hum it later. My moment of self-appreciation is disturbed, Mr. Best has walked into my room. He is a colleague and my first roommate in the training academy. He too sings. He borrows my guitar (which I hate) and plays one of the finest tunes I have ever heard. He claims it to be his with a proud smile. I wonder about the perfect strokes his fingers have made on the strings to create these beautiful notes. It was no doubt the best, almost perfect. I change my mind to share my tune with him. The effort was needless as Mr. Best is hardly interested. After flaunting it to me he moves further to do the same, leaving me in emotions I can't describe. I don't love my tune anymore, I go back to my cloud and boom. I am doubting a talent I am born with.

I have changed my room again, this time the place is mine. While unpacking my stuff, I find my recorder. I am about to throw it. Ms. Angel enters the room. I call her this because she is someone who gives me hope. She picks up that black tiny soul-mate of mine and presses the start button. I look at her face, her eyes are closed and she seems to be meditating. After listening to few, she looks at me full of appreciation. “How do you...?”, she asks me, “Oh! They are brilliant”. I am feeling something, hot blood is rushing in my veins. For months, I have not felt anything good so I am not able to decipher the exact emotion. I share all my work with her, one by one. Every time she seems to be meditating. After she listens them, I listen them again, struggling to hear them through her ears. I am sure they are good and I love them again. People expect a lot less from me, but she never lowers her bar of expectations. As if nothing ever happened to me, as if nothing can affect me. It is very hard but it gives me an indomitable inner strength. To every doubt of mine, she smiles and says, “You can do anything bro.”


I read the above page from my old diary and relive every moment. Time has flown, years have passed. I still play guitar and compose new tunes, now professionally. With every day I spent with Ms. Angel, I was learning to live. I was regaining my lost faith on myself. I was questioning my limitations and challenging my boundaries. I was learning to be me, what I was and may be better. She held me tight and unknowingly brought me to a place where I was ready to face and fight the world all over again. It's not that I didn't fail again but I never give up. Ms Angel never left my side and she never will, after all we have been together since even before we were born. She is my twin sister.

Failure is one thing I fear least. This is not because God has gifted me with an attitude to overcome it, but because when I was lost deep in a vast chasm of darkness, she pulled me out into light. Or I can say she pulled the light out of me.

If you too have a Mr/Ms Angel in your life, just hold tight and you will be through. It can be anyone, a sibling, a parent, a friend, a spouse or a partner. Shut your ears to everyone but them. Some battles are not won alone.  

Thursday, 2 April 2015

A Thin Line

The world cup is over and it has definitely given two things to India, a strong cricket team to look up to and Anushka Sharma to blame. We went crazy and behaved like sore losers, not new for us but a little different this time. This year we had something more than grass, pitch, weather or the players to blame, in fact not just something, a whole 5 feet 9 inches living girl in flesh and blood. And we left no stone unturned to vent out our anger at all places we could, from social media to nukkad panwala. Not only males but females too bashed Anushka Sharma for God known reasons.

I am sad that we lost the cup in spite of the hard work the blue boys did, but I felt sadder when I happened to look at a photo of Anushka Sharma returning from Australia on social media. She seemed sad and pale but what pinched me the most, is that she was looking down as if she too thinks she is guilty. I have no clue what she could be guilty of, being in a relationship, or being in a relationship with a man who could not perform well in his profession, or being in a relationship with a man who could not perform well in his profession because she was present there and he got distracted or may be she was playing victim. For a man like Virat Kohli, with immense talent and caliber, it doesn't seems likely that he will get distracted.

Well, I seriously did not want to discuss the after thoughts of that photo in such details over here, but I could not help myself. See, this is what happens to you when you talk about blame games, you choose a side.

Coming back to my chain of thoughts, this incident is just a reflection of the status of women in our society, once again at our faces the crude truth of women empowerment. Another form of abuse, when you don't get what you want, you blame others. In any patriarchal society, man has too big of an ego that he not only does anything to fake his but also of the whole male community. The same happened this time, Mr. Kohli was the one who failed, who lost focus, so if at all anyone has to be blamed then it should be him, but alas, he came out much cleaner in comparison to Ms. Sharma.

There is a percentage of men and women, who are sick of this nonsense as any man with logic and any woman with self-respect would be. When this will fade away, something new will come up. After every few months a female bashing news is in the air and we learn nothing.

I don't know if the world would ever end female bashing. Or if the society will ever give women the status and respect we all dream. But I wanted to share with all females, girls or women, married, unmarried or divorced, single or dating, that if you have a boyfriend, friend, husband, lover or anyone who too blames Anushka Sharma, be aware, you never know when he will start blaming you for all/any of his failures. If he can blame someone else for someone else's failure without any logic, no wonder he may someday feel the same for you. Seems like a possibility to me and I may be completely wrong, but for sure I want you to think about it.

How your man treat other women is equally important as how he treats you because somewhere down the line his real thoughts about women will reflect in his behavior for you. It is difficult to pretend for years. 

Most of the time in our relationships we don't understand the fine line between a fight and an insult, a disappointment and a blame. We justify to ourselves the behavior of our loved ones even before they justify it. How we react to failures and disappointments reflects our true self. We tend to say all sort of things when we are angry and then may apologize but the fact is that we vent out our true feelings when we are angry. Anger doesn't let us sugarcoat our words. What we think for one, we can think same for others too. I don't want you to be over sensitive about every word your partner says, but yes you should watch out for repetitions. It's a real thin line so setting boundaries will help and expressing those boundaries will help more.

Respect is the most important aspect of any relationship. Especially in love and marriage, where two people are with each other because of their feelings. May be your man is the best you think, talks politely to all, respects women and seems nice, but never let him cross the line of your self-respect at any cost. Don't think that you are loving or respecting your partner by allowing him to disrespect you.

If you are not sure about his take on women empowerment or you wish to confirm it, this small episode can give you a fair insight of what he actually thinks about women, equality and the blame game. On a lighter side, it can be the best question you can ask on your first date or first time you meet a person for marriage.