I Don’t Know

There is a temptation, without a blink of an eye,

aware that how my life has gone so far.

And, yet in the comfort of one’s home,

Deep down my heart cries with the words, I don’t know.

 

The sound of a soul in distress,

do you know how it sounds?

For I have been privy to once in a while,

Not this time as the words I don’t know have never been clearer.

 

Like always it is occasional, so uttered my mind,

as I turned away, to focus on mundane things.

However, it was different this time as my heart pounded,

I don’t know, I don’t know.

 

The external voices, and these internal voices,

I struggled to pay attention to both.

For one I get the minutes in an email,

What about the other? I don’t know, I don’t know.

 

Neither the comforting food is offering solace,

nor chatting with my peers.

I find it hard to have a space of my own,

So that I can know why the voices say, I don’t know, I don’t know.

 

How do I share this feeling, call my mate?

Or should I let it unfold like it always did?

And, at that precise moment, the cries intensified,

I don’t know, I don’t know.

 

I ran, ran and ran till I reached the top of the town,

With no one around, it was a comfort zone.

Mustered all the courage and uttered it loud,

I don’t know, I don’t know.

 

At last, my mind synced with those cries,

As I dived into the precious sounds of silence.

Those few words were a tonic to the ones that affected me,

I don’t know, but I will figure it out.

 

It isn’t easy to utter I don’t know,

Unless backed up by the raw courage.

No one but you can find it,

I don’t know, and it is okay.

 

The path to my immediate life became clearer,

With the journey thus far being memories.

Each step forward is a step unknown,

And, that’s the beauty of it, because I don’t know.

 

Moments later, the fear factor of the unknown returns,

With a promise to never let me go.

The struggle continues, will it be eternal?

Maybe I do know the answer, or maybe I don’t know.

A Decade To Remember

Today, I came across this comic by Gav, whom I regard as one of the creative artists of our era. His methods are simplistic and to the point. His illustrations drive towards a conclusion, that makes me think, introspect about my life and its choices.

This time, he features David Bowie, the late singer who departed in 2016 leaving behind hundreds of songs and in them, his memories.

In my lifetime, I have been surrounded by artists and been privy to some of their creative thinking methods.

There are few confident artists who can deliver the line, in a style Rhett Butler from Gone with The Wind would have whistled in approval.

At the same time,

Many artists have succumbed to the ‘pressure’ after smelling the sweetness of ‘success’. The pressure extended by others, who in a way are just being themselves or doing their job.

There is public, a gallery, who perceive, who decide, opine, and critic. We do not think about the handful of those who praise.

Why restrict to artists, it applies to all of us, isn’t it?

Let us dwell into some of the quotes that was recently featured in the comic:

“Never play to the Gallery.”

“Never work for other people at what you do.”

“Always remember that the reason you initially started working, was that there was something inside yourself that you felt that if you could manifest it in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you coexist with the rest of the society.”

“I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfil other people’s expectations. I think they produce their worst work when they do that.”

“Go a little bit out of your depth.”

 

These lines strike a chord to some of the unusual career choices (going by my peers) I have made in my life.

My path drifted a great deal from the norm (again, my peers being the yardstick) with the creation of a blog ten years ago. I wrote, despite my lack of skills as a writer.

For what I understood, ‘First, there are rules, then there is a room for amendments.’

We are humans, we cannot live by the commandments as we strive for better lives, evolve into something different from our previous generations.

That’s the order – we can get-in and create something wonderful or hold on to some of the antiquated rules sans adaptation.

Late 2006, I remember, my brother talked about ‘venting my feelings’ through a blog. I had a diary, a blog opened a world previously not seen.

Looking back, I might not yet have a best-seller, or a regular column in a top newspaper nor am I a celebrity blogger.

Instead, I have gotten to know myself better and that, trust me is a reward.

Happy Birthday Thatha

The tenth day of January remains a special day in my life. Since the late 1980s,  I was made aware about the dates and the use of it for occasions to wish, celebrate or remember.

My maternal grandfather’s birth date happens to be 10th January.

He had a liking to write – in his case, it was personalised letters, which he wrote frequently. My mother replied to all of them and my birthday wish to him began with a letter – “Happy birthday Thatha,” that’s how I called him or refer him to this day, ‘Thatha’.

And, in the 90s, it was our time to send him greeting cards. My sister and I used to write our unique messages. Wish, I had a way to scan those cards we sent.

He retired from his service and lived in rural Bangalore, and thereby much closer to us. We made those visits if his birthdays were on Sundays or else it was still the ‘greeting cards’.

Then came the telephone, he was just a dial away from receiving our wishes.

As I grew up, I fancied riding on a bike to wish him on occasions.

Few years later, we would drive with our family and celebrated with him or have him down to the city so that he could spend time with his children and grandchildren.

By this time, he had a mobile number.

Then it was 2009, the last time I wished him in person. Two weeks later, I left India and since then we kept in touch via a mobile device.

And, in 2014, just days before his birthday, Tripti and I visited him in January during our short stay in India. We wished him in advance and did call him on the 10th of January. Who knew what was to come?

He passed away few months later in May of 2014. I made that trip to the village, by then the final rites were complete. He was gone from our physical world. I didn’t know what to make of it. It took me some time to accept that he wasn’t there if I had to converse with him.

Three years on, the 10th of January remains special. I wish him from my heart, and remember for being such an influential figure in my development.

He was the first person to narrate me stories, the tales from mythology to his encounters with many interesting people he met in his lifetime. I learnt how to share one’s experiences listening to him, for he always crafted a story out of nothing.

My love for the movie classics stemming from the 30s were thanks to him. He loved his motorcycle, and was patient with a lot of people. There are many more incidents related to him that deserve a memoir, maybe one day I will pen those thoughts.

For now, I would say, happy birthday Thatha, I miss conversing with you.

To Click Or Not To Click

There are many reasons why I recommend the 2013 movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I will not go into the details. Instead, I will cut to the chase and share my favourite part of the movie.

It happens to be a conversation between Sean Penn (who plays the role of Sean O’Connell) and Ben Stiller (as Walter Mitty).

Walter had gone to great lengths to find O’Connell and after many adventure-filled incidents, he meets Sean at the top of Himalayas. During their conversation, Sean interrupts him as they encounter a snow leopard.

Much to his dismay, Walter Mitty was surprised to see Sean not fiddling with his camera and instead watching the movements of snow leopard. It is said, the sighting of the snow leopard is rare.

The bemused Mitty asks Sean, “When are you going to take it?”

“Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it,” was Sean’s reply.

“Stay in it?”

“Yeah. Right there. Right here.”

 

The last few days, I have woken up to some of the best white winter mornings I have witnessed thus far in my life. I was tempted and must admit I was sucked into using my camera, clicking away what I was witnessing.

And, then… I shut my camera and kept it aside.

There were no words or thoughts on my mind, just my eyes looking through the window and seconds later standing out in the balcony in the cold weather, I had forgotten for a brief time that I was recovering from a viral flu.

It was one such moment when I realised what a luxury it is at times to just look at the marvels of nature without the urge to sharing it to the world.

Clicking photos doesn’t cost a thing these days. It comes with our basic communication package – the smart phone. Therefore, it is not uncommon to snap the random moments we encounter without planning.

For the last few years, I have been introspecting over these questions – Why am I clicking a ‘moment’?

What separates a ‘photographic tale’ from a mere random shot?

When should I provide a narrative to my snaps and when to leave it to other’s interpretation?

I am still in the process of concluding or maybe I might never reach such a closure. That doesn’t bother me. However, what I have realised is that, I love to present a moment as I view it.

The colour, contrast, the hues, brightness, the ambience and warmth – all these aspects, I have learnt by making innumerable mistakes since the time my mother gifted me a digital SLR in 2004. The learning process is on-going. Looking back at those errors, some have presented a different take on my subjects.

I am yet to learn how to effectively photoshop and I believe it is a time-consuming process. Instead, the photos are resorted to minor image tuning whenever I feel there is a need for it.

The beauty seen through the occasional flawed eyes of mine can be open to interpretation – but that’s another story, a story nevertheless.

The technology of viewing has evolved over the centuries – we can look at farther objects and examine the tiniest. However, when it comes to capturing the ‘moments’ around us, there is no better substitute for a pair of eyes.

And, my camera – well it just helps me to recollect those moments I have captured whenever I feel the need to revisit them.

Lose your dreams, you will lose your mind

Yet another casualty and this time it is at the heart of European Union. There are disturbing scenes for anyone who tunes into the news channels or when surfing through the internet. While some have plenty on their plate to even think about it, many ask themselves, which place is a safe house in the times we live.

If there is one thing that is certain, it is the unpredictability of events irrespective of one’s geographical location. Media houses chart the list of happiest places in the world to live and go on to provide the fag end of the list. People strive hard to be in those ‘safe havens’ while chaos is being plotted parallely.

The question is, will we continue to live in that ‘safe-net’ forever? No annual holidays? No business visits? or even a unplanned getaway?

Each day, we make plans for the future and work towards it. By the end of the day, we might have compromised a thing or two about living our lives we dreamed growing up. Plans upon plans pile up while the simple pleasures appear to look silly, even though deep down, that’s precisely what we crave for.

All our plans lead to the road of survival. Some chose muddy paths while others prefer finer grades of concrete. A few can afford the luxury to avoid roads altogether while there are people who ride their fortunes for having survived a day.

We are bombarded by the precursors and the possible outcomes of global conflicts of varying nature. We debate among friends, colleagues about the veracity of events, policies, actions or lack of it. Thanks to the most evolved technology available to our finger tips, we are never far away from the news of disaster.

We can selectively choose. Can we turn it off completely?

Some choose to remain oblivious to what’s happening around, some choose to ignore it, some get confused and some get agitated. These gamut of emotions sums up the world we live in – where in spite of the ‘safest physical cocoon’ we can create, our minds are volatile and subconsciously introspect to be guarded. So we make more plans to secure ourselves.

Are we missing a point here?

In any case, here is what I have come to terms with having witnessed some of the global catastrophes in my lifetime.

Every generation had their own share of conflicts. Unless we can transport ourselves into the mindsets of previous generation, we cannot fully comprehend or show empathy to the affected. We can always try.

We can be never be truly ubiquitous – let’s accept the fact that we are limited by being an individual entity.

Confusions and dilemmas are part of our growth. In fact, they are essential for our evolution and play a key role in our learning and decision making abilities. Clarity is a journey not the destination.

There will always be responsibilities till our last breath. It is up to us, how we look at it, define it, face them and learn from it all.

And this was a game-changer for me:

Defining my dreams and being flexible about it; living my life, chasing after my dreams and taking time to remain still when I am tempted to be in perpetual motion to reach places. The aforementioned ‘keys’ are proving to be paramount.

The definition of ‘dream’ is subjective and idiosyncratic. And choosing to live my life with loved ones, paint it like an adventure irrespective of ‘complicated’ commitments are the simple remedies I am happy to have taken and I wish to take it moving forward.

I saw a Rolling Stones quote printed on a T-shirt that made sense – “Lose your dreams, you will lose your mind” and in a fragile and uncertain global world, working on our dreams continuously is not a bad option to consider.

WHAT DO I LOOK FOR WHEN I WANT TO GET INSPIRED

There are plenty of websites, books, audio recordings and seminars that are available in order to get inspired. There is no single formula for getting inspired. To get inspired is a personal choice and depends on the individual taste. Like anybody else, I too need constant inspiration(s) to do things. Some aspects are situational, that are bounded by the life we lead and the way it is presented any given point. Rest, i go looking for something to do! However, without any bias, each person at some point in time needs inspiration and here again we interpret this word in different ways.

Are we running short of ideas? Do we lack the spark which we previously possessed? Are we in look out for a change? How can we tackle the same problem with a different approach? How do we seek clarity from a clouded problem? How do we face our fears? How do we accept and manage our responsibilities? How to do just about anything for the first time and carry on doing?

There are many more questions one can ask and one of the key solutions is to get ‘inspired’. The best part of getting inspired is that, it has no set patterns. The same story narrated by a adventurer to a large audience can be interpreted in many different ways and in turn get inspired or discouraged, entirely based upon an individual’s interpretation and application skills. This is the beauty of creativity – same idea when executed by different people results in different scenarios, products…

“Inspiration to me is… anything that ticks me to take a particular decision, perform a set of actions or even think about getting to a destination – it is a journey of thoughts mixed with choices and actions”.

WHAT DO I LOOK FOR
a. The first and foremost I look is for a situation that needs intervention, a sort of inspiration which would help me take up in order to resolve. Parallely ask, why do I need to resolve? I need not sit in one place and keep pondering. Just wanting to resolve will present ways.

b. Why do I need to get inspired? I peg myself constantly with this question until I am satisfied with the explanation. Often, this answer sets the foundation for future elements. This exercise itself has inspired me many times to just take that hesitant first step. One can call it ‘introspection’ or ‘mindful thinking’ instead of just clocking in hours and then feel.. ‘what am i doing’? This helps me to be more aware of myself and have an opinion on my choices.

c. Being open-minded while absorbing the inspiration. I believe this is one of the tough things to endure. It is natural to immediately relate any external talks, solutions to our problems. Though it is difficult, I try to be as open-minded as possible! But again, I try!

d. Feel the situation from my point of view. It gets to me to a zone where, within me there is this large pool of untapped thoughts that serves as inspiration. That is how I get inspired impromptu, i.e. a simple act done at a random hour, a regular task performed differently, or even an unrelated business or a task can act as a source of inspiration.

e. And lastly, the process of inspiration has two points. The start and the end (or in some cases, the end is never unless we deliberately put an end to it). I look for the journey from start to finish. This journey gives me a perspective and therefore some sort of inspiration to keep it going, which I may not apply directly – but it all goes into my conscious bank. However, the lesson learnt is the fact that, I undertook many tasks and most of it I went on to fulfil them while few I gave up at different stages of the pursuit. To me, all these serves as sources of inspiration: How to do and how not to do.

To sum it up, getting inspired is a wonderful process. At this moment, unconsciously, subconsciously our body, mind and soul is getting inspired. Take a time out occasionally and live this chain of events that unfold in you – and you will be surprised to witness, inspiration is nothing but an exchange of experiences, of any kind.

LEARN TO LIMIT AND REAP THE BENEFITS

Have you ever tried searching for the term ‘Limit’ on Google? I see there are innumerable quotes which many renowned personalities have stated on one’s limits. What do these quotes convey? They all pretty much sing to a single tune – ‘never allow anyone to limit yourself’. Taking the advice, I have decided to limit myself (instead of others) on things that are essential to my existence.

There are limits in life for a reason. Staying within limits have done wonders in life and at the same time one must remember, it is not easy to define a certain limit. It is not something one can copy looking at what others have achieved. A limit should be defined in life depending on one’s own lifestyle, surroundings we live, interests, profession, motivation, commitments, getting out of comfort zone, the need to create new benchmarks and so on….

I do not believe in the adage – ‘there are no limits’. From my experience so far, as long as human life is limited (as death is certain), how can one define ‘limitless’. Instead, I would say, we can reach a new limit, create a new benchmark, set a new time – all these are possible and within reach. Limitless cannot be measured and hence wonder, how can I achieve that state!

Let me give you an example from my own life. It took me a long time to admit about me not enjoying running long distances (10k and more). Was I limiting myself? No, I have been running long distances for quite some time and it doesn’t quite give me the ‘kick’ I need at the end of it. Since this realisation, I have started to enjoy my short bursts of running and now confident of completing 5k at ease. Currently, happy with this arrangement, I feel my body and mind are in tune with this new set up. And plus, all that’s needed is 30 minutes of my time, three to four days a week. That’s 2 hours out of 168 hours and I can gradually see the overall benefits devoting this little fraction of time in a week.
 
Now that I have worked out (till the time I realise something new) a schedule, not following this routine is my definition to limit myself. Having many interests in life, committing myself to remain fit is just one of them – a important one indeed. When I know I am good at other things (can improve and learn more) or if I need to give attention to other aspects of life, why do things which is devoid of enjoyment and waste my time on just one aspect? Fitness is important and there is nothing extraordinary here – I have just repacked my fitness schedule (lifestyle) to suit my personality. Let that be running or on a clear day cycling or just walking or just doing some floor exercises, swim, play a sport with friends, partner or kids etc. An idle mind is a devil’s workshop, what about an idle body?


Next time when you are encountering a situation where you do not find any time – all you have to do is – get out of everyone’s attention and honestly ask yourself, if you want to do this. If the answer is yes, start small, learn to enjoy, and climb up. Ensure you are not giving up other commitments that are necessary and instead you are welcoming a value addition in your life. That’s how I look at it. If it is no, well……….. I leave that with you! 

THERE IS NO PERFECT……………………………………………….

I know everyone has been in a dilemma of whether to do or not to do; to have or have not and how!  This feeling is universal and the path is frequently travelled, most times crowded yet it seems like we are all by ourselves. However, what we choose to do with the feeling is something worth talking about. How many times a day, a minute we would have procrastinated ‘a certain thing’ for later, or even convinced ourselves to do at a time which is perfect? Let me tell you.. there is no perfect time!

There are many tasks which needs an appropriate time; anything before and after is of no use. We all get that sort of commitments and we ably do it. However, there are many jobs which is independent of ‘time’ is what irks us the most, tests the individuals and a group in general. What are we going to do with the time if we have procrastinated a certain task? Is there something better to do or is it a feeling that comes in between performing that particular task – which easily gets postponed. Or are we just too lazy and oblivious about it?

I have learnt this and yes, I too have procrastinated and will do in the future. Isn’t it natural? The question is – when do I procrastinate?

These days, I have started to question the very process of procrastination. I am in the middle of creating a habit of questioning as to why I feel like delaying a certain task with a hope the process will evolve and gradually becomes instinctive.

LOOKING BACK

When I look back, I see a pattern emerge as to what kind of factors motivated me to procrastinate things in my life. I would categorise things or tasks into priority. If I felt it was not important, they would be done at a later stage or I would do certain tasks only when required. Whereas many tasks in our daily lives are instinctive and you know it needs to be done.

Why so? Because you just know it and you will find a way to get things done…Period! And you do not care much about how others view you and that’s the beauty of such a task. It is natural, it’s instinctive, it’s common sense, it is one’s reaction to a certain action and is to a large extent a degree of freedom where you just do without an iota of thought. Such behaviour emerge with practice and being more aware of what ticks you! Just like a feeling of being an artist who has mastered an art. Everyone loves to be in this kind of a zone, I know I do.. but – there are more road blocks one needs to overcome to get to this zone. This is one’s behaviour – and whether it is good or bad totally depends on how you define ‘good or bad’ and how others perceive it.

50:50 CONUNDRUM

I remember a famous quote which was printed on a T-shirt I used to wear during my college days – “A person who thinks he can and a person who thinks he cannot are both right”. A beautiful quote which wakes your brain cells and makes you wonder which side of the pasture you wanna graze.

I often go through scenarios in life which I term it as 50:50 conundrums. The more I encounter such situations – more I am experimenting or being adventurous. Or am I taking too much time to learn or adapt?

I believe this is more of a personality issue. This dilemma which I talked earlier is what tests or perhaps decide a lot of things in one’s life.

More often I encounter these thoughts – “How would it be? What will happen? How will they view it? Is it worth doing it? Will someone judge me because of my actions?…. plenty of questions and these questions bog me down at times and has the potential to mask the clarity of what is required; what needs to be done and how it needs to done.” Sometimes it makes me wonder – why a certain result is not coming my way, do I need to find other ways?

Personally, this ‘feeling of uncertainty and making sense of it’ is what makes me learn. I am a person who likes to reach the same destination in different possible ways – well it’s just me and I don’t think about it. Actually, I do think about it!

Without this conundrum, I would have learnt less I must admit. This uncertainty does not drive me crazy instead it buoys me to ‘choose’ and go through a series of ‘action-reaction’ thoughts within myself and try them out in reality. It is a feeling where any feedback is like a progress and this is how I wish to take it. Back in my days as a chemical researcher, I learnt an important lesson. “Even a negative outcome is a result and to get to the objective of an experiment, one cannot fudge the results or tamper with the observations”. It is simply against nature – a lesson for life indeed.

A SECOND LAYER

Beneath the polished mindset lies the second-layer where the 50:50 conundrum is most active. This is where one’s character is shaped and one important step away from revealing to the world. This aspect  is what determines how to proceed further and in what direction and most importantly when or just give up. This zone is what I call ‘a critical one’ – where one is exposed to a lot of things or new scenarios and one doesn’t know how to react to it and not confident of taking some actions.

If things go our way as a result of making a choice, we do not think much – a sense of relief surrounds us and we began to wonder – what the fuss was this all about. What if things do not go as per expectations? This is what happens to most of us during experimentation, right? This is when decisions have to be made, one needs to bounce back or come back with another set of ideas or just leave it at that. People get segregated and get defined by choices based on our awareness. It is not the result… it is the innumerable trails which tests whether you have it in you to drag yourself forward.

This is when there are chances to get lost for a while or at least I do… go into a mood of introspection – visualise the sequence of events and come back at it. This is a personality issue and I believe to tackle this – there is no perfect way or to get back there is no perfect time.. I do understand, when in doubt… make a choice towards what you want and accumulate as many responses (it is amazing how humans instinctively select or reject depending on their interests) as possible. Very soon you will be out of this 50:50 conundrum and your actions become instinctive. What’s important is – it is ok to be awkward as long as it is part of the learning process.

THE CORE

One needs fuel to execute things in a manner we do. This is what I call as ‘the intellectual fuel’ – which is present within and replenished as a result of our behaviour and its outcomes in everyday life. It is one’s core and the primary source of ‘the way we do things in a certain way and be unique’.

This core of mine is a very personal thing. It takes ages to realise why we choose one over the other. This understanding of one’s core needs pattern and for that one has to constantly keep doing things. It remains in the comfort zone and seldom takes risks It is a haven and it convinces you to believe your view is the way to go. When surroundings favour such thoughts, the result is ‘a blast’ and there is little one can do to stop! unless you press the self-destruct button by yourself.

What would you do if you are not being judged? Think about it – dwell on it from time to time because with time this is what it stands out. The most difficult task is to be in touch with this core. And annoying part is… it shows only a part of it and not completely at once. If you are aware of this part – trust me you will have never have to worry about the conundrums. What you think or believe deep inside is what you do?

In most scenarios, one never encounters an ideal match that resonates your core. Either you condition the core to suit the surroundings or be in the constant look out for ‘the one’. In both the cases, you invest time, energy to make it comfortable. The 50:50 conundrums continue…..

I know for a fact I have not reached there yet. But all I have understood is that – our life will be determined by the choices we make when we are in doubt. And how we react when things do not go our way is when we get to know more about ourselves.

So here is a food for thought – how motivated are you to reach a state where you do just the way you like without any inhibitions? This to me explains why some people choose to become recluse; stay away from civilizations and yet be available to people at their discretion. And no, I have not met such a person till date in my life… because I believe that’s the perfect state one can achieve. As long as you live.. you learn.. and as long as you learn… you are not perfect!

TREADING ON THE MILL

I believe a personal level of acceptance (Read Previous Post – Why I don’t love Running) has helped me understand and look at the concept of ‘running’ in a completely different way. It is nothing complex, just that I feel a lot freer whenever I run, jog or sometimes ‘waun’ (walk+run).

All along I wondered – why conform to the norms of training? Though I never took any active measures to really ponder as to what or how I wanted to run. Now.. i want to know more.

I realise the importance of training to suit my body type and to get better with time. I had some ideas and also reading perspectives, life stories of runners helped me to get few ideas on various elements associating with running. However, it is important to start testing those perspectives one by one. I ran, ran from time to time before realising, I was not enjoying it. Instead of holding on to it tightly, I thought about rediscovering the touch by starting from the scratch.

Most would know instinctively, what’s möglich and what isn’t? It is a matter of effort and it might involve some time (proportional to effort) to trust those instincts and enjoy the process of training. Be it anything, just work out a pattern. Here’s what I did:

When I realised I could make use of treadmill to train myself (I hated it before), I was clear as to why I never fancied myself training on a treadmill before. It’s simple – I never gave time to the nuances of treadmill training and instead preferred running outside, where I could control speeds and choose roads at will.

Now, I still love running outside but what’s changed is that – I do not mind using treadmills. Acclimatising to ever changing seasonal weather also helped me to decide to give treadmill a go.

Ok, coming back to the pattern. This technique is a work in progress. More work has been done and so I can comment on the progress I have had so far. Have a target time and commit to engage yourself on the treadmill – it helped me to define a direction because it was a personal project.

I would suggest ‘music’ helps – but it masks the feelings you undergo during this process of training. I prefer to hear my feelings out during training and focus on achieving a zone where I just run, oblivious to what’s happening around me. Again, choose the method that aids you to train better! To me, I get a lot of ideas if I listen to my thoughts on how to make this process of training better.

Start by selecting a basic walking speed, a factor which indicates the km/h or miles/h. When you start to feel comfortable walking, shake up the order – plan to move outside your comfort zone gradually.

I devised a test on myself to simulate the outdoor running conditions at will. No, it isn’t the 3D views of my surroundings! I constantly increase the speed by 0.1 km/h every 30 seconds. I start my training with – say 7 km/h (again this is my comfort zone). A gentle walk for about a minute or two and then I start jogging. The moment I start to jog, I increase the speed by a factor of 0.1 and continue this trend every 30 seconds. Now, my concentration is focussed for those 30s and multiply into as many intervals as you can. My target is not to run more than 5km at any point in time. Start at some speed, run, walk, jog for some time and track your progress.

We all love change for the better. The tougher part is the path. I believe humans are creatures of evolution and not revolution in the long run. So keeping this in mind, my training involves a gradual increase of speed. It does not harm you and will only improve your fitness levels and more importantly the confidence levels. Who doesn’t want to feel better? This method of training is one such way of creating ‘those feel good factors’ within you.

And why am I doing this? I believe in testing my abilities and move towards excellence if not perfection during my lifetime. So I pick up hobbies (trial and error), habits that trigger my brain, fuels my creativity and test my limits. I love experimenting in something I fancy or have an inclination for shaking up the norms from time to time. 

I don’t love Running!

I must admit, I took to treadmill very late in my life as a basis of training. There is something about these treadmills that create a feeling of ‘suffocation’ while I am on it. And this feeling stayed on with me until very recently.

Eureka! It took some beating to accept that I do not prefer treadmills and more importantly I am not a huge lover of running. I prefer running – but I am not a big fan of it. I run when it is needed, I sprint when I least expect it and I speed walk as a matter of habit.

The bottom line is – I don’t love running. Oh, this sounds very different from saying – ‘I hate running’, which I clearly don’t. Isn’t it?

Now that ‘particular ego’ has been conquered, let me move on. It has been so far a smooth sailing in the past few weeks when it comes to running. Mind, body and my inner soul connects beautifully whenever I wish to run. The only question I had to answer was – How much is too much?

From the time in college, I began expecting too much out of myself and ended up running 21 km and several 10 km runs. I had injuries to my ankle (not while running) which made me feel not to run for close to two years until the time I started to run again in Doha, Qatar. After having completed few 10 km runs in the past year and a half (five), I realised one important thing – ‘I do not enjoy running for more than 30 minutes’.

Yes, it’s me! It took me time to come to this level of understanding after having ran in excess of an hour all these years. What a revelation, phew!

Now, I revel in my 5 km runs and not sure how long will this last. However, I must admit I never relished so much during these 20 to 30 minutes of run than I ever had in my 10 years of running life. I believe that’s where I learnt a key message – “It doesn’t matter where and how you do it as long as you like the process of doing it in the overall scheme of things”. And another important message – ‘Run your own race’.

This belief of ‘enjoyment in the process of running’ is the my secret of sorts for constant motivation to turn up any given day and run. And while I am at it, one never knows if this expand my boundaries! and who knows few years down the line, I will be enjoying running the entire duration of 60 minutes or more. For now, I let myself savour this new ‘discovery’ within me.

Like I said – ‘I don’t love running’ but I am more comfortable with the idea and benefits of it whenever I run these days. And in fact, this discovery has only made me run more regularly and consistently than I ever did in my entire life. To top it, it doesn’t matter where and what I run on!