You, darling, are your own first

Been a couple of months,

I hadn’t really picked my pen,

Listening to its voice had gone out of question,

Trying to pave my path,

Through a cloudy mind,

I can at least try,

My brain reminds,

Consciously, I don’t really know what to write,

Perhaps it’s the chaos that can ironically be my guiding light.

It’s been long,

That I’ve been living in oblivion,

Not only to the outside world,

But also towards my own,

Sentiments, feelings, emotions, and expectations.

Not that I’m incognizant of their existence,

However, I fear encounter,

I doubt my resilience,

As it’s easy to win the battles outside,

Than to calm the tempest inside.

Honestly, it is a disconcerting thought,

The mind – a denizen of my own body,

Needs to be fought,

The heart whose purpose is to pump blood,

Needs me to get out of a questions’ flood.

Being a host, I ask myself,

Does this turbulence hold any relevance?

Yet all this affects me,

As I can’t knowingly ghost out,

On a part of my own existence.

If I come to think of it,

I am always surrounded,

By gazillion thoughts, emotions, and questions,

Yet I never shy away from branding myself as lonely,

Why? Because I can’t cherish my own homies company?

Within the next few seconds,

I firmly take my stance,

“Answer your own questions,

Quench your own thirst,

Because you, darling, are your own first!”

The Common Genetic Elements of an Indian B-school DNA

A degenerating planet witnessing 7 billion people with both distinguishable and indistinguishable traits owing to the points of differences and parity respectively. The morphology, cultures, attitude, and orientations differ, yet the central dogma, 99.9% of DNA is still similar resulting in commonalities across Homo sapiens. Analogically, each Indian B-school is unique for its value proposition, yet there exists a few common genes or the building blocks of their genetic make-up.

The four-walled buildings encompassing a gazillion dreams and a billion tomorrows have abundant norms, offerings, and value-adds, but simultaneously, there’re a few silly things too running in the lineage. Apart from the cliched infrastructural superiority, beautiful campuses, plethora of opportunities, erudite professors, intense competition, enormous stress, never ending rat-race, relative grading, and myriad of clubs, committees & interest groups, there are a few small offbeat things that are not so dear yet persistent.

First, the infamous clan of ostentatious folks who are ever-ready to become the center of attraction, with mostly over-occupied minds for not minding their own business and believing in the culture of self-pompousness. Second, the deep-seated ailment of desperate class participation (DCP) practiced by the family of garrulous people who are not even remotely cognizant of concepts of logic, laconism, and cogency; and by the ardent followers of religion called narcissism. Third, the godly concept of GLOBE (General Leadership Oriented Business Education) – establishing the prime mantra “siddhi moolam globam.” This is profanely put into non-contextual (in a temple of “contextually relevant”) usage to create a not-so-meaningful impact by leveraging overloaded jargons from an MBA lexicon. This has diverse applicability in varied constructs such as classrooms, GDs, examination halls, and interview rooms. Fourth, the curse of shitty mess food to bless students with indifferent taste-buds and extraordinary capability of tolerance (in an intolerant country) towards tasteless food. Fifth and final, the specter of placements that hovers all across the campus, brainwashing students into doing crazy stuff right from following sheepish tactics for impressing God to formulating mischievous machinations to out-win others.

As much as we hate to admit these being an integral part of the IIM fraternity, yet it is impossible to weed out these cultural elements given the usual co-existence of the Saint and Satan.

Where do You See Yourself in 5 years?

Another Friday evening as I take the last sip of my coffee while shutting my laptop off. Feeling so relieved as if I’ve gotten a lifetime of liberation. Gushing thoughts completely unleash mostly on a Friday evening because of unrestrained endorphin and serotonin flow in my body after concluding a weeklong hide and seek with timesheets and client deliverables. While trying to control the rein of my thoughts, a queer thought knocked on my door. A thought which was soon to commence a unique game of ‘Single Player’s multivocal – Never Have I Ever’ as soon as I was just done with the hide and seek. What a better moment for the epiphany than this to realize “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” – A little sexist though, because who thought that going forward Jill might want to do something more than just ‘fetching a pail of water’!

Anyway, as soon as the game begins, my heart shouts, “Never had I ever thought that I’d succumb to such monotonous life”, taking the next turn my brain goes “Never had I ever thought that you’d be such an idiot.” Acknowledging the voice of both integral organs and deviating my focus away from their frivolous fight I thought “did I ever think of a life like this? Was this my life’s big fat plan? Is this what I’d always wanted to be? Am I content with what I’m doing daily?” And what not, a classic conversation towards trying to uncover the precious purpose of my lackluster yet lucrative life.

Soon enough, it wasn’t a mere Never Have I Ever or a race of thoughts but a war of wits. Within myself, I’d time travelled to my childhood thinking of the most basic question – What do you want to be when you grow up? And the answer always was ‘an astronaut’. Then moving a little ahead on the timeline, the answer to the same question was ‘a pilot’. At the time when life made me look in the mirror of reality (though it’s pretty ironic, given the limited capability of a plain mirror to produce nothing more than a virtual image :P), I realized that it’s almost impossible for me to become what I wanted to, looking at the way I sincerely sucked at Physics. But as you know, life’s never short of options, you think of one, you stumble upon a hundred. At that point in time, I got a new-born obsession – the obsession of becoming a researcher in the field of healthcare (had I been able to foresee this era of COVID-19, I’d have persistently pursued my dream back then). Anyway, I diligently worked towards that for six years in my life, but life had some different plans altogether. It was a tough competition between the fate and deliberate choices. And that was an inflexion point when I realized that platitudes like “life is what you make it”, “you write your own fate”, etc. aren’t completely true. Because they are as idealistic as the behavior of ideal gases in an ideal scenario (which seldom is the case, given n number of external variables which govern our lives).

You must be wondering as the train of my thoughts halted at the stations of becoming an astronaut, a pilot, a researcher, but what was its final destination? Well, even I don’t know what it is going to be as I’m young enough to conclude that what I’ve right now is final because as of yet, I’ve only lived through a quarter of my life. But all I can tell is that I eventually ended up doing an MBA and currently working with a consulting organization. Not that I don’t cherish my job or regret not becoming all that I couldn’t, but I most certainly have realized that at times life brings you to such crossroads where apparently it’s about your decisions but in the end, life has its own plans for you (you can gladly disagree if you want to 😊).

We might end up making innumerable plans for our life but they are mostly like the government’s 5 year’s plans (obviously with much truer intentions, a lot more effort, and a hell lot of logic :P) which more often than not don’t end up being executed as dreamt of! Bringing me to one of the biggest reasons why I hate recruiters asking, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” – Dude, you see that I’m an engineer turned consultant (all that I’m left to study as a part of formal curriculum is only humanities) and yet you’re smart enough to think that I can provide you a blueprint for my next 5 years (put your brain to some use at least, Sigh!).

A perfect moment for me to realize that Marshall was correct in saying, “That’s life, you know, you never end up where you thought you wanted to be” but that doesn’t make it any less exciting, because what would life be if you exactly knew what was going to happen! If you simply took out the surprise element? Wouldn’t that be more monotonous then? Even Ted Mosby says “The great moments of your life won’t necessarily be the things you do, they’ll also be the things that happen to you.”

At the end, all this just makes me wonder if I’d ever have the balls to be able to tell this to an interviewer upon being asked “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Paucity of Time is a Mere Scapegoat

Tic tac tic tac
Tic tac tic tac
Click click click click
Click click click click
Fingers deftly moving on the keyboard keys, typing the last email for day before logging off the laptop. Eyes fixated on the laptop, screening each and every word for the sanity check. Because who on Earth wants to be perceived like an idiot? (In the end, it’s all a game of perception, no? :p). Chuckling inside, because this at least gives me the leeway to be idiotic secretively.

Demerits of being a loquacious person, the mind always digresses from the pertinent topic at hand and starts connecting all the distant dots. However, this has a lil merit too because my acknowledgement of digression actually helped me recall that this is how my mind was wandering while writing that last e-mail. Sigh! It’s tough not to be distracted.

In that state of wandering thoughts, I started thinking – Is email writing gonna be my only kinda writing? Are client presentations gonna be my only space to be creative? Have I already succumbed to the corporate life? Have I already accepted my new identity of a corporate slave? Am I always gonna be this fatigued after work? Are my creative skills being sucked out slowly by Microsoft Office Suite? Are shades of Srishti gradually being supplanted by the hues of a Senior Analyst? Am I earning enough for a comfortable livelihood, but somewhere losing the life itself? So on and so forth!

I hit the send button and logged off the system. Right after, I took out my diaries and a few colorful pens, fooling myself into the fanciness of the paraphernalia. As if the only thing stopping me from writing in the 21st century was the hidden stationery (times when my stupidity does peek-a-boo and I act in refusal to acknowledge it, similar to an adult un-acknowledging her fart in public).

Soon after I decided to face light, trying to dilate my pupils while coming out of the darkness of oblivion. The first thought which popped up my head was “why in the first place I started writing”, because being an MBA graduate my brain has been attempted to be programmed for structured problem solving. Recognising the cause, breaking down the problem into small chunks, solving for each piece, and then fit in the puzzle pieces together to reach at the solution. Alas! despite a big hole in the pocket to learn problem solving, I still stand inept to untangle my thoughts and arrive at a clear-cut solution. But what’s wrong in giving one chance to your degree worth 20L and following a classroom approach for a can’t-be-more-real type of real life problem!

Putting my foot on the accelerator of thinking, I recounted all instances of writing, how the journey began in 2017 when I got chicken pox right before my CAT exam and was put in isolation. When the only voice I could hear was my own, when the only thoughts that surrounded me were only mine, when there was no kind of distraction, when I was neck deep in the ocean of anxiety and all I used to do was to think. Similarly, most of the other instances were also painted either on the walls of overthinking or sullenness or loneliness or incompleteness. Everytime that I used to write, it was after my date with my thoughts. A date which never felt fulfilling. A date where something would just not feel right viz the ambience, the starterters, the main course, the dessert or perhaps at times the company itself.

Oscillating on the swing between the why(s) and why not(s), I realised that a feeling of incompleteness or unaccomplishment has been the fuel to my train of thoughts. But now, with a formal job at hand, that consumes 2/3rd of my day, I’m not getting enough fuel. Moreover, the monetization of the tasks I do has started trapping me in the pecuniary trap of rapidly realizable rewards. The tangible has started overtaking the intangible. The material satiation is trying to supplant the mental satisfaction. The tapping of keys is attempting to suppress the voice of my pen. But most of all, my lack of passion and this new born child of complacency are leading me into the state of deception. Because paucity of time is a mere scapegoat, but not the root cause of my dwindling writing pattern!

Monsters of the Head

cuckdoo-coo zzzzzzz
cuckdoo-coo zzzzzzz
cuckdoo-coo zzzzzzz
6:30am – snooze
6:35am – snooze again
6:40am – another snooze pampering my laziness
6:45am – finally, I open an eye, at least starting to think towards waking up and pay some respect to my decision of putting an alarm in the first place. As I wake up cognizant of my conscious laziness, momentarily my head gets puffed up with thousand thoughts. Cursing me for my long lasting and ever-cherished friendship with beloved procrastination, and for my bitter-sweet animosity with waking-up-early.

Soon after, an unexpected moment of epiphany – for someone who was diligently reluctant towards even waking up, somehow enters a pensive state. She recollects all those times when things could have been done differently – an array of flashbacks, reeling sequentially in her head – establishing a new first in life. The first instance of watching a movie even without buying a ticket and that too, at such an early hour of the day. The only difference from a theatrical experience being her inability to grab a tub of popcorn.

However, it isn’t so that she didn’t get awarded with any refreshment. Rather, she received a gift – a present from herself – a box of entangled thoughts, thinly wrapped in the gilded guilt. Her lil and tiny brain struggled hard to make peace with it. Because it wasn’t really fond of or accustomed with the idea of returning gifts.

As she frantically opened the ribbon and undid the gilded guilt. She met a long lost friend ‘her inner voice’, who made her encounter her fat friend procrastination (whom she’s unabashedly treated with sumptuous feasts), by deciding against the seemingly right, and embracing the easy. With utter zero realisation about how one day, a heap of the easy might pile up and decide to interrogate her.

Only to make her realize in the end that it’s never the path which is difficult to tread, but only the monsters of the head. The ones who mischievously connive and make one believe the otherwise, by luring one into embracing their friendship

Nature’s Supremacy

photo-1499578124509-1611b77778c8

Amidst the lockdown,

Immersed in boredom at house,

Switching between read & browse,

Spending most of the day,

In front of the screen,

Juggling among Netflix, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter & Insta stories,

Reminiscing the days of freedom,

Trying to relive the moments,

Virtually through pictures in gallery & Instagram,

Missing those who are part of an extended fam,

Video calling & attending zoom meetings,

To convey our sincere greetings,

Checking YouTube to hone our culinary skills,

As this inordinate OTT consumption offers no more thrill,

Traditional, boomers, generation X, Y or Z,

Living lives revolving around WiFi.

 

Stealing a few moments,

From this closed world of gadgets & machines,

I step out to feel the cool breeze,

The soothing wind brushing past my body,

Re-ensuring that I’m still lively,

The rustling of leaves,

And their mellifluous melody,

Caress my ears with a much longed-for symphony,

The serene moon,

Scintillating like a big round silvery white plate,

The moonlight smudging from its circumference,

Its blurred boundary & a lot more to appreciate.

 

The rare sight of an empty lane,

With literally no humans around,

Not even peeping through their window panes,

Only dogs, cats, mosquitoes & insects could be found,

A sullen atmosphere full of quietude,

With nobody on streets, roads & ground,

A snap thought crosses my mind,

Nature has its own ways to rewind,

In the mere blink of an eye,

It could make the usual go awry,

Making us realize the transience of our existence,

Showing the consequences of our negligence,

Establishing its supremacy over human race,

Reinforcing its perenniality with un-parallel grace!!!

The Lockdown

Just a few days before the lockdown,

Life was paced,

Everybody was participating in their own race,

People in jobs were tired,

Rest is what they desired,

Children wanted a break from school,

They considered the routine to be cruel,

Daily wage earners were fatigued by the labor,

They too wished a sigh of respite,

A lil discontinuity that they could savor,

The oldies at home felt lonely,

Hardly they could interact with the family,

Everyone was dutiful,

Everybody was busy,

The inability to break free from usual daily regime,

Was the reason of widespread gloom,

They were free to operate as per their will,

Yet they felt caged,

For the world of responsibilities,

In which they were caged!

 

A few days hence,

The tables have turned,

All those free are put in a fence,

Taken aback by the government’s unprecedented stance,

Yet again, there is frown,

As this time, it is a lockdown!

 

No offices, no schools, no jobs, no fixed schedules,

From the hustle-bustle,

Everybody is set free,

Yet it turns out to be even bigger difficulty!

Everybody has gotten gifted with an interval,

An interval that isn’t fantastic, but tragical.

The movement is restrained,

The projects are stalled,

The exams are postponed,

The society has come to a halt,

Moreover, the economy has hit the trough,

Indeed the time has gotten tough!

 

It is no more about choice,

There is no freedom to rejoice,

Everybody is knocked down the knees,

With no chance of anybody fleeing.

 

The old hectic life is being yearned for,

As the pause feels like a silent war,

Efforts are being made, prayers are being enchanted,

For the restoration of normalcy,

That we’ve always taken for granted!

 

Boredom, idleness, & hunger are taking a toll on life,

People are looking for ways to survive,

An everyday life that came for free,

Is now being valued by many,

“We appreciate the ordinary only when it goes missing”

Reverberates in my head as I’m writing!!!

Digital Convocation

Convocation
Today was the day,
When I was to convocate,
When my MBA journey,
Was to officially culminate.
It was supposed to be a big day,
Not only for me,
But for all my batchmates, professors & parents,
Who were as exhilarated as me.
A month in retrospect,
I remember, how delightful were we,
So eager to make arrangements,
For travel, attire and accommodation.
Indeed our souls were set free,
As the sense of pride made us go whee!
Our content and happy faces,
Couldn’t contain the rejoice,
As we’d successfully traversed the curvaceous path of our career choice.
On one of those nights,
A euphoric dream knocked at my door,
Giving me the glimpse of myself,
Holding a degree, wearing a graduation hat & a robe,
Jubilated, I felt in my heart,
It was indeed an end to my MBA journey,
But simultaneously marked commencement of a fresh start.
Being ecstatic,
I rummaged in my cupboard,
To find my old diary,
In which I’d written my tangible & intangible goals.
As I turned the pale pages,
“Sense of contentment from the pride in my parents eyes” caught my sight,
And the very next day,
I booked my parents’ flight.
Now, here comes the convocation day,
I wake up in the morning,
And check the date,
It says ‘March 25, 2020’,
A slew of messages on whatsapp,
My friends wishing me a happy convocation,
An Instagram feed full of posts,
Where people are convocating,
In a parallel universe free of coronavirus.
And here I sit thinking,
Who’d foreseen the convocation to stall,
And the class of 2020 convocating digitally on WhatsApp chats, Instagram feed and Facebook wall!

Wick of Hope

Wick of hope

One sombre evening,
When the breeze didn’t blow,
Sun was there,
Yet there wasn’t enough glow,
She was treading her way down the slope,
In her heart, carrying a big hope,
The hope to fulfil dreams filled in her eyes,
The hope to distance from all she despises,
The hope to find a companion for life,
The hope to keep her spark alive,
The hope to accept all shades of life,
The hope to do that with a smile,
The hope to conquer all her fears,
The hope to wipe-off all the tears,
The hope to satiate her own desires,
The hope to courageously get across all that universe conspires,
While hoping, her eyes shone bright,
But simultaneously, a droplet hung there,
Like a pearl scintillating in the light,
With a mere slow blink,
The pearl detached itself,
Deeply immersed in thoughts,
All by herself,
She got little startled.

The very next moment,
Sunset caught her sight,
The calming orange circle,
Bringing sheer delight at a single sight,
With another blink,
She had a huge smile,
Trying to capture that beauty in her eyes,
It’s only today that might be ending she realised,
Yet there’re a couple of hours before the sunrise.

She might not have accomplished all she wants,
She might not have faced all that daunts,
Perhaps her progress isn’t as much to count,
But she still has time, to accomplish all that’s in line,
Only till the time her wick of hope, stays alive!!!

Is It That Bad To Be Sad!

Stepping in the future,
Letting go off the past,
It’s easier to say,
Because it leaves an impressionable impact,
We cry, we try, we succeed & we fail,
Despite every effort,
We still can’t get rid of the past’s trail.

A new day,
A new vision,
Looking at life from a new horizon!
Who loves to be sad?
Nobody does! 
But sometimes,
We can’t control your own happiness,
How much ever we feel,
It’s us who have the power,
But at times,
Emotions do overpower.

Why’s it important,
To be happy always,
So much so,
That at times we have to fake,
Isn’t sadness too a feeling equally qualified,
Then why does it lack the tantamount pride?
Aren’t we supposed to feel,
Different shades in the spectrum of emotions,
How’d we ever witness a rainbow,
If there’s no rain but only sun?

Ever wondered,
If there’s a purpose behind ‘dusk, autumn, fall & rainfall’
If it’s sunlight and spring forever,
Won’t the dawn lose its charm?

It’s tough to be Happy all throughout,
Maybe embracing the sadness,
Brings all the pride to happiness that it glibly enjoys,
Perhaps the wick of sadness,
Keeps itself burning always,
To let happiness achieve its glory, grace & praise.

Probably such is the fate of all that’s underrated in life,
The overrated gets to leverage the hype,
The underrated secretly paves the path,
Silently imbibing all the wrath on its part,
But the overrated proudly walks with its chin-up,
And we, the fools, nonchalantly ask ‘what’s up?’
Leaving a soul with not much of choice,
Because ‘I’m fine’ or ‘I’m great’,
Are the most socially acceptable replies!