Tag Archives: #better

Joy By Proxy

When I started my Bollywood Dance Class – I had no idea that it would be so much more than just dancing or driving Monday Blues away as I said on my website. What do I mean by this?

One of my very first clients was a hen night or Bachelorette party. It was the bride and her friends who wanted to learn a Bollywood Dance. It was my first time doing such an event – I planned it like a project manager would – Steps/ timings/ music etc. What I did not account for was the priceless joy of being included in somebody’s celebrations. The joy I felt was not dampened by being behind the scenes; on the contrary, it was freeing.

Since then, I have had numerous occasions to be a small part of other people’s celebrations. Like a boyfriend wanting to propose to his girlfriend at the end of the dance as a surprise, couples preparing for their wedding dance, parents planning to surprise their children with a special dance or children planning a surprise for their parent’s anniversary. The list is endless.

Joy or happiness by itself is free, and it is not the property of any one person. There is no such law that says that a person who is getting married is happier than her best friend. Only we can determine our level of happiness. 

Today, I taught a charming song to a lovely couple who are getting ready for their wedding. And I felt so much peace and joy, watching them enjoy the dance and bond between them. Technically speaking all I am doing is teaching them a series of hand and leg movements. There is no I or Me involved here at all.

What stops me feeling joy at hearing somebody else’s promotion or success? There are other situations where other happiness or celebration can be the cause of suffering. The answer to that is capital I. The minute we add I to anything pain begins – it becomes all about them and us. We are disconnected and view ourselves as separate beings. And once we do that it becomes a zero-sum world, more for them means less for them.

I just watched The Report on Amazon Prime about torture done by the CIA. And in that Dan Jones says, ‘But fear and shame do not make for better policy decisions and the fact that the people who we captured didn’t look like us or believe the same things we do, made it that much easier to do the things we did.’ 

The day we realize that Joy, by proxy, is the same as Joy by oneness or connectedness is the day we leap the next level of consciousness. If it is possible for us to experience Joy by watching others when we are not personally involved in it, it is possible for all of us to have the connection. We have to expand our circle of who is included in the I.

How will you experience connectedness today?

Be Fallow, Be Free

In the old days, farmers would let a piece of land be without crops for a season as it would regain its fertility. This land which was left as it is was called fallow land. There was another technique called crop rotation which involved rotating crops in a fashion to replenish the nutrients in the soil — for example, rotating between corn – heavy nitrogen user with Soybean – low nitrogen user. The farmers and people that time understood that sometimes you have to let things be so that they can be active again. Nothing is bottomless.

The farmers can, of course, ignore the above and continue to grow crops, but the land will have very low productivity and yield. And then there is the artificial hybridization for fast-growing plants or using fertilizers/pesticides which ultimately get into food and cause problems two-three generations down the line.

If you are wondering, how is this related to our lives? Think again! How many times in our lives have we just kept going without being fallow? The few instances we do talk about being ‘As it is’ is in terms of exceptions like sabbaticals. Or worse, sometimes it is forced upon us in terms of illness, injury – because we overused all the nutrients and now our body and mind are forcing us to lay fallow.

Yes, we do take vacation ts, but for it to be genuinely a vacation – it has to be an extended period. Imagine growing crops all year and then letting the land be fallow for a weekend or if we are feeling extravagant, it will be for the long weekend or ten days. Wow! Ten days to recover after years of toiling – we/society feel guilty about this.

What kind of a world have we created where doing nothing is considered worse than working ourselves to death. Now, doing nothing has a very sacred meaning which we have forgotten. Doing nothing does not mean mindlessly watching TV or giving up on your responsibilities or actively thinking (or worrying) about things that have happened or might happen. Doing nothing also does not mean actively doing something other than working – like pursuing a hobby or training for a marathon. It means no doing.

Then the question arises – if we are not doing something that what are we doing? We are being and not doing. There is a vast difference. Doing something from the space of being is enriching instead of just doing something because you exist. It is the inner stillness. Clarity arises from stillness only as confusion emerges from Chaos.

It is possible to maintain the inner stillness even when we are doing stuff. Still, to the first experience, the inner stillness – being fallow is essential, especially given how busy our lives are. Being Fallow is being free. And then can we be truly high performing, productive, superstars.

How will you experience and enjoy Fallowness?

Relapse – Part Of Recovery

It is 2020, a new day, a new year, a new decade. Technically speaking, this is just another day with twenty-four hours in it. Non-technically speaking it is a big deal. People stay up till midnight to usher in this new dawn. Resolutions are made, relationships are built or broken.

I fail to understand why we have to treat this one day out of the three hundred and sixty-five days in a year as unique. Being the logical person I am, I fail to understand the purpose behind welcoming the new year in a bleary-eyed state and wake up tired on the first day of the year. I am one of those people who go to sleep on time and wake up bushy-tailed rearing to go. I do make an exception for special occasions – like fireworks in Sydney – once in a lifetime events.

Going back to resolutions, why would you chose this one day to resolve. It makes more sense to do it when you are ready and not make the New Year Day is THE day to make a resolution. I have found that if I make one day the pivotal point and if I drop off the wagon then it is harder for me get back on as it takes another 365 days for me to re-invigorate my habit.

I remember talking to somebody who was addicted to alcohol and is now over it. But that person said that even now he/she counts every day she has been without alcohol. And when you are starting – relapse is considered a part of recovery. What a benevolent way to become a better version of yourself!

My vision in life is to be a better version of myself, and I do that with all the might and vain which comes with having an abundant supply of will power. With will power comes a strong force which if not balanced, will leave me swinging from one extreme to the other. In some ways, its the difference between dealing with life like a rock-solid mountain vs flowing stream. That is a lesson that I am still in the process of learning. So, I tend to be more hard on myself when I miss out on my habits. Or, I go the complete other way and don’t even try to get back into my practice.

Internalizing the fact, ‘Relapse is a part of the recovery’ means being gentler to myself (one of my resolutions this year to be kind to myself) and being ok to start as many times as it takes to get back on the habit I am trying to build. I have come to know myself enough that I am not going to give up on any practice but knowing that it is ok to fail is a blessing that I need allow.

It does not matter if you make resolutions today as long as you know that this is not the only day – there are three hundred and sixty-four days which can have an even more significant and meaningful impact on your lives.

Have you accounted for relapsing?

Joy Of Moments Shared

Imagine you are an observer at a wedding. The wedding celebrations have just started – the stage decorated with flowers. The priest, groom and the bride’s father are performing the religious rites. A handful of people can be spotted sitting in the audience. You see an elderly man sitting patiently in the audience.


A few minutes later, another man walks up to the elderly gentleman in the audience with a hopeful smile. He taps him on the shoulder. The man from the chair gets up, and his face lights up with a smile – they shake hands. And they both sit down – chatting eagerly. And as the wedding celebration picks up the pace more and more, such gentlemen walk in. And it’s the same routine — the gentleman who walks in taps somebody on the shoulder with a big grin on his face. The person who is sitting down gets up, and his face glows with pure joy as recognition sets in – they shake hands, move down a chair and make space. The new arrival greets other people. Sometimes he needs help to connect the dots, and other times he knows who he is talking too.


As an observer, you find the entire process fascinating. There are some apparent similarities at first glance. They are all older men retired or getting ready to retire. They are all bank officials (once you have worked for a bank in India, it leaves an indelible stamp on you). They all have grey hairs or balding hair situations. If you look closely, you will notice that they might look old, but they are reliving the memories of yesteryears when they all roomed together, fresh out of college – no wife, family. The carefree young days when they cooked, watched movies and lived together 24 X 7. They are connected by days of working together, matching journal entries, making sure the ledgers are correct. They share the experience of having a not so good manager, being shouted at by an angry client. They do not talk about these things, but it is evident that these gentlemen share a deep bond which goes beyond caste, religion, language.


What you see is a genuine camaraderie with no upmanship. The experiences in the bank have made them very wise in life – they can laugh at themselves, accept whatever life throws at them, and they know there is a right time for everything. If you listen carefully the conversation revolves around – ‘How somebody has changed?’, ‘Where all they moved since the last time they met?’, ‘How their mannerisms are the same?’ It is apparent that they are looking at each other from the lens of old days and the pure happiness radiating from their faces is a testimony to the friendship they have which has withstood years of minimal to no contact.


As one of the gentlemen in the crowd struggles to take a photo, I step in and offer to help. Even though the picture is from the present – you can catch a glimpse of how these young men worked together in Punjab National Bank.


This blog is dedicated to my dad and his friends at Punjab National Bank – and their genuine friendship. I had accompanied my dad to one of his friend’s daughter’s wedding, and in all honesty, it was a reunion for these old friends, which left me with a warm joy in the heart.

Are You Listening?

When I was in London, there was one topic that would come in almost every conversation – Greta Thunberg. Who is she you ask? She is a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden. She is fighting for a normal life for her generation and the generations after hers. She wants the planet to be alive when she is in her prime. Is that too much to ask? Check out her Wikipedia page – at the very least to get to know her. It is her solo strike that resulted in millions of young students striking this year. 

I feel ashamed that I have contributed to climate change – I am guilty of trying to look away from the climate change because selfishly I knew I wouldn’t be alive. Greta’s talks make it hard to look away. And I understand that my level of connectedness and consciousness is not yet high enough to go to even carbon-neutral existence, but I have accepted my part in it. And awareness is the first step. The first step is to intellectualize it, and then it becomes a part of who you are. What am I going to do about it? This blog is one of the first steps. I know other ways to contribute will arise, I will be ready for them and hopefully have enough courage to act on them too. 

We are exploring solar panels, going fully electric, be more conscious about recycling, reducing plastic/paper bags usage, volunteer to plant trees/clean parks. These are some of the ideas – I will keep you all posted in blogs like this.

In one of her talks, she says, she does not understand why people ask her, ‘Why are you so passionate about climate change?’. For some reason, that statement hit hard. Imagine, you are on a boat, and it is sinking as there is a hole in the hull – and you are the only one on the ship who is baling water out. Imagine someone comes to you asking why are you so feverishly baling water out?

When I say the word – Long term planning, what comes to your mind? Five years, ten years, twenty-five years. In Japan, long term planning is a hundred years. Most of us live in a world where we are unable to look beyond the petty incident where your co-worker tried to undermine you, or a car driver cuts you off in the morning commute. Unless we rise beyond our petty personal problems, how can we even think (forget act) on what kind of planet are we (yes, each one of us) leaving behind for the next generations? 

What is sad about this is that we are the most evolved species on the planet. We are the first in line who are destroying it. Even a lowly cockroach lives within its carbon emission limits. We humans are not even aware of it. And even sadder is we refuse to take responsibility for it and instead desire after the next promotion, phone (me included)

The problem may seem significant, but each one of us has to start somewhere. Stop taking plastic bags, talk to a tree today, express gratitude to nature.

Will you play your part to do what is right?

It’s Not The Same.

We recently played a game – Dayam, it is popular in the villages of South India. I had played it as a child growing up and recalled fond memories of playing it with cousins and other friends to pass the time in the long hot summer holidays. I had got the board and the dice years ago but never got a chance to play it – so we decided to play it with my parents. To my surprise – the game was not as much fun as I expected it to be.

I watched a show on Netflix called Perfect Match – it is about two chefs. A uber wealthy couple comes to dine at the restaurant, and they wanted to taste the same dish that the chef had made 50 years ago when they got married. The younger chef has the exact recipe that her father had used to prepare for their wedding, and she decides to make that same dish. The experienced chef modifies his recipe. The couple loves the modified recipe, and to her surprise when the young chef tastes her recipe, she does not like it, either.

What happens? The experienced chef explains it to the younger chef – that the couples taste and ours to evolve with time. When the couple got married, they did not care about eating organic, or they were not watching their salt intake – so if he had served them the same recipe, they would not have liked it.

It’s the same with us and our lives – our taste evolves but memories linger. That is why as we grow old things from the past seem more enticing and exciting than they were because they get enhanced as our experience increases.

Life is change at its core – we change, our tastes change as we experience life in our way – this is why sometimes it is harder to connect with friends back home because the path travelled are so different that we are at different places in our lives with no overlap. That is normal and ok. Our tastes change – that is how we improve. If I ran meetings the way, I did before I would have learnt nothing. The foods that I eat today are a lot different than what I used to eat before — everything changes – what we do today, what we like today, what we wear today.

And this personal change is reflected in the world around us – our attitude towards sex, climate change, IVF babies, plant-based food, liquid food, online ordering. Life is not what it used to be when we grew up, and this is how it is going to be.

What this means is to enjoy each experience for what it is – not holding onto it, and it is the experience that counts – every interaction changes us as a person – it is up to us to decide how we want to change and include or stay away from that change or accept that change in our lives.

What is your relationship with change?