Tag Archives: #betterversion

Where Will It Lead Us To?

This blog is a little bit different from my other blogs in the sense that it is a collection of various bits of information about Japan that I find fascinating. For a while, I have been fascinated by Japan. Not only because our Shiba-Inu pup is from Japan but because of the demographics in Japan.

Some interesting facts about Japan
43% of 18-34-year-olds say they have never had sex.
64% of 18-34-year-olds say they are not in a relationship
In 2018 there were 921,000 births and 1.37m deaths, with government efforts failing to encourage families to have more children.

So Japan is one country where people are dying faster than babies are being born. And on top of it, young people in Japan do not show an inclination towards having babies – I wonder where it will lead it.

I am sure you are wondering why young in Japan are moving towards sexless orientation. I think that it is because housing is tiny and expensive. In Japanese culture, – Men are breadwinners. It is a stigma not to have a full-time job. Full-Time jobs are exhausting – many companies violate labour laws. With these factors, it is hard for men to find a job that can help them form a family.

Also, most men seem afraid of rejection, and they spend most of their time on animation or with their phones, hence the fascination with Manga. They have a relationship with their phones. There are counsellors in Japan who teach young men how to approach women. Women seem to prefer their independence. One woman says that her desire to have food and sleep wins over sex.

Japan has a rental service for lonely people. In Japan, an agency supplies role-playing family members to people struggling with loneliness and isolation. Sometimes it’s to maintain face at social events. Sometimes it’s to provide company and companionship to those who find themselves alone.
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If this trend continues, then, Japan would truly become sexless and would take us into the Sci-Fi world where babies are born in factories in a controlled environment. Men and Women never touch each other and live with machines for companionship.

What’s happening in Japan is not isolated to Japan. Think of your childhood and think of children growing up now. I was never inside the house – I was always outside playing with other kids or just being outside. Nowadays, kids are on the digital highway. They have online friends. Earlier my parents used to drop into friends place – neighbours would drop into our home unannounced. Now, it takes weeks to schedule a coffee with someone.

In Europe, streets were built so that people can hang out and showcase their singing/dancing and other talents – the community was so integral that it was built into the infrastructure. Now, we live vicariously through Netflix, Facebook, Instagram.

We are progressing so rapidly in the technological domain that it is taking precedence over all other aspects of a society that needs nurturing for a fully functioning community. Honestly, do we need another version of iPhone or Samsung – I doubt if we are using our current phones to their fullest extent. What we need is more hugs, physical touches – human connection.

How will you connect with humanity today?

There Is Enough Room.

Have you ever wondered at the sheer variety in nature? It is unbelievable, even in one tree, no leaf is the same. I am sure there are many other species of animals and trees in existence that we are unaware of. Nature is at peace with it – the tree does not wish it could get rid of the poison ivy or that one annoying leaf which a dog ate. I am sure shrub does not think about shedding that branch which has become the favourite pee spot of all dogs in the neighbourhood.

Since my role as a people manager, I am trying to come to the same understanding as mother nature. There is a reason and space for all of us to exist. For the longest time ever I kept thinking that if everybody was like me then life would be so much easier – I have come to realize that it would be really dull and not a peaceful place to live in. Then I thought if only I had a high performing team life would be so much easier – I have come to realize that there would not be much opportunity for self-growth. At the end of the day everybody has a place and a reason to exist everywhere. Once I made peace with this, my life became a lot easier. There are still times when I want to change what exists to what I would like it to be but that is a fruitless exercise in itself. But I always try. Human Beings never learn.

If you ever watched a period piece in any country – it is the same storyline. Power struggle, minorities are trying to find their rights and the powerful trying to suppress them. And if you ever watched a sci-fi, the same storyline, humans trying to find their place with the aliens or humans fighting with other humans on a different planet. We never learn – Netflix shows are a prime example of that fact. Even the storylines we make revolve around the same theme – finding our place by taking somebody else’s position or trying to replace somebody. Because we do not know any other storyline, and these storylines will repeat unless we annihilate ourselves (which by the way we are close to) or we learn a different storyline that there is a place for everybody – there is no need to find it or replace somebody else for our situation. There is a reason why we all exist. If we do not accept what it is, then we will never learn.

It does not matter who we are, what language we speak, how we dress, or where we live. What matters is what I do and how I do it – it is the intention that counts. If we were all blind will we still be guided by our misplaced biases – the world will be a different place because we wouldn’t change our behaviour because of what we see. We don’t have to go blind to see the change.

Is there a place for everybody in your day to day life?

Don’t Take It Personally

How many times in your life have you heard – ‘Don’t take it too personally.’ Have you ever wondered what it means?

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English to take something personally is to get upset by the things other people say or do because you think that their remarks or behaviour are directed at you in particular. For example, Don’t take it personally; she’s rude to everyone.

The common belief here is that it is something that is caused by other people. I beg to disagree. Don’t believe me – let’s try the following example.

Let’s say you are walking down the street and almost every other person on the road comes up to you and says, ‘You are limping.’ What would you do? You will disregard and probably say something like, ‘What’s got into everybody? They are all crazy.’

Now, Let’s say you are walking down the street and every other person on the road comes up to you says, ‘You are not a good employer or an employee, or a good husband or some variant of this.’ What would you do?
The chances are that most of would be wondering something like, ‘How did they know?’ or ‘I knew it I shouldn’t have done that thing or this thing?’

Moral of the story is that we take it personally only if we believe there is a grain of truth to it – if not, we think it is a stupid thought. So, only we are responsible for making things personal. Others act as a trigger for what we already know is true inside of us.

Instead of getting upset or annoyed the best course of action is to express gratitude to the other party for helping you know yourself better and work towards coming to peace with it. This is easier said than done because, in these type of scenarios, we are our own worst enemy. We tell ourselves the same thing over and over again. But, when somebody else tells us the same thing we get offended. We have forgotten that we are not that voice or inner mind chatter. We let it guide us wherever it takes. We should separate ourselves from the voice – listen to it and make a logical call on whether it is something I need to work on or is the voice just spouting utter nonsense. We have lost ourselves so much that we believe that the inner voice is who we are. And let’s admit it the voice has very little work except to keep commenting on everything true or false. That’s its reason for existence, and we have done a great job of making it our practice to go along with the voice. No wonder we are so tired all the time.

Imagine following a monkey on a tree – if you followed the monkey everywhere instead of focusing on your destination you would never get to your destination but yet you would feel like you have done a lot of work and chances are you will be exhausted.

Are you at peace with what the truth inside of you?

It All Adds Up

When I was trying to get a job after engineering, I remember talking to my seniors to understand what kind of questions to expect. One of them telling me that one of the students had written writing as a hobby in her resume. The interviewer asked her, ‘You want to be a software engineer – how does writing help you?’ And she replied, ‘Writing involves communication and creativity, which is a big portion of coding.’

At that time, I thought it was a great answer and made a mental note to use it in my interview. It wasn’t years later that I realized how profound her response was.

Imagine you had a bicycle and all you did was sit on the bike and push the bike with your feet – you will get somewhere, but you will never enjoy the full potential of riding a bike. And after some time other parts of the bike which you never used will rust and fall off. And after some more time, you will even forget what it was like to have a bike.

Our life – our mind is similar to the bike. And we all lean on some part of too heavily – getting a job, getting a degree, getting a husband, having a child to the point that we forget that we have other things going on as well. We have to branch out and try different things – because it all adds up.

For example, I like to write – write a blog, work on my book but write. And to write, you have to know very clearly what you want to communicate. And this helps me communicate at work better. I work with Wild Tiger Tees (Social enterprise helping youth experiencing homelessness), and I have learned a lot of lessons there, which I take back with me to work – the key one being empathy. The person who is doing all these activities remains the same – the you who is volunteering does not suddenly turn into another you when you are at work – you may behave, but at the end of the day it is just YOU. The more experience this you has, the more skills and lessons you will learn – resulting in a more open person who knows how to learn.

It is impossible to learn every new thing that comes along these days – what you need is the skill to learn. And what better way to do it than to immerse yourself in different activities as opposed to exhausting yourself at work so much that you have no energy left for any other thing. The beauty is when you start doing things you will be more energized at work because you are using the bike to its full potential as opposed to just walking the bike.

First of all, you have to know what kind of a bike you have and then take it one step at a time – oil the parts that are rusted, take breaks after using it a few times – understand the speed limits, know if you are off to a gentle stroll or a grueling race.

What kind of bike do you have?

What’s Next?

When I was a kid – the most persistent common thing I remember being told is to get good marks (grades) so that I could get a good university. So, all through my school, it was about getting admitted to a good college. Then it was getting good marks in college to get a good job. After the job, it was marriage and then after marriage; it was kids. It was somewhere after I got the job that I started questioning this race to something which I was not even sure I wanted or cared about.

Let’s talk about my food habits. I gave up chicken because I did not like its taste and did not want to eat it. Next on the list was fish, then eggs and then dairy and now more trending towards raw. (I am vegan, but I admit I have occasional bone broth and eggs – not because I crave them but because of the health and nutrition purposes). I remember having a conversation with Adam and what next for me on my food journey. Raw vegan seemed to be it – the end of the marathon.

This morning, as I was running – my mind wandered to being a woman and my need for a routine. As a woman, we have our monthly cycles that whether we like it or not dictate how we feel and our mood. And as somebody who thrives on routine sometimes the routine comes into conflict with my body rhythms and natural cycle. The next step on this journey is being aware of my body needs and acting in accordance with that and not to my self-imposed habits. This is scary for me because it means I cannot plan, but this is the next step. Vipassana, the meditation practice I have is also about constant awareness of the change and sensations. And I believe this is where my food journey is also taking me – all roads lead to Rome.

Plans are useless; planning is everything. This is what I am realizing. It’s the planning that helps me prepare for what happens not the actual plan. On that day who know what happens but if I am not worried about sticking to the plan but be present to what arises from all the planning I am prepared.

Life is similar in that way, all your life you are planning not for the plan to come true but being prepared for what life throws your way. The human conditioning deems it a failure if you do not achieve your project – you are rewarded for the outcome not for the journey. The journey is what matters the most, and it is what makes us who we are. Winning the award or the first prize does not make you who you are – it is what went into winning the award. The discipline, the hard work, patience, managing self-talk is what makes the person, the character.

This blog seems all over the place but at the same time very apt – does it matter if I have a point?

What journey are you taking?

You Are A Gambler.

I recently watched the movie – ‘The boy who harnessed the wind.’ If you have not had a chance to see it, I highly recommend it. There is a scene between two brothers in the movie which caught my attention.

TThe village they live in is getting ready to face a spell of famine/drought. The elder brother is trying to convince the younger brother not to sell his piece of the forest to the government. The government going to cut the trees and that means there are higher chances of flooding. Younger brother tells him that he needs the money. Elder one tells him to stop gambling, instead.

Younger one looks at him and says, ‘Gambling! What do you think you are doing? Hoping it will rain next year and then praying enough sunshine for harvest.’

That got me thinking. When we look at it that way, we are all gamblers. We don’t realize it. Don’t believe me – let’s walk through a few scenarios.

Scenario 1: You wake up late in the morning and miss breakfast hoping you can make it to the office on time. You are gambling right here – thinking that if you skip the 10 minutes on breakfast, you might get to the office on time.

Scenario 2: You are having a meeting with your peers, and you say what you think is a profound insight, and they ignore it. You gambled on that statement hoping that it will increase your popularity.

We make lots of such bets and gambles throughout our lives. Who we marry? Having Kids? Most of the time it turns out the way we want, and that gives us a false sense of control. And when things do not go our way we get upset. Does this mean that we never hope for things or wish for events to turn our way? No, a different way to approach it is via probabilities.

There are many ways something can turn out. And what we choose is what we want – but it is not necessary that it has the highest probability of happening. What we want and the chances of it happening are not always aligned – this is where we need to bring awareness. And it will contribute highly to our emotional stability.

If we are aware of the fact that what we want is just one of the many possibilities that can happen, then it prevents our mind from being attached to that one possibility – helping us maintain our emotional equilibrium when things do not go out way.

casino roulette wheel with the ball on number 36

Let’s say you placed your bets on roulette – it did not turn your way. What’s the next best thing – move on. If we realize that what we want to happen in our lives is also a gamble – and if it doesn’t happen, then we should also move on. Know when to quit.

Prof. Rao from Creativity and Personal Mastery states that – if you have to place a bet on life/universe or yourself – always bet on the universe which always wins even when you think you are winning.

What are you gambling on currently in life?

Silence Is The Key.

I love traveling and with traveling there comes a certain adventure because you never know what happens – delay in flights, missed connections. I was telling somebody that I loved being on planes and in the airport because while I am there, I am nowhere – I have nothing to do, and I am in transit. And since my husband and I have experienced a fair share of airport delays, we are at home in airports.

Once it so happened that I had a trip planned for one of the weekends, but it got canceled due to the weather. And as it was a weekend trip, there was no point in re-scheduling it. And I found myself in this unique situation where I was at home when I was not supposed to be so frankly speaking there was nothing for me to do because I wasn’t supposed to be here. And it was one of the best weekends I ever had because I had nothing to do.

A few years ago the concept of doing nothing would have been unthinkable if not outright terrifying. The idea of silence was not my cup of tea, but recently I have learnt to appreciate the quiet and no doing time. More so after I have progressed on my creative journey. Because silence is a must for things to arise. Silence can be of many types. Sometimes when I am reading an excellent book or watching an excellent movie, my mind takes that as silence because it is not just running around like a mad monkey – some of my best ideas have come right after finishing the video or the magazine.

In today’s world, there is a false sense of urgency – blame it on time, traffic or even media that keeps telling us that if we are not watching the news, we are missing something. Honestly, the world is not going to come to stand still if you just took a day-off. The sun will again rise, the earth will always keep spinning, and your fellow human beings will continue the work. For most of us, there is nothing in life that cannot wait a couple of days.

We can realize this when we stop and see for ourselves that nothing happened when we paused. And for most of us, it is hard to stop – to find that time. So we keep running afraid that if we stop something bad will happen. I still remember my childhood days of doing nothing when a simple walk around the block was one of the most adventurous trips of the day.

There are two sides to any coin. If you are working, then you need time when you are not working. This is true not only if you are in the creative field but also a professional area. All things in life need me time – the car needs maintenance, plants need night time to process the O2, this is why you put your laptop to sleep when you are not working. Why don’t we take a break? Yes, we sleep at night, but that is for the physical body. What about this mind that has been ruminating over things some real some imagined (mostly imagined) all day long?

Meditation is one way to provide some respite to the mind. Creative activities, doing nothing, nature walks are other ways.

What do you do to provide rest to your restless mind?

What If I Poke You?

If you poke your finger in a lake or ocean what do you get? More Water.
If you poke your finger in a desert what do you get? More Sand.
If you poke your finger in a watermelon what do you get? More Watermelon.

If I was to poke you – what would come out of you? Now, I do not mean the blood and physical stuff but emotionally. What will pour out of you? Will it be love, anger, jealousy, fear, happiness? What do you want to come out of you? And what input are you giving yourself? Are the input and the output in sync?

Let’s say you love a person. If this person is right next to you – do you have love towards that person? What if the person is 3 miles away from you? What if the person is at the office? What if the person is on another continent? In all these situations you are capable of feeling loving towards the person regardless of the distance.

Now, let’s say this person dies – are you still capable of loving them? Yes. So the capability of love exists within you – it has nothing to with that person. That person is just the medium through which you express your love but the love comes from you and stays within you even of the object of love is dead. [This story has been taken from inner engineering program by Sadhguru]

It does raise an interesting question. Most of the time we are under the impression that we feel something because of some other person. Like if we are angry its because the other person did not do what we wanted them to do. We are jealous because they got something we wanted. We are sad because something did not happen the way we wanted. But if we are capable of generating love within us, then it means we are capable of creating other emotions within us too without the other person being involved. Now, you might argue that even though the other person is not there – their memory is what is responsible for the emotion.

Ok, but then does it mean that everybody who sees that person feels the same emotion as you. For example, you have a neighbor who gets on your nerves. The minute you see the neighbor your mood turns nasty, and you transform into a devil from an angel. So, this neighbor is responsible for that transformation. But, then does everybody who sees him feel the same way? No, his family must adore him. His mother might think he is god’s gift to the world. So, if other people are responsible for our emotions then how come we all don’t feel the same way towards that person.

We are responsible for how we feel. Nobody else can make us feel something. It is our choice whether we recognize it or not. We react to the story that we have told ourselves within our head. We are reacting to that story and not the person. Regardless of whether the other person is a saint or a robber – we have an image, perception of who this person is and that is what we react to.

If all our stories are filled with love then only love will pour out of you if I poke you.

What do you want to come out of you when poked?

Who Are You Kidding?

I taught five-year-olds science during a volunteering project. I was nervous because I did not know what to expect, but I enjoyed it. The main reason was I left the class feeling hugged (not Physically but general vibe). I often wonder why that is – my take is because with kids they are who they are – they are not trying to be someone else or make you believe something. They are just themselves. On the very first day of the class – a kid came up to me and asked, ‘Where is the teacher?’. I told her it was me. She looked at me and said, ‘You are too short.’ And walked off. She forgot about it, and there was no intention behind it – it was a comment and moved on. Something happens to all of us as we grow up. We start behaving in public.


So, does it mean we say what comes to our mind even when we grow up? No. But, it doesn’t mean that all we do is behave – because then we are what the world around us molded us to be. It is vital to retain your inner spark even when you have to act. As we grow up we have to adapt our behavior to different situations, different people – but underneath it all, you know who you are, and you are very well aware that all you are doing is just acting.

Another aspect of it inward. Are we faithful to ourselves even when no one is watching? This is even more important than behaving in public because at the end of you live with yourself 24 X 7. If you say something in society but do something else in private then it creates a crack within you – and if not controlled the break can devastate your inner self leaving you constantly not at peace. It is better, to be honest with yourself first. Know who you are (it all comes to down that) and once you know where you stand, it will automatically show up in the way you behave. It is tough in this day and age to not have a difference between who you are and how you act? But, as long as the gap is minimum and there is a slice of your life where these two are identical you are good to go.

It is crucial to have people or opportunities in your daily life with whom you can who you are without any doubts because they do not judge you. Some people find it easier to open up to strangers than to loved one whereas others are completely open to their family and friends. There is no right or wrong -what is essential that you have somebody with whom you can be yourself and let your inner self breathe freely.

When was the last time you let your inner self breathe freely?

Now It Exists and Now It Doesn’t

My brother and sister-in-law had a baby a few months ago. Until the day she was born – she was a concept. We spoke about her; we figured out her names, her traits – who will she look like. And then one day she was born – she was there in reality. And now she is a human being who exists on this planet.

Sleeping baby silhouette, stylized line logo. Cute simple vector illustration.

A bunch of us attended the Give Back Hackathon last year. And in that weekend we busted everything we had to set up the business, figure out the market proposition – even managed to get 25 orders. And until then our company was just an idea, and today Wild Tiger Tees is its entity – it is an LLC. We have youth who print T-shirts. Like, it is real, and it exists.

In both these examples, there was a seed of the idea first, and then you nurture it, water it and then Lo! Behold it becomes real. A baby or a new product do not exist one day, and then they live the next moment. There is a lot of creativity involved in bringing something to life, literally.

Now, I am sure some of you might be thinking – this all sounds good, but I am not creative. I want to challenge that. First, of all let’s talk about what creative means. Most people assume that unless you are drawing, painting or writing poetry – you are not creative. Our limitation of creativity is limited by profession.

I want to put forward the idea that we are creative because we exist. Our existence itself a piece of primary evidence that we are creative. Our parents conceived the idea of us first before they brought us into reality – everyone around us has been conceived at some point as an idea first and then in flesh and blood.

Every moment since then has been your creation. You wake up in the morning and create your day. For those of you who do not believe that you are 100% in charge of your life then let me modify the statement to say – you wake up in the morning, and then you co-create your day. The day happens because you do something, you invest emotional and physical energy into the next moment. You think about how the meeting is going to go or your interaction with the other person – sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. You create things that did not exist before, like the experiences throughout the day, the emails you write, the food you cook. All these things did not exist until you invested energy in them.

To say that you are not creative is in someway disowning the very energy that created you. Even if you don’t believe that you are ‘creative’ in the literal sense – at the very least recognize that you create your life moment by moment. And if it calls out to you then explore your inner creativity by being with nature or by taking a journey in books like Artist way by Julia Cameron.

How did you express your creativity today?