Upwards and Onwards… Become who you’re supposed to be.

Crackers, loud music and sounds of happy new year wishes.  It’s 12.00 am already and here I jumped to the opening of this post, my lessons learnt and my takeaways from the year 2021. Have been jotting down this piece for almost 2 days now, starting with my 10 takeaways. The lessons I learnt 🙂 only helped the tough keep going 🙂

The year that was tough for all, mentally exhausting and physically restricting. I would like to believe that we all have evolved. The year was strange and it pushed me to limits, we got into the lockdown hues and we got out of it too – all this within a year.

It was a demanding year and more than anything else – it demanded consistency! I would not say I have succeeded but here’s a pat on my back so I emerged stronger for 2022. Here are my key takeaways for the new year:

  1. You can’t save everybody.

I have always maintained, stretching a little bit is always good for business. Stretching to the extent that you feel drained is not safe, you need to save yourself first. This is sanity and one must practice without guilt.

This situation can occur at home, in a typical client-service provider schema and even with your team, the training, grooming, hiring and firing is all the more tiring!

Give your best shot but please don’t be burdened about it.

  1. The biggest pleasure is doing things that others believe you can’t.

No, not like a rebel but more like an entrepreneur 🙂 Yes. In entrepreneurship or any passion driven task you would have to take tough calls where you will have to cross the path full of doubts, concerns and big no’s.

Sometimes you just have to do it. I am tempted to share my favourite hashtag here, #nomatterwhat.

The reason I said so has a story. I took a project which I was worried about pulling off successfully and was advised to not take it up because of the risk I was taking and I was excited about taking a shot and testing my capabilities. I am glad we are doing great. Besides, I did side gig kind of marketing experiments which were scary to me, got a mixed response but glad to share we are progressing.

  1. Be your kind of crazy.

Pagalpanti bhi jaruri hai!! 

Being crazy at times only means that you are alive. So it’s all about being kind of crazy. It is okay to let your hair down at times, to sync into the moment and let it be.

Whether it is dancing to the beat, walking between work or colouring between meetings to de-stress, it helps. You would find it crazy, strange at times but allow yourself to be.

When we go too much by the book, we end up suppressing ourselves and that is not really a good idea.

  1. Count your blessings.

Life turns bumpy, situations make you impatient and you really feel like breathing. A bout of fresh air, a deep conversation is all you need. And sometimes even in such times you find your own company as the best companion.

Tough it may sound but in such moments, make it a point to count your blessings. That heals the mind and helps you bounce back. So when life gives you distress you counter it by counting your blessings.

  1. Do some physical activity.

In the post pandemic environment, I had written about the power of moving your energy. This year I learnt about the power of physical activity and it is enriching and fruitful.

I had this thought in my mind when I realised that it’s been days I see the sky or feel the air. That’s how my connection with the universe had begun and it’s enriching. Plus I reconnected with music and happy to share that wynk music sent a beautiful ‘rewind 2021’ that says I was among their top 5% listeners 🙂

  1. Take care of your thoughts.

Almost 2 years back, I went to see a doctor. When asked about the problem, I told him ‘I cannot shut my thoughts’, I remember correctly – I had further told him that even while coming to his clinic I have been talking to myself and sending reminders to myself about what all I need to share with you.

Those were the days of anxiety and that is when I realised the power of controlling our thoughts. I am not saying think positive thoughts, that something is not always possible but take care of your thoughts.

You are what you think. So take good care of your mental health.

  1. Dream Big. Prep Up.

No dream is too big and no effort is too small. So dream big and make bigger efforts or at least be consistent with the smaller ones. You are unstoppable.

The trick is to keep moving forward. Hurdles are obvious, circumstantial pressures are a part of life, all we need is to make a little progress each day – one step at a time.

You need to keep progressing. Whether it is about the ‘to do list’, ‘to read list’, ‘to learn list’, ‘to meet list’., make sure you are more about striking off the lists and not just creating more lists. Constant struggle for me but consistently chasing the striking off goals

  1. Work Hard. Party harder.

Rewards are important. Appreciate your hard work and celebrate with vigour. It is not always about splurging but it is always about having a time of your own. Do the due and do it the way you love 🙂

Sun, Sing, Family, Food, Doll-up, Dine, Disappear, Roam, Retail, Book, Bunk – pick your therapy and just do it. Come back to work stronger.

  1. Your hustle heals you, addict your mind to your goals.

Many would find it strange and a few would disagree too. But disappearing acts works, put yourself into hustle mode, take pride in your busyness (the real one), get addicted to your goals and peace will give you high.

It also works wonders for your mental health. Find it difficult to sync? Imagine this, you are really feeling low, down to dust and suddenly work calls you, demands your presence and you get busy without realising that you just ignored a thought battle full of anticipatory chaos but jumping into the grind! That works, I bet.

  1. Let them be them, let us be us.

Accept people as they are and accept yourself as you are. Don’t judge people or opinions, allow them to be and you will see that life gets easy.

Managing people is one of the toughest things we humans do. When you accept people as they are you automatically start working on their strengths. Because you have chosen to shift the focus from the problems and that is how you win. Your decisions become easier. Your relationships become stronger, together you hail and rhyme.

On that note, here’s a wish: May the year be a year of endless possibilities and we realise the power within, the power to rise and shine!

Upwards and onwards… Happy New Year 🙂

See the good in things, Live More.

When was the last time you truly appreciated life?

Like you called or messaged your parents, a friend, a colleague, or your partner to say, ‘Thank You’ and silently thanked God in gratitude for that person, this life, or an episode of it.

Well, if your answer is not recently then you really need to reflect and start seeing the good things in life.

Not just for this piece of writing but many at times it happens to me that when I join my hands in prayer, my mind goes numb. I have nothing to ask for, but I do the talking with God. That is my connect with him. If I am nervous, I ask him to stay around and if it is an auspicious occasion and I am leading the puja, I just request him to bear with me.

I am disciplined and I love talking to God or faith as you call it. It is like I leave my things with him to resort and even resolve. I have developed a sort of co-dependence.

The reason why it is important to see the good things in life is because that helps you UN-COMPLICATE. For instance, again in context of God and Human connection, if I am indulging into prayers, I cannot indulge into rituals. I am okay if you say the problem lies in me, I accept the same.

Lately, I have come to an understanding that there is a severe disconnect in my mind that travels between being religious and being spiritual. I learnt to be at peace with this disconnect when I decided to focus on the good and act with positivity without fearing the mistakes I might be making in following rituals.

It’s not resistance to the rituals but acceptance that my mind works in a certain way. Trust me, I have really tried to subscribe but this just never worked for me. Even to an extent, that I myself started doubting my belief and faith system.

But the good here is it did not shatter my faith in God or the power of prayers. And when you can’t find him around or you found him to be missing in action, understand that God believes that you are capable and can manage the situation well.

So now tell me,

How often do you see the good in life?

My mantra is always to focus on the positive and if that is difficult – find the positive and go after that.

Now you must be thinking that it is always easier said than done.

Let me tell you, Yes, it is. But it is all about changing the narrative, the one that you tell yourself.  And that’s exactly where the magic begins.

Consider this…

When you tell someone, you are sick, you are more like a disease and less like a person.

Ever tried becoming someone more than just a disease?

If I know a person isn’t willing, interested or would want to help, I will restrain myself from speaking the truth. For I like them to see the person in me more than the disease in me. The reason is simple, I wish them to have a happy, healthy perspective about me.

I don’t want to be a victim, seek empathy, or scare them off. For as humans, we can only love a person we cannot save them. So, it is always your choice – whether you are seeking love or wish to burden the person with the very notion of saving you.

Are you wondering,

How can we see the good in things, very often?

I wondered about that too. In fact, for a very long time.

If you are trying to see the good things, live better. Additionally, try to develop these:

  • a strong will
  • a mindset of abundance
  • practice positive talk
  • maintain a routine
  • invest in yourself

A strong will is required to get up after each fall. It is what you need to ignore the unwanted and unrequested small talk, you know your truth and that should be enough.

A mindset of abundance will help you progress despite the odds, because you will find yourself looking at the bigger purpose, every time life tries to smuggle you back to mediocrity.

Practicing positive talk is good for your health. It is also the best way to keep the negative talkers at bay. My thumb rule, never say things that you don’t want to hear or happen. And it is not about indulging into sweet talk, it is all about sending the positive message to your own mind.

For example,

  • She is good. (Positive talk)
  • She could be better instead of She is bad, and I don’t like her. (Positive talk)
  • She is great just not my type. (Still, it is, Positive talk)

Not even once did the brain got a message about anything bad or judgmental. Next time it will abide. That is the reason, you need to choose your words carefully.

Maintaining a routine is good. Well, it never makes you a machine, but it is always helpful in setting the rhythm of anything at hand. Be it a day thru daily routine, and yearlong experiment with weekly routine. (Confession: I still stumble on this part, but I always try and maintain one or the other routine :))

Invest in yourself and do it without guilt. Invest money by shopping for the thing you really want to have, by joining the course you always wished to, my leaving an important email or forever pending home chore – just to do your stretching, go for a walk or meet a friend.

Do it because, it helps you live and because it feels good and feels right.

So, if anyone who comes across as being a disease make sure you do not receive the same as one. You need to keep the mindset of abundance for the person involved and for you. It is not about being ignorant or rude, it is about your attitude of carrying the fight.

Born, Raised and Got Lucky to Play my entrepreneur self? Dad Daughter tapestry

He walked out crazy happy and told everyone, it’s a girl!
I am blessed with a daughter!

Well in those days there were no mobiles so he was just telling everyone face to face. Nurses, his store staff and even the visitors before they could actually arrive in the room where mom was and ask about us, me and mom I mean 🙂

Mom tells me, he was so busy making announcements and sharing the good news he didn’t even check on us at peace. He was high on my arrival I believe…haha!

What I am told is that he never picked me up for about 3 months. Yes because he was scared that he might not do well in handling the most delicate thing he had ever seen. Not just that I do not have a single memory when dad shouted at me, he was always sensitive about my super sensitivities and thought I might as well choke on a loud tone.

That’s my Dad for you.
Trust me every child at our joint family home was scared of him.

I was in 12th standard, it was the day of my Physics exam. While brushing my teeth I bursted into tears. No, I wasn’t a drama queen, I was just a super nervous kid over burdened with expectations from myself. I see that as an entrepreneurial sign :P. What did my dad do? He took my tooth brush, sat me down and announced, “No need to appear in the exam”, I will send a medical.

He didn’t mean to spoil me. It was like you go and fail, I am fine with it. But nothing should make my kid cry, no tears even if it means no exam! Chill and relax, me being me said no it’s fine, I can handle it, it’s just the pressure.

When I reflect on those times today, I understand why all the motivational guru’s and therapists talk about the ‘do nothing’ concept at times or reverse mindset. I still am not sure but I know one thing – When you get tired, don’t quit. However, giving up at the overwhelming moment is no crime.

There was another instance that I recall about dad now. It was during my college admissions. The course I opted for was launched that very year in the city in one of the boys colleges that opened the course for girls as well in that particular year. Since I have always studied in the co-ed that was never an issue so I applied. Eight girls got admission and out of those seven were pretty much influenced, scared or misguided to take a transfer.

While the transfers were on, I was attending classes, struggling to find a space of ‘it’s okay, you can study here instead of the everyday looks shouting at me.
Oh! She is the one 🙂 Well since I was pretty focused and sure of what I wanted to study, I never complained about it but honestly for the first few weeks, there were professors who used to ask me every day during attendance, “ain’t you considering a transfer? Other girls are moving out”.

One day, my brother came home from tuition and hurled dialogues at me like why couldn’t I study elsewhere. When mom enquired, he told her how his tuition professor had told him, about the discussion in the staffroom where one of the teachers said “Lion walks alone” and everyone laughed! My brother was anxious that he could not stand up and say, well that girl who is the only one pursuing the course in a batch of 650 is my sister!!

Nevertheless, I was a little affected wondering, now what the fuss! I didn’t say any of the ‘Lion walks alone’ kind of thing.

Then came my hero, my Dad. He had just returned from work when mom told him about my bro being anxious. While relaxing he said, “Oh well! I said that.”

When mom enquired further, he shared that when we went to pay my course fee, the staff started counselling him on taking a transfer but since he was aware that I won’t get the course there, he said: “I understand your concerns, but I trust my child and she will study here. Besides, a lion walks alone, never in a pack”.

Growing up, we had our fair share of restrictions, do’s and don’ts. But they were age specific – never gender specific. I consider myself truly blessed about that. While I am still the nervous and sensitive one, my sister is the bold one, dad’s version among siblings I would say.

College got over and I chose to do a master in business administration. Again there are several moments when every miss you call, panicked study moments or peer pressure talks will be answered as, ‘Don’t worry about the course or fee, just come back’, all I want is my kid to be happy 🙂

After 2 years of my MBA, I went for an interview, felt very uncomfortable, and took charge. Stood for myself, gave it back – left, right and centre. Rushed back home, scared as a child. That night I called my dad and I just wanted to narrate the episode to him, he said “You did the right thing”. I am proud of you. In my mind, I knew if I would not have done that, I would have repented about it my entire life. He said the same thing, I am still proud of myself for that day 🙂

In 2009, I decided to launch my agency 30TH FEB. I had already decided to quit. My mom was worried, why take so much stress. Others in the family too thought it was a difficult bet and I should reconsider. Then I asked my dad, here’s the conversation:

Dad: You will do it right, right?
Me: Yeah I wanna give it a shot, job can always happen later, if I fail.
Dad: Go ahead, do it. If you think you can do it, you will do it.

This November, I will be completing 12 years of entrepreneurship 🙂

When he saw an advance copy of my upcoming book, he said I am overwhelmed with happiness and a proud 56-inch chest. He was proud that I dared to do things that are much more difficult or bigger to achieve. He flaunted it to a few friends too, a true cheerleader collecting blessings for me.

I have had numerous episodes when I was a super childlike! He used to bring me balloons. He used to laugh at my stupid nervous pangs He wondered if I could handle money when I gifted something expensive to my sister. He always was unhappy that I spoil the younger ones a lot and I always felt glad for them to have someone to spoil 🙂

Inherently a believer of conversations for conviction I am glad to always have had the opportunity to talk, share and discuss almost everything with my parents. Grateful that me and my siblings were never told to blend in and were trusted enough that we can stand out.

My biggest blessing I don’t remember a single incident when dad or grandad told me ‘no for anything because I am a girl’ though mom says it was her who handled such episodes at her level. But c’mon isn’t this a true blessing that he never tried to hurt me by saying anything that I would feel bad or may argue about.

We do argue with him like all the kids. We can tell him his flaws. We exchange stories and we do take sides between mom and him. He might as well have flaws like all of us human beings, as a friend, a person, a husband, a brother, a son. But as my dad, he always was and still is, the wind beneath my feet. He always could take the burden of my fears, my pain. He is my dad ~ my super hero.

Well this scribble dribble is the result of a recent long conversation with my dad and my reflections about him being my mr. awesome cheerleader always. I will soon be writing about how one can nourish the very element of entrepreneurship in my next post.

Move your Energy, Embrace Chaos but Drop the Cacophony

They say writing heals.
I have been thinking of getting healed somehow for quite a while.

Came across the term, pandemic brain this morning. May be it is that troubling me over.

Though the lockdown has been kind in so many ways like being with the family, been able to spend some time (read a month+) with my parents (this never happened in last 20 years), been able to manage the show at work front etc., still it started to turn overwhelming.

Bottled-up emotions because there are no real conversations happening, everyone is dealing with the nuisance of work from home, zooming-in and out of the living room couches and made shift workstations.

Productivity hacks are all time roaring high. The women are discovering unexplained strengths in multi-tasking and shuffling between their work from home and home work of kids and the men are re-discovering the rules of parenting and of course being ‘the family man’.

Goodness! Sounds like we all winners already.

For all this time, I have really missed my coffee, my writings from the hustle of a café. For almost a year before the pandemic I have been a regular at Starbucks, Saket. And it was writing that kept me sane most of the times, even when I was going through emotional & professional doldrums in the hindsight.

Though I have been working on content all throughout but I remember my last wow piece (a heartfelt) note was a result of café hopping in January, weeks before the devastating 2nd wave that shook many of us.

It did shook me off completely. Not only did I deal with the fears thinking about the safety of my loved ones, irrational and illogical reasoning of people around me who were busy disqualifying the existence of anything like Covid and at the same time hearing about the shattering worlds of my near and dear ones.

I had developed a brain fog. Amidst the pain I also heard the news of my cousins getting blessed with babies. I remember the exact words while expressing my confusions to my mom, “Life and Death remains the only constant”. Actually, nothing else is permanent.

That was the time when I shared the mental state I was going through with my mentor and he too shared about losing a dear friend and how he told me to not worry too much about work, the lag and just not be too serious about life. (Note to reader: As a mentor he knows I have this habit of self-doubt)

A dearest friend lost her spouse to covid and when I wondered about their child, I was like why him, I have been such a waste on this planet! Got to know about losing an uncle and the news came to us a month after his demise, someone told me his son had updated about the loss on his Facebook timeline, crying in despair (as I am quite a night owl to work, write, read and surf) I went to check his profile and realized how ardently during his last days at hospital he has been dutifully sharing my works, few featured interviews that happened during that month etc., I busted and cried my heart away.

The sense of loss was deep, I was hurt and I wasn’t sharing my pain. I was shuffling between emotions, zooming in and zooming out and putting myself into work – office or home chores.

I needed a friend, coffee shots, few captivating conversations and most importantly I needed to heal. Because all this time I was also absorbing the pain of my friends who I always lend an ear to, their weariness, the frustration, the missing my life and even missing me stuff as I have been remote for quite a while now, the pangs of meeting my friend and be around her to hug her and to tell her that I will be always there for her, #nomatterwhat.

After bottling up and trying to be a fighter for really long time, I decided to move places. Somehow it works I feel, the energy needs to change and when we move our energy moves to.

The move brought me among millennials, I was connected and talking to this energetic bunch who takes pride in following their hearts, believe in the art and doing their own thing. The hustle is good, the clarity and momentum is infectious.

They are not like us, not ready to drown deep in the quest of a career. They are better at life, they speak up, they share and express. They aren’t afraid of the worldly rules of a perfect life.

Caution, they are messed up, they freak out, demanding but see the flow of energy. It adds to the perspectives, it brings you back to life, the changes the way you approach life and most importantly it helps you take it easy.

The energy moved me from a world of corporate goers to a world of artistes, from the world of ‘social animals’ to the world of global artistes and I could see my positivity make a comeback.

An amazing radio jockey doing her bit for the love of her mother tongue as an NRI. An architect by profession but art enthusiast doing hours of meeting, exploring the options to make their event a digital success. (Will update the details once it is live)

The young university grad trying to bring some change through his observations, viewpoint. Shouting hard about humanity, using humor and pictures to express his angst around the system, the mentality and rapidly increasing divide in humanity due to the fast progressing social media wave around religious disparity. How the youth is jumping to conclusions, suppressing the energy in procrastination and giving up real quick. It is sad but I wonder if times would change real quick!

The ever expressive young girls (read young guns) who are expressive, believers and dreamers. Sometimes they surprise me, we were too much of living by the rules generation.

And my decisive bunch of friends who dropped the hustle of Mumbai and Delhi and moved to small towns to play their post-pandemic innings.

The reflections became deep, because we are in a world that is looking at the great divide and I found myself stuck (call me an overthinker), reflecting, absorbing and losing it all.

I found myself amidst an ocean of happenings and mis-happenings, I found myself:
– Living a dream, setting my goals and working for it.
– Being stuck, can’t move, can’t meet and cannot be around those who need.
– Looking at the non-sensical prevailing divide, which to me looks like a game of politics.
– Illogical waves of social shares, memes and what not.
– Life and Death occurring at the same place.
– Looking at 2-3 CVs of people asking for jobs as they suffered during the pandemic.
– Passionate entrepreneurs exploring the possibility of becoming unicorns
– People struggling with home shifts, rents and storages
– People moving to karmabhoomi and parental bhoomi and thinking vice-versa
– Humanity lying dead in the form of unclaimed bodies
– People hoarding at wine shops and people serving self-lessly
– Old getting stuck in the old age and in the homes
– Wondering about the future, the goals taking a u-turn
– The increasing ambiguity with covid versions surfacing as the i-phone models

Gosh! Did you feel it too? Was it overwhelming. I hope you start flowing towards the positive energy too, embrace the chaos and shut the cacophony.

All this and much more, made me wonder about the energies be healed, mindfulness be achieved and self-care be made the goal. I have yearned for long talks, long walks, taking a break and not taking a break (because I am grateful of being able to run the show when I have been pained to see so many CVs, tags of people asking for help – for work and references).

There is a plethora of emotions, confusions and ricochets. But then there is HOPE, that keeps us all alive. That helps us believe in the goodness of people #nomatterwhat.

So if you are feeling stuck, finding it hard to deal with the pandemic brain, Move your energy and heal. You have got this, buckle up.

Is your present a reflection of your past?

I am asked – Do you recall some events in the past that have shaped your present?

Difficult one……! I could recall various instances which contributed to what I am today…..but framing it in a paragraph looks like a mountain.

One thing I always knew since my childhood was – I have to have an identity of my own and second thing I have to be independent – in my thoughts, my work, and my belief of life. I wanted to have peace of mind, the tranquility of achievement. That doesn’t mean – I wanted to be a renowned person or something but I wanted to be a person of my own – who believed in doing & did.

I was an introvert, an optimist introvert and all I wanted was to prove my mettle. I wanted to prove it to people who had at times consciously or unconsciously showed disbelief in my thoughts, aspirations & even my dreams. Believe me; it’s tough to be an optimist. It tests you really hard. There were times…that I felt like getting into a shell and forget about all aspirations and dreams.  I used to pray to God – to take it all back and let me become a person of routine life.

I always followed…. my instinct! Though it has been a difficult call always…. somehow I managed to. I never pressed myself too hard to do something which I dint loved or believed in.  

Though there were testing situations when I had to choose between the easy & difficult, short-cuts & long struggles etc but most of the times – I end up putting myself to test.  Or we can say, most of the times in those situations I could convince myself to hold on and excel. At times I succeeded and at times….was taught a lesson. In both cases, learning continued and it still does.

Though in some ways I am at peace the struggle to dream continues. The new ones are in making, somewhat dense….they are in the process of getting the picture correct. I am again getting ready to find something new….maybe it’s the next phase…another level of ecstasy in terms of belief, learning & success.

My inspirations are varied…sometimes an entire book, sometimes a statement, sometimes a personality, sometimes an incident….. God has always been generous in providing me right mentors at different levels of life and the constant belief of my family & few friends, in my capabilities which I at times feel is too rigid, gets me to reach places.