WHAT YOU WANT TO BECOME? Why nobody is asking this question, now?

I was a kid back then. Like most of the new teachers; once a teacher came to our class and asked us to introduce ourselves, individually. His another favorite question was, “what you want to become in life?”

WHAT YOU WANT TO BECOME

We all were young kids. I asked my friend sitting beside me, “so, what you are going to answer?”. He confidently replied, ” I will say I want to become a Doctor”. “What you would say”, he asked, looking at me with his curious eyes. “I don’t know. I have no idea”, I replied. “Can you suggest me something?”, I requested. “You can say, you want to join Navy. It sounds cool!”, he suggested. “OK. Navy sounds good”, I assured myself. And then the conversation with the Teacher went something like this:

Teacher – So, kid! What you want to become when you grow up?

Me – Sir, I will join Navy.

Teacher – Wow! That’s nice. A Navy-man. So, which Navy?

Me (with puzzled look) – Sir?

Teacher – Defense Navy or Merchant Navy?

Me (in my head) – There are two? Damn it!

And then I replied any one option just to get rid of that situation. May be I was too young to actually take this question seriously. I didn’t know much about life back then.

May be, we all were too young to answer this question honestly, back then. In that age, we all tend to reply the answers based on what we hear from our parents, relatives or friends. We had absolutely no idea that how significant this question was? And we had no understanding to actually answer it from our own perspective. We encountered this question frequently when we were kids. And our answer would change every time. But when we grew up, when we started understanding little bit about life; people stopped asking this question. When we could actually have our own perspective and honesty with the answer, people just stopped asking this question. In childhood, they would bombard us with this question. But now, nobody cares.

I don’t understand it. Is it because now this question is not as fun as it was during childhood? Is it because now they don’t get same puzzled look from us like childhood? Or do they assume that, you can become whatever you want during childhood or till you reach 20s only? Or does everyone believe that, what we are doing right now, is something that we wanted to become? Even if we have become that. The question could be “what we want to become next?”. Our goals keep evolving with time, isn’t it?

What path we take is a different question. But we can at least attempt to answer it now. Asking this question now, will help each one of us to open our heart.
To seek answer to this question, I sometime look at the life’s philosophy of our parent’s generation. I mean, they have been through this stage. There must be a pattern that can help me in finding an answer.

Our parents had a very straight-forward, sorted-out approach to life. Learn a skill, pick a job, grow and stay with that job till retirement, fulfill your responsibilities and be content with life. It was a wonderful approach and it worked for them. They balanced work with personal life flawlessly.

But is this approach working for our generation? Are we content with same job or career? Are we content with the idea of staying in same state all our life and assuming that whole country works the same way as our home state? Most of us have had more than one relationships. Given that experience, are we content with the definition of love in modern world?

Are we content with the thought that I would give up my dream of becoming an artist or entrepreneur (or whatever), just because it is not practical to pursue it, anymore? Or just because no one is asking about it? Does that define us?

It is a great thing if you are content with life. It’s a bliss. But it is a disaster, if you have replaced the word “content” with “compromise”. Those who do so, they try to pursue same dreams through their kids.  Because, you can’t fake “being content”. Even if the world doesn’t know about it, you still know it, deep inside.

So, in this rapidly changing lifestyle, how can the question “what you want to become?” be inconsequential after a certain age? Just because you are grown up now?

At least, now you are in position to answer it. You don’t have to dupe the world, like you did in childhood.

Following same path will give same results and same regrets. Challenge it. Because what defines life, between birth and death, is this courage to challenge and defy meaningless and outdated approaches. No great person has ever become great without showing this courage in life.

So, what you want to become next? Answer it, you will feel better. Write it somewhere. Doesn’t matter if you become that something in one month, in 5 years or after 50. You at-least have the courage to answer it. And If you want to open your heart to me, answer it in the comment section below.

Let’s encourage each other in life to open our hearts by asking this question, sincerely!
– Ajay Bamel | #cherishdpal
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How It Feels Around 30?

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Few years back, I was having this “let’s talk about life” kind of discussion with a friend. He is 5-6 years elder to me. He is wise and I always see a guide in him.

He told me that, “once you touch 30, you get more realistic about life. You start accepting that death is real and you have probably lived half of your life by now. Your body starts giving inkling about this change. Accepting the thought that we are mortal can bring significant changes in life. You start getting rid of excess baggage that you carry in life, on emotional and conscious level.

You also realize that even if you keep denying it, you have very limited time left with your parents. And now they are not as strong as you have seen them since childhood. They have struggled way more than us and they still pretend that they are strong enough to take anything. But when you look carefully, you realize that time has played its brutal game already. They are aging and now it’s your turn to act strong.

In last decade or so, you didn’t give much attention to your family. Since you were too busy finding your path. But they always have been your support system, even if you didn’t realize it. Acknowledge their unconditional support and presence.

Now is the time, to keep them on priority. Everything is meaningless, if they are not around.

When you touch 30, you start understanding little bit about this circus’ of life. It is almost the interval and now you want to put some of your best acts on show. The acts, which should be worth remembering even after the show is over.

You should also learn modesty by now, be respectful to others. Because being a jerk doesn’t help anyone or anything in any way. Short-tempered, loud, obnoxious, cunning and self-centered people are a punishment in themselves. They are carrying the maximum baggage, unnecessary baggage. Stay away from them.”

I didn’t understand much of it few years back. But now I feel life is trying to shout and preach same exact words. He was right, its almost interval; and with all the experience of first half, let’s aim to write better script from here onward.

-Ajay Bamel | #cherishdpal

Pick Your Mornings Carefully  —  It Can Make All The Difference

Pick Your Mornings Carefully  —  It Can Make All The Difference

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Scene 1: The phone-alarm rings.You force your lazy eyes to have a glance at it. Its 7:00 am already. Your face frowns. You can’t afford to stay in bed. You drag your body to washroom and starts with routine morning rituals. You took a devil with you, which in a moment can connect you to outer world. Your fingers start scrolling the screen. You notice new but repetitive stuff in your news feed. Different names, different faces but same old activities. Everyone is out there to show-off momentarily good part of their life. You don’t even realize that you have spent over 30 minutes in that “scroll-the-finger” exercise. And suddenly you switch to panic mode. You are getting late for the office. You would probably skip your breakfast to reach on time. Suddenly, the little soldiers called ‘thoughts’ in your mind start over-powering each other. You have meetings, new tasks, mails to be answered and before all of that, you have to reach on time. You realize that you have so much work and so less time. You are more frustrated because this is not a one day story. You feel so helpless almost everyday. You feel that you are losing control of your day-to-day activities. Your only savior is the weekend, which come-and-go with the blink of an eye. You halfheartedly throw yourself in the battle of office activities and secretly wish to survive till coming weekend, somehow.

Scene 2: The phone-alarm rings. You glance at it with relaxed eyes. Its 6:00 am. You smile and instantly get out of bed. You just don’t want to waste a single minute of this ‘my personal one hour’ before throwing yourself to outside world. You splash cold water on your face, it feels fresh. You resist that urge to take devil-phone with you in toilet. Even if you take it, you use to for reading to warm-up and train the little soldiers called ‘thoughts’ in your mind. You keep a track of time because you are all excited for that running/yoga/gym-session that you cherish so much. You feel rich because you have time for your personal activity. You cherish this part of the morning because its calm and silent out there. The air feels cold and fresh. You take a deep breath to drink it with that favorite music that you just plugged in. You again feel rich because you have time to notice and appreciate nature around you. Your delighted heart put its signature on this ‘me-time’ of one more day in your life. You are all charged to take on the day ahead after that healthy breakfast. You feel that you have some control on your life and can plan to do something more productive during the weekend — 2 full days of ‘me-time’. You realize that you are getting better at it by picking more productive activities in the morning. Every morning.

Most of us are victim of scene-1. But this is not story of just one day. It would go on for months and years. This story of every morning becomes a life in itself. And given a choice we all would love to choose scene-2 as our life. We all would love to have some control on our life. So, pick your mornings carefully. All we have to do is push our alarms one hour back, every morning. Good day!

Ajay Bamel | #cherishdpal

One New Hobby, That Changed My Perspective For Life

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We humans have evolved a lot in last few thousand years. One thing that has helped us in this evolution is our curiosity about life. Whenever I look at a child I realize that she has to learn so much in life and she is doing it most efficiently in first 3 decades of life. Then the process becomes little slow. But that is time when we actually start realizing the power of learning. By that age, we can easily read, talk and evaluate things on our own. After that the world expects us to contribute back based on our learning. That is the time when we start feeling that we have learned enough and that curious mind becomes little lazy.

One new hobby can help our mind to fall in love with that curiosity again. You learn so much by just one new hobby. Let me discuss with you one incident of my own life here.

When I was 17 (and introvert), I joined a gym as new hobby. My first day at the gym was miserable. You find yourself between those strong looking fitness freaks. The kind of efforts they were putting and the amount of weight they were lifting drove me crazy. The first thought that hit my mind was, that I can’t do it, ever. But somehow I decided to stick to that place.
By sticking there, I realized that this hobby was not just about the physical strength, it was also about becoming mentally tougher. It was about doing something that you couldn’t imagine to do in past. During those initial days of struggle I learned 3 important lessons:

1. Start small, but do start: I was lifting just 5 Kg of weight. It looked kind of funny among those big build guys who were doing rigorous workout. But I was improving on it every week. In few months I became one of those fitness freaks, high weight lifting guys. I could have never improved if I had not started, small be it.
This learning has helped me with every new project in life. Start, just start. Even if it’s very small step, take it. And then build on it.

2. By working together, we grow quick: Of-course there was a trainer, who would guide me for different kinds of exercises. But, the maximum learning came from my other gym partners. They all looked huge, big tough guys, but they were actually very cooperative whenever I needed a support/guidance. Initially, I thought that I was competing with others in the gym. But gradually I realized that I was competing with myself only. When I tried to compete with others, it made me restless. I was under some invisible kind of pressure. But the moment I realized that I was competing with myself. It took away all the restlessness and replaced it with a motivation to do better than yesterday. We all together, were competing with our own pasts and aimed to make it better in future.
This same thing happens to us in life also. When we work together, we grow quick. But when we start that invisible rivalry with others at work or in life, it can take away all the fun of that particular activity.

3. When you encourage others, it returns back multi-fold: There used to be incidents, where I used to struggle to lift weight or to do particular set of reps. Someone standing near me, would just shout “Come on, you can do it!”. And that will somehow provide a hidden power to complete that particular task. I learnt it and did it with others who were struggling at a task. When they completed it, I felt good.
That’s how encouragement works, not just in the gym but also at work and in other parts of life as well.

It was more of mental toughness that I gained from a place where I was actually working on my physical toughness. These 3 important lessons can be learnt from any hobby that you like. It could be learning music or dance, learning new game, learning new software or learning new language. Every hobby will help us in turning into a better version of ourselves. Right now, when I am writing this article, I am trying to start small, I am trying to learn together and I am trying to encourage ourselves for a better future. Find a hobby and you will realize, there is so much to learn. Lots of success to you!

-Ajay Bamel | #cherishdpal

Two Teachers

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Chapter -1

“Why are you standing outside his office, just go inside and talk to him”, said Parv. “No, I can’t. I am too scared of Parth Sir”, replied Nikhil. They both are school time friends and now studying in same college but in different departments. Parv was a very shy person during school-time, he would hide himself when any guest visited their home. He would just run away if some girl tried to talk to him. On the other side, Nikhil was always a very confident person. He could easily talk to any stranger or any senior during school-time. Parv was always impressed from Nikhil’s skills. They both became great friends over a period of time.

Now they both were in the 2nd year of their graduation and were trying to catch-up with the pace of life. Those who knew Parv since school days would be surprised to meet him now, since he was much more confident than before. He wanted to explore himself now; he could confidently talk to anyone. One evening in the playground, Parv asked Nikhil “why are you so scared of him?”. “It’s not just me, we all are scared of him”, replied Nikhil stretching his right arm. “But why?” wondered Parv. “We don’t know. He is so silent; he rarely scolds us but when he looks at you, he can make you tremble in fear” was the reply from Nikhil doing bend-stretching. “May be you people are not following his instructions, be attentive in his class, and complete your work on time”. “That’s not the case Parv, we have heard these horror stories from seniors that if he find any indiscipline from any student he would fail you in his subject” replied Nikhil. “Fail you? There are punishments for indiscipline, failing someone should be judged on the basis of academic performance” said Parv doing lunges. You would not understand Parv, all his lectures are session of terror for us. We feel petrified in his classes; nobody from us can dare to ask a question. “Are you idiot? If you don’t ask questions, how would you learn?” said Parv in very firm voice. “We don’t learn, we just survive his classes” was the spontaneous reply from Nikhil.

Nikhil couldn’t sleep properly that night. All he was thinking about the past one year. He and Parv started at almost same level in the college, but now Parv was the one who looked more confident and full of activities. He was doing so well in his study and in cultural events as well, people admired him so much. Whereas, Nikhil looked like a scared child who was too afraid to face that one teacher. He thought, Parv was lucky to have a teacher like Ram Sir. His teacher would always ask the students to raise questions, and to participate in cultural events or in the sports. Ram Sir would rarely scold anybody and would always inspire his students to do more. He had so much patience when it comes to dealing with students. Ram Sir was teaching the students for last 18 years and almost everyone loved him. They all admired him. Parv became entirely a new personality after meeting Ram Sir. Whereas Nikhil went to a different zone after meeting Parth Sir.

Nikhil still remembers the 1st day of his college when his father came with him to college. On his way to college his father had told him that, Nikhil now you would enter a different world. You will get a chance to discover yourself, you will learn lots of new things, you will make lots of friends, and you will be dancing and singing on the stage. Just be disciplined and explore yourself. You will become a lot more confident person when you will move out of college. Nikhil thought this all is so true for his friend Parv, but he himself has not evolved much. May be a teacher’s role is more than just teaching. May be Ram Sir knew how to get the best out of his students (each one of them). Ram Sir knew that each one of his student had something special in them.

Today, Nikhil is working in an MNC. He gets appreciation from all his colleagues and seniors for his work. One evening he gets a call from Parth Sir .. (TBC)

From Airport to traffic signal !

The international airport in Delhi is one of the fabulous places. His flight landed and he was very keenly observing the atmosphere at the Airport. Sad faces, happy faces. You get to see almost all the expressions and emotions if you are at airport. People come to say goodbye, people come to receive someone. You get to see lovers, friends, relatives, strangers and all other possible combinations. But he was alone, nobody came to receive him. He got into the cab and rolled down the window to feel the almost gone cold of Delhi for this season. 

He was mesmerized by the beauty of the airport and surrounding. Green parks, wide roads, beautiful girls, rich people and clean air. Life felt at its best. He just loved that 6-8 km stretch and then his cab entered into some crowded traffic. And it started diluting the memories of airport, that calmness and peace he felt on the way. His cab stopped at one of the traffic signal and he saw 3-4 kids in unclean clothes and with some toys in their hands. They were trying to sell these toys. It was a Tuesday and 10:00 am in the morning. So, probably they don’t go to school and stay on this signal to make some money by selling toys. And now he was completely awake. He couldn’t decide if that was real or this is real. Whether he should stay put in the memory of beautiful world he felt at the airport or he should look at the poor and helpless reality across his cab window which he had rolled up sensing the noise and pollution of the traffic. There were few more vehicles at that signal and nobody cared about this poor reality. May be they are so very used to it now that they don’t feel it anymore.

In those last 45 minutes he felt two different worlds in the same city and in the same cab. And of-course most of us choose to be stay put in the memory of first world because the second world challenges our idea of “it’s a beautiful life and perfect world out there” feeling. The signal turned green and the cab just moved on but he left a piece of his thoughts at that signal which he had created while returning from the airport.

Patience (part-2) ..

While sliding down through that escalator in metro station, Nikhil called Chitra and told her that they have offered him the job. Chitra was happy and sad at the same time. Happy, because Nikhil has got the job and sad because they both would be working in different cities now. Life has this interesting sense of humor where a person has to figure out, to balance between feeling happy or sad in the same moment. It was during childhood only where we could be either completely happy or sad in that one moment. But now every feeling or achievement seems like partially filled. That completeness has actually lost somewhere over the time.
Nikhil was looking for job but he never understood the concept of this job life. So he was not feeling any kind of happiness or emotion, he was more busy in observing the pretty looking girls of Delhi in that metro train. He thought this city surely is a goddess of beauty. Even the ordinary looking girls from his home town look so attractive after shifting to this city.
Chitra was little worried as she thought everybody says that long-distance relationships are very difficult to manage. But, Nikhil told her not to be worried. He had his own perception and view towards this situation. He told her, “look, it all depends on our feelings. When I had to stay away from home and my parents during college time, it made my bond even more stronger with them. I felt more loved and cared to love them more. I was always excited for those vacations when I could see them again. Those who find long-distance relationships difficult and finally give upon it are the one who were actually looking for something else since the beginning (may be they didn’t realize it). And long distance thing gave them great excuse to explore that other interest or relationship that was locally available”.
On the first day to his job, he keenly observed everybody around him in the bus. They all looked so busy, pre-occupied with thoughts. Some were shouting on the phone, some were frequently checking time in their watch. “God, it’s a busy city”, he thought to himself. Do they actually realize this time and these activities or are they on some robotic mode where they are in the crowd but not connected to the crowd. He thought, may be one day he himself would also become like this and will not be able to connect with others because of this robotic mode.
Nikhil is a shy guy, but very polite in nature. He met everybody and greeted them on the first day of office but kept silent most of the time. He was observing them during work. How could they all spend the entire day sitting in a closed building? It was a long day for him, but for others it seemed like any other normal day, where they did some routine work, made some new strategies, cracked some jokes with each other, consumed some cups of coffee or tea, attended few calls, wrote some mails, checked and discussed some breaking news. They all looked so effortless with these series of activities, may be they had become expert with it because it was also part of that robotic mode this city had to offer.
One good thing about this city was that now he could expect to see his college friends more often (except Chitra). Then he thought to himself, does Chitra also feel the same about this robotic mode or she can still connect with crowd and can find a new day as actually a “new day”? He also thought what people do for fun here, does that also become some robotic activity to them?
He tried calling one or two friends, but they said “could we please call you later buddy, we are in a meeting right now”. You are bound to “act” busy in this city, he thought.
That evening he called Chitra and discussed about his first day experience. And after a few minutes he started crying. Yes he was feeling lonely, he was missing his family. He thought to himself, he did not realize it but his decisions in life have brought him away from his home and family and it happened so silently and slowly. And this time there was no going back to home once the college ends or between summer vacations. Because it was beginning of a professional life and he couldn’t see the other end of it.
TBC..
PS – “Patience” is a long story, its a journey that will unfold its events with each new part

Patience (part-1)..

It’s ok.. life would give us another chance.. This is our struggle time when things are not going right, Nikhil told Chitra taking a sip of juice from his glass. Sometimes the glass is more appealing then the drink it contains.
Nikhil and Chitra were close friends during their college time. Even before they could realize it people assumed that they are in relationship. But it took them 1 year to digest and accept that they are truly in a relationship. Both are from small towns of 2 different states and the dream of doing something big in life has got them in a Metro city now. Both were adamant in the beginning that they would not get into relationship with anyone as this is their parents responsibility to find the right partner for them. But this common thinking became the biggest reason for getting them closer and for a strong bond.
Anyway, this is a difficult time as Nikhil is searching for job and companies are not willing to take fresher as market is slow. They want experience to work for them and to get experience you need to work somewhere. This is a big irony in present market scenario that how to get work experience before you have got your 1st job. Fresher has become a red alert word for the companies. Nikhil continued before Chitra could speak a word “I am getting a feeling that now days the companies have lost the courage for trying the fresh talent”. The more educated they have become the more fear they have recognized, I miss those daring entrepreneurs.
Chitra was fortunate to get a job through campus and was feeling helpless in this situation. She has tried everything and has put all her efforts, but getting a job.. Just one job in such a big city has become a task as if they were asking for being the next president of India for which you have just one vacancy.
After doing graduation from one of the best institute of India, one doesn’t expect such a hard time just to get into the corporate world. Anyway, Nikhil smiled and told Chitra that she should not worry for future. He will go back to Mumbai and would try to find a job there. In future they could be back together working in the same city. May be life wants to teach us the hard way, Life has something big in store for us. When things are not going right for you, then you start zooming on the smallest given possibilities and opportunities. It has been 8 months since they both are trying hard to get a job for Nikhil in same city (preferably!). But now they have accepted that god has got some better plans for them and is guiding them the hard way. Nikhil said that “I have lost my faith in the companies and their Highly Reluctant (HR) team”. No wonder after sending mails to more than 50 HR person and getting reply from just 1 person he has given a new expansion to the abbreviation HR that was used for Human Resource. He feels that the HR team is so lazy now days that they don’t ever care to reply your mails even for the sake of courtesy.
Time has been trying their patience for long time now. And it can make one philosophical too. But they both are not ready to give up. In fact this hard time has made their bonding stronger. Nikhil continued, giving up has become the easiest solution for this generation. People give up in relationships as they have to adjust a little bit to stay together. They move to next partner believing that they would find the better one this time but the truth is that you have to turn your partner into better one and should cherish your relationship. Those who believe in replacement process for better partner are in a lifetime trap. And such people have given upon love long time back. Chitra said, “do you remember Arpit from our college time”. Nikhil said “ Oh yes he is with his 5th girlfriend right now”. And he used to tell me that “ pyar vyar kuch nhi hota”. It’s not his fault actually he got failed in love 5 times, now he just doesn’t recognize love. People sacrifice relationships for their ego, misunderstandings and career; it is not surprising that they just cannot stand hard times together.
“Then how have we managed to stay together Nikhil in such a hard time”, Chitra asked. “Patience”, Nikhil replied. “In difficult time we are fighting together with others to stay together but weak people would fight with each other to go with others as they believe in replacement process”, Nikhil said.
Getting a job doesn’t seem to be that big issue when you know that you have someone to standby you. You know that you have got life time inspiration with you and living life would be more meaningful from now on. You can conquer any situation now. “Keep patience”, Chitra said. Whenever she had said that, life would throw something bigger at them to try their patience.
They are in their 20s and are trying to live a life of their dreams, they will get it.. not today then surely tomorrow! And this is what inspires Chitra to live and fight hard every day. Nikhil is trying to get on a feather so that he can fly with the wind called life.
But life has a strange way of surprising you. And they were no exception, the next week something much unexpected happened..

In Conversation With A Terrorist

I don’t know what they tell you or what they teach you. But what you are doing doesn’t make sense at all. Because neither you are brave and nor you have courage to be real you when you are in public. You wait for dark nights and intrude in my country. You mix-up in people, hide your identity and kill a few of them. They even don’t know the reasons why you are doing this because you never talk to them being real you. You never discuss with them what you want. You just try to kill them or threaten them. But this would never help you in winning their belief. You can never win a man’s heart by killing him. And if you have killed a man, whom do you think you will conquer after that. You don’t have courage to look into his eyes and tell what you want. I am just an ordinary man who will do anything to protect his family and here you are trying to hurt my bigger family, my nation. If I can fight for those 4 family members, you just cannot imagine how much I am ready to give when it comes to 120 crores of my family members. We respect soldiers for their bravery, dignity, integrity, honesty and courage for being the real them, when they are with us. You are not even a soldier (if you had a misconception), that’s why whatever you do is defined by just one word ‘terror’, and that terror is inside you as we all are blessed with peace and life inside.

I am talking about peace, not because I am scared. I am brave enough to live life in peace. It’s you who is afraid; it’s you who hides and stabs me from behind. It’s you who is not sure of, what to do with his life except throwing it away. I am still not sure, what you are trying to do. Do you want to kill a lot of us or you want to scare a many of us by killing a few. Either way you are a looser, and you can do this for years but you won’t get anything meaningful for life out of it. Either you end it here or become a reason of disgrace for coming generations, who will laugh at you for the way you were trying to make a life on earth by shooting it, bombarding it or stabbing it every day. You did not even understand the basics of life and you thought you could tell others, how to live here.

And yes, I am an ordinary man but it will take just a moment to add an ‘extra’ to it and become extra-ordinary, if needed. Because I am brave enough to look into everyone’s eyes and tell how I am going to make a meaningful life on earth.