Reflections on age: How old are you ?

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,’ so goes the dictum.

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What is age?

I often think about this question. Well, I should, considering my caller tune is ’18 till I die by Bryan Adams’ and I am not 18. I am not 18 by the number of years I have lived. I would like to believe that by my attitude to life, I am 18. I am 34, at the time of writing this.

What does that mean by the way, 18 by attitude to life? I guess it means some of the few things below:

1. To never stop learning new things as long as physical ability doesn’t inhibit
2. To strive for happiness, day after day
3. To never say no to love
4. To never do things or not do them because you are a certain age
5. To dance, run, play just like someone who is excited about what life has to offer

When I was 18, I had no clue what I wanted from life and why I existed. We never really quite close to understanding why we exist. Some of us figure it sometime during the course of our lives and some of us never figure it.

I think it is an important question to think about? I believe that in the Aristotle saying ‘happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.’ You may ask: whose happiness?

Well, like everything in life, happiness begins with us. We can’t share what we haven’t got. Happiness isn’t external. It is an internal phenomenon. Nobody can tell how happy you are. Only you can tell how happy or unhappy you feel inside. You brain or your heart, whatever it is, tells you, if you are happy or not. What if you don’t quite realize the source of your happiness early in life? Does that mean you are doomed to unhappiness for the rest of your life? After all, the pursuit of happiness is a trial and error process.

Let’s come back to age. I think most people compromise with their lives because they have reached a certain age without really figuring what makes them happy. They lead lives of conformity. They try to believe in the collective belief that happiness is getting a job, going to work, getting married and making kids. The curse we face is called collective opinion.

Age doesn’t matter unless you are hale and hearty. If you can maintain your health and keep yourself healthy-mentally and physically, there should be no limits to what you can do with yourself. Eventually, all of us will die, why not die young?

Why should your dreams, ambitions and happiness be caged inside the walls of how old you are? Just because you didn’t realize who you really are earlier, doesn’t mean you should die without having a go at who you really think you are.

Mark Twain said that ‘age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.’

As for me, ’18 till I die.’

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Tea or Coffee?

So, what are you-a tea drinker or a coffee drinker?

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I, for one, am a tea drinker. It doesn’t mean I don’t drink coffee. I do once in a while but yeah, that’s it, once in a while. I can live without coffee but I cannot live without tea. Tea is a drug, especially one with ginger and basil leaves.

Coffee is for first dates. It’s a casual drink. It’s when you are in the mood of playful romance and you have no idea if things will mature or not. Of all the coffee chains in India, I think it’s Costa which makes the best hot coffee. Personally, I prefer Costa’s Cappuccino more than the one offered by Starbucks. Cafe Coffee day has a decent frappe but I won’t count on their cappuccino. One goes to either of these outlets, in a mood for coffee and to spend idle time, to chill. Chains like Starbucks have made coffee the drink of romance and catching up.

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On the other hand, tea is what Indians lives on. One, it is much cheaper than coffee. Two, the refreshment provided by tea is much more satisfying than the one offered by coffee.

Tea is an adult drink. Coffee is a teenage drink.

The day starts with a steaming cup of tea. It refreshes your mind and makes you feel awake, when you are still not awake. Tea is available at every nook and corner, at least in Delhi and it’s just so easy to find.
The specialty teas that you find in Cafés like Chaayos and Cha bar sometimes feel like a superfluous addition to the normal cup of tea one is used to. They never taste like the real thing because they are not the real thing.

No matter how much the coffee chains try to get the common Indian attracted to the charm of coffee, we remain a tea drinking country, largely.

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Coffee is for first dates. Tea is beyond dating. I know coffee drinkers are bound to disagree, which is cool.

Thanks for reading.

Unforgettable Travel stories

Most of my unforgettable travel stories are stories of solo travel. Before I take you the destinations I have covered in India, in the last few years, I want to make a point about traveling solo.
Why do people travel solo?

As a solo traveler myself, my take is because they want to travel and they cannot wait for people to get their plans together to make a trip. Not all solo travelers are weird, although, some are. They are people like you who feel the urge to get away from the usual routine of life and all they do is pack their bags and zip off.

Now, I will take you through some brief periods of beautiful travel stories, which are etched in some corner of my mind. They are indelible like all our travel stories are. They are indelible, like all the moments of our lives which made us feel special about our mundane existence.

Srinagar

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I went to Srinagar on a whim. I was on a leave from work for a few days. Even the leave was taken on a whim. Why? It was because I was bored of regular monotonous schedule. So, I was on an off and I looked up places I could go to using the ‘TO’ search button on a travel site. I told you all solo travelers are not peculiar.
I looked up tickets to Srinagar and found them reasonable. Bingo, I was off within 3 days of booking the journey.

Srinagar turned out to be one of most beautiful places I have been to. The beauty of the Dal Lake is pristine and divine. I am so sorry to see the floods which have ravaged the beautiful city of Srinagar. When I went there, it was lovely. I shopped on my ride on the Chikara (name of a boat which has a hut like canopy).

I went to Gulmarg by myself. I took a trolley to a height I cannot remember and felt on top of the world. It was beautiful. There was slow everywhere I could see and I went mad, all by myself. I am sure people at Gulmarg thought I was deranged. It was so much fun that I can feel the snowpe and the beauty of the landsca in my memories, as I write this.

Pondicherry

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I thought I will take you straight to the south now. I love beaches.

If I have to choose between mountains and beaches to live forever, I would choose a sandy, loud beach and live there like a loafer. I am a nomad living in the city.

I went to Pondi (as it is lovingly called) in 2013. Pondicherry is a union territory, just like Delhi, as much as Arvind Kejriwal would have believes otherwise. The road ride between Chennai and Pondicherry is lovely, with views of the coastline, which starts somewhere and ends somewhere you don’t understand.

Pondicherry has a few beaches. I am not sure how many. I wonder if anybody cares to count. I was living next to the Pondi beach in a guest house. It is not a sandy beach. I would just sit next to the rocky shore and watch the waves hit the rocks and die. It was buzzing when I went there, so people were cycling, walking, chilling.

You can take a scooter and just go about town. One can’t mention Pondicherry without Auroville. It is small village with spiritual undertones. You can visit the ashram located there and choose to meditate. There are many people from different nationalities who have made Auroville their home. It’s quite an exotic set up. It’s lovely, quiet and peaceful.

I have my own ideas about God and spirituality and so I didn’t delve much into the ashram set up. Moreover, I would have experienced the meditation if I had time. I didn’t.

Someday, hopefully, when I can make more time, I will go and live in Auroville for a few days. If I grow very rich, which I intend to, I will have a home there.

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So, yeah, I guess this is it for this piece. In one post, I hope I made you taste the charm of India from the north to the south, from mountains to the beaches. Do make the time to ravel solo, once in a while, even when you have the choice of a company.

Sometimes, when you lose yourself on roads never walked before, you may find parts of you, you never knew existed.

Thanks for reading.

Why Gurgaon loves Galleria

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Gurgaon loves Galleria.

In the barren land of this famous metropolis which multinational companies have formed their base, it’s all concretized coldness wherever you look. Galleria is a pretty much a part of the concrete. It’s just stylish concrete. Galleria is the slick, stylish open market of Gurgaon in DLF Phase IV, which is the favorite hangout joint for many people living in Gurgaon, including the writer of the piece.

What is it about galleria which attracts people? Nobody quite knows. The other markets have a similar architecture but perhaps it’s the location of Galleria which makes it uniquely unique. The glittery outlets, the swanky customers, and the buzz of the market makes you feel enthralled. Galleria is perhaps the sexiest market place in Gurgaon and it always feels better to be in Galleria than to be in an air-conditioned mall.

For summer evenings and winter days, Galleria offers an ideal open arena to walk, to nibble on food at the many food outlets, or to just sit next to the fountain. For want of any rivers/dams/beaches or any other water bodies, the galleria fountain creates a charm of its own. It is quite ridiculous, but so it is. The market is situated amidst sprawling housing complexes which have come to represent the life in the metro. It’s a feeling of a shared community sitting next to the fountain and just looking around, idling away time.

As far as the food is concerned, you can have coffee at DePaul’s and momos at the same outlet. There is Coco berry for frozen yogurt, Subway, Rolls joints and what have you. There is shopping for the shopping freaks. There are travel firms, booze and assorted services.

Pick up anything you like to eat and go over to the fountain and sit and drink in the conversations. If you have somebody to have a conversation with, make a conversation. Or like I do, in my lonely (or alone) existence, observe people and make notes. Sometimes, make a comedy set out of it. Sometimes, write a blog post.

Find me wandering in Galleria.

Don’t give up. Don’t you quit.

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When the roads seem hazy
When the mind seems to scatter
When toil fades into the vacuum
When nothing seems to matter

There are things you put at risk;
The comfort of conformity
The convenience of the known,
You chose to venture alone…
Venture forth into the unknown

It was never meant to be easy
If it was easy, most people would do it
To take the unknown, the uncharted takes grit and spark;
It takes a leap of faith to start walking into the dark

There will be days you won’t know
Where you are headed,
There will doubts, confusion and insecurity,
There will be the attack of fear, of failure, the dreaded.

Should you quit?
Should you give up?

When the question is a life of pretense, you must give up.
When you have to suppress yourself, you must give up.
When money is the only motivation, you must give up.
When you feel empty inside, you must give up.

But don’t give up when it’s a question of your dreams.
Don’t give up when the world screams.
Don’t give up because you can’t see the way.
Don’t give up when there is no difference between work and play.
Don’t give up even when the progress is painfully slow.
Don’t give up when you feel down, deserted and low.
Don’t give up even when you they tell you-you are selfish.
Don’t give up even when you, sometimes, yourself wish.
Don’t give up at any cost, no matter what comes to you.
Don’t give up no matter how bleak the view

What are you going to give up on?
When you know now that this is who you are,
When you have come this far
When you have come this far

You have come this far
And there is nothing you lack
You may have to unlearn the lessons of the past
But now there is no looking back
There is no looking back

There is no looking back
Not now, not tomorrow, not for a bit
No matter what you do
You just won’t quit.

Please change my Goddamn password

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This morning I tried to change my password.

Why?

I tried to change it because I don’t like my password. It’s pretty blah.

So, I tried to change it. The email service asked me to enter a security code, which they would send me once I would enter my phone number for security reasons.

That having been done, we thankfully move on. It said, enter your current password and new password. I entered both and a ridiculous alphabetical number in the box to prove I am fucking human. This followed.

New password: **********
Email service: You can’t enter a password with your name in it

New password: **********
Email service: You can’t enter a with your girlfriend’s name in it

New password: **********
Email service: You must enter a password with 2 numeric digits

New password: **********
Email service: You must have one capital letter and one symbol

New password: screwyourselfyoubastards
Email service: you can only try so many times, try tomorrow

Is love ‘understanding’ or ‘acceptance’?

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Young couple outdoors, looking at each other

In the book ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ there is a discussion around one of the protagonists who is not understood by his immediate family. He falls in love with a woman with whom he has a relationship, which is concealed from the larger society in the plot.

The writer says that he finds a home when he finds the woman who understands him and accepts him. Home is people who understand us and accept us with that understanding.

What does understanding really mean? What does it mean to understand?

To understand a person is understand their motivations. To understand a person is to understand why they do what they do. Love is being able to accept them with their vicissitudes and idiosyncrasies. That way, love is way beyond understanding.

It is possible to understand people and not being able to love them for they are not your idea of friendship or romantic love.

Funny, when I started writing this post, I thought I am going to write about love being understanding and have reached to a different conclusion during the course of writing.

A writer has rightly said, ‘how do I know what I think unless I see what I write?’

Love understands, and understanding is the first step; and not the most important step.

More importantly, love is acceptance.