Have you ever felt like you’re working hard on every aspect of your life only to come back where you started?

Certain decisions in our life are always spoken, thought about, and debated in and on with our own minds or that of a listening ear, but never acted upon. Each day the pattern repeats, you wake up breaking up with your bed, drag yourself out of the house, or in today’s context in front of the webcam, or just lay there thinking – why do I feel so heavy? Am I tired already? Did I not get enough sleep? I have a lot to do, why am I being so lazy? I don’t want to work anymore, I want to try something that I am passionate about. I don’t want to keep sleeping or do that repetitive job anymore. And then just like that, you start dreaming about how it would feel to work on something that ignites the fire in you, you know it will be lite af. You dream about the day you’ll type that resignation letter or start that Instagram page you have curated multiple times in your head and heart, and its 2pm, a notification shines on your screen and your dreams are scrolled over for that reel which just popped, and you keep doing this exact same thing day by day, month by month. Nothing changes. You on around circles and the unrealized but very real dreams remain within those constraints.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Don’t we already know what we want? Well, here’s the deal, our brain is wired to our comfort zone, it tries to protect our decisions every day. It’s instinctual to our patterns and aims that relaxing all our senses, by analyzing and reflecting our past choices and experiences. “I’ll do that after watching just one episode”, we give excuses and convince ourselves that the fatigue and extra stress after or before anything productive or unproductive is just too much work or you being lazy. What we fail to recognize that our neglected aspirations act up unrealized burdens and make us feel tired day by day.

Maybe if we try to observe and look into our decisions we will recognize that pattern, that pattern of immediately stopping when you feel unconformable to try something new, the feeling of safety washing over you, ” at least I know how to go around my rude boss, at least I have my movies and series to keep me company, at least I know what it feels to feel unhappy”

There is a lot going on beneath the surface other than just being lazy or unable to quit things that make us unhappy. What if for a moment we close our eyes and remember the times when we took decisions, decisions that made us move and try something different? Having that unmatched flavor of ice cream and immediately regretting but feeling not a bit of unhappiness for the decision you made?

Can we try to remember that feeling that comes after the seconds of uncomfort? Would it be worth it to experience those few minutes for a whole lot of adventure? To book that holiday, to open that art page, to apply for that job, to quit that job, or to go eat that pineapple on pizza.

Can we apply this same energy and go off at a tangent to stop going in circles?

I love you, I hate you, I love myself, I hate myself. I hate the world, I hate men. I met so many beautiful people along the way that in spite of a few bad people I still find this world to be an amazing place.

Words are beautiful and unimaginably powerful weapons. They have the power of creation and destruction. They have incredible healing powers and are equally hurtful too. Words are magic. In the right hands, they can change the world for the better. 

I can sit here today and rake to social media and “open up” about what problems life has actually sent across my way. I can give you detailed accounts of all of it. An endless list of 100 tiny situations and cry to the world but the fact will be that I would have done that just to gain attention. Have my 15mins of fame while pretending that I just want to show the world that I went through this and you are not alone. This little stunt is just telling everyone that let’s be sad together. This little stunt is not helping the world get better. The world didn’t change because people in tough situations decided to sit and cry for days and told everyone else let’s cry together. The world changed because those few humans, those chosen few humans decided I am gonna stand and fight against all odds. I am going to come out of this tough situation guns blazing and tell the world how I won. They gave the world answers. They gave the world words that would heal. The power of words. 

Side Note: You, yes YOU reading all this. You are an amazing, beautiful, kind and compassionate human being. You will always find strength within yourself. YES, YOU WILL. Breathe and take a break and let your mind show you where that strength is waiting inside that beautiful soul of yours. Let your mind guide you into your own safe space and you will see the magic unfold. You will feel that energy in your bones. You can already feel it. That tiny goosebumps that you are getting is a sign of that energy. There is more of it inside you. Let it guide you, my sweet beautiful human. Sending you all the love I have and I have plenty for you. I can’t heal the world but my role in your life is that of a healer and I will show you kindness and compassion when you need it.

Now let’s talk about naming every situation shall we.

Naming everything is so simple and yet a huge deal. I have this, I have that etc etc. You can never walk away from problems. There is no version of your story that will be without certain problems but in this version of your story, you will either call yourself a victim and keep talking about how things used to be and how you are always a victim now and how everything is a problem OR, BIG FAT F*CKING OR You can be a warrior. Not a survivor but a F*CKING WARRIOR and that is exactly who you are, you have just forgotten it. Warriors don’t look at what life used to be and whine, they look at what life has been till date, all the ups and downs and learn every possible lesson they can think of to fight every possible situation that comes along the way believing the entire time that THEY ARE ABOUT TO TAKE THIS VICTORY.

This is the part where you use words for yourself. When you open that journal of yours don’t just write about every little problem or don’t just write random positive words that you found online. You take that pen and start defining yourself as if you have the hand of God on your shoulder. You define yourself in the most unique way that you have been designed to be.

Words in the right hands will change the world for the better and that little world is inside your little head and you have the most perfect hands to use those powerful words.

You will always have the last word. It will always be your word against everyone else.

The climax is the topic. There is no simpler way of saying it. The way we perceive time in a defined system of hours and minutes is far from what Time really is. This system is simply a calculation of one rotational cycle of Earth. So, while the Earth makes one run around the Sun we decided how to rat race. The routine of how we must spend the 24 hours was set to guide us to make our own. But the way we progressed to it, we defined rules to it all. Not just 24 hours but all the rotations of Earth that we’ll be part of. From birth to old age. The moment our perception of a guideline became a ‘rule’, we lost the life in it.

Ever heard those well crafted motivational videos where allegedly successful people share how they spend their 24 hours? Watching Elon Musk saying, work for 22 hours, someone else asking to hustle for ruthless hours or making your hours count, endless of these. It got so much out of hand, that these hours have become a separate entity to life. There’s an entire culture dedicated to it, the hustle culture. While it can be something one prefers, the problem arises when the hustle culture lures people, desperate people, with half-truths.

Time is a lie

This race of 24 hours, which we all have, makes a difference with one thing for all. Oh, no not that vague statement of ‘how we use these 24 hours makes the difference.’ Instead, the difference is inherently simple. It lies directly in who you are. Your body keeps changing, preferring different things through the ages. You can be a morning person as a teen and a night owl in your late twenties. Working hard for hours can be fruitful but if you want to be successful, you have to work hard on the right thing. Imagine Elon Musk working hard in comedy. Assuming that to be something that is not his calling but something that experts say is a good industry to be in, or where the future lies. You get the point? I really like that phrase “Speed is irrelevant if you are going in the wrong direction.” The same applies to hard work.

Wondering how the rant of hustle culture relates to Time being non-existent? This is one example of how for years countless cultures, norms and rules, have defined your time for you. The time which physically didn’t exist and could have been defined in any and all ways possible by you for you. The worth of your time cannot be defined by anyone but you. I spent my fair share of time wondering why I couldn’t hustle and still want to build a business. Things started changing when I set myself free to understand how I as an individual flows through time. Each one of us is born with circumstances, situations, unclarity, dreams, setbacks, limitations and strengths. Far different from those we idolize. While it is true that they don’t define us, they are part of us, and our story. Navigating right through them will narrate our story.

So, wake up, the time that you take so seriously is not real. Follow it like a guide, not like the ultimatum. Understand what works for you, how these 24 hours of Earth’s rotation will be a PART of your life, not your life itself. Invest these hours in things that move you, move with the planet, gracefully, don’t race it, unless the race is what you want. It is a truly beautiful science that time is relative. And before we rush to define our time like the experts say, let’s first learn to live our time.

The time I left the home I grew up in, I didn’t really feel what I believed I should have. It didn’t feel like a farewell. I was excited about a new home instead. Only after some time that I settled in a new home, I started dreaming of the old home. I still dream of it even today sometimes. The home comes to life in ways as if it’s still there waiting for me. Although in reality, in that place stands a taller building with bigger hopes and dream homes of countless people. I was quick to move on from the house, is what I believed. But just that space, through all the shades, still is alive with years and memories of half my life spent there.

Home

Our old home went into redevelopment and I was following its jolly-good slow process ever since the beginning. I literally watched the building being demolished in a video my childhood friend made. It was, surreal. The window I sat for hours on, the playground I played, fell and cried on, all and more of it, crumbled down to dust within minutes. Surreal way of watching the old make space for the new. Recently when I visited the site where the new home is being built, I was really happy. I walked in with my friends, who are helping me build my space with their talent and time.
I spent my childhood wishing to someday find true friends; my tribe. I thought it was the most difficult thing. And years later, when the old was transformed into the new, I walked in with some of the many people I treasure. The old home also had pain, darkness, tears and fears. I watched it getting demolished and on it rose this tall manifestation of a hopeful, supported and loving future. It was nothing less than a strong symbolism of change. The person who walked out of that place with scars and memories; walked in now with strength and dreams.

The new home is still in the making and while it still takes it’s own time, I notice the things attached to it. One is there have been many and are many people who are part of this space, this dream and this future. It is absolutely grounding to think there are stories and dreams of people I will never know attached to this space that reaches the tall sky. My home alone housed the dreams and stories of six people and there were more houses along. The reason why this is so powerful is that we often overlook them as they are not visible in plain sight. It is not what we may see when we look at a building. It is the powerful juxtaposition placed between the lines.

Another thing attached to the spaces is the specific spots in and around the home. I can now see them from the upper floor. The juice centre where my grandma would take me as a bribe to accompany her to the market, the school bus stop where I would meet my first long term best-friend, the shops I would go to frequently, homes of people who impacted my life etc. So many of these precious and timeless memory mason jars. It’s interesting how on one side, the world around my house is changing. It also seems to look a little new with a fresh perspective. At the same time, some things are still exactly the same as before. As if this home is a peephole to witness the new and old together.

Over the years, not sure if it’s because of the good haunting dreams of the old home, I grew attached to this space. I decided to invest my heart and soul into shaping it. Now when I try to plan spaces for people I love, I somehow seem to understand them more. Homes reflect personalities. When you try to mould one, just like in pottery, you have to handle it delicately and slowly. While I will try to make a masterpiece that will only make sense to people who belong there, I learn. Learn to be grounded, thankful and hopeful to make it happen.

The Theory of Architecture comprises interpretation and critical commentaries on the architecture of past, present, and future.  Most theories exert a wide and beneficial influence on the era. Such thoughts are criticized and transformed with their implementation and the way they are spread to the masses. Feng Shui is one such theory of the past that guides in design thinking and construction for a better living. 

Feng Shui (风水) “wind-water” is the art of ancient China, which manifests architecture in terms of invisible forces that binds the universe together into energy, called “Qi”. It is an intangible form of energy, solely responsible for providing the ‘breath of life’ to everything. It is believed that it flows under our feet, floats above, resides inside us, and changes the environment through transforming and constant movement. Based on this concept of Qi, Feng Shui believes that everything is formed by the circulation of Yin Qi and Yang Qi. This contrast relation in the nucleus between the positive and negative leads to neutrality and balance in the micro or macro-environment. Feng shui uses Qi to form a unified connection between humans, the built environment, and nature. At its core, the philosophy of Feng Shui embodies holism, circulation, balance, and transformation, interpreted by the concept of Qi and the theory of Yin Yang and the Five Elements. Qi itself an unexplained phenomenon Feng Shui becomes a mystical pseudoscience at times bordering on superstition.

Originally Feng Shui was the soul of Chinese architecture for five thousand years. The earliest record of it dates back to the Pre-Qin period in books like Shang Shu, followed by the Book of Burial by Qingwuzi in the Han Dynasty, The Book of Burial (276-324 AD), the first written literature on the Form School which states that there are five primary elements of the Form School: Chi, Wind-Water, Four Emblems, Form, and Direction. Quoting a glimpse of “The air is scattered with the wind and is blocked by water.”  It also describes the law of house and methods to interpret Feng Shui in buildings through the combination of nature and geomantic omens.

Feng Shui Architecture has a profound impact on Chinese culture and ideology. Various texts and illustrations contain the philosophy of life, an outlook of nature with space and time, and the value of knowledge and humanity. Landscape Architecture, selection of sites, and construction stand as the main factors in Chinese architecture. It strongly advocates keeping the balance and harmony between the human and the ecological worlds. 

The Forbidden City, today called the Palace Museum located in the northern city of Beijing, is constructed on the laws of Feng Shui. The Palace went through numerous changes in the layout through various dynasties, due to false Feng Shui theories and implementation.

Besides the palace, cities in China were also built based on Feng Shui. Tekes in Ili, Xinjiang was mapped in the Eight Diagrams Picture, a tool used by masters to map a location. Qiu Chuji, a famous Taoist from the Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279 AD) discovered that the site had majestic mountains, flat plains, and water. Present-day Tekes is a historical landmark in the study of Feng Shui. Built by a famous Feng Shui master Gua Pu in the Jin Dynasty, the Wenzhou city was orientated on the south riverbank, this allowed abundant sunshine to the houses.  This city is also evident in how the adjustments in Feng shui took place, as five ponds and sixty-four water bodies were constructed to adjust the layout of the city. To add to it the region’s mountainous terrain (Chi Vein, spots located at the foot of the mountains in Feng Shui) provided protection from enemies over the centuries.

Before and after the 20th Century liberation, Chinese history clearly shows a drastic change in faith of this concept. The decline of the imperial system gave a heavy blow to the theory and implementation of Feng shui.  Only in the 20th century, due to international attention, these ancient principles got a new meaning. For instance, The Sydney Opera House designed by Jørn Utzon was discovered to have followed Feng Shui rules without a master. The structure is said to draw energy from the Wind and Water to itself and the city, that surrounds it.

In a broader context, the city of Hong Kong has a major influence on Feng Shui. The planning and building orientations are said to have brought wealth and prosperity to many businesses. During the design of HSBC Bank Headquarters (1979-1986), Norman Foster + Partners consulted a Feng Shui master.  Thus, the building instead of a ground floor incorporated a hollow atrium for the passage of Qi. The escalators in the atrium were placed at an angle to prevent evil from the upper levels. Moreover, due to false feng shui principles, like sharp and angular edges in the adjacent Bank of China Tower by I.M Pei. Two cannon-like structures were mounted on the roof of the HSBC building to deflect this cut through the energy back at the river bank.

Feng Shui now dominates the Hong Kong skyline with other structures like the Jardine House whose façade is treated with circular reflective windows, according to Feng Shui these round shapes indicate the sun and coins and are associated with heaven and wealth. Whereas, The Repulse Bay has the most striking features of Feng Shui, the dragon passage, an uninterrupted gateway for invisible dragons which in turn create positive Qi.

In 1995, Donald Trump hired Pun-Yin and her father to make changes in the development of his Int’l Hotel & Tower project. To increase his foothold in the real estate prominent changes were made in the building. The most iconic of it is the metal globe that stands before the building intended to deflect the negative energy produced by the traffic in Columbus Circle. The entrance was shifted from the Columbus circle to facing the central park.  Furthermore, the reflective tea-colored glassy exterior is said to absorb the positive energy from the sky.

“You don’t have to believe in Feng Shui for it to work. I just know it brings me the money”, this statement by Donald Trump paints a picture of how feng shui was looked upon in the western world after the building was done. Though, according to The Guardian, Trump is neither the most profitable real estate developer nor is he the largest. But the flurry of media attention from Trump’s tower not only made a name for Pun-Yin, but it also introduced a very foreign concept of Feng Shui into the mainstream.

Due to a rise in Asian financers in the past decade, the western and modern interpretation of Feng Shui is now inclined towards upliftment in real estate investments. For the design of financial projects, architects and designers have started consulting masters for design layouts and orientation of the structure. Steadily Feng Shui is also becoming an aspect of interior designing with a basic sense of placements of furniture, use of color, and adding metal and wooden elements to the house. But according to an architect Steve Robinson, based in Santa Fe practicing Indian architecture, “Feng shui is becoming so popular in the design field that Robinson said he fears it will lose its traditional roots. “It’s on the verge, I’m afraid, of it becoming somewhat of a buzzword,” he said. “We’ll have to survive that. It’s far more powerful than that.” With the rise of awareness of this ancient practice, it has also become a New Age “vibe” which sells inauthentic metaphysical products that guarantee fortune and health.   

Most of the guidelines used for the design processes is more or less addressed in the concept of Feng Shui. The label changes its origins and way of use. For instance, the Vastu Shastra in Indian architecture has its own principles and values, whether as forefront or subconscious ideas for a project, these guidelines ultimately provide the well-being of a space. The concept may induce contradiction to our wild imaginations, but it can add harmony and spirituality to these imaginations. Instead of focusing on the literal applications of Feng Shui in our designs, architects can focus on this beautiful process of thinking. Elegant slits and openings for majestic dragons to pass don’t seem such a bad idea after all.

References: 

  • Body, Mind, and Spirit: Feng Shui Applications for a Healing Environment Prototype.

Author: Shou-Jungi We, Florida State University Libraries. 

  • Traditional Feng Shui Architecture as an Inspiration for the Development of Green Buildings

Author: Su Bo, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Mechanics Jiangsu University, China. 

  • FORM FOLLOWS FENG SHUI 

Author: Choopong THONGKAMSAMUT Assoc. Prof. Vorasun BURANAKARN, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture,Chulalongkorn University.

Author: Z. Zhong & B. Ceranic, Faculty of Arts, Design and Technology, University of Derby, UK

I have always believed in universal patterns and connectedness. The theory that past, present and future exist together can find its answers here too. Also maybe that we’re in a simulation. Amm, but the point is, traces of everything can be right in our peripheral world. One that our subconscious mind notices but our conscious mind overlooks. I do often try to look for such hints. Also because I see life as a cinematic roll. I naively like to believe that somehow as kids my girl gang must have crossed each other’s path like an early Easter Egg of life! I find life to be that quirky, which may sound absurd, but trust me I speak of experience, life is pretty comical if paid attention. And dark humour seems to be it’s favourite kind too.

In my childhood I have experienced bullying, I barely had friends to count on or that I still cherish. They were really rare and those who were there even for a while, I am glad for their existence. I always loved the idea of friendship, people and connections that matter. So, when things started changing with finding people that stick through thick and thin, I stitched an unspoken family. Hence, when I think of my childhood, I specifically like to believe, there were cheeky Easter eggs of Hope hiding around the corner. It took a while to catch on that I value people a lot. It took me a phase of hating on humans to outgrow into someone who chose to define our species not only with the bad but good. Eventually, as I started owning up to who I was, I realised, I love people beyond anything, My priorities were set straight.

I have always been a career person too. One with big potential and bigger dreams. So one of them included an opportunity that most teens in my circle worked on. An opportunity to study abroad. I found the idea exciting, but I have a history of realising things once on the edge of the cliff. Pretty dramatic eh? Told Ya, Life’s a Movie. Anyway, to back that claim up here’s an example, it took me giving a medical NEET exam that I belonged to Writing and Creative World. I flipped my choices then, I chose science as my hobby and hobby as my passion. And, here I am. I still remember what was my wake up call. It was by someone who I allegedly believe is my Guru who transcends time to send life-shaking well-timed advice. Here’s the first one that claimed his entry into my life:

Well, getting back to the point where I could be anywhere but here I am. I never ever questioned my choices after I made them, especially not regretted them even if it didn’t work out as intended. But, last few months when my mother brought up the exact question of ‘why did you never took the opportunity of studying abroad?’ I realised I had too many reasons but majorly because my priority was established to make as many memories as there could be with the people I am blessed with. For a writer’s mind, it was a pretty clear choice, what is a story without its favourite characters. Also, the business and size of my dreams wise, this seemed pretty legit too. Before I share them I will tell you I did question my choice this time. Meanwhile, I started reading the book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning.’ And this is what I found:

If you see, it’s a clear sign as a day that this was a ripple effect of universal signs. Whatever mathematical equation this life is or a set code that runs this stimulation, it does communicate with us in ways that needs just a little more attention. This sign bought a lot of relief in my heart as if backed by strength. And that showed me much more clarity of how my dreams manifested much bigger with that decision. Rather than me stepping into a different culture, I became the host to bring different people of different cultures to experiencing mine. For a business that might have had a strong financial back up outside, but here it’s much more adventurous. As this developing country is still building its economy and while it does, I build things that are absolutely untouched niches. While I could have been a student of fancy-arse university (and hold debt of it) I was invited by one to travel with their students I hosted.

All in all, take this as a clear sign that there are no right or wrong choices (unless you’re trying to hurt someone) in life. If we have our priorities straight and clear to our heart, we make those choices manifest into something much bigger than expected. The universe is talking signs, we better catch up with the language! You and I, we are on the right path we just have to own it up. I should seriously name this series ‘own it up.’ Own your story, pick your genre, own your path, own your choice, because even if you don’t understand the math of life, it’s perfectly squared up for you.

I remember this one time, I sneaked out my younger brother and took him to the beach. It would be his first true time to be on the beach, closer to the waves. I saw him run free, happy and with laughter that I had never seen before. I realised, he is just like me. An ocean baby. When I watch him next to dad, sleeping just like him or hear myself have the exact tone of my mom, I see reflections. We are all reflections of the people close to us, of people we are born to or people we choose to grow with. The family that we are born into or the chosen family.

I am a believer in the idea that nothing in the universe is random. Every single thing in the Universe is connected to the other. The snowflake right now falling in Ontario on the balcony of the kid to the breeze that just cooled the warm early summers of Mumbai. When the cosmos is so well connected, who are we but just the minuscule alphabets of a single line? Bound together in one story. Simply just like that, you stranger, we’re in this together.

As I address the global family, I would like to say that we’re blessed to have people. Families of blood, of love or even of a simple fluke of meeting. We need that with us, to be us. For me, I was always a family person, before I even realised what it meant to be one. I guess I was a writer before I learnt words. I remember memories like a montage of a well-scripted story. For the forgetful person that I am, I remember the sunlight in my old home sneaking through the windows. It would lay on the diaries of grandpa. He had diaries of all sorts. For me, they were just colourful books of aazoba. In those books were these postcards that he collected. I loved to play with them all. Never knew what they meant. 20 years later, every morning sun graces my diaries that are named based on their colours. Along with a special box full of postcards from around the world. Most times they remind me of him and not the destination.

I remember the exact sound of the green bangles on my mom’s wrist. I could differentiate it from any other lady’s bangles because the chimes of mom’s bangles meant she is coming home. I would wait for her to return and knew exactly when my wait was over, 5 mins before she reached the door. I remember the nurturing wrinkled hands of grandma. They would touch anything and fill them with love: her people, plants or even food. I remember how every birthday, my dad would bring these exceptionally elaborate cakes. I was too little to notice yet I remember his excitement for the reveal seemed more than mine always. Most of what I remember are genuine smiles, maybe that’s what fuels mine. So much more stored in this genetic memory of mine. Maybe centuries later in future if humans make it and we build a memory visual bank, someone will watch these montages stored only with me, for the first time. Maybe they will find answers to questions they never knew they had.


As the Ocean flows along with the seas, I belong to thee,
A part of you became me,
Your laughter, scars and stories, all define me.
How transcending it truly is,
that we all carry something beyond what we see.
Beyond the people we know who made us and those we’ll be.

by Priyanka Tawde


I am glad I am a writer, for you can vaguely imagine the memories of people you never knew. For those few minutes, you stepped into my world. Every passing day, we step into the worlds of the other. And trust me it is nothing more than honour. I know someday somehow in ways that we can’t comprehend yet, I will step into yours. I will walk in with all the stories that made me & witness the glorious other stories. Little by little, we’re completing a sentence of a bigger story. Maybe this sentence is what will change the story, or maybe, just maybe, define it completely. Do you see it now? With all our individual independent stories we are all still a family. And before we learn to cherish the sentence or understand the whole book, we start with a word. And that word is family. It’s on you how you define it.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

By Rabindranath Tagore

Libraries and classrooms are best places to fall asleep. Trust me I speak of an experience. Whenever I look at a magnificent library with a rustic look with a tint that speaks of ancient untouched knowledge hidden in its shelves, I think how ecstatic it would be to fall asleep there. I am not sure if it’s because I am a person who has vivid dreams or because my nature is to seek knowledge. These places, seem like a warm hug, a home or more precisely a safe place. My professors and librarians would choose to disagree, but always let me be, because somehow I always knew answers to question in the class or the books I read.

Recently, in one of our team meets in Project Expressions we stumbled upon a topic of school prayers. I didn’t seem to remember mine at all, I just knew it was free from religious ties, one could attach it to any God they please, but the meaning for all remained the same. After hunting through and asking my school friends, I found the answer. It was ‘Where Mind Is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore’. I did not remember this poetry for some reason, but my mother told me I would sing this prayer fondly. Apparently, it was my favourite. I chuckled maybe I was asleep in the warmth of the classroom and well-spirited echos when the prayers happened. I was proud that my Irani school was so much more open to diversity in its true form, moreover, it had its priority set, to make their students fearless children of the future. Although that’s where the irony lies. My mind is FULL of fears.

Ever since the discovery of poetry like Vasco Da Gama discovered America, things didn’t sit right with me. I wanted to take things in control. I remember being confident but then my emotions were always at the toss, they were inhumanly organised. Now when I am a softer, kinder and more loving person I grasp fears and negativity too. I believe there’s always a mid-way. And this situation desperately needed one. My everyday life is affected by fears a lot, more than I would like to address. It comes as the first reaction to most things. Although I can get through almost anything if I put my mind to it, you would find me not indulging in anything that would challenge that. My flight and fight mode is on for things that shouldn’t need it. This creates unnecessary previously non-existing hurdles, and more often than not, imaginary ones that will never be a reality. I suffer for things that for 99% of the time will never be a reality. Curse of imagination? Maybe. Or the result of allegedly falling asleep during prayers? We’ll never know.

I am a person whose dream was to build something of her own, even before she realised she could be a writer, she wanted to be a business woman. Fears don’t work at all when it comes to business, there is simple no space for it. My fears and anxiety found it’s way in amplified manner with the unseen pandemic. Now here’s a thing, not once I questioned the capability of the business I was building or the idea behind it, but the self was getting lost in the chaos. Letting my fears take a better part of me affected me on a more personal side. Before this, I have always had things in my control. I knew exactly what I wanted to be; when I wanted to be and where I wanted to be. Same for all aspects in my life, till the point of the pandemic, I now no more had any control or understanding of it. It took a global pandemic for me to stand face to face with my fears. A year through it and still I am nowhere close to being fearless.

Fearless! The word itself is so bold, isn’t it? It isn’t about jumping cliffs or diving in the sky. Most times it isn’t about life and death choices either. It is as simple as not having fear as the first reaction or as something that would hinder a sane reaction. Just like these lines of the same prayer, I sang for nearly 10 years every day…(or slept through most days)

“Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action”

I always believed, who we are right now, reflections of our personality can be found in the early marks of our childhood. The first book you read, the songs you heard, movies you watched and more… According to that, Where Mind Is Without Fear, is one of the first poetry I was exposed to. How fascinating isn’t it? 20 odd years down the line, it would be one of the strongest and toughest lessons of life that I will have to learn. Today while I work on my perfectionism, I remind myself imperfections create art. While I manage for fear to not be my first reaction, I work on having a clear stream of reason to lead my way. As I move ahead and try to resurrect my dead habit of confidence I know where my mind should be. In the process of thought and action, just like Mr Tagore said and the school taught, I will find the freedom I seek.

कुछ पल बिताये जो यारों के संग

भुल ना पाए ऊँहे  हम कभी

जब जिंदगी मैं हो जाऊं मायूस यूं कभी

एक हलकी सी मुस्कान दे जाए वो मुझे आज भी

रोजाना की जिंदगी में चाहे कही भी खो जाए हम 

वो यारों के संग बिताये हुए यही पल होते है

जो फ़िर मुझे अंजान गली यो से भी ढूंढ़ लाते है

In our day to day life’s hustle and bustle we get drowned in work and responsibilities and we keep postponing our very well deserved breaks only to accommodate more work between them. After spending almost a whole year at home in 2020 due to pandemic without taking any vacation and travelling to any place I felt really thankful for all the trips and vacations that I took in 2019, a year before it all started and even just a month before the lockdown I decided to take a trip to Pondicherry and that has been my best decision last year. However, this one is about a trip I took close to the end of 2019.

In December of 2019, finally after saving some leaves and after getting bored of the daily rut of work and day to day life,me and my friend from college decided to visit Kolkata to meet and stay with our friend for an extended weekend. The plan was quite impromptu and we just notified our friend that we are coming and he has to be available on those days. That’s how our plan took shape just in a day or two and we quickly booked our flight tickets and applied for our leaves. 

Before I go any further, let me make this clear, this isn’t a blog that will actually tell you the places of attraction at Kolkata or the same touristy things that you must have come across in travel blogs earlier. This blog tells you about the little experiences that a 24 year old man had when he finally had his long awaited break and vacation with two of his dearest friends which he always used to wish for. Few days back I came across a post on one of the social media sites. It said the vacations which I have in my mid 20’s with friends are just about a lot of drinking, partying and relaxing and not about other touristy things. This vacation was somewhat similar for us.

A couple of days before we left from Kolkata, I had a friend visiting me from Belgium. Since he knew I love beers he made sure to get me two bottles of Belgian beers all the way from Belgium. I decided to carry them with me to enjoy it with my friend who also loved beers. 

We had a late night flight to Kolkata and reached Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport at 2 am. We took a cab to the Salt lake area to my friend’s house. After reaching his house in the middle of the night, we ordered hot chicken momos which we relished a lot during our college days. While feasting on the momos and talking we didn’t realize how time had passed and it was almost time for sunrise. As we weren’t sleepy yet, we decided to go on the terrace and enjoy the view of sunrise in Kolkata with the special Belgian Beers and some music. The beauty of those early morning hours coupled with the company of friends, beers and music was magical, it was almost like creating our very own Dil Chahta hai moment.

Beer with a view of Sunrise

The food in Kolkata has a very different vibe to it. Traditional Bengali meals are something to die for and try. I would always recommend 6 Ballygunge Place restaurants to people who want to try authentic bengali cuisine with an ambience that will take you in the vintage era. Their prawn curry served in a green coconut shell is a must try for food lovers. Also their aloo bhaja is loved by all. कोलकाता गए और रसगुल्ले नहीं खाए तो क्या खाया? Obviously you will be asked this question by everyone if you don’t stuff your mouth with enough rosgullas. We too had many and all kinds of rosgullas, though my personal favorites are baked rosgulla which are something which you don’t get to try everywhere but here in Kolkata. 

Getting as many sweets as possible to satisfy our sweet tooth

Another memorable moment for me during this entire trip had been the nouko ride at Princep Ghat. If you want to experience Kolkata in a unique way then the boat ride or as they call it the nouko ride at Princep ghat is a must try for all. Especially late evening after the sundown, you can witness the beautifully lit Howrah as well as Vidyasagar setu bridge during this ride while floating on the river Hooghly and also on the other side of the banks you can see the city lights and some modern party or dinner cruises. If that’s not enough you can try lying down on that small boat and listen to the famous bollywood song ‘Chingari Koi Bhadke’ as you see the lantern in the boat swaying. 

If you are in  Kolkata only for a couple of days just like us, then a visit to Victoria Memorial is a must. It is a site of great historical importance and is completely made of marble with a marble statue of Queen Victoria of England placed in it. It also houses a museum filled with artefacts, coins and other articles of the pre-independence era. What I liked about it the most was that it was situated right between the hustle and bustle of the city, however once you enter its huge wrought iron gates it takes you in a different era and a different place altogether. The memorial is surrounded by many water reservoirs and streams and it’s filled with greenery. Try sitting on one of its benches and notice how the city sounds get overshadowed by the chirping of almost a thousand birds on each of the trees filling your ears.

With all these beautiful experiences and some of the best moments that I spent with my friends after a very long time, I said goodbye to this beautiful city promising to return again someday and explore more that it has to offer very soon. 

Things men don’t have to do/worry about/expected of:

They are not expected to be tall. At least 5’9”.

They don’t have to be super successful, have a 6 figure salary.

Men don’t have to have their own house or be able to rent one.

Men don’t have to own a car or at least a bike.

Men are not expected in the slightest to have grand romantic gestures in a relationship.

Men are not expected to work and be primary earners.

They don’t have to have an MBA degree.

Men don’t need to have full grown beards.

They don’t need to look absolutely fit.

Men don’t get rudely pushed by women while walking on the street and still be insulted by no fault of their own.

Men don’t need to have a stable life before the age of 30 to get married.

Men don’t need to worry about losing their hair.

Men don’t need to worry about leaving their house to go live somewhere else just to make enough money to support their family back home.

Men are not expected to know how to fix almost everything inside the house.

Men don’t have to worry about being emotionally manipulated in relationships.

They certainly don’t have to own up to everything wrong in a relationship.

Men don’t have to worry about securing the financial future of their kids.

Men don’t get ridiculed when they follow their passion instead of working in a corporate office.

They don’t have to worry about crying in public. Like let’s say in a movie theatre because the scene was too emotional

Men are not expected to be able to fight in a Brawl situation. They won’t be seen as a coward if they walk away.

Men don’t have to worry about looking butch all the time. They can easily have feminine traits and not be called names.

Men have it way too easy. There is literally nothing that men need to worry about so I don’t get what the men crib about or do they?

SATIRE – The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

SEXISM – Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination on the basis of sex.

Change needs to happen for everyone. Not just one.

To anyone who is reading and thinking “but women have it worse..” This isn’t a competition about who has it worse. Read to understand, don’t read in anticipation to use a point in comparison and be bitter about it. I believe we are all facing some form of inequality and change needs to happen for all of us.

“Wandering into a space, covered by canopies, with escaping sunrays on your feet. The chaotic beauty and the intricate symmetry. The origin of order within disorder. The greatest architecture of all the time; the forest”.

Forests are spaces which make you reflect on your existence as well as that of humanity. It serves as a dimension between the nature and the human civilization. Many cultures have sprung out of nature and forests. The Japenese tradition of worshiping forests spirirts by building shrines is commonly known. Thoygh these praticies have slowoly declined. Princess Mononoke, a Japanese animated film explores this problee in the most creative and sensntive way. The story comprisies of two factions the rise of Iron-Age and the deline of forestery. It strives to maintinan balance manifesting the most beautiful scenes. Princess monoke shows a neautral picture of coexistiotion through disorder and order.

The first forests were formed by the sea- bacteria and since then they are growing and creating life.  Desert landscapes changed to tropical forests and ice lands became mountainous regions. The transformation of massive extreme landscapes into something completely different is the magic of chaos. The gradual changes that take place minute-by-minute undergo transformation through order.

Fractal geometry is not just a chapter of mathematics, but one that helps Everyman to see the same world differentlyThe Fractal Geometry of Nature”. Book by Benoit Mandelbrot, 1982

Wild untouched forests give an impression of chaos. The plants, rocks and animals seem to grow out of nowhere. Wildly spread across the land they enhance quality of space within that irregularity. Going deeper into this matter the nature is induce with something called as Fractal geometry, which is a tool for analyzing irregularity. Through studies the fractal nature of forests was reveled and a certain pattern came into existences. Fractal patterns over a wide range of scales in nature, and we can see a similar branching pattern in the veins of a tree’s leaves. There are a few things to notice about these fractal structure. While a tree is a large, complex object, it is formed by repetition . This is a basic principle that we will see again and in all fractals that we encounter, whether in nature, or in a computer system or in everyday things we own. The basic making of everything starts from a micro model which expands by repetition in various permutations and combinations.

This theory is used determine order within disorder is one chapter of an entire undiscovered universe. With multiple models and possibilities of patterns, fractal geometry in the hand of humans remain limited.

“Just saying that a structure is fractal doesn’t bring you any closer to understanding how it forms. There is an unique fractal-forming process, nor a uniquely fractal kind of pattern. The fractal dimension can be a useful measure for classifying self-similar structures, but does not necessarily represent a magic key to deeper understanding” (Ball, 2001, p. 117)

ज़िन्दगी के सफ़र मे बीतें थे कुछ हसीं लम्हे

आजकल उन्हीं के सहारे दिन कटते है मेरे

अलमारी मे रखी उन् तस्वीरों को देख

आज फिर होठों पे है वही मुस्कराहट मेरे

A few days back while cleaning my cupboard, I stumbled upon a photo album. It was from my first vacation to a different state than my home state. It was about my trip to Delhi, Agra with Shimla and Manali with my family. When you spend almost a year at home, with nowhere to travel and desperately waiting for your next vacation, such a sudden discovery does take you on a trip down the memory lane, to the happy places of your life, the times that you cherish the most or a memory that is so close to you that you still see it sometimes in your dream. Sometimes even a long lost forgotten memory also comes back to you when you encounter such small trinkets of your past experiences. In this particular trip, I revisited two of my favorite memories through the medium of my photos. 

The first photo that I ever clicked in my life was in the vicinity of Red fort when I was just 8 years old. This was supposed to be a family photo but in my excitement of capturing the photo I managed to click a blurry photo. Another memory being that of travelling from Shimla to Manali at night in a volvo, when everybody was fast asleep while I sat wide awake intrigued by the sound of Beas river flowing alongside trying to catch a glimpse of the river in the pitch dark night.

The reason for mentioning these two specific memories was that I realized that at moment, traveling to a place is not just about visiting all the attractions and sightseeings but also about living in those small moments, soaking in the feelings and experiences of these certain moments that get you in touch with your inner self. How that famous Bollywood from Yeh Jawani hai deewani, “Jitna bhi try kar lo kuch na kuch toh chootega he, isliye yahin iss pal ka mazza lete hai” holds true is what I realized. And I decided why not start a series of blogs where I take my fellow readers on a trip down the memory lane from my personal travel experiences which may connect with their memories of those places or remind them of those memories which they may have forgotten in their daily lives.

We have forgotten the smell of wet soil after rains, the sounds of waves crashing on a rocky beach while you look at the distant twinkling lights on the horizon, the feeling in the tummy on a rocking boat while sailing on a crazy flowing river. So let’s rekindle  those lost and forgotten memories which will unknowingly put a smile on our face.