Tuesday, August 23, 2022

That Little Sack on your back!


Recently, members of my trekking group completed three rather difficult treks successfully. Over the weekend, we had a small gathering to listen to their stories.
One of them shared his story of how he suffered from fear of heights and how he struggled to navigate thru the challenging terrain. He was in the middle of nowhere with an Indonesian guide who hardly spoke any English. So there was no dialogue, no words of experience or wisdom. There was no way back, he had to overcome all his fears and move forward. Not easy.
Seeing his struggle the guide offered to carry the little sack on his back. It wasn't very heavy, nor was that impeding his trek. But he had no particular reason to refuse help so he agreed.
Miraculously, he started moving well on the terrain. The weight wasn't much but the fact that he had no weight on his back made him feel free, made him think positive and take the challenge on. Real life is not a fairly tale so he did struggle but on the whole he performed much better than before.
Probably we all carry some light sack on our backs. Something that may be insignificant ... may be some sense of responsibility, guilt of not being there for loved ones, guilt of not exercising regularly... something that keeps working at the back of our mind which drags up down.
Maybe once in a while, we should assess the loads and our backs and offload those which drag us down! Worth a try!

Monday, June 20, 2022

Drive away blues!

 How to drive away Monday Morning blues?

We usually start our working day with some meetings and greetings. Usually the discussion goes this way
Q: How are you?
A: Good. same old same old.
Why don't you try this. Instead of asking "How are you?" ask "What is new?" see how the expression changes. There may be some who are dying to tell you what is new in their life. Some others would not have thought of doing something new for a long time. If you keep asking "What is new?" instead of "How are you?" you will slowly start motivating people around you to break the monotony, go out of their routine and do something new, something interesting, something that will create memories.
When someone asks you this question, share minutest new thing you have done or experience you have had. You may have tried tomato sauce instead of usual chili sauce at your routine McDonalds meal but describe the experience, describe how you felt, describe whether it worked or it didn't.
Even if you are living the most perfectly happy and contented life, try something new. If it works you will be happier. If it doesn't you know you had the best life already.
Start a new cycle! do something new! Drive away blues...be it Monday morning or life in general!

Thursday, June 16, 2022

When was the last time you tried something for the first time?


When was the last time you tried something for the first time?

Usually I never miss an opportunity to do something new, something I haven't imagined before. I may or may not possess the required skills. I may or may not be able to learn it on the go. I may make a complete fool of myself.
But this is what attracts me to the activity. I tell myself - It is ok to fail. It is ok to suck at it. But it is always worth a try. A new experience is alluring. Helps you to appreciate skills t
hat you don't possess. Helps you to build empathy if something goes wrong.
Last week I got an opportunity to flip Pratas. Prata is the lowest priced meal available in Singapore. It costs roughly about a dollar a piece and comes with unlimited helpings of curry. So prata flippers are often neglected beings. Probably they make lesser money that those who flip burgers.
But the skill level required to flip a prata is immense. Firstly there is no undo button. If something goes wrong you need to scrap the dough and start from the beginning. Hand dexterity required to handle the thin layer is very high... more skilled you are thinner are the layers in the prata.
I sucked at flipping prata. So one thing is sure the next time I see a prata flipper I will look at him with admiration...
That's enrichment, I guess.
What do you think? When was the last time you did something for the first time in life? What did you learn?

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Why are we so happy on Jan 1st?

It's a mass illusion. Hysteria of some sort. Come Jan 1st every year. all over the world, we all feel very happy. There is a spring in our stride. There is a smile on our face. The sky appears more blue, trees are greener and moon appears a little bigger.

Trust me, it is all in our minds. Nothing has changed. The Sun and the Moon are blissfully unaware of what we are counting. They are just charting their own course around celestial spheres without a hint of emotions. Birds are busy finding their own food, just like yesterday. Fish are swimming, just like yesterday. And as a famous forward goes - year is new but you have same job, same spouse but bigger targets.

Everything is the same. Yet magically all of us are feeling happy. We are digging thru our address books to send best wishes. I received some wishes from contacts who were completely lost somewhere in time dimension or space dimension or perhaps the wavelengths changed. But without fail all of them wished me and my family well. I totally appreciate that.

To me, our happiness on beginning of new year is tacit acknowledgement that nothing lasts for ever. Whether we like it or not we believe in circle of life. If 2018 was bad, we hope the negative cycle would be broken and steady accent will start. If 2018 was good, those who see glass half full try to make 2019 better and those hapless souls who see otherwise brace for negative cycle.

The modern world is filled with negativity. There are barriers of trade, religion, politics, cast, race, gender, generation, money ... virtually everything. I read pages and pages of daily news to find one positive, optimistic news. But what I love about Jan 1st every year is somehow everyone turns optimistic. Everyone believes things will turn out to be better. Somehow all the barriers would lower down. We hope that as everyone around us is going to be an year older it would make them nicer, kinder. We hope that experience of one more cycle of seasons would make us wiser. The world will take one step forward to be a happier place.

It is that silver lining to a dark cloud that shines brightly across the whole world which probably makes all of us happy just for a day!

Happy 2019!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Elusive Mt. Fuji Part 6

Watching the sunrise at Mt Fuji wasn’t the end of our trek. The destination was reached but the journey was far from over. We still had to climb down 1700 mtr. This was a different challenge altogether. 
From the summit of Mt. Fuji to our dormitory was simple 45 minute descend. The same queue that ascended was descending. But the mood was quite different. There was no competition, no rush. There were smiling faces, laughters. Row of colourful jackets looked pleasing to the eye. We reached the dormitory and had our breakfast. 6 AM. Little did we know that there was another challenge waiting for us.
We packed and checked out of the dormitory. 7 AM. Wondering if there would be any other place whose check out time was 7 AM.
By now the sun had started beating down. It was quite warm. Being a volcanic mountain, the top of Mt Fuji is quite barren, there are hardly any trees or any shade. But that wasn’t the biggest challenge. The biggest challenge was the slippery slopes. Its famous as sand run in Japan. Basically its a very steep slope with gravel, small pebbles and sandy soil in different proportions. This makes the slopes very slippery and dangerous. The possibility of slipping and falling down exists at every step.
Initially, I was very careful. Making sure my trekking pole is nicely placed, making sure I was getting tight grip for every step, determined not to slip and fall. But later, I saw some trekkers literally running down the slopes. They were not scared of slipping and falling. In fact, they were using slipping down the slope to their advantage to cover some distance. Instead of controlling the slipping, they were anticipating and allowing the slipping and moving down very fast. They seemed to enjoy it too. After a bit, I threw caution to the wind and I tried that technique too. After a bit of trial and error, I started enjoying that too. I was coming down much faster and had lot of fun. Sure enough I was slipping and falling but was getting up with a smile and doing it all over again.
My Vonfucius mind said - your glory is not in worrying about the fall but to get up every time you fall with a smile.
We took long stops, refreshed ourselves with drinks, clicked pictures. With this worry-free technique descend was fun. Before we knew we were in the bus that took us back to parking lot.
It was exactly 24 hours since we started our ascend. Out of those 24 hours we were trekking for almost 16-18 hours. We were carrying a back pack which was nearly 5 kg. The meals were paltry and basic to say the least. We were at the mercy of weather, for some time we felt hot, for rest of the time we shivered. The beds we slept were so narrow that you couldn’t move your hands without touching your neighbour. In short, we went thru all the hardships we could in last 24 hours.
Yet when we got into the car we said - The fun is over, we have to go back to grind till next time buddy!
So here we are back to the grind of air conditioned offices, swanky cars, plush sofas, flat screen TVs and high speed internet, pining for next escape to the mountains!