Friday, April 22, 2016

4th anniversary

As I look forward to our anniversary
How to celebrate it remains a mystery
Through essays and blogs is how I always explore
But a tribute to us should be worth more 
4 years of love and intimacy
Could only be expressed through a work of poetry

Marriages are made in heaven they say
The time has to be right to make heads sway
Life had to polish the stones we were, to the diamonds that met
For a diamond and a stone cannot make a fabulous set

The connection was instant and the attraction really strong
A Mexican getaway was the perfect storm
Laughing away at our wedding
I knew we had started on a strong footing
Year 1 was the year of romance
And life yessir, always gives you a second chance.

Exploring the mountains and uplifting our lives
Year two was the year that we built up our social lives
Activities and people from all walks of life
Opened our eyes to what is truly possible with life

And then the travel bug caught on
We decided to bring it all on
From the mountains of Macchu to the jungles of Amazon
We learnt that striving together we can take down a Armageddon
Year 3 was one of support and strength
Testing our love and patience to great length

Walking through the mountains we decided it was time
To have a baby while we are still in our prime
Nature they say listens to none, but only the true one
Our hearts are not there, it knew from day one
Love of parents and in-laws became our strength
A trip to the crater of civilization changed our views of what life meant

As we approach the 4th year, my dear
I want to rise above all the quibbles and squabbles of last year
And acknowledge my heartfelt gratitude for the love that you are
You are the love that makes me grow and care
Never the one to rest
You make me my best

We are two travelers in this journey of life,
Through the ups and downs we are learning to become better husband and wife,
As we look into our future, I wonder how we will be as man and wife
Making this world a better place, I believe needs to the journey of our life.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Why do I climb?

Why do I climb, I ask
As I climb, I try to uncover the mask

Is it the tropical green or the air so clean?
The star studded sky or the wind that blows by?
The artic desert unfolding or the giant rocks that seem to be scolding?
The  glacier so pristine or the crater expanding for lives umpteen

My body is under stress
The mountain putting it under duress
Why do I climb, I ask
As I climb, I try to uncover the mask

My comforts all gone, discomfort being the new norm
Mind over matter taking a completely new form

Go conquer the mountain, said them all
Submission is the only way, the mountain taught me with each fall

The day arrived to summit the top,
I submit to thy, I told the mountain top
As the summit came near, my eyes filled up with tears
For there was no longer me and the mountain
In loosing myself, I had discovered a the part of life's fountain.

Why do I climb, I had asked?

To let go of myself, and be dissolved.

Rooftop of Africa - Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro. I heard that name almost 1.5 years back when P dragged to a "seminar" about mountaineering that he often does. The seminar turned out to be our future guide "Sandeep" talking about his new adventure company,Miyar adventures and how they were taking a few people up Kilimanjaro. The whole thing sounded fairly exciting and challenging and I automatically registered Kili in my bucket list. It was only almost a year later that we decided to finally do it.
I had a miscarriage earlier in the year 2015 and P with his ever encouraging spirit had said, let's do something else life changing this year :-) and so we decided to climb Kilimanjaro.

And so we started to prepare for Kilimanjaro in September of 2015. We knew some basic details. It would be a 7 day climb, reaching a maximum altitude of 19,300 feet. I did not want to know too many details about the climb because I felt it would scare me off. I knew so little that I thought we only had to climb up to the top and then there would be jeep that would bring us down, similar to how we had done Macchu Picchu last year. Fortunately I figured out in time that was not the case.

Training started in ernest, with us wracking up as many hiking miles as we possibly could. We caught up with a few other people of the group who were way more planned than us and had chalked out multiple hikes that they would be doing over the next three months to get ready. We had actually never hiked in the fall season in the pacific northwest, so the views came as wonderful surprise. My main form of training became "Hatha Yoga". that I had just learnt in August and the weekend hikes. (FYI - people looking to increase strength and flexibility, do give hatha a chance. I definitely saw a huge difference).

On our favorite training mountain (Tiger), completely drenched in rain
Hiking in the fall season had another advantage - we got to hike in all sorts of bad weather - rain, snow, night lights etc. So our gear got tested pretty well. One evening P and I ended up on the hiking trail at 7.00 pm, well after dark only to find halfway through the hike that our head lights stopped working. Extra batteries! Damn!. Another time, I got completely drenched in the rain despite all my rain gear. We then learnt about rainproofing our rain gear. (REI has some good rain products for that). Gloves were another big battle for me. No matter what sort of gloves I tried, my fingers kept getting too cold. Finally found a pair of great mittens at REI that worked for me. Another advantage was hiking in bad health. Fall season is the time for flu. I was feeling feverish one day but still decided to give Mailbox hike a shot. I got halfway up before we decided to turn around. It was great training though, as it was much needed on Kili. P had battles of his own. He tore his meniscus playing soccer and as he tried to compensate for his knee, his back started to hurt pretty bad. He figured out how to pace himself to help manage the pain. All of which again came handy on Kili.

All set - Backpacker style!
Come end of Nov, we started to feel confident about our training. Only concern was that we were going to India before Kili and we would not have much time to train or maintain our fitness in India. We told ourselves we will get up early each day and go for a 30 min run in India. Well, who were we kidding, anyone who has been to India on vacation knows that is not possible. In our defense we did manage to run for two days and do yoga on a couple of others but that pretty much defined our training. As our climbing partner put it, we were just doing a "carb load" in India to get ready for the hike. Another concern was getting sick in India. We managed pretty well for the most part of the trip until we saw a fresh water swimming pool in Ooty and jumped in for a swim. Oops! Both P and I ended up with a sore throat and cold which we carried up the mountain.

At the base camp!
The board behind us lists out all the camps till the top
21st Dec. We packed up all our stuff and started on the journey to Kili. Other than an almost missed flight in Dubai, our flight was mostly uneventful and we reached Kilimanjaro international airport which our luggage intact. As soon as you get into the airport the thing that strikes you is that everyone is carrying a backpack and has hiking shoes on. You know you have come to a climbing destination. We were put up in Hotel Stella Maris by our guide which was managed by charming young man called "Innocent". Tanzanians apparently have a penchant for good sounding English words as names. Another thing we found out that "hurry" in a not a word in their dictionary. Everything from food, to the cars, driving to the base camp and starting the hike, happened in its own sweet time. Well we did not have anything to complain though, we found some great company on the hike and the fun was just getting started.

The wonderful gang and guides that made it all happen

View of the peak in moonlight from the machame camp
Climbing Kilimanjaro takes you through 5 climatic zones - Plantations, Tropical forests, Moorland, Alpine desert and Summit. Day 1 was tropical forests, nice and shady. As we chatted and started walking, one of the guides walked to the front and told us not to get ahead of him. It took us a bit to realize that he was trying to set pace for us. We needed to last for 7 days. He told us walk pole pole ( slowly, slowly in Swahili) as that it the only way you can walk up the mountain. A nice lunch and a couple of hours of walking got us to our first camp of the day Machame camp at around 9K feet.
Today was also officially the first day for all of us on Diamox (Altitude sickness prevention tablet), which meant I spent a good part of the night rushing to the toilet due to the side effects.  Anyone who has been camping the cold will tell you that is not a fun experience. On the brighter side I saw some amazing views of the peak in the moonlight.

The drama in the clouds from Shira camp
Day 2 saw some interesting terrain taking us by to an altitude of around 12.8K. As we climbed up and down rocks in the rain, the cold and altitude started to catch up on me. I remember telling myself, this is extreemly uncomfortable but I would not trade this  for anything. There was a certain warmth to the mountain which is very tough to explain in words. We were above clouds at this point of time and it all just looked very unreal. I must mention that all we had to really do was walk with our small backpacks. Setting up tents, cooking hot meals was all taken care of by the porters.
                                                                If not for them this journey would have not been possible.

Pole pole - one step at a time! Alpine desert
Day 3 was going to be a major acclimatization day. We would be going up till 14.5K and then coming down and camping at 13.8K. My cold was getting worse, peppered with cough now, making it tough to breath. The lack of oxygen at that altitude did not help the matters. The gang decided to start singing songs to keep everyone's spirits high. P was getting a pretty bad backache and he kept singing to distract himself. I tried to sing but I could hardly muster 3 to 4 words before I lost breath. I was jealous of the guys on the team, they were all doing really well while I was struggling but their high spirits did help push me forward. I tried to catch up but kept falling behind. At one of the stops I sat down and started to fall asleep. The guide walked up to me and asked me what was going on, I said I was doing fine but he realized I was not doing too well. He took my backpack from me, asked me to drink water and keep walking. The next hour was just a daze, I was sleep walking. By the time I got to the lunch tent I was so utterly exhausted that I had no idea what was going on around me. The lunch helped regain my spirits and as we descended down I felt my energy coming back. As the clouds cleared we saw a giant stone wall in front of us with the summit on the left. The magnamity of the mountain in that instance left us all spell bound. We were supposed to climb the rock wall the next day :-).

Sandeep - our awesome guide, with the peak in the background.
Karanga camp
Day 4 was my favorite portion I guess. The first part of the day was a rock scramble on the Baranco wall and I loved it. All our time in the rock climbing gym helped as we thoroughly enjoyed it. For others in the team it was definitely the toughest day as they had never done scrambles before. Once the scramble ended all we could see was a desert for miles in front of us. At this point any straight climbs had becoming quite challenging for me, due to a completely blocked nose and incessant cough. The guides however were my strength, they kept me company and kept pushing me one step at a time. In my heart though I knew I would make it, I just had to focus on the next step and eventually that would lead to the camp.

Day 5 was a short day again with a rock scramble to the Kosovo camp. Once we reached our final base camp for the summit at 16K, the plan was to sleep till 11 pm at night and then start hiking at 12.00 am to the summit. We tried hard to sleep through the afternoon but the green house effect of the sun, make our tents into toasty ovens, making it impossible to sleep. I had been getting more and more exhausted due to the cold and needed all the energy and rest I could to make it to the summit. After a much needed dinner of soup and spagetti, I took some nyquil and slept off. I asked P to pack up for so I can get every last bit of sleep that I can.

Sunrise from Stella point!
Mowenzie peak in the background

11.00 am, we got up and to my surprise, my nose felt completely unblocked. That was a sign, I knew I was going to make this journey. The next 7 hours after that to the summit are pretty much a daze, other than the spectacular sunrise we saw on our way up. We just blindly followed the guides one step at a time. One of the guides walked up to me and said, Akhila, I would be disappointed if you don't make it to the top. I told him, I would not disappoint him. We reached Stella point, the pre-peak at around 6.00 am. Our wonderful porters got ginger tea for all of us to drink. The drink was a life saver and the perfect way to mark the celebration. I got to know later that P had some server altitude sickness on his way up but fortunately the guides took good care of him, for which I am ever grateful.

The last 300 feet were a very humbling experience. Tears rolled down my eyes as I saw the peak. I knew there was something much beyond me which was making this experience happen. The wide crater on the right and diminishing glacier on the left marked the perfect setting for this beautiful summit day.

Summit! Celebrating with P, for he was the one who introduced me to mountains
We spent the next 1.5 days coming down. I fell down quite a bit while coming down but nothing seemed to matter now. We had been on a journey that had helped us get beyond the shackles our physical self and made us experience the beauty of everything around us that we are a part of.

Before I went on the trip, it was meant to be a bucket list item that you check off and let friends know that you went to Kili. After the trip though I just feel grateful that we had the opportunity to be there and experience the grandiose of this amazing mountain. 

Monday, April 06, 2015

The power of stories

I remember P and I had minor fight before we walked into the YKB show last year. We were running late and according to him I was walking too slow :-). In that semi angry state we walked into the dark room to see a bunch of women sitting on the stage wearing red and black and looking very stoic. We had no idea what we had just walked into. A friend of ours had bought tickets to the show so we had kindly obliged.
What we witnessed for the 2 hours, could not be described in words. I felt like I had just lived the lives of 12 different women in those 2 hours. I had felt their pain, their joys, their judgement and their passion for life all at the same time. I walked out of the show and all I could think is I could never bring myself to do this. Stand in front of an audience and talk about the deepest stories of my life, that was just unimaginable. Somewhere at the back my heart I felt a tug though, I knew that if I ever had the courage to do that it would definitely transform my life. It would open up my heart and help me connect even more with the world.

9 months later, the same friend pinged me asking me to go attend the auditions for the show. I replied back with a sly remark saying I really did not have a story to talk about. What I was hiding behind the remark was the fact that I was just freaking out at the thought of performing at the show. But my life force was way more stronger than my insecure survival instincts, it pushed me to go attend the audition. I do not know if it was the samosas or the kindred spirit in that room, but I was hooked after the first meeting. I decided to give this a shot.

The work shops over the last four months have been an amazing journey of learning and re-discovering myself.  Some of the most important things that I have learnt over the course of these months have been
1. To know someone you really need to know their story. 
 My initial few sessions, I would walk into the room and quickly start making judgments about people. Healthy, not healthy, funny/not funny, caring/distant...etc etc.  I was doing what we are all accustomed to doing, make a decision about someone in 5 mins of talking to them, isn't that what we are all paid to do? As the sessions progressed however and I learnt about people through their stories, my perceptions started breaking down. I know longer saw them as black or white, I saw them as their stories. I realize that we are deeply connected in one way or the other through our stories, we just need to take the time to listen.
2. The only way to grow is to open your heart and share it with the world.
Most of our everyday conversations with friends or at work are about all the things we do well, we are all trying to create a projection of ourselves when we talk to others. What better example than Facebook. In the workshops we were asked to share about stories that impacted us, that we felt ashamed of, times we felt judged and times that we flourished. I realized that the more I opened up my heart and my stories, the stronger I felt both inside and outside. There was less that I was scared of sharing the more I shared.
3. We do unto others as we do to ourselves.
I realized the more we judge and build opinions of others, the more we open ourselves up to being judged. If we are self aware and true to ourselves, that is what we do to others too. Ours is a age of opinions, we read articles about articles and then build our judgments based on that. We never stop to sit down and experience the other person as they are. We dnt stop judging ourselves, so we find it very tough to stop judging others.  We constantly have an urge to know where we stand in the ranking system. I realized that so many precious moments of my life has been missed because I was worried about judgements which did not even come in most cases.

As the day for the show approaches, I feel good about having chosen to walk this path. I met an amazing set of really strong women. These women dnt just talk about empowerment, they are every day examples of it. I feel more connected with my inner self and I believe more and more each day in the power of love and compassion to change the world. 

Monday, March 30, 2015


Fear, the mind numbing feeling 
It  gets my heart racing, forcing my soul to start shrinking 
That which makes me want to sit in the bed nestled in, for I know not where to begin 
Shrouding me with a giant cloud, making each pursuit of mine fill up with doubt 
Slowly eating away my present, for I am worried about the land o' so distant 
The primeval feeling which is meant to protect, is making me self destruct 

I wish I could drive it all away, challenges new or old, just let them make the way 
To new learnings and findings, each new step releasing me of my bindings 
Fear has its place, but I will not let it take up my whole space 
For I want to experience life and not be afraid of the strife 
Let every breath be filled with bliss, for life is short and there is not a moment to miss!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

12500 feet

So everyone that knows Pradeep knows that he loves mountains, not just watching them but climbing them. P's take on climbing mountains is that challenging yourself on a mountain is always a true test of one's character,what would you do if you did not have all the comforts that we take for granted, what would you do when mother nature is at her best and at her wildest. He says you can find true friends and partners if you were to take them on a hike :-)

Moving to Seattle meant that I got to watch the hours of arduous prep that P would do every time he wanted to climb an alpine summit. The amount of detail and preparation that went into it were often irritating and tiresome to watch. So I decided to take the easier route out, I would go on hikes that required the minimum amount of preparation. I got to enjoy the views, stay fit and not have to worry about too much preparation.

That changed this year, now that I was going to hit the big 3 at the end of year I decided I should do something to mark this decade and what better way than to summit a mountain. Mt. Adams was chosen to be the one.

P offered to be my partner, porter and guide

After a couple of months of prep, we picked the July 4th weekend to attempt the summit. The plan was to start on Friday, see how I felt on Saturday and if I could not make it all the way back stay back on sunday. We started hiking at 5600 feet and till 8000 ft the hike was mostly un-eventful. At 8K we decided to set camp and that's when the fun started. Putting up a camp in 25 mile per hour winds is not easy. I thought of how our ancestors would have managed their lives when they were mostly at nature's mercy for their every day life. Once we set up the camp we got down to making some water - yup you heard it right, make water by digging snow, bringing it back and melting it. All was going good till the stove stopped working and P had to sit around in freezing weather to try and figure out how to get the stove working. After all attempts failed, we filled our bottles with snow and put them in the tent hoping they would melt. Not a very good idea as the water could have caused food poisoning. Tired as we were we slept off with the winds pushing our tents in all directions. Our plan was to get up at 2 am and decide the next steps.

At 2 am I peeked out of the tent and saw sparkling lights from the torches lighting up the path to the summit. Summit is on I told myself. P was not very convinced though, given the weather conditions he felt it might not be safe. By now I was determined to give it a try, lets dress up I told him and if we cannot go any further we will come back.

Miles to before I sleep 

We left behind all of our stuff and only with water, warm clothes and some food we started our climb to the summit. 9K - All is well. I am all pumped up, the summit looks so close, we can do this. 9K to 11K was a slope straight up with a 35 deg incline. The air started to get thinner, the legs started to get tired. Half way through P felt really tired, he started to have tingly sensations in his hand. Mountain sickness is setting in he told me. The uneducated climber that I am, I had no idea what to do. P kept his calm, sat down for some time and popped in a couple of ibuprofen tablets. He then said - I will make this happen for you, since you so wanted to do this. Test of character ?? Now that is what I am talking about !!

The amazing mountain views

We got to 11K and I started to feel a little sick in my stomach. Not here I told myself...I am so close. I popped in some GU (concentrated sugar tables with caffeine) . I will be fine I told myself and we started for the final 1000 ft to the summit. That is when the trouble started, my stomach went for a complete toss, till I realized the caffeine in the GU was reacting with my stomach. It was too late by then, we were 500 ft away from the summit and P thought it was not a good idea to go any further given my condition. Not now I told him. I just need to refocus and I will be fine, but it was tough. At that moment P came to my rescue, he started singing all of my favorite telugu songs at the top of his voice to try and divert me. With 45 miles per hour winds and low oxygen I am still not sure how he pulled it off. At that altitude he sure gave SPB a run for his money. 150 more, 70 more 20 more I just could not do it any more. I sat down closed my eyes and said you got it.....deep breath to rescue. We finally made it to the summit !!. It was a terrible day to be at the summit, no visibility, heavy winds it was impossible to see any further than 20 ft. I was feeling so sick I just wanted to go back down, this minute that I had waited for, now was becoming very tough to enjoy. P back to rescue....he started hugging me and shouting - thats when it struck me. I had done it !!!

All this work for a really bad summit photo :-(

Coming down was a breeze, thanks to the wonderful glissade chutes ( snow slides ). We came down 3000 ft in 30 mins :-).

We got back to the car, drove to a nearby lodge, took a warm shower and as I was getting ready to sleep, I told myself - Bring it on 30, it is only going to get better from here :-)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Flying Solo

I am coming to the end of a 3 week long vacation sans husband for the first time after marriage and I have to begrudgingly admit " I loved it". Now before you start speculating on the state of my marriage, I would like to make a case for why "Flying solo" is a great idea for couples.
I remembered a joke as I started writing this blog. Once a man was travelling alone in a train. He stuck up a conversation with a fellow passenger and told him- " I am going on my honeymoon". The passenger was confused, he was like where is your wife? The man replied - "I am going on the honeymoon this year and my wife will go next year :-). After all a honeymoon is meant to be enjoyed, if both of us go together that will never happen."
Flying solo is something like this joke, not literally though. I remember when I was single and had to make the long flights to India, I always wished I had a partner that I could travel with, because 30 hours of no talking was a giant task for a talkative person like me. And now that I am married, I actually did not mind the 30 hours alone. Ahh the contradictions of the human mind!. Well, to tell you the truth I did mind P not coming on the trip initially. I was too used to the couple mode and getting used to the single mode took some time but when I finally got used to it, I discovered the joys of this short time off.
I always tell people I only write blogs when P is not in town, because that is the only time I actually get to sit down and reflect. When he is in town, there is no downtime and even if there is, it is a couple downtime, not an individual one. I am sure my married friends understand what that means. There is a status quo in married life that you get used to, talking to each other, doing activities together, taking care of the house etc. There is rarely time to step back from it all and evaluate it at an individual level. There are days where you get caught up in the fluidity of it all. Well you will say that is what vacations are for, what is special about not taking your partner along. I think the same way vacations allow you to look at your life in a different light, solo vacations allow you to look at your partner and other relationships in a new light. The latter part about other relationships is important. Very often in today's nuclear world it becomes all about you, your partner and your kids if you have any. What about your multitude of friends, partners, close relatives etc. They fade away into the background. That is what I think flying solo gives you, the quiet time to understand what is important in life and helps you appreciate it.
So what did my vacation teach me:-
  1. That my husband is possibly the most honest and down to earth person that I have known in my life. The most important thing that he has taught me is that if you want to make the most out of a relationship then put yourself out in the open, in the most honest way. In most cases people will not understand and appreciate it but when they do you will get the true joy of being a relationship. Also, that it takes guts to be brutally honest about yourself to other people as well as yourself but without that there is no other way to grow.The other thing that I have learnt from him is that most instances in life can contribute to a joke and making a fool of yourself once in a while is a good way to break the bubble that we build around us.
  2. My parents are the coolest people around. I have always known that my parents are different than other set of parents, they are most genuinely happy and peaceful people that I know. But the best part is their internal child which is always curious and excited. Watching my parents get excited about getting drenched in the ocean waters was delightful to the say the least. They were jumping with joy like kids would. They taught me that success is only defined by how happy and uncomplicated you are!
  3. Meeting up with old friends is intoxicating. It is surprising how the years in between vanish when you meet an old friend. There is something to be said about the comfort of being with an old friend, we all have so much change going on in our lives that it is almost essential for us to keep ourselves rooted to these people as they help us deal with the everyday change in our life. Also, people dnt change, they just become wiser J
  4. And finally, children are the best teachers. They say kids are mirrors of us, I would change that and say kids are mirrors that lead us to our soul. My 4 year old nephew taught me that. His response is not decorated by years of conditioning where we have been taught to behave in a certain way for a certain situation. His joy, curiosity, love and anger are all genuine. The quickest way that kids learn is by imitation, so if you see them doing something that you dnt like, look at yourself for you may be doing the same.

Flight or Fight

I recently started reading a book called “Loneliness”. I highly recommend the book to everyone who is interested in understanding human behavior. When I mentioned the title to people, they get concerned about the title. Take my word for it, this book is an excellent scientific and social memoir of human evolution.
Now to the story of why I started reading this book. Moving to Seattle was a personal challenge of mine to see if I can survive and thrive in completely new place. Minneapolis is a place very close to my heart for all the people that I met there, my friends, mentors, colleagues and bosses. There was a certain quality to all of them which was greatly endearing and loving. Life could not be more comfortable than that. I got to a point where I wanted to test myself in new circumstances and see if I can survive. Survive, I did but somewhere down the line something felt missing – the personal connection. I missed my friends and my mentors. That is where my research started, why is that we feel upset when the personal connection is missing?
My research led me to how evolution has trained our systems. It not just answered my question on personal connection but it also answered questions that I had about fear and anxiety in general. At the core of it all is our survival instinct. The survival instinct is a very sophisticated mechanism which has matured over 1000s of years of human evolution. Our systems are trained to ensure the success of best genomes for the human race. Rejection, failure, desertion were not circumstances that ensured survival of the human in our hunter gather societies. As a result our body developed hormonal reactions that send signals to our brain any time any of these situations arose. That is why a heart break really hurts because the minute your brain sense a rejection, it assumes that there is a threat to your survival. The brain then shuts down all the peripheral functions, quickens the heart rate to help you with “Flight or Fight” to save yourself. The slight glitch is that evolution has not really caught up with the modern day society. Heart breaks, fight with a boss, loss of friends are not situations that really threaten your survival and as result your body does not really need to kick off its fight and flight syndrome anytime these situations happen.
So what is the problem with triggering the “fight and flight” syndrome every single time. The problem is wear and tear. Another name that we give this syndrome these days is “Stress”. Every time your body undergoes stress there are physical changes that occur and they cause wear and tear in the body. In order to recover your body needs time to rest. Similar to how when you are trying to build muscles, you need a rest day for them to rebuild. In the modern day there is really no time to rest and recover. A good night’s sleep is also at premium for some people these days.
Understanding the method behind the madness has helped me figure out my stresses in a much clearer way. Personal connection is very important for all of us as it ensured a safety net for people in the hunter gather societies, the more people you knew and the more people you could the trust, the more your chances of survival where. As a result till today, we yearn for friends and families that we genuinely connect with on a personal basis. Telephonic or Inter web relationships fail to satisfy that need.
The same is true for stresses at work. Rejection or lack of approval could mean dire things for our ancestors. Have you ever seen lonely bears at national parks, they usually are injured and as a result they are thrown out of the herd as they jeopardize everyone else’s life. For the lonely bear from then on it is just counting days to its death. So lack of approval at work triggers immediate triggers in our systems.

Most spiritual books mention that the day you can get out of the crutches of your survival instinct is the day you will be enlightened. After my tiny bit of research it is becoming more and more clear to me that what they say is true. If all the stresses were out of our lives, what would be left is just pure bliss. 

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Alternate reality

All this week a thought has been running at the back of my head, the thought has been trying to make its way on to paper but I have been withholding the thought and preventing it from reaching its fruition because I am not sure if I really realize what the greater implications of the thought might be. I have finally decided to give up the resistance and start putting down the thought on paper because past experience has taught me that I writing is the only mechanism that allows me to understand my thoughts.  So here it goes -
Over the last couple of years and especially in the last week I feel like my life and the life of everyone around me is being lived in two spheres. My friends have joked about me being like Alice from the Alice in wonderland series. I actually feel like that right now. The other movies that come to mind are The Matrix and the Truman show where an alternate reality is created and people living in them start to believe that is actually the real world.
Everyday I drive back from work I pass by 4 to 5 bus stops. The scene on every single bus stop is identical, people peering into their smart phones and looking at something busily. I often wonder what it is that they are all deeply looking into? My glare then moves on to fellow drivers, each one of them eagerly trying to get home in the engineering marvels that they dearly call cars. And once I do finally get home, my husband and I peer into our laptops and watch a soccer game or an interesting episode of Scrubs. We discuss application programming, the new windows phone vs. the android phone and the pros and cons of Windows 8. Once in  a while when we do get fed up of technology we discuss people and the so called first world problems that each one of our friends/family are going through.
This rigmarole goes on day in and day out and we enjoy most of it. Newer technologies at work, newer relationships, occasional celebrations, some upsets and so on. Most of what we all call life!

But then a question pops up in my head once in a while, what is life? Isn't life the fishes in lake outside my house, the lady bug crawling on my balcony, the stars shimmering in the sky at night, the intelligence in nature that makes every season come on time, sun rise, sun set, the brilliance that makes the moon disappear every 15 days and then reappear again. Ahh well that seems to be life, but then where do I fit in. With my latest smart phone, my laptop, my latest facebook update or twitter feed, where do I fit in. It almost seems like my reality does not mesh with this other reality. It almost feels like an alternate reality. Is it the same life that runs in me and all of this wonderful world around me. We are all made of the same atoms, live on the same earth, breath the same air and ultimately die and mix into the mother earth. We are all connected in some sense but our current way of life just seems to be taking us away from that connectedness. Nature is something that we drive down an hour or two to visit. Nature is not something that lives and breathes within me.

But then I get a message on my smart phone and I forget all about nature and me and about all of it being One.