The roadways in Punjab and beyond

One fine day in 2004, I made a choice- infact I fought with the family and declared that I will travel by bus. With the school and coaching in Jalandhar, I would travel 25 kms from kapurthala by car. And it felt awkward, really awkward. I was 15 then and car seemed to be binding me. And borrowing this from what Zaakir says, freedom (Badal) important hai. It continued with 2 years of school and then 4 years of grads college where the journey lasted 9 hours at a stretch by bus and further, beyond my own state. This journey gave me perspectives, I met people- wonderful ones as well as creepy stalkers, helpful ones and touchy feely maniacs. I owe a part of me being bold to these bus journeys. It contributed to make me who I am today. The fresh breeze and sweaty smells, the rainy days and burning sun, the wet seats and shattered window panes. It was only these journeys/ travel times that I learnt:

  • You can be philosophical and easily, feel high on the roads πŸ˜‡
  • Personal space is important πŸš€
  • You can hit people if they touch you inappropriately. You can also abuse them. 😈
  • The bus drivers and conductors are sweetest people (it was just once/ twice or maybe thrice out of 1000+ journeys they dropped at a totally unknown stop at 5:45 in the morning & late in the night in Chennai )πŸ‘»
  • You can learn to write even when the vehicle is moving and so can You read πŸ“š
  • Punjabi songs/ bhojpuri songs/ Tamil songs/ Hindi songs and all the songs that You can ever remember 🎢
  • You can also travel to Guna (near Gwalior) from Shimla by a bus and so can you travel to chennai from Tirupati and so is Bangalore to mumbai possible. Mumbai- Shirdi is a common journey though. πŸ™ˆ
  • That I can travel for an hour standing in the bus and so can I, hang almost outside the door (your grip cannot be weak in this case) 🀺
  • Bonnet is precious for the driver, but if you’re nice, he’ll make space for you, put a cloth on it and let you sit there.
  • The best seat in the bus is seat no. 1,2,3πŸ’Ί
  • Seat no. 1 is conductor seat but you have to be nice to the driver and conductor to get that seat
  • You can pass a smile to your fellow passengers and the driver/ conductor and this isn’t hazardous for your health 😊
  • And, you can fall off inside the bus and right outside the bus- on your face 😭
  • Tips on how to get on or get off a moving bus (not recommended)
  • You can also propose your love on a long journey because they are a captive traveller now 😜
  • Buses are the lifeline when it comes to travelling within the state or even inter-state 🚌
  • And despite all this, you’ll get to over-hear some of the funniest conversations during your journey 🀣
  • I was always in awe of these conductors and wondered about their level of motivation for the job βœ‹πŸ»πŸ’πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ
  • The best quotes and wishes you could find on your journey
  • Jee aayan nu means welcome😍

Cheers to all these journeys!! Cheers to Pepsu and Punjab Roadways!! Cheers to what they made me!! And to innumerable journeys I took!!

A.

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Life is fragile!!

Is life a never-ending concept?

We must rather fear life than fearing death. When we go back to any of the Hindu scriptures or documents, all of those mention death as the ultimate reality. Following the course of last few days around me and listening to the discourse arising out of it; I realised life is unpredictable. We plan till infinity only to find that life itself has finite plans. That’s finite is undefined though. 

We must do good, relentlesssly towards ourselves and our fellow human beings. With this uncertainty; it states; do good till you have a chance. You are clueless when suddenly the game will be paused by the The Force. When you’re aggravated or upset or dejected, make yourself understand- this is all temporary and would never last long. Death is going to knock the door one day and wouldn’t even give you a chance to peek or shut the door on the face of it. We, all of us, will have to embrace death, without a second thought. 

A recent incident planted in me another thought that Life is Fragile too. It is so fragile that while we keep it safe and secure most of the time, we aren’t sure if it would break all by itself or any other external force. This force or pressure many a times would be even beyond our control. Life is delicate and not only you must take care of it, but you must look after to protect the lives of those around you. A crack or a bruise which isn’t superficial will break/ shatter it beyond repair. 

The thoughts are scary, yet, can never be learnt from someone else’s experiences. And once you witness this phenomenon, there’s no going back. 

Peace be onto the world,

A. 

Soulmate- who’s the One?Β 

I looked for the word “Soulmate” in my phone without an expectation. And there in front of me was a mail sent out to Geetanjali dated 6th Sept,’13, around three and a half years back which read: 

I read a new concept about Soulmates today.

β€œPeople think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. 

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. 

A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…” 

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Continuing with this mail- You don’t really feel their presence , in a way which is meant to be, when they enter your life. You don’t realise what they hold for you. You may even have no clue if they’re going to be one of the most important people you were to meet in your life. You might avoid them, love them or even hate them in the first go: for you’re clueless about them, just like anyone else you meet.  

I have been fortunate enough to cross paths with some of the people who I could call my Soulmates. My set of realisations after meeting my soulmate: 

  • I am one person who’s lived with their ego and have been proud of themselves. I realised how small and petty I am. I’ve felt small in their presence: with them being just one person; there might be so many others of the kind
  • Knowing your work well and being in love with whichever work you’re doing is of paramount importance 
  • Life has been easy on me- touchwood and I’m grateful for it. People have such stories and journeys which may be unimaginably tough and life changing 
  • Good times bring a lot of relatives and friends- not necessarily your true companions
  • People who stand with you in your testing times may be entirely different from the ones who you look up to today
  • I realised the superficiality in terms of knowledge and education I’ve been living with
  • There’s so much to learn and so many avenues to grow around 
  • I have my own insecurities to work about and transform myself into a better person  
  • Inspiration to take responsibility of my life and my surroundings 

And I’ve no qualms in confessing the frustration it built in me- I looked for help, desperately. Without an iota of solace, I headed out in all the directions only to find my closures within. I struggled, I asked for suggestions, but this wasn’t something I could ignore and move on with. I just couldn’t be the person I was before meeting them- I had to change. I’ve started off this journey of helping myself in ways beyond my expectations. I’ve done things I never believed I could and I’m wanting to do many more. 

People I thought have been my soulmates have left but I wouldn’t forget the lessons they left behind; those are worth pursuing. So, Be grateful to people who come into your life to change it once and for all. Don’t ask them to stay back- their purpose was very different than normal walk-ins and walk-outs. Believe in them and more importantly, believe in yourself. 

With lots of love and Best Wishes, 

A. 

Are you ready to die?

Do you know life’s going to end one day, all of a sudden, by itself, without any warning? It won’t knock on the door or peep through window. No doorbells, no calls (whether crank or drunk). No arguments, no love-making, no briefs and no underwear (bad joke).

When I hear such cases, I get a  feeling that they should at least have a clue that the end is approaching. And then I imagine if I get to know one morning that I’m going to die in less than a minute, am I going to have any regrets about it? Honestly, no. 

I read a beautiful statement the other day which I would want to share. Pardon me for plagiarism but I don’t know the source of this statement and it’s slightly changed too. “They say when you’re about to die, your entire life flashes right in front of your eyes. And when my time comes, this flashback would be so embarrassing that I would rather want to die.” Except that I’ll have to leave my Family. Not that they are dependent on me for anything, but it’s just that I love them. I would want to be close to them and not die. 

Just last week, I had a long and exciting trip which may be termed as thought provoking because I met some beautiful people who helped me think through what I’m doing and what I would like to do. I’m still not very clear, but I’m going to spend some time thinking about it. I’ll try to make my life more peaceful, enriching and an experience worth remembering.

And then I met a colleague yesterday, who helped me think more about  it. Rohit, that’s who he is; is fiercely competitive and is at the hilt of his corporate career. Young, 34 years old probably, he’s already promoted to the position of a head. He wants more and more and that’s where he sees his  satisfaction in. I, probably am, unable to understand this thirst and hunger and want to get ahead in  life (I was exactly there 4 years back, though- and I grew out of it). I wonder if he’ll be able to remember this journey once he would be  some 60 year old corporate honcho, Managing director of an  organization. Not that I’ll be able to remember my bufoonery, but that’s mostly because it’s going to be  an overload of embarrassed stories and crazy  adventures. Every one in life has a different perspective, and it’s almost beautiful to watch our co-existence in this world. 

For me, life is all about adventure (bungee and paragliding, that’s how I see it with my little eyes), fooling around (a drunk call, Random plans to travel), excitement (of being at a new place, meeting friends) and mostly about being with family. Tomorrow shouldn’t be regretful, because, There’s no tomorrow. 

Start living whichever way you like to, my friends. 

With lots of energetic love (bundle of energy wishing you) 

A.