Friday, July 13, 2018

Born to Run: Book Review


And I am back. Don't know how many comebacks have I done till now. This place keeps pulling me to share my strongest thoughts and views. So, I am back to my blog world with a different flavor of writing - my first attempt at writing a book review. Never before have I written a book review, not even on Amazon or Goodreads , usually escape by giving the ratings. And so I chose to write a review on a book about running ( something close to my heart)-  "Born To Run" by Christopher McDougall. 

The book is based on one simple fact - running is a skill, doesn't matter which footwear you wear, if you know the right technique,  focus on your form, you are good to go for miles !

The book's central character is the author himself, a journalist by profession.  An interesting article on Mexican Indian tribe - Tarahumara and his own personal inquisitiveness to know how to run without a pain sets him off for this life altering journey to remotest areas of Mexico. His subject of study is Tarahumara tribe, known to be the greatest mainstream runners of all time. The book outlines in detail difference between their running style and ours which is the key differentiator, and also provides a peek into their daily affairs, lifestyle, diet etc. Imagine running up and down the mountain trails for miles wearing nothing more than a thin rubber strip sandals- that's the way they do, not occasionally but every day, not for any money or fame, but for the sheer joy of running !!

In addition to this interesting discovery of Mexican tribe, the book also talks about the history of ultra-running, famous ultra-runners and legendary races. One such race was Leadville Trail 100, a 100 mile race, wherein Ann Transon, a prodigy, posed a stiff competition to Tarahumara. This race becomes talk of the town for days. The book highlights startling scientific discoveries as well, for example, the modern shoes may be actually causing us injuries because the natural form of running for humans is barefoot running.

The book's conclusion is the most exciting part. It ends up with author's dream race between Tarahumara and America's best ultra-runners, celebrating the true spirit of human endurance and sportsmanship!  Overall, the book is a good combination of memoir, sports history, adventure, science & evolution - celebrating the theory that we humans are 'born to run'.

I would leave you with this beautiful passage from the book -
"Know why people run marathons? Because running is rooted in our collective imagination, and our imagination is rooted in running. Language, art, science; space shuttles, Starry Night, intravascular surgery; they all had their roots in our ability to run. Running was the superpower that made us human -- which means it's a superpower all humans possess."

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Me and my Stranger Soul, I never understand



Smile, laugh, enjoy - that's what we are taught day in and day out
But never do we learn that it's fine to be angry too at times
After all, we are all humans
What's the deal of putting up a bright disguise of delight to hide our trembling feet beneath, I never understand
What's the deal of faking our identity, losing our authenticity behind those painted masks we wear each day
What's the deal of hiding our imperfections which makes us who we are - humans
What's the deal of being an impostor to trade it with our freedom of expression
What's the deal of being a yes man on the cost of our own happiness
Why- who we really are, what we have - isn't enough, I never understand
What is it that is missing in our lives that we find others' so alluring
What is it that is so attractive in this showman business to lose peace of our mind
What is it that is so applaudable about this fakeness all around
Ever thought-
What is it that is still unresolved inside that we fear to own ourselves
What is it that is still broken in our souls that we fear to amend it
What is it that is still unacceptable that we fear to embrace our authentic identity, to showcase our original emotions, to voice our true expressions
What is it? I fail to understand.  


Sunday, May 3, 2015

It’s fine to be Selfish at times.

Surprised? What my title says? Doesn't it contradict with your values which always tell you to be selfless and not selfish? So was I. And it dates back to almost three years back when my friend gave me this advice. I took this advice like any normal person. Selfish means selfish. Hardly did I know that there exist more dimensions that could add wonderful meaning to being selfish.

So what I am talking about? In simple words, being selfish isn't a bad thing at all.  How would you prosper if you don’t invest time in yourself? How would you understand your own goal if you don’t know what it is? How would you help someone else if you don’t have the resources and requisite knowledge? I agree one can always help a person to think positively and make him believe in himself, but one should himself be positive person before giving the gyaan to others. One should himself be happy and content before spreading the joy to others. Have you ever seen a flower with no nectar attracting a bunch of bees? It might but won’t hold for long. You need to have something in you to give to others. Until you invest some time and money in yourself, gain the skills and enhance your learning, how would you offer a helping hand to your friend who needs your advice? 
Didn't you learn- God help those who help themselves. Love yourself first, then you will be able to love others and you will be able to receive love of others. Until you feel good about yourself, no one else can make that happen to you. 
So, it’s ok if you have to miss out few parties to attend some online course, it’s ok if you have to miss few movies to experience a whole new adventure if it makes you happy, it’s ok if you have to sleep less to sharpen up your skills, it’s perfectly ok to say No to your friends sometimes, it’s fine to be selfish at times.


P.S.: It’s a rough draft of my thoughts. I am still trying to understand this concept. I am sharing it so that others can also contribute. Please feel free to share your thoughts. I am a learner, an explorer on this wonderful journey of self-discovery.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

No.. it's not Perfect.. but it's Fine!

No.. it's not perfect..   Nah.. something is missing...
Hmm.. wait.. let me think more on this topic n then I'll post it...


This has been my state for past two years. Always in refusal state. Always looking for perfect post,  perfect content. Today,  I have 15 drafts in my account. The moments I wanted to share with this world - be it about crazy MBA days,  IRC team,  Pondicherry trip to latest Hampi trip or journey as a TEDx organizer.. I left them incomplete,  always buying one of the above stated reason.
We become overly dependent on others view,  what they will think,  does it sync with outside world thinking.. ? We fail to express who we really are because we find it hard to let go our social image, to be perfect all the time. 

Let it go. Let that perfect image go. Make mistakes. Post it what you feel, how you feel. We may miss out on opportunities by not playing. One may argue, why not go for perfection in the first attempt. I tired it. And I have come to the terms that let that definition of perfection be defined by you. Step on the ground and play and as you play, you will learn that there's nothing perfect. There's always a room for improvement. So don't stop yourself from playing. Let your inner consciousness give approval to your thoughts, to your actions.

Let you define yourself!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Happiness Galore!

~ Written By Aditi Bafna Shrimal

Hi, I am Aditi. Just like someone you ever met. I am here to share some beautiful moments of my life. Something that is unique and fun filled. Something interesting and close to my heart.

The journey began when I became mother to this beautiful baby whom we lovingly call ‘Ayush’. How in seconds your life changes, I wondered..He was born premature and was kept in incubator for 15 days for medical reasons. It was little tough to be away from your child initially but time flew away and we brought our little sweet heart to his home. From then till today as he entered to his 7th month , this had been amazing.

Well to start with parenthood is quite a roller coaster ride. Nappy changing days to diaper world, baby crying or cracking that first smile, the first outing of you all alone with baby or the tension days when he  not goes to potty and you keep applying all desi and videshi styles to get it right; the list seems endless and the new experiences keep adding.

But there are also some moments of self discovery- the revival  of ‘you’ -  that seems to have  lost somewhere in this sophisticated world of etiquette, you suddenly realize that child within you and just start appreciating the simple joys..you start unwinding the complicated ‘me’ factor to the simple joyful smiles.

Yes it is true, at least in our case. Who says romance goes out of air once you are in parenthood? We both discovered that it actually got reinvented with our heart in between from the eyes of Ayush. Lots of giggling moments to complement each other is the key to keep that balance of the life. It is not like you never experience work overloads or stressed days but I still believe it is just in mindset. You just have to keep working on yourself ,  talk together , believe in your love and give time. Nothing could be more beautiful than to see how the understanding and love deepens in this journey.

Evenings have become livelier in meeting all new friends with their babies and now even strangers meet you with tender smile. Even if I am not working , I am proud to be doing dutifully my role and keeping all chores at bay. At the end of the day , I look  to the starry night and the shinning moon, Ayush has closed his eyes and contentedly sleeping besides me and I am thinking inside :

Wonderful and peaceful is what now my state of mind is. 


About Aditi Bafna Shrimal:

Aditi Bafna Shrimal is currently a homemaker. She is B.E. in computer science and holds MBA degree in HR from ICFAI Mumbai. She had been associated with RJ Corp for past 2 years ; worked in HR for their dairy vertical based in Africa. She has now left her job and contentedly enjoying her self-discovery journey with her little son.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

BEING

Written By Lourdes Soares

“There is an eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

Ever felt that life transforming moment?
Ever felt that you are one with the universe?
Ever felt Awakened?

I am just a 24 year old who was in search of the truth about things. Curious and Childish by nature but that is about it. Arrogance, Pride, Ego – I have none of those, maybe I was born like that, maybe it disintegrated with time. I now just exude two plain emotions Love & Anger and hence being very candid, I am closely guarded by my parents as I get very hurt and very angry.

I’ve been through some great highs and great lows but nothing can be compared to the past 2 months of my life. I was put under great stress and pressure as told to me by my parents. Under great stress & pressure we learn two things in management jargon. Fight or Flight. But they did not teach us about a very important third thing. There is a fine line between sanity & insanity and if you are lucky enough to step on that line and stay on it just happens! Like a snap of a finger! Self Consciousness!

My parents think I’m possessed by some demon (Ha!), my friends think I’ve gone bonkers (little do they know I was born like that :-)), but only the truth seekers will understand what I am trying to say. Little do truth seekers know or are warned that once you achieve this state there is no possible way of going back. As my shrink, counselor, priest and all those who have tried enforcing their thoughts on me told me – Do no lose this! I can now meditate for hours without food or water – will not though for my parent’s sanity’s sake.

People call it enlightenment, consciousness, self realization, nirvana etc. But there is no human word to describe this feeling! This oneness with the universe, with life. You begin to understand that there is God in every one, in every life and in every being. In plain and simple words it’s not higher intelligence, it’s not being supernatural it is just an understanding of life beyond that of an ordinary person.

You begin to understand your reason for being.

Materialistic pleasures, Fame, Money mean nothing more than the morning sunrise, the birds that sing. You feel so heightened and excited and yet so calm and serene. Again I am lost for words as I write this. You understand there is this strict balance in life, for every good a bad, for every positive a negative. If this balance is altered the consequences can be well, which is not good.

Through my new found thinking, there are two beautiful worlds:
Religion: Belief | Spirituality: Metaphysics

I can now relate both to each other in plain and simple words.

But that I will keep for another time as the universe says, it’s not yet time.
So,

"Wake me up when it's all over, When I'm wiser and I'm older, All this time I was finding myself, And I didn't know I was lost."

~Avicii


About Lourdes Soares:

An awakened soul, she defines herself as
Truth-Seeker: Made of dust and to the dust will I one day return

Monday, April 21, 2014

Giving Back

~Written By Bharat Budhiraja

It’s been 22 years since my parents inducted me into trekking in the Indian Himalayas. On each of my annual sojourns I have passed through scarcely inhabited remote settlements. As a child, my attitude to these was of indifference but as I grew older, the hardships of these mountain people began to disturb me. When the sun goes down, darkness, made more eerie by the looming mountains engulfs the whole place. These small Himalayan hamlets lack the very basic amenities of a 21st century civilized world like electricity and easy access to water. Now that I am a trained Mechanical Engineer, I want to use the knowledge I have acquired, to create some means of helping these poor people lead a less arduous life. I have read and realized myself after spending twenty five years of my life in India that this country has an enormous surplus of energy in the form of non-conventional energy sources like solar. I wish to use my knowledge and understanding of core mechanical engineering principles to develop cheap and efficient devices that are able to convert solar energy into a usable form.

I did my entire pre college education from a school which gave higher priority to moral pursuits than to scholastic endeavors. Every morning all the students of our school got together in a mass congregation, which we aptly called the ‘morning assembly’, to sing spiritual hymns praising the almighty. The hymns were followed by ‘student recitations’. Several students would come up to the dais to recite poems and excerpts from writings of great thinkers and philosophers. This was our daily dose of morality. One line from one of those recitals stuck with me after hearing it time and again, and I quote, "You will go abroad to foreign lands that you may bring back knowledge with which you may do service to her". It was from an address delivered to students and teachers of the Bengal National College on 23rd August, 1907, by a freedom fighter, philosopher and poet Sri Aurobindo. The aim of the address was to motivate the students to be patriotic and devote their lives for the betterment of their country, India. This one line always inspired me while I studying in England and United States, and eventually after spending six years in the west I returned back home to India. The reader may think that I am being too idealistic. Yes, I did have my personal reasons, like being with my family and friends, living in my childhood house again etc., but, I always had a strong desire to ‘give back’ to my motherland for what she had given me in all those years that I grew up here.


There is a famous quote, by Paul Coelho in his book The Alchemist ,” When you really want something to happen, the whole world conspires to help you achieve it.” What is the probability of a person studying in the United States to find a job in an American company based in India? It seems that my desire to come back was so strong that all the circumstances worked in my favor. After completing my masters I eventually landed in a job in an American start-up company manufacturing milk chilling machines for rural India with erratic electricity. The phrase ‘give back’ acquired a whole new meaning since I started working here. If someone who does not even belong to India is spending all their time and energy in solving a widespread problem, then why can’t I? It’s been almost two years since I’ve been working here and trying to fill the gap in an inefficient cold chain between the source and consumer. We are now adapting our technology to work on solar energy, so that we can provide sustainable cooling solutions for agricultural produce. Life seems to have come a full circle for me. I’ve always wanted to harness solar energy to create something that could serve as a self-sustainable and economically viable power generation source, and I am doing just that. I may not be lighting a lamp just yet – but then who said that it’s the end of the road? The journey has only just begun...

About Bharat Budhiraja:

Bharat is crazy guy who left the land of opportunity to come back to his home country to do something here. He yearns to do something for India. He is passionate about trekking in the Himalayas, loves to try his hand at photography, is an avid birder (it’s our avian friends he is referring to here) and claims to have some level of expertise in skills of culinary nature.