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Saturday, 4 November 2017

Rise above the challenges of circumstances

Life seems so easy when things go our way, when we are sitting in the comfort of our home, when we are earning good money, when our bodies are in great shape, etc. It is human tendency to love comfort and detest change. So in the coziness of our easy comfortable lives, what happens when circumstances suddenly become challenging and tough? Our first reaction is to find ways to avoid the challenging situation or to simply escape. A human being’s favorite pass time in such situations is escapism. We love running (not literally) when the going gets tough. But life is not always a bed of roses and sometimes we have to bear the thorns. One must accept the fact that as bad times come and go, so do good times, then why not face the bad times with a smile instead of a tear? When life throws a dagger at you, you can either catch it by the blade or by the handle. Instead of worrying about the blade, why not focus on catching the dagger by the handle? Learn to turn your pain into gain and your hurt into happiness. While we rejoice in our glories, we must learn to rise above the challenges that difficult circumstances throw at us. We can achieve this in the following ways:

1. You always have a CHOICE

When a problem strikes, most people complain that they don’t have a choice except to suffer. That’s not true because we always have a choice. When a catastrophe strikes we have a choice either to panic and suffer or to survive, when we lose our loved ones, we have a choice either to become bitter or to accept death as the reality of life and become compassionate. It is okay to grieve when we are sad and one must do that but at some point we have to learn to accept reality. If you lose your job it is not the end of the world. Choose to work harder and find other solutions. In challenging circumstances, always remember that you always have a choice so choose wisely and empower yourself.

2. Stop playing the blame game

When life gets difficult, we start looking for a scapegoat to blame. If you don’t do well at work you blame office politics, if a marriage fails you blame your spouse or his/her family, if you suffer an illness you blame God, if you fail an exam it’s because the questions were too tough, if you lose money it is due to bad luck and the list goes on. Instead of focusing on blaming someone or something for a good day turning bad, accept responsibility for your actions and focus on self improvement. Think of ways to make things work because nobody and nothing is responsible for your fate. This is your life and you are in charge. You are sitting on the drivers seat and not on the passenger seat in your own car. You succeed because of your efforts and you fail because of your actions. 

3. Engage in physical activities and exercise that makes you happy

Involve yourself into some form of physical activity at least three to four times a week. This could be walking, sports, dance, martial arts, swimming, etc. This will not only help you to remain physically fit but will also help you to become mentally strong and focused. Challenging your body helps to train your mind to be prepared to face challenges. So get off the couch, switch off the television sets and get going.

4. Yoga

Yoga is a way of life and whichever form of yoga you practice, it will help you in more ways than you can imagine. Yoga helps you to learn the art of controlling your mind and concentrating on what you want rather than getting distracted. If you can master the art of controlling your mind, then you can control your emotions and reactions. You can remain calm even in uncomfortable situations. Yoga helps you to become aware of your inner self and the person who knows himself/herself can easily keep his mind under control.

5. Be like a Mathematician 

When a mathematician looks at a problem, he doesn’t try to escape it. He applies his mind to the problem and finds solutions. This applies to life as well. If you face a challenging situation, be calm and apply your mind to finding solutions to solve the situation at hand. Human mind has answers to all questions if used with focus and perseverance.

6. You are not alone - Have FAITH

Lastly but most importantly, always have faith in yourself and the hand above you. When challenges arise, faith helps you to rise above such situations. People with strong self-belief and faith in God are the ones who are able to rise above any challenge that life may throw at them. Don’t let the fear of a challenging circumstance shake your self-belief. If you believe in yourself then nothing in unsurpassable or impossible. Have faith that you can catch the dagger that life throws at you by the handle. If God brings you to it, then he shall take you through it. Where there is faith, there is no doubt, so never doubt your faith. You are never alone because God is always by your side if you truly believe in him.

Thus, you can rise above the challenges of any circumstance if you put your mind to it and if you believe in yourself and God. Don’t look for easy options and shortcuts. Be that man or woman who is happy during good times and happier during tough times.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

A heart that has faith

That day my coach asked me to dive in the swimming pool,
All my friends were encouraging me and calling me “cool”,
I smiled and waved at them but when I looked at the pool my heart sank,
The voice of Fear told me not to jump as the pool is deeper than a water tank,
I was nervous and cold and took a step back,
The voice of Love asked me what did I lack?
I said to Love that I was really scared and Fear was right in asking me to hold back,
Love said to me that was untrue and only cowards like Fear took a step forward and two steps back,
“If I am in your heart” said Love “then why should you fear, because if you fall I will hold you”,
Then Fear said “If you believe in Love then you will be all alone as I will leave you”,
I closed my eyes and took a leap of faith, I jumped in the pool with love and without any fear in my head,
Love said to me “The one who has faith is never alone as I am always here”, I triumphed and everyone clapped.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Diwali - The Festival of Lights, Hope and Love

Diwali (also known as Deepawali) is the Festival of Lights, Sweets and Relationships. Hindus celebrate this festival as the day when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya while Jains celebrate this festival to mark the attainment of moksha by Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism. Diwali is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India. The most significant aspect of this festival is to light the earthen lamps (i.e. Diyas) on dark nights and to decorate homes with colorful lights. This is a common practice which is followed in most parts of India during Diwali. This is the reason that this festival is called Deepawali, i.e. the festivals of Deep (lamps). Diyas are lit on Diwali to indicate that even one beam of light can reduce the darkness and create light and hope in our lives. We celebrate Diwali by distributing sweets and savouries to our families, friends and neighbors to express our gratitude for their presence in our lives. Everyone comes together to light the Diyas and to decorate their home with colorful lights. Most people do Rangoli (sacred designs drawn on floor in India during festivals and auspicious occasions) by creating beautiful designs on the floor with flowers or colors. This festival marks the message of love, hope, goodwill and family unity.

Before this festival begins we clean our homes and get rid of the clothes or other stuff that we don’t need or use by donating them to the needy. This practice signifies the importance of getting rid of unnecessary clutter from our homes and minds and giving away what we don’t need to those who need it.

Most importantly Diwali signifies that one must never lose hope. No matter how dark the night is one Diya is enough to penetrate its boundless darkness and create light. Similarly, no matter how difficult a situation is, we must never forget to light the Diya of hope and peace in our lives. Just as a single Diya is enough to light the dark night, a single ray of hope is enough to get through the most difficult times of life.

On this auspicious occasion of Deepawali/Diwali I wish all my readers have a happy, healthy and prosperous life which is always full of hope. I also wish to express my gratitude to you all for showing your love to my blog by reading my articles. My message to you all on this occasion is to keep that one Diya of hope always lit so no darkness can ever affect your life. This Diwali, let us spread light, hope and love in everyone’s life.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Changing your life is a Marathon not a Sprint

I read this quote one morning about treating life as it was a marathon and not a sprint. These words got me thinking and so I decided to write about it. When we focus on bringing about a change in our life to make it better, we often start with great enthusiasm and somewhere in between we lose our zeal. Have you ever wondered why this happens every time we try to bring some positive change in our lives? This happens because we treat our lives as if it was a sprint where we have to run fast to win and we are so focused on not losing that we forget to enjoy the race. But if we treat our lives as a marathon and appreciate the scenery and things around us while we slowly yet consistently move towards the finish life, then it would be far easier to achieve our goals.

Every day many of us feel bored and demotivated when we are working towards our goals or towards making a positive change in our lives. It can be frustrating not to see immediate results and that often leads to a feeling of monotony and boredom. However, if we are consistent and patient during  our journey to reach our goals, then we will automatically reach the finish line of the race without further ado.

Life is a journey to be enjoyed and thus we must not be overly fixated at the end result as much as on our journey. It is the lessons that we learn and the moments that we cherish during this journey which makes the race interesting. At the end of the race there is only one winner yet all others who participated are not losers if they enjoyed the process of completing the race. The feeling of accomplishment does not come by winning a race rather it comes from knowing that you went all out and completed the race. I am not suggesting that one should not be competitive. All I am saying is that one must not be so focused on the goals that he/she forgets to enjoy the journey that he/she goes through to reach the final destination.

When we have fitness goals, we are usually focused on the amount of weight that we lost and if we don’t lose quickly we often feel frustrated. Rather one must focus on the changes that the body is going through internally (apart from the obvious external changes) during the weight loss journey rather than the pounds that are lost or gained. Notice the change in your stamina, the number of stairs you are able to climb without feeling breathless, the improvement in your moods, etc. Don’t focus on the weight as that is just a number rather focus on the positive effects of exercise and food in your body, mind and spirit. When you do this, you will surely reach your goals without feeling burnt out and dejected.

“It’s important to remember that each footstrike carries you forward and not backward. And every time you put on your running shoes you are different in some way than you were the day before” (a quote on Pinterest). Enjoy the journey and the results will follow. Always remember it’s your journey and your goals so stop worrying about others perception and focus on your path. 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Striking a Balance - Technology and Nature

The child comes from school, drops his bag and runs to his tablet/iPad/mobile phone. The husband and wife are back home from work and as soon as they arrive home, after exchanging hellos with their family, the television is immediately switched on and remains on till it's time to hit the sack. We have all become slaves of technology. Although a lot has been written and said about this topic, I chose to write about this as one of my readers requested me to pen down my views on how technology has killed our quest for nature.

When I was growing up, we didn't have mobile phones and tablets yet we had a very interesting childhood. We would come home from school, finish our homework, have some snacks and then we would go outdoors to play games. Television and radio was a very important part of our growing up yet it would be switched on only for 2-3 hours in a day. Now the children of this present day generation may wonder how we spent our time if we didn't play games on computers or tablets and if we didn't surf the internet or message people on WhatsApp or Facebook all day? Apart from playing outdoors, we used to spend our time reading books or comics (remember Tinkle and Archies) and we used to engage in conversations with our neighbors, our family and friends. That is how we gained knowledge and learnt life lessons and values. We didn’t have google but we had encyclopedias and elders to help us solve our queries. How many people take their children out on nature trips instead of malls these days? When I go to a park, I see less children than the ones that I see in the malls. Our parents used to take us to Juhu beach in Mumbai or to some parks and gardens on weekends. We really enjoyed playing on the sand, water and grass. 

Technology is very important and has undoubtedly opened up many opportunities and new avenues in all aspects of life. But it is important to strike a balance in life for overall personality development. Instead of always going to the mall, take your children to parks or beaches. We learn so much from the trees and the sea. It is also very important for our health to go out in the nature and spend some time with our loved ones or simply ourselves. The walks in nature inspire creativity and positivity in a person and releases stress and tension. Nowadays even our exercise regimes are enclosed within the four walls of an air conditioned gymnasium. We are so comfortable indoors that we just don't feel like stepping outdoors to get anything done. I have a few suggestions for my gadget loving friends that may help them strike a balance:

  1. Sometimes we can go outdoors for a walk or jog or swim or play a sport instead of working out in the gymnasium. I am not suggesting that one should not work out in a gym, but a little change is good sometimes for your body and mind.
  2. Instead of looking at your phone while walking on the road or sitting in a waiting room, let us engage in conversation with our neighbors and other people sitting in that waiting room. Many great friendships are born while commuting in a train or a bus. 
  3. One should read books as each book teaches us some valuable lessons. 
  4. We should focus on developing new skills every year and develop new hobbies and interests to keep our mind happy and healthy.
  5. When we go on a vacation, try to get away from your mobile and tablets for a while and instead of taking pictures to post on Facebook and Instagram, build memories.
  6. Go to the park and beaches instead of going to the malls sometimes. It’s good to get some fresh air instead of inhaling the carbon dioxide emitted from the air conditioners.

We may love machines but we are not machines and that we must never forget. Don't let your world be trapped in the small screen of a tablet or a mobile phone. The world is much more than gadgets, there are many mysteries of life which can only be unlocked in nature and with human touch.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Bias of the Unbiased

We often hear people say they are impartial and believe in equality of gender and races, yet they choose pink for a girl and blue for a boy. Isn't it strange that the so-called “feminists” are always discussing about how a seat should be reserved in a bus or train for a woman and how it is important that a woman should be allowed to skip a line full of men as she is a “woman”? If you want equality then why do you want this special treatment and reservations? Why should the color pink be branded as a girl’s color? To me this is bias and not feminism. These days it seems that women are fighting (in the name of gender equality) for gender superiority and not gender equality. A Bollywood actress says something about the opposite sex and she becomes a “feminist icon” overnight. What is wrong with us and why are we always ready to start an argument or fight with or against the opposite sex just because we are women? There are laws to protect women safety such as dowry prohibition laws and laws against cruelty on women, etc. If we believe in gender equality then why don't the so called feminists fight for a law to protect husbands from cruelty by their wives and her peers? There are many households where the men are ill-treated by the wife and her peers but that woman is considered as a strong woman in our society. 

The time has come to fight for gender equality in its true sense and not in the sense that we have been doing so far. Women are not weak and they don't need reservations of seats while traveling or being allowed to jump a line full of men just because they are women. We are already standing shoulder to shoulder with men in all areas of life. So as women, let's fight for what is right. The modern woman needs to understand that the laws are for her protection and not for giving her the wrong advantage of harassing a man. 

Similarly, we have a very big bias about the color of someone's skin and we easily label and judge people based on their color or race. Just because a person is dark and has a strong built why do we consider him dangerous or unapproachable? The people who pretend to be modern and cool also judge others based on the color of their skin and religion. In many countries, employees’ remuneration packages are determined by the color of their passports and not their qualifications and skills. Yet, such organizations and people call themselves impartial and unbiased. We fail to realize the impact such judgments and opinions have on the confidence of an entire community. When we as a society fail to accept blacks and browns as one of us, we create a market for fairness and whitening products to generate profits. Then we debate about how such products should be banned. Why can't we accept black as black and brown as brown just the way we openly accept white as white? After all, it's just a color not a parameter that defines a person’s character.

Most of the times we don't even realize how biased we have become in all the choices we make. We should stop having a bias when we call ourselves unbiased. In my opinion, the real modern man or woman is one who accepts people as they are and treats them with equal respect, whether it is a man, a woman or a eunuch and whether he is black, brown or white. That is the person I would consider an unbiased person. As humans we err and that is all right as long as we strive not to judge, we can all survive.

As Gautam Buddha said “Until he has unconditional and unbiased love for all beings, man will not find peace”. 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

I am my Rescue

Lisa Nichols appeared live on the Steve Harvey show and made a very inspiring statement “I Am My Rescue..No One Else is Going to Come Rescue Me”. I was so inspired by Lisa’s story that I decided to write my own interpretation of these words.

When we are stuck in the midst of a difficult situation or a crisis, we always try to find answers from outside of ourselves. If we don't get the help or support that we expect from others, we feel disappointed and start blaming others for our problems. Mostly we blame people who are closest to us. Why are we always trying to find a scapegoat to blame for all the problems that we ever face? Life is not an easy ride, it's a roller coaster! You go up and you are bound to come down. Sometimes the days that we spend down maybe more in number than the days that we spend up. But we should never give up our spirit and we should learn to enjoy the ups and downs of life, just as we enjoy the roller coaster rides.

When I face a challenging situation, I tell myself that “this too shall pass so why worry when I know this situation won't last”. Then I calm down and look for solutions. Often people say that they can't find a way to get out of a tough situation. But I would say to these people that if God had brought you to it, then he will get you out of it. Do not lose faith and hope. If one has faith in his abilities and does not let his hope die, he/she surely will emerge out of any difficulty.

Sometimes the night seems too long,
And you feel alone all along,
But the night is going to turn into day,
And your face will brighten up with the sunray,
So don't give up just yet,
Coz the fight is not over yet,
Don't look for someone to solve your problems or give you a cue,
Coz you have to fight through your lows as you are your own rescue.

No matter where you are in life, make yourself strong enough to save yourself if you fall in a ditch. There is nothing wrong in seeking help when one needs. However, one must never forget that God helps those who help themselves. Teach your kids to be honest, brave people with strong faith because faith in oneself never fails. 

As Lisa Nichols said “Be authentic and transparent about what is not working in your life; identify what you are hiding and protecting and figure out the distance between that and where you want to be.”

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Tip tip barsa paani, paani ne aag laga di ⛈☔️

During this monsoon season in Mumbai (India) the rains drove everyone crazy literally, flooding streets and paralyzing road, air and train services. On 29 August 2017, it had been raining since morning yet I thought that the rains might recede, so I stepped out of my house to visit the hair salon at Juhu. During my ride from home to the salon, I noticed some water logging at some areas in the city. Light showers of the rain water were touching me through the open Mumbai Autorickshaws (similar to Tuk Tuk in Thailand). I was enjoying this short ride and pleasant climate which is the opposite of the weather in Oman at this time of the year. I was unaware of how bad the rains could get in the hour and a half that I spent at the parlour. When the hairdresser finished blow drying my hair, I received a call from my brother (Jaydeep Doshi) informing me that the train services had been stopped and that he may spend the night at his office. I went out looking for an auto rickshaw to take me home, but by then it was raining cats and dogs and the roads in Juhu near Amitabh Bachchan's house were completely water-logged. I tried to walk in the rains to find help but could see vehicles drowning in the rains and barely any cabs or auto rickshaws. During such times, the cab service of OLA and UBER were completely unavailable.
I finally managed to reach my cousins friend's Pooja Bhartia home by walking in the knee deep waters. While I sat at Pooja's house sipping chai and munching on a sandwich and homemade bhujia, people on the roads were struggling to reach home. As the rains receded, my cousins Niraj Doshi and Karan Doshi came to pick me and I finally reached home. My little adventure ended on a happy note. My brother Jaydeep had his own little and rather dangerous adventure when he travelled from Thane to Charkop on his friend's Enfield Bullet Motorbike, which is around 18 miles, in these crazy rains, "enjoying the green mountains and the rains" (these are my brother's words). He reached home safely the next day when the trains started.
In these beautiful yet crazy rains, some people were enjoying their chai with bhajias and pakoras, some were looking for transport to get home or a roof to take shelter from the rains. Yet, the city of Mumbai always comes alive during such emergency situations with its amazing spirit of brotherhood.   People were standing in groups near the open manholes to warn the people walking on the roads, human chains were being formed on the roads, hostels and vada pav sellers were offering free food, water and shelter to the distressed people. That is why I love Mumbai and am proud to be a Mumbaikar because no matter how busy and crazy this city drives you, it has a heart ❤️ of its own.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

My Daddy - Strongest

Sitting on the hospital bed staring out of the window,
Prior to his heart operation feeling anxious and low,
Is the man I grew up admiring as a hero,
Who now looks so pale and has a dull glow,
He fought hard and emerged victorious from the operation,
The doctor said he is fine now and will be ready in three months for a vacation,
His heartbeat is normal and he is able to take a walk,
He wants to meet people and have a cheerful talk,
While I see him improve with every passing day,
I realize how much he did for our family every single day,
I stop my tears and feel grateful for having a Dad like You,
Who kept us cheerful and happy even on days when he felt blue,
For every little girl her Dad means all,
Thats why when I am in distress it is my Dad who I call,
My Daddy maybe old but he is so brave and bold and doesn't like to rest,
That is why I tell all that no matter what life throws at us, My Daddy is the Strongest

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Me And You, Just Us Two!

Life happens in phases. When we are growing up, we go to school, then to college, then we think about the career to opt for and then we get hitched/married. Different people have different priorities and some choose a career, while some choose love. Most people choose both career and love. Once a couple gets hitched, the next phase of their lives is having a baby. Here comes the dilemma. In Indian society, even the most modern families and relatives start enquiring with a married couple about the good news (i.e. whether they are pregnant?) within the first few months of their marriage. These days the new generation of married couples are career-oriented and they also want to enjoy their life by engaging in travelling or other hobbies. Usually, having babies soon after marriage is seldom a priority for thenew-generation couples. That brings me to the question which we rarely ever read about, i.e. whether the couple really wants to have a baby or is it just a choice opted for due to different types of pressures.
In previous generations, the only pressure that a couple used to have for making a choice to have a baby was that of the family. However, these days there are other type of pressures such as pressure to fit in the society, pressure of being judged, pressure of friends, etc. Some parents insist that their sons and daughters should have a baby soon as they are worried that they may not live to see their grandson or granddaughter. This is so unreasonable and unfair to the couple who has to ultimately make the choice.
One of my friends was quite clear that they didn’t want to have any children and after a few months they told me they were having a baby. I was confused and baffled by this news as I didn’t understand how the sudden shift happened in their priorities. I was then told that most of their friends and business associates were having children, so to fit in that society they needed to have a baby. 
Another couple decided to have a baby because they thought that if they didn’t have a baby, they would be looked at as someone with whom “something is wrong” health-wise or financially.
Many people decide to get pregnant simply because all their friends have a baby and the only thing being discussed at the dinner table is pampers or the milestones which the baby achieves when it becomes X months old or the baby clothes, etc.  During such conversations, the childless couple feels left out and thinks that if they too have a baby, they will still have friends.
The above pressures are merely some types of pressures that the childless couple has to deal with while they are deciding what they really want. So many couples who have a young child are always complaining about sleepless nights and how difficult their lives have become due to this new addition to their family. They make pregnancy such a big affair, almost like a disease. If you chose to have a child, didn’t you know the things you would have to undergo as new parents? I believe the only reason for arriving at a decision of when to have a baby is when the wife and the husband actually want the baby. Have a baby because you really want it and not because of the societal or family pressures. Everyone has different challenges to meet in their lives. Don’t try to be like someone else. If you have a medical situation which complicates the process of conception, please don’t look at it as your weakness. The stress that one goes through, while sitting in the long queues outside a gynaecologist’s office is not worth it if you are not happy and if you are choosing to have a baby due to external pressuresFind out what makes you happy first. If you are happy, you will have a happy child. Don’t bring a life on Earth, if that life is only a means to meet some of your materialistic ends or to give you company when you get old. A child is a big responsibility and can add a new beautiful meaning to your life and your identity. Ask yourself whether you are ready to love unconditionally? Are you ready to sacrifice and change your priorities? Are you ready for letting the child go and allow him or her to make his or her own life choices when they grow up?
Having a baby is a wonderful process and when the baby is growing, the parents are learning and growing tooThe decision to have a child or not to have a child should be the decision of the parents and not due to the pressures from the family or society. People who don’t have children are as normal as those who have children. It is only a matter of what life you choose for yourself.