Author Archives: sharanya

Leaving on a jet plane..

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Change is not easy. And change from one place to another, even if it were a short stay, can unsettle me. Don’t mistake me, I love travelling. But what I’m talking about is living in a place for a while, having some emotional attachment to the place and having to leave. It happens to me when I leave Singapore to visit India, it happens on the way back. And now again, it’s time to leave this lovely little town of Fontainebleau, the INSEAD campus here, many wonderful people I met, but will continue to stay in France.. I can’t overstate my eagerness to go back to family, but I’m also in this transition phase which always makes me a little queasy.

Looking back and thinking about it, it was those good byes that made it hard. The countless times I bid goodbyes to my family at the Bangalore airport, the fleeting moment in Schipol when I last looked at Vishnu many months back, and now all those good byes to my lifer friends who will not be visiting Singapore during INSEAD.

I always thought it’s the place, the obvious changes in routine etc that caused the stress. But no, it’s so much more than that. Yes, I’ll miss Fontainebleau, I’ll miss traveling in Europe, but all that is simply overpowered by the feeling of being with family after ages. It’s less and less about places, it’s more about people, people I make connections with, people who make great conversations, people who simply love – family.

A few years ago, I think I was this aimless wanderer, dreaming of places to go with nothing to look back. I still am, but my priorities are different. I still explore, but with a deep desire to share every experience the people I care. I still dream, but with family in sight. For those little moments with people matter as much and more than just traveling and ticking places off a map.

I’ll have to dedicate many posts to my life at INSEAD.. but there is one really important thing that INSEAD has drilled into me. Life throws many options at you, but turns out, life is not as generous with time. So make the the best you can, in whatever way you value, ’cause time is always running out.

Only Time..

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Enya. Enchanted is the feeling when I listen to her songs. One of her songs – “Only Time..” is a brilliant piece and I’m so in love with it recently. The lyrics are wonderful and very true too.

“Who can say
where the road goes
where the day flows.. only time..

Where the road goes..only time

And who can say
if your love grows
as your heart chose
only time..”

Listening to Enya is pure bliss.

Standby mode

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Spread out a mat on the floor, turn the lights off, (or dim the lights, the way I prefer) sit down cross legged, back up straight, eyes closed. Take deep breaths and set your mind free. Do not restrain it initially, but slowly pull the reins on it and start focusing on one thing – be it the birds chirping, or the sound of the trains, or your breathing. (Well, these were the prominent things that came to my attention). Whatever it may be, rest your mind on that one thing. That’s how you go into what I call the Standby mode and what most people might refer to as meditation.

I tried it out for a short ten minutes. And I felt refreshed and clearly able to concentrate on my work following it. It left me charged and confident, wanting to do something productive or create something. (Oh well, here is a proof, a post on my blog after a super long hiatus, then you can imagine)

The benefits of meditation can’t be overstated and aren’t alien to us, yet many of us find it difficult to squeeze it into our routines. I realized what prevented me from making it a habit were some preconceived notions that it has to be done at this hour everyday, in this manner, in this order etc etc. Actually its not that complicated. Just get down to it, without any strings attached, and just do what is comfortable with you. I’m not saying you sit down and go to sleep. But just be flexible in your approach. Flexibility makes it enjoyable and you don’t need to have the perfect time+place+equipments to go about it. Just do it.

I learned 2 things from this short experiment:

1. Meditation works. It works really well. I felt peace. No, I’m not yet at inner peace, this is good enough for now.

2. It’s simple. You just need a small space on the floor or a chair to sit down on. A fairly quiet place (Pin drop silence is not necessary, but sitting in a rock concert won’t help either.)

Trailing on the second point,most activities for physical and mental health are fairly simple and straightforward. We just need to break the ice by trying it out once, find the groove and enjoy it. Try this today. Go standby. Let your mind rest in peace and wake up rejuvenated.

Paint a Picture #1

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A creeper entwined around a palm frond..

In the walkway leading to the pantry at my workplace, an admirable sight has caught my attention in the past couple of days. Before painting the picture with my thoughts, I welcome you all to pen down your musings and interpretations on the photo. I would love to see a variety of ideas and stories cropping up around this picture.

While writing the entry, it just occurred to me to start a series called “Paint a Picture”.  Once in a while, I will put up a picture of something that has intrigued me or caught my attention for some reason. I welcome your interpretations on the picture, and I hope it will brew some interesting ideas and add many dimensions to the picture. It can be anything from a single word to a a few lines, preferably limiting it to 5-6 lines.

Ho Shuru Har Din Aise!

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For those who need a translation – “Let every day begin like this..”

No, I don’t drink Nescafe. I’m not a big fan of any coffee. But it’s the Nescafe jingle – they simply got it right and nice.

What got me started on this entry was a perfect Sunday morning. Simply delightful, not overdone, just the right tone for a day to myself.  I’m going to describe here the elements of  a perfect start to my day. It’s my recipe and may not work well for everyone, and may even seem cliched for a few. But believe me, when you have to skip your breakfast and morning news, rush to your office and work in a cubicle for 5 out of 7 days a week, a perfect morning is made up of rather uncomplicated small things that we miss out on.

I love waking up early. I concede that it’s not the easiest thing to do, but once I manage to break the force that holds me down to the bed at 6.00 am in the morning, the feeling is excellent and nothing less. Excellent is the word.

Get moving! Yes, it’s 6 00 am in the morning, and it’s time to get some light exercise. It sure adds some energy to the morning.

Splash! A cold shower will do the trick of weeding out any remains of tardiness that’s left even after exercise.

Reading the news or a book while sipping on a refreshing cup of tea comes next. I like the quiet mornings, watching the dawn break into a lovely blue,  reading, and enjoying the aroma of a classic breakfast tea.

After an hour or so, it’s time to plan my day. Highlight the activities that need to be marked off as done. Mentally go through the chores that serve as breaks amidst ongoing work.

Followed by breakfast time! It’s a Sunday, so time to flip an omelette (or a yummy dosai) and throw in a couple of kiwis or strawberries on the plate.  A good hearty breakfast is the best part of the day!

After that, it’s time to go about the day as planned. When things are as right as above – that’s when the jingle “Ho Shuru Har Din Aise” rings in my head!

There you go, as simple as that. In contrast to a harried weekday, where I have to rush out of the house at 6 40 am, skip my breakfast and stare at my work at 7.30 am, I love my simple Sunday mornings.

‘A’ for Anything but Apple.

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‘A’ for Apple.  That doesn’t work for me. For reasons I myself am not able to discern, I just cannot get an apple into my system. A fruit as simple as the apple. I have tried hard to include it in my diet,  owing to its health benefits. But met with little success. I know it sounds weird, but well, that’s the way it is.

Needless to say, chances are bleak that you’ll ever find them in my kitchen. Unless a guest or a friend brings a packet of apples home and I have no choice but to accept them out of courtesy. And that’s how I ended up with a couple of them  in my fridge this week, neglected for days I couldn’t keep track of. Inspired by my strawberry milkshake yesterday (I had to save the almost rotting strawberries); I decided to rid my fridge of the apples by turning it into milkshake and just downing a mug of it. It was a quick affair – definitely faster than getting myself to eat them as they are. Topped with a scoop of ice cream – it turns into a mug full of creamy goodness – waiting to be devoured!