Monday, 18 June 2018

Follow Your Bliss ...

Follow your bliss ... If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” — Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell, who specialized in applying lessons from mythology to modern human experiences, was the first to use the phrase “follow your bliss.” He saw it as an essential part of the formula for living life to the fullest.

In other words, if you do things you are passionate about, you'll feel fully alive and doors will open up for you. Sacred space is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.

Anyone who is willing to leave the well-trodden path that many before them have traveled and follow their bliss on the road less-traveled can do the same thing. Is it easy to follow your bliss? Of course not; that is why Campbell calls it “the hero’s journey”: You’ll have a chance to encounter every dragon (fear) that lives within the darkest caverns of your mind that wants to keep your life small and safe... and I can attest to that. 

Your re-defining moment doesn’t happen just one time in your life; it happens every time you make a decision to follow your bliss, again, and again, and again. There are new doors awaiting your arrival. The adventure is its own reward — but it’s necessarily dangerous, having both negative and positive possibilities, all of them beyond control.

Having said all this, there are a certain “bliss myths” I want to cover here : 

Myth #1: Following your bliss means simply doing the things that make you happy.

Myth #2: Following your bliss means quitting your day job.

Myth #3: Following your bliss means you’ll be instantly successful and feel blissful all the time.

Myth #4: You only have one bliss. 


Bliss may be defined as a natural direction you can take as a way to maximize your sense of joy, fulfillment, and purpose. Sometimes people equate bliss with being in a state of euphoria, but in reality, being blissful is the state you’re in when you’re doing what brings you a deep sense of joy. When you’re in a blissful state, you’re listening to the voice of your heart. To achieve and maintain a state of bliss, it’s important to be open-minded and to be a risk-taker—walking the road less traveled. 


To seek your own personal bliss, you might wish to sit quietly and meditate about a time in your life when you were the happiest. Remain with that moment, as well as the feelings stirring inside you. When you think you’ve figured out at least one thing that makes you feel blissful, then stay with it. Write about that state. Recording your feelings can help you dig deeper into self-discovery and determine the ways in which you can follow your bliss—always keeping in mind that bliss is a calling that’s calling you. Bliss is a winding road. It is the byproduct of a life well lived. 


Find your bliss station. Does this idea resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Book Review #103 : 50 Cups of Coffee: The Woes and Throes of Finding Mr Right

Name of the book: 50 Cups of Coffee
Name of the author: Khushnuma Daruwala
Length of the book: 224 pages

A written account of Dia’s journey of 50 long cups of coffee, moving forward with the hope of meeting Mr. Right. However, going by the story, the journey is more about catching hold of Mr. Perfect, rather than finding Mr. Right. Dia deals with the hardships of meeting strangers, trying her luck at speed dating, and surviving in a conservative society.

The first 100 pages comprise of intense man-hating, with Dia having to deal with all kinds of men that ultimately fail at becoming an eligible match, whilst crushing on men she can’t have. Also, speaking about the importance of the book titled ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ and how it is a real life-saver for the ones looking to date. 

As the journey folds out, the protagonist slowly begins to address her own traits and how all the hate, has slowly turned herself into being one of them. Since the lead character is female the detailing the author included in the ways how each date would go makes this book stand apart. Like how women thinks and what are the characters they are on the look for.

Kudos to the designer who have illustrated a classy design to the cover. This book is a short one and ideal for non-fiction readers and also for those who are on the look to find their right companion. So if you are on the look out for your ‘Right’ partner grab this one.

“50 cups of coffee” is a beautiful account of a 30 something girl who is trying hard to fit into the Indian world. When the society is all about getting married by the age of 25 and less concerned about the choices of women towards their life partners, the character Dia is adamant on not settling for less! The determination to find Mr. Right and the pain to go through a lot of Mr. Wrongs is a journey that every girl has to take today. And when Dia signs up for the marriage meet-ups, each cup of coffee seemed a little obnoxious and perplexing than the other.

The book takes you on a journey of personal experiences, juggling of thoughts, a lot of judgments and insider details of 50 coffee dates that Dia took to find her Mr. Right. The writing is crisp, full of wit and amazingly wrapped with a lot of puns. With sharp words and to the point phrases the author manages to keep you intrigued to the story. The marriage scenario and the emotional turmoil of the character will relate to you if you too have been thinking of settling with marriage. “50 cups of coffee” isn’t 50 chapters of coffee dates but an account of personal experiences revolving around Dia – the character who is on with the marriage proposal through matrimonial sites and the things she finds she cannot settle with. With each date there comes a new theory about men and evaluation of their so called ‘type’. With sarcasm, judgments, ‘facepalm’-moments and common traits you will be reminded of a lot of your own dates!

This book is a light read! Makes for a good laugh on your own past dates, a gossip the about the search of grooms and also a go-to guide for women who are trying to make their mind up for marriage while finding it hard to meet their Mr. Right. Not that you will get a solution – but that you’ll realize you are not alone! 

Khushnuma Daruwala’s 50 Cups of Coffee – The Woes and Throes of Finding Mr. Right is a lighthearted look at this aspect of Indian pre-matrimony. It works very well as a hilarious collection of anecdotes of a single woman in her mid-thirties meeting prospective life partners from matrimonial sites on first dates.

Daruwala, on the other hand, is not here to give you advice, instead 50 Cups basically sets out to “lift the spirits and offer a sense of kinship” to women who have suffered dating disasters. Fifty Cups of Coffee is a delightful, tongue in cheek take on the Indian dating scene.

Only Khushnuma, with her supreme talent, superior writing skills, and hawkish observation skills could have penned down this hilarious masterpiece. The little cups of wisdom after each date gone wrong are equally amazing and totally entertaining. Seriously, ladies, they are words to live by. Literally. We’d have a much better existence if we did so.

I absolutely love the writing style in this book. It is fluid and unapologetic. The author opines on anything and everything and she microscopically analyses all these guys the dates are with and she doesn’t shy away from saying anything. I like that. I liked that I could relate to what was happening and that is a huge bonus!

If you're interested in knowing about the details behind internet dating, and finding the perfect match through matrimonial sites, 50 Cups of Coffee is just the right pick. Hilarious and quintessential, this book will not let you down.

Rating - 5/5

Friday, 8 June 2018

Book Review #102 : The Last Lecture

If you know that you have a very short time of good health, how would you like to spend your time? You want to fulfill your dreams, spend quality time with your family or do what you are best at. Very similar is the case of Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was asked to give a lecture and he couldn’t imagine it to be his last one. Randy said “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand”.

This book is inspiring, motivating and can craft the inanimate to life. The author has beautifully combined humor, intelligence, and wisdom. He has exemplified many stories which cover subjects like hard work, team work, sacrifice, self-confidence, modesty, dreaming big, perseverance, positivity, courage and dealing with adversity. For the reader, the book is a glimpse into the life of a dying man who fights every moment to be alive and not a mere story.

He finds himself winning the parent lottery. He was influenced by his loving and supporting parents. During his life, he learnt many lessons from his experiences and has shared them in a striking manner. He also reveals how he achieved his childhood dream of becoming a Disney Imagineer, getting to Zero Gravity, being the coolest guy at amusement park and playing in the National football League (which he never made it).

The book shows a transformational change of his life when he is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, portrays the changes in his day to day life and how he managed to achieve more in those turbulent times. He always maintained a positive outlook. Pausch loved his wife and children and he expressed it after every slide of his last lecture. He has dedicated his last lecture to his children and concludes by looking forward to sharing his dreams for his children. He recounts that his wife Jai was his caregiver and this means a lot to him. This book makes us feel like family to him, supporting him in his battle against a terminal cancer.

In a chapter entitled, “It’s About How to Live Your Life,” Pausch talks of his cancer and it’s effects on the remainder of his life. He described how he tried to live his life and offered some tips on coping saying “this is what worked for me.” He talks about giving yourself permission to dream big, and achieving your goals. He points out that we all have a finite amount of time and energy and that time spent complaining cannot help us achieve our goals.

The book is an easy read, that’s packed with a lot of punch. It’s a collection of 61 short stories and is a celebration of a life worth living. Pausch packed a lot of distilled wisdom and knowledge of his 47 years.

There are many nuggets of wisdom interspersed throughout The Last Lecture.
  1. If you want something bad enough, don’t give up.
  2. Luck = Preparation + Opportunity.
  3. Recognize when it’s time to change your strategy. “I signed up for the hardest treatments that could be thrown at me because I wanted to be around as long as possible to be there for my kids.” When Pausch realized that, that was not going to be the case, he changed his strategy to leaving a legacy and spending quality time with his wife and each of his three children.
  4. Get the fundamentals down for everything. Have you mastered the fundamentals for your job?
  5. Your attitude affects the outcome of every situation.
  6. Complaining does not work as a strategy.
  7. Value people more than you value things.
While reading The Last Lecture, I gleaned three questions to differentiate us, and I’m still trying to answer them for myself:
  1. What are three things that matter the most to you?
  2. What’s unique about you?
  3. What do you alone truly have to offer?
Written in a highly personable and conversational fashion, The Last Lecture is part autobiography, part life lesson, and all heart. Through a quick tour of his life and career, Randy demonstrates how one should live while being candid about his impending death.

Despite his condition, Randy’s writing is light-hearted and upbeat. One can’t tell from the prose that its the work of a dying man as its often peppered with deadpan and occasionally self deprecating humour.

Perhaps the hardest part of the book to read are the sections where Randy writes about his family. One can feel how painful it must be for him to plan so many things ahead – writing little notes to his kids, making videos, bringing his family on various activities etc – while in the throes of death.

It is certainly admirable that Randy manages to rise above his circumstances and to continue to be a teacher even unto his death. As the author himself has shared, the book isn’t about dying but about living. I do know for sure that it has provided me with lots of food for thought about what I should do with my own life.

What readers take away from The Last Lecture is in this same vein. The book isn’t about one man’s struggle against cancer, or the outcome of his treatment (Pausch died on July 25, 2008). It’s not an overcoming-all-odds story. It’s about making the most out of what you have, and enjoying every minute of the adventure, regardless of how it turns out in the end.


A must read.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Stubbornness Drives Relationships

"Rishtey ZID se chaltey hai." my father whispered in my ear at my wedding. Best relationship advice ever. Sums up #BangBaajaBaaraat (Web Series) ~ Sumeet Vyas.

I have often wondered, what is it, that makes people stick by each other’s sides, years after years. I often get the answer almost naturally, as fed by the world, as love and respect. Now, don’t get me wrong, these are the basic (level 1) emotions needed to thrive a relationship. But the most important that I feel, is never spoken about, it is stubbornness.

I have seen so many relationships having “love and respect”, but no stubbornness to make it work. They just randomly end, because the two sides are not ready to be ziddi about the relationship. The stubbornness that come what may, I am not leaving his/her side. The ‘stubborn will’ to never let go even if you see a person at his/her worst, is what keeps the relationship breathing. We all love a person at his/her glamorous best, the time when we see their dark side, we find things tough to continue. Whereas to talk of, in reality, this is the most crucial time to truly accept someone as your lover. Somehow, my generation lacks this ‘stubborn will’ and is always on the onset of leaving broken things (rather than mending it) and going on an onset of searching the ‘better’.

Stubbornness to stick by each other definitely pays off in a relationship. “You deal with your hell and I am walking off, because I am only meant only for your good days” is a wrong attitude. When you know, you know – a karmic / soulful relationship will NEVER make you choose only the good side of your partner.

Soulmate relationships are far and few but when they do occur, they often last the test of time. This kind of relationship is marked by an intense connection between two people, one that may even be difficult to convey into words. Two people just “get each other” — they may finish each other’s sentences, are best friends, and have adopted the us against the world mentality, among other things.

When soulmates have found each other the feeling is likened to two pieces of a puzzle fitting perfectly together. This is not to say that soulmates won’t experience problems along the course of their relationship. But, they will be able to resolve their issues more easily than couples who aren’t bound by soulful ties due to their ‘strong will’ to make it work, beyond anything else.

Irritations are inevitable in relationships. It's just not possible to find another human being whose every quirk, habit, and preference aligns perfectly with yours. The fundamental challenge in a relationship, is "figuring out how to negotiate and live with your partner's irritants in a way that doesn't alienate them and keeps the two of you connected." When marriages/relationships don't work, often the partners are fighting not over big issues but over petty differences.

Relationships are not something that happen TO you. They are something you make happen. You have to proactively take a hand in making a relationship happen.

The ability to eliminate relationship irritants lies within each of us. They may sabotage good relationships or not. It all depends on how you interpret the problem. Let go of the Disney fantasy. Prince Charming is not waiting offstage to come dashing in and sweep you up. Real world relationships work, when YOU take efforts to make them work. The whole idea is to treasure each moment you spend next to each other and to love one another truly, purely and freely, and continue to do so, beyond petty things.

Book Review #101 : Milk and Honey

Book - Milk and Honey
Author - Rupi Kaur
Genre - Poetry
Publisher - Andrews McMeel Publishing
Hit the shelves on - November 4, 2014
Pages - 204

This heartfelt collection of poems hit the shelves November of 2014. I saw milk and honey in the local bookwalah shop and decided to embrace my poetic side and purchase it. Needless to say, I was baffled with what I found folded into the pages. I was expecting an inspirational slightly tacky read much like how I viewed poetry prior to this. What I found was vulnerability, startling bluntness, and a pure and raw story laced into the pages of Rupi Kaur's poetry.

Kaur breaks her book into four parts; the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing. The poems open in a bit of a dark aura. The hurting depicts the author’s experiences with sexual assault and the struggles of overcoming family issues. This section is a bit chilling.

The next section, the loving, is a more uplifting read. The poems are sweet and idealistic. These are the ones that couples want to read to remind themselves of why they are still together.

The breaking returned us to a darker place in Kaur’s life. Any girl that has ever endured a break up after a long term relationship could find a relatable poem in this section. While these poems were sad, they were also very realistic and relatable.

The last section of milk and honey accomplished exactly what I think the author was aiming for. These poems empowered women to embrace themselves and to value who they are regardless of the turmoil they have endured. I would recommend this section to anyone going through a break up or just yearning for some comfort.

Overall, I really enjoyed this compilation of poems and would totally recommend to anyone who is looking to heal from a bad experience in life or breakup.

Btw - Upon publication, ‘milk and honey’ sold over 1.5 million copies, defying expectations of modern poetry’s popularity. In an age favouring easily digested thriller novels and celebrity biographies far above verse, this collection of poetry is certainly the exception to the rule. Perhaps this is due to Kaur undercutting the impersonality of a modernist aesthetic with accessible, simplistic language. Kaur does not subscribe to the belief that poetry must be difficult to be meaningful, championing a direct and inclusive register that unites her personal experiences with the reader. Combining a first person perspective with the repeated second person pronoun ‘you’, Kaur further bridges the gap between her poetry and her audience. She forges a link that causes the reader to imagine themselves not only as author, but as muse. Pointing beyond the page at ‘you’, Kaur rejects the division of the reader from the writer, assimilating her own experiences, memories, and subjects with her audience.

VERDICT - ‘milk and honey’, is a ‘modern classic’, worthy to be read out loud, written in texts to loved ones, and learnt by heart. The reminder to appreciate yourself and to embrace emotion is timeless.

The book teaches you that life is filled with terrible and heartbreaking moments but within those moments you can find great things. Great things that you might have missed if you were not looking. There is so much meaning and emotion behind every word, and it is even relatable. Several of the poems deal with situations that many face today.

RATING – 5/5