Monday, December 28, 2009

Joy of Affliction

I borrowed the book "Daily Afflictions" very recently from a friend of mine, and I must say, I'd recommend it to anyone who is sick and tired of all the usual stuff in the self help genre (you know- visualizing success, positive affirmations and the like)

This book is awesome because it doesn't mollycoddle you. Instead, reading this book made me feel extremely free and yet connected to everyone and everything in a deep, different way. I especially loved the chapter around the inner psychopath that all of us have but don't express.

It is a weird thing, but I've noticed that books written from a place of truth have a different power to them. But maybe that is just me distorting my own reality.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

All is Well

I watched 3 idiots with trepidition, but I must say- All is well. All is well, indeed, in the hearts and souls of people like Aamir Khan and Raju Hirani. These are the guys who can make a difference, and with films like these, they are.

I'd read these reviews- written by critics who know how to cut through screenplays, acting, directing, editing, dubbing- and really wondered whether a trip to the theater was worth the three hours. I'm glad I didn't listen to my doubting head.

Sure, each film has flaws, but after reading some of the reviews, it felt that this was going to be a complete waste of time. But sometimes, you have to trust your gut and go for the experience. And not listen to critics who understand many things and yet miss out on the most important one: What is the film communicating? Will it make a difference in my life?

And more importantly, does the film communicate in a non- boring, non preachy manner? It's easy to find out a million things that are wrong. But eventually, if the film does the main thing right- it succeeds.

All is well indeed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Flawed Superhero

Isn't it nice to catch a movie that you have missed on the big screen on HBO? Especially if that movie is one which you have heard of vaguely? I watched Hancock last night and boy, what a nice movie it was.

Sure, it is a regular guy flick with lots of fighting and slick scenes, but the reason why the movie stood out for me was that I saw a superhero who didn't wear his underpants on the outside. The superhero who was an alcoholic. The superhero who was a real jerk at times and who needed PR to make people like him. The superhero who lost his powers when he came closer to love.

I also liked the way the movie ended (wont spoil it for you in case you haven't seen it). And Mr.Will Smith rocks.

Charity begins at home

Doing something nice brings its own reward. I have always been confused about how to treat beggar kids. My logical mind tells me that this is a racket run by a ring that doesn't give the beggar kid any money in any case. But then I look into the beggar kid's eyes, and my heart melts mostly. I remember my kids and how desperately unlucky these beggar kids are, in comparison.

So I decided to do three things. One, I'm soon going to keep a bunch of bananas/peanuts with me in the car and give them the next time instead of money to the kids. Second, I've contributed to UNICEF today for sponsoring some children activity.

Third, I've decided to use the 100th blog post on this blog this year to leave these thoughts with you. After all, I consider all those reading this blog family members indulging me when they read. And charity begins at home, doesn't it?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Are You Synchronized?

I've read a lot of self help- new thought books in my life. Then I got an insight that made me ditch all of them. Then I wrote a book around this insight I had and called the book " The Map that Matters" ( Feel free to buy/ promote it for me if you can :)

Anyway- now that the 10 second commercial for my own book is over in this post, let me get back to the point. For someone who has written a self help book, I still use two books every now and then at important times in life. One of them is very famous: "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle; but not many have heard of the second one.

It is called "Synchrodestiny" by Deepak Chopra. I especially like the way coincidences are explained in this book and a practical approach towards using what we understand as coincidental. It is a great book as a year end read; something that helps you plan the next year in an unconventional manner. I especially like it when an author takes the trouble to make simple something that is usually considered mystic. More power to such books.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Look Into My Eyes....

I have no idea how Derren Brown does it, but I am a big fan of his show nevertheless. That guy is amazing- the way he gets people to do weird things like mind reading and card reading and many more crazy- ass things. It is on BBC Entertainment, and I suggest you look up their programme schedule and just watch him in action.

I love watching magic.When rationality is questioned. When logic is no longer king. Derren Brown, I think, is more than just parlour tricks and sleight of hand. He bases his stuff on hypnosis or something like that and does it so casually that you never see what is coming next.

I think the coolest thing about his show is when he gets things "just wrong"- unlike normal magic tricks. It just shows mind bending is inexact but awesome. A little scary, but fun.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Small Kid In You

This is a bit of a crazy one, but just go along with me a little bit here. Close your eyes, and just remember a happy time in your childhood. Now, remember a particular "stupid" childhood ditty/song/noise you used to make when you were happy. Real happiness, mind you- maybe accompanied by peals of laughter.

At breakfast this morning, my brother and I remembered a crazy childhood "laugh" that we used to irritate almost everybody who crossed our path in that kind of mood. You know, it went kind of like: dihi doho daha (Try saying it once to know how funny that can be when uttered).

Just sent me back to that time, and was laughing all the way to office today. Try this one out- may sound crazy, but it is a wonderful small joy to be reconnected to the small kid in you once again.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Genuine Article

It is a corporate world, isn't it- you meet people who say the same things, dress the same way, eat the same kind of foods and pretend to listen to you in the same manner. Therefore, it is always interesting to meet people who are remarkably different- not in the way their image is, but in the way they have charted their lives so far.

I'm really lucky to have my life full of people who are in this rare second category. I got introduced to someone yesterday who has led a similar offbeat life: was out of IIM, joined Infosys, then started his own company, then sold out and became financially independant and now wants to do exciting new things!

His thoughts and experience were very refreshing, and I loved his unique take on process development in organisations. Spending half an hour with him, just talking about stuff made me younger by half a decade.

Cheers to genuine, offbeat, nice people.

Monday, December 7, 2009

As Good as it Gets

Now that is a thought provoking line. I was seeing this movie yesterday. What chemistry between the lead pair- Nicholson and Hunt. I loved some of the gems in this movie:

She: How can you be a writer when you dont understand the first thing about a woman?
He: I think of a man. And I take away all reason and understanding....

She: Pay me a compliment. Right now.
He (after much hemming and hawing): You make me want to be a better man.
She: That's the biggest compliment anyone has ever paid me.

Its a great film, and I got a great message from it: Enjoy this life in all of its glory, right now. This is "As Good as it Gets".

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Digital Dhamaka

I must confess, I am always a bit wary of new technology and whether it will make a real impact on my life in a positive, evolutionary way. Yeah, you can call me the last luddite who goes protesting all the way to the brave new world.

But I got something yesterday which was quite neat. It is a gift to my famille from le brother in law, who is in Pune for a quick visit from l'Europe. It is a digital photo album, and while all those of you who live in the western world must be familiar with it, I certainly wasn't. It is a genuinely cool idea which can rest on your mantelpiece, and can have a self- running option that flicks photo after photo on unsuspecting guests if that is your thing...

But jokes aside, I think this time, with this gadget, technology did speak to me in a happy, connected way. Cheers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Two and a half Men

Bachelors of the world, rejoice when you see this serial re-run on Star world. I like Charlie Sheen's life in this one. Plenty of gorgeous women who don't really bother about the fact that he is, indeed, the world's biggest jerk. And what's more, the world's biggest jerk is also rich and reasonably famous. Never seems to work. Unfair!

But it makes for some real funny moments. Sometimes, something completely politically incorrect is great fun if we can stop being offended and high brow. Two and half men falls into this category for me. (even the way the kid is treated- hilarious stuff)

And I'm personally jealous of what Charlie seems to wear. Cool looking half shirts and shorts. All the time. How lucky can a man be. Sigh.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Inward Eye

For the past three years, I've been using the month of December to really understand how I want to spend the next year. Instead of trying to focus only on outward things, or long term wishes, I've tried to make any resolution as "inward" and "small" as possible.

I don't mean this in a spiritual sense. What I'm really saying is that all of us have grand dreams and visions for our futures and while that is fantastic and needed, very few of us really try to enjoy the smaller things and the feelings that the journey of life brings. It just brings a different dimension to the whole world of goal setting and planning( for e.g.: how can I have more fun with my kids this year?)

It's that time of the year again, then. I'm choosing the path that gives me small joys, and big ones too from time to time. I think it is totally worth the investment. I recommend it to all.

Comfort Food

1. Idli Sambar at Vaishali (experience begins with the smell of sambar from outside the restaurant)
2. Amul Vanilla Ice cream (handy pack to make a bad meal at home more tolerable).
3. Kalyan Bhel ( crunchy!)
4. Good luck Fruit funny (on a good day)
5. Home Made mutton curry/shepherd's pie (about the only time I overeat and don't regret)
6. Kothimbir wadi at Swagat (with a glassa)

If some of these words make sense to you, you know what I am talking about. Sorry hothouse dieters/health conscious eaters. Sometimes, you just need your own brand of comfort food. And the rest be damned.

This is my current list, and I plan to review this from time to time!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Surya Namaskar

When I am in a bit of a hurry, and don't have time for a workout, what I end up doing are 12 suryanamskars- only takes 10 minutes at the maximum but is a complete workout. Wikipedia has decent information (including the various asanas:

It is a complete exercise as you all must know(combines resistance, aerobic, yoga, and prayers to boot!) but what I want to emphasize is that only takes that long and it is a no-excuse exercise on the days when you don't have time for a regular workout.

Small joy to feel good and virtuous on a tough day:)