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Friday, February 26, 2010

Why Meditation Doesn’t Benefit Everybody

I remember an incident. I was just out of my college and was preparing my resume to apply to companies. I sent its first draft to a faculty member for improvements. In the “personal” section I had written that I loved making cartoons and practiced a meditation called Vipassana.

What he replied was quite interesting. He said he would have loved doing something creative like making cartoons but wouldn’t waste his time in doing something useless like Vipassana.

I always saw him as a sensible man who never said something without having some logic behind it. I didn’t ask anything more about his comment but assumed that he might have tried it at least once.

But his comment kept making me think over and over again. After all, why does meditation not benefit everybody? Now I think I have an answer.

I went to Bodhgaya to learn Vipassan around 10 years back. And I made a promise to myself that I would never go back again. I found it so difficult and useless. A meditation student is not allowed to speak for 9 days; he has to get up at 4 am to start meditating; he gets literally no food after 11 am; and he has to sit in meditation 10 hours a day which is quite painful.

After making that promise to myself I have gone to do that Vipassana course four more times in the last ten years. Now I wonder why I didn’t find it beneficial in the first go and why I found it beneficial later.

The answer lies in the difference between curiosity and necessity.

When I went to do Vipassana for the first time, I was just curious. I felt meditation would be a cool thing to experience, and maybe it will also help me in doing some intellectual bragging among friends. No wonder then that I didn’t see any benefits.

When I went for the second time, one year later, I went with a different purpose: necessity. I had practiced Vipassana at home in that duration although not very regularly. I went through a few low points in my life and I tried to apply Vipassana to help myself handle them. And it did help. I could easily feel peace, get my mental balance back and strengthen myself mentally. I developed some faith in the technique and now I wanted to learn it seriously because it was going to help me in life. This time I saw lots of benefits.

So, I feel people who try meditation out of curiosity may not turn out to be its greatest fans. But if somebody is going through a crisis and he is looking for a solution, he would be able to see many benefits of meditation very clearly.

Meditation is the ultimate medicine. Actually meditation and medicine originate from the same word. One needs to go through the disease to experience the benefits of the medicine. Maybe that’s why a crisis guarantees a better understanding of meditation’s benefits.

Buddha decided to seek the help of meditation when he was going through the biggest crisis of his life. He had lost meaning in the life everybody is attracted to. He wanted a solution for the problems life throws at us.

But one doesn’t need to wait for a crisis before he tries experiencing meditation. One can learn and experience it keeping in mind the crisis his life is waiting with. Then he would be able to handle it better.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Smoking is nutritious for social life

My office is shifting to Gurgaon. And the question most of the people aren’t tired of asking is: “Shall we have a place where we can smoke and talk?”
Did you pay attention to the question? People aren’t concerned just about smoking, but about smoking and talking.
Well, I don’t smoke. To put it better, I hate smoking. But somehow I envy smokers.
Look at the way they easily make friends. Somebody is going out for a smoke. He needs a lighter. He asks a complete stranger. A good conversation starter!
Then they start talking. Hearts meet. Bonding happens. More people join. And soon there’s a gang of smokers from various offices having a nice time.
Contacts start building up. The friend circle broadens up. The one-and-a-half inch long tobacco roll does its wonder.
And look at the non-smoker. He is standing alone, enjoying the fresh air. The fresh air may do good to his lungs. But smoke may do better things to his social life.

Don't wait till Starbucks saves your life

If your company is your first love and you think everything else is secondary, please do read this book.
When I saw it first at Crossword, I picked it up and left it. I was not in a mood to read another book talking about how some ambitious chap made his way into the corporate circle. But when I saw it the second time in Crossword again, I read the summary of the book on its flap. It sounded interesting.
It was about a guy who worked in a top ad agency for 25 years and then was asked to leave overnight. He was too “old” to do his job. Then he learned some valuable lessons working as a barista in Starbucks.
I work in advertising. So I felt some connection. I bought the book.
It was a lovely read. After a long time, I finished something in a single sitting.  Our protagonist had worked day and night for his company. Then one morning he was fired. He couldn’t find another good job in advertising. At last, he got a chance to work as a barista in Starbucks serving coffee to people. There he learned many things he couldn’t learned the other way.
A few lessons I learned from this book:
1.       If loyalty is in your blood, save it for your country, family, relationships and friends. Not for your company.
2.       Never be arrogant. You might be doing extremely well today. But tomorrow may be different.
3.       Save some money regularly, dude! It helps.
4.       Develop skill sets apart from your job.
5.       Relationships are the most important thing. Especially those ones you develop without the greed of getting something in return.

By the way, did I forget to tell you something? Within a week, a top official in a company was asked to leave. I saw her emotionally shattered and hurt. I also remembered the way she used to treat her subordinates like dirt.

Things may change overnight. Then Starbucks may save your life. But it’s better to keep your priorities right from the very beginning since we have no Starbucks in India.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Build it first between your ears

I had been trying to do something for a long time. But it was not happening. It was just not happening.

And then, all of a sudden, it started happening. All the closed doors started opening. I didn’t even have to put the key in. When I searched for the reason, after a while, I got it.

Napoleon Hill talks about it in “Think And Grow Rich”. Once you make your mind to do something, your mind starts coming up with a dozen ways to do it. When you are just wishing to do it, somehow it never happens.

It all starts there, the place between your ears. You have to give your desire a concrete form there, before you start working outside. Once it’s built in your mind with a strong resolution, things get easier.

That’s why Hill named his book “Think and Grow Rich”. You have got to think. Think not like a part time philosopher with a cup of tea and sleeping mind. But think like your life depends upon it.

I love quoting myself!

  1. वर्षा की बूँदें जब दिल्ली की सरज़मीं को छूती हैं तो सैकड़ों हज़ारों गाड़ियां उनके सम्मान में घंटों तक सडकों पर मौन में खड़ी हो जाती हैं.
  2. Sex without emotions is like tea without sugar. Healthy for diabetics.
  3. He goes to sleep when you say what you have done for him. He wakes up when you say what you will do for him.
  4. A 3-hour-long feature film does have just one director. But a 30-second-long ad film does have so many directors: National Creative Director, Executive Creative Director, Senior Creative Director, Creative Director, Associate Creative Director……
  5. It doesn't hurt when a branded garments shop charges 1000 rupees extra. But it surely hurts when a vegetable vendor charges 1 rupee extra.
  6. Before joining advertising, I used to say, “Hey Bhagwan!” Now I say, “Oh f***!” Certainly, I have become cool.
  7. Can't I reach to paradise without dying?
  8. After how much work experience does one start feeling secure about his job?
  9. Leaving your job without having a new one can be as thrilling as bungee jumping.
  10. Give me some intelligence; give me some brain. Give me maturity, so that I can work again!
  11. If anything in this creative world is certain, if Bollywood has taught us anything, it is that you can steal credit of anybody in broad daylight.
  12. Dear Client! At my signal, unleash stupidity.
  13. Everybody should get married. It helps in sharing the rent.
  14. I'm scared of my own dog in my own home. That's life.
  15. A typical Hindu marriage has so many rituals that one gets dead tired. Then he/she decides to stay with the same person for the next seven lives.
  16. If you don't like smoking or drinking, try cribbing.
  17. बातों के भूत लातों से नहीं मानते!
  18. Time flies like an arrow. In winters, it flies like an AK 47 bullet.
  19. One week away from the office, and I forgot my office computer's password.
  20. Some people feel cold because the weather is cold. Some people feel cold because the air is foggy. And some people feel cold because they find on TV that the temperature of their city is quite low.
  21. What's so bad about getting old? Here I'm not talking about becoming 80 plus. I'm talking about crossing the dreaded barrier of 25.
  22. Can I ask you out for a cup of wine?
  23. People say,"Don't take tension." As if tension is the extra cheese with burger you can just refuse to take.
  24. I wanted to find myself. So I googled myself. Gosh! I felt lost among 2 million Alok Ranjans I found.
  25. दीवालों की दीवाली होती है बड़ी मतवाली!
  26. If one donkey refuses to take the load of two donkeys, he is called a bad donkey.
  27. Whenever I change my house, a temple with a morning loudspeaker follows.
  28. सुबह होती है, शाम होती है. जिन्दगी फेसबुक पे तमाम होती है.
  29. Women behaving like men are as attractive as men behaving like women.
  30. The age of 25 is a milestone. A boy realizes white hair will soon start chasing his head. A girl wonders why a knot hasn't started chasing her so far.
  31. Never be too useful to your company. The fattest chicken gets served first.
  32. हे ईश्वर! अगले जन्म में मुझे ऑटोवाला बनाना. सुबह-सुबह जब ऑफिस जानेवाले मेरी ऑटो की ओर आकर्षित होकर मुझे घेर लेंगे, तब मैं भी उस सुन्दर स्त्री की तरह रूखेपन से बर्ताव करूँगा जिसे आशिकों की कमी नहीं है.
  33. बारिश का मज़ा तब है जब आप पैंट नीचे से मोड़कर, हाथ में छाता लिए दिल्ली की नहर जैसी सड़कों में अपने मध्यमवर्गीय पैरों से पानी को हेलते हुए ऑफिस पहुँचें.
  34. Beauty lies in the lens of a good camera.
  35. मुझे नफ़रत है उनसे. फिर भी चाहता हूँ वो मुझे पसंद करें.
  36. एक वायरस कंप्यूटर को हिजड़ा बना डालता है.
  37. Crib about bad and get something worse.
  38. When I'm learning, I can't do it right. When I've learned, I can't do it wrong.
  39. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you crib about it.
  40. If you have money to purchase everything and time to enjoy nothing, you are doing well in life.
  41. न कोई मरता है, न कोई मारता है. गीता में लिखा है और मुझे भी कुछ ऐसा ही लगता है.
  42. Time flies like a supersonic plane. By the time you hear its sound, it's gone.
  43. Why do I get what I ask for others !???!!@#$%
  44. I've got a strange Midas touch. I touch a computer and it's mother board stops working.
  45. Conditions are so bad that Indians are paying more attention to the news of weather than to the death of the singer.
  46. Boys don't cry. They prefer heart attacks.
  47. INDIAN ONLINE DATING Scenario: 20 girls on every 20000 guys. 10 out of these 20 girls have put profile pictures of Kareen, Katreena or Ash. 18 of them have written hardly 2-3 sentences with 20-30 grammatical errors, in their profile. 15 of them are 35 plus. The rest haven't logged in for one million years.
  48. Lalu has been wiped out. But the cowdung stains will take a while to go away.
  49. How can BJP ever be the party of youth? Atal didn't have a son, Modi won't have one.
  50. Every dog has his day. But for a bitch, everyday is her day.
  51. My favourite jokebook is the diary in which I write plans.
  52. Everybody is rich, happy and white. Oh, I must be in Select Citywalk Mall.
  53. "What's in a name? Tell me your surname." -An Indian Voter
  54. When life gives you a lemon, be grateful it didn't give you red chilli.
  55. The recipe of social bonding has three ingredients: 1.Solid(chicken) 2.Liquid(booze) 3.Gas(smoke).