Hold That Thought!

Hold That Thought!

Photo by Nixx Studio on Unsplash
Photo by Nixx Studio on Unsplash

A few months ago I saw the movie, The Founder, from which one sentence has stayed with me to date. It was a long quote, but the last bit said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. Or, as Ralph Waldo Emerson declared, ‘A man is what he thinks about all day long’.”

I wasn’t aware of Emerson’s quote, but when I heard it in the movie, it got me thinking about how meaningful that statement is (a man is what he thinks about all day long)! I can remember so many instances in life where just changing a bit of my thinking, and giving the thoughts a new direction, made a big difference in eventually the way I acted on those thoughts and the impact of those actions. Shaped by everything around me, my thoughts have motivated me to be curious, pursue varied interests, and make important decisions such as career choices.

The quote doesn’t tell us what we don’t know but rather what we tend to forget. In the 1600s, English poet and intellectual John Milton drew our attention to the power of our mind in the most famous of his writings, Paradise Lost, where he wrote, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” Throughout my childhood, I learnt to admire this powerful line, courtesy of my mother, who made me understand its meaning and reminded me at different times how not to let the mind be a devil’s workshop. The quote from Paradise Lost is similar to a quote attributed to Buddha, “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

So, if we are what we think all day long, I wonder how many of us consciously train our mind to be good, to do good, or attain a desired outcome. Probably people who follow their passion are good examples of the lot who put this into practice because they think about their interest all day long (how to pursue it, study it, try and be better at it).

Becoming conscious of my thoughts, I am training my mind into taking life a little easy, and become more focused on how I want to live. I am thinking a lot more about how I can do good at my new job, be positive, and leave a long-lasting impact. And these thoughts keep me motivated to read more, learn more, and work better. While these are the thoughts that keep me going, there are also the ones I have no clue how to deal with, such as aging, unfulfilled travel plans, the books unread, the interests that are yet to be pursued but are on my mind. I can see how constantly thinking about a few things has helped me achieve them as I become more prepared to spend my energy on reaching that goal, so the uneasy ones do not bother me much now.

Is this true for you too? I am keen to learn what you think of this and how you are using the power of your thoughts.

Many Houses, Many Stories

Many Houses, Many Stories

Photo by Charu Chaturvedi on Unsplash
Photo by Charu Chaturvedi on Unsplash

Recently I read a book titled The Dutch House. I loved it! It reminded me of how important a house’s role and memories play in one’s life. Whenever I shifted, it felt like leaving behind a piece of me or a box of my memories. It is a strange feeling, maybe because the happier the memories, the stronger the nostalgia!

The Dutch House just made me realize how a house is always in the background in some of our most cherished or worst memories. And then it got me thinking of all the fond memories that I have in different houses I have lived in and how they have made my life happier bit by bit. 🙂

The novel revolves around this house that once belonged to a Dutch family, but reading through it reminded me of my childhood home and brought back the vivid memories of this beautiful one-bedroom house in which we used to live. It had a big verandah in the front and a big backyard. I have fond memories of that house from my growing up years there. Times changed, and we demolished the house to make a new one in its place. In my heart, I guess I metaphorically hugged the old house a few times before bidding it goodbye!

I also remember the good moments in the new house, but I do not remember ever feeling like hugging the new one. That’s the difference!

I currently love where I live, but I often think of the old rented house I moved in when I shifted to Bangalore and the beautiful memories I have from the time. However, if my current abode were a person, it and I would have been best friends! 🙂

Are your memories also associated with the houses where you have lived? Do share your thoughts.

Incredible Infosys!

Incredible Infosys!

The pyramid building at Infosys, Bangalore
The pyramid building at Infosys, Bangalore

Nostalgia? Yes. Sad? No. Love? Definitely! Those are my emotions in a nutshell as I left Infosys earlier this month after a little over nine years of an enriching experience. It is undoubtedly a unique company and its genuine, kind, intelligent people make it all the more special; as you grow with Infosys, there is no other way but to fall in love with it!

Three things that I will continue to love about Infosys:

  1. Powered by Intellect, Driven by Values. This is one of the best corporate taglines I have seen. Still, nothing summarizes Infosys better than this!
  2. Once an Infoscion, always an Infoscion. One realizes the power of these words only when one becomes an ex-Infoscion. 🙂
  3. People. Infosys is a microcosm with all kinds of people and experiences, and the good ones are always in the majority. 🙂

As I move forward, I must say my journey with Infosys has been fantastic! In this journey, I made lots of friends, traveled through lots of curves and straight roads, and achieved several professional and personal milestones in the scenic landscapes and beautiful infrastructure of Infosys campuses. It is indeed incredible Infosys!

Here’s wishing all my friends and leaders at Infosys a great time ahead. 🙂

Thank you, Infosys!

In Memory of a Friend

In Memory of a Friend

We met in one of the Yahoo! chat rooms in early 2000s. Those days, after work, I used to sign in daily to the chat rooms and look out for my favorite strangers who were frequent visitors to the same chat rooms I used to visit. Goodomen999 was one of them. We talked about everything – philosophy, astrology, society, literature, etc. Almost a year later, we started chatting a lot more through the night and eventually disclosed our identity in private messages. And then I virtually met Bhavesh through text messages on the messenger.

Photo by Daniel Hooper on Unsplash.

It’s been 20 years of friendship since then! I only know that he was 12 years elder to me, hailed from Gujarat, and was a romantic at heart. We shared lot of values, interests, and ideologies. I am still not aware of where he studied, who were his friends, what were his habits, what he did before we introduced ourselves on chat, but since we moved to private chat and then mobile phone calls, we kept each other informed of the milestones in our lives.

We became each other’s sounding board in life, friends who understood each other without the need for the other side to say anything. We shared about our respective romantic phases of life, heartaches, professional ups and downs, travel plans, parents’ health, finances, and what not, everything that goes in people’s lives between the age of 20-40! And all that just on phone while he was in Bhavnagar, and later in Ahmedabad, and I in Delhi, and later in Bangalore.

We never felt the distance and never realized that we have only met twice in life. Once when he came to visit me in Delhi, and I gave him a city tour – took him to see the Red Fort, Chandni Chowk, the sound and light show at the Old Fort, and then to my house where he met my parents and we all had a lovely evening. The second time was when I visited Ahmedabad in January 2015 and met him and his wife Nita, an equally warm and practical person. It was a short visit and I barely remember our conversation but I remember that he was very happy because we had gone through his struggle when he bought the house I visited.

Life has been simple with Bhavesh, a friend I could call anytime and he would be there. My friendship with him reminded me of nicer things in life – simplicity, joy in little things, kindness, being available for people who matter, taking on life’s challenges with a smile and little planning, providing care to the elderly, songs and poetry, and more.

Last November (2020), I lost Bhavesh to COVID-19. In January 2021 when I tried reaching him on his phone, Nita informed me of his demise and my world came crashing down!

I lost my dearest friend and would no longer have a sounding board, a virtual care that I used to enjoy, a bond I used to depend on, a friend on call! He is the first friend I lost in life and I can only realize what pain people go through on losing a dear friend. It has left a void that to this date keeps reminding me of the loss. I don’t remember my last conversation with him because it was casual and we never expected that it could be last! I could have told him how valuable he has been to me throughout life and how I have enjoyed his company, how I was planning to send some good poetry books to him once the courier restrictions ease, how my parents remember him, and how precious his existence was for me. If ever I knew it was the last conversation! I will miss you, Bhavesh. Goodbye until we meet again!


In Darkness We See That Hides In Light

In Darkness We See That Hides In Light

Photo by Marcus Dall Col on Unsplash

Recently, this potent expression, “In darkness we see that hides in light”, by Mr. Mukesh Kwatra in the recent Times of India Coronasutra entertainment section got me thinking hard. The last line of Mr. Kwatra’s poem on the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak was brought to my attention by my mother, a poetess herself, so she can help me understand the depth of it. And when I did, the essence of it remained with me through the day.

This year has been so different. I, and I am sure many of us, have never witnessed anything like this before where the world, with all its faiths, technology, and might is brought to a halt and is unable to cope with the challenge that nature has presented it. While it has been a relief to slow down a bit and consume less in many ways, it has also been tough in recognizing what we are going through in terms of our existence vis-a-vis our relationships, career, health, contribution to society, etc.

My generation has learnt how to get from being busy to becoming busier with all the technology that has evolved in our lifetime. Now when we are forced to use all of it by staying indoors, one realizes that technology cannot fill the emptiness that is caused by lack of access to nature and people one loves. However, one can hope to get some relief by looking inward and by counting our blessings, by appreciating what nature has given us and that which we haven’t had the time to appreciate thus far. And in these times of aloofness, darkness, see that we never really see – search soul, acknowledge the treasures we own in terms of relationships, friends, health, and the treasures we must seek such as peace, trust, goodwill, knowledge, compassion.

Today is 107th day of being at home and I have been thinking of all these things over the last few months. While life has been extremely hectic, I have utilized this phase to thank the cosmos for the innumerable good that exists around and that has kept me going. Here are a few things I am grateful for:

  • Having means to earn a living, and sustain
  • Having a family that’s always there for me (spouse, parents, inlaws, cousins)
  • A secure, peaceful, ventilated abode
  • Being fit enough to carry on
  • Friends that are there, yet are absent : )
  • Being able to provide sustenance to the house help
  • Having access to walkways I can use daily to connect with nature
  • Plants I can care for
  • The ‘giving’ sentiment God has blessed me with
  • Opportunity to read books that I have been wanting to read
  • The revival of nature, reduction of pollution
  • Learning to be empathetic
  • Being blessed with decent will power
  • Experiences that taught me patience
  • A fulfilling life thus far.

I will add to this as I focus more on counting my blessings. If you want, share your list in the comment and we can together realize how much we have to thank for!