Tretar 7, the Gift of Darkness

[This post is the seventh in an ongoing series for Project Tretar. You can read previous posts here]

The chains of lead, the shadows of doom
Hollow sighs and endless gloom

Where the ghosts of loneliness sing
Where the road to hell begins

I stood there held in grip of destiny
My whole life crumbling before me

The lamp of my life was gone
In the hands of fate, I was a pawn

Smelling of death and bathed in coal
Darkness ready to prey upon my soul

Do you fight or plead it to go?
Or do you watch it helplessly so?

If I closed my eyes and surrendered
In a jiffy it would take me under

I defied and waited to see the end
My body withering and my spirit burn

The night hissed, bawled and roared
It scared me till it could no more

It bit me but could not reach my soul
In the end, it just let me go


Tretar7 - the gift of darkness

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
Mary Oliver

One of my close friends received a heartbreaking news recently. But I admire how my friend has coped up with it. This post, although talking of darkness, has that hidden light inside. Darkness doesn’t mean that there won’t be light anymore, it simply means that you’ll have to endure a little longer. This time might teach you something. So next time, life gives you the gift of darkness, look into its eyes and accept it. Turn it into a star.


Tretar 6, Fighting for the Basket

[This post is the sixth in an ongoing series for Project Tretar. You can read previous posts here]

Dear 31 years old N,
This is your 60 years old self and I wanted to tell you 2014 was very special and that you should enjoy it more. Good things are going to unfold around you, you just need more faith to hold on to. You just need to believe in it. People could kill for the kind of friends you have, don’t let them go. Ever. Jobs would come and go and probably even some opportunities – do not lose the value of your people. Don’t drop your Yoga. I would be feeling so much better if you continued sparing that one hour in your day even if it meant getting some projects a little delayed. Do sleep well. I know you have trouble sleeping but it will get better if you can learn to leave things to fate sometimes - it helps.

Oh, and don’t bother about facebook! In few years, you would realize that nothing is what it seems on facebook. Don’t pretend to be anything there, enjoy your identity and circumstances – live for them and not for what you can say on facebook. Once people start taking it for granted, the charm would go away.

Continue having that fighting spirit of yours. Just when things would look impossible, a small door would open up. Never give up. I know you won’t because I am a happy person at 60 and that wouldn’t happen if you didn’t know what is important and what’s not. Enjoy 2014, it may perhaps change the course of your life.

Dear 31 years old N,
I am your departed soul, sitting across from Him right now. You know Him right? You used to talk about Him in your book. He is conducting an auction right now, giving away things. Various people are bidding on behalf of their younger selves. I am sitting quietly at the end, just trying to see what goes on and if I can find you a bargain.

First, he auctioned off success but there was some confusion about its content, so He clarified – ‘monetary and material success which entails getting more physical pleasures than you expected’. Bids went crazily high and the winner paid her close friends and family for it. The commotion had barely subsided when next item was unveiled. It was ‘fame’ this time and the winner bade a portion of their life and meaningful relationships for it.

[Hours later] You know its been long and I have not been able to procure anything for you so far. I just don’t think I want to pay those prices. Oh wait, here is something. Let me jump for this.

[Minutes later] You know what it was? First, let me tell you what I bade. I gave a small portion of your success, wealth and fame but I am happy with the item. Its beautiful and delicate. Oh, I cannot even imagine what wonderful things you would do with it. It’s a picnic basket and in the bargain, I got Him to throw a small boat and kid’s beach bucket in as well. I am amazed that no one wanted to bid for it. I know you would fill it with homemade sandwiches and oranges one day. Then take it to a beach and spread a red checkered sheet out. Sit with your loved one and watch the sunset. He was smiling when I took it. And if I am not wrong, I think He winked too.


Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Tretar 5, the Song of the Quiet

[This post is the fifth in an ongoing series for Project Tretar. You can read previous posts here]

I am a loner, there’s no secret about it. Private. Solitary. But I don’t remember a single moment in my life when I felt I was bored. No, its not a hyperbole. I don’t know boredom because I have always had myself to turn inwards to when there was nothing or no one else. I’m an Introvert and happy at that.


I was going to write about solitude when I picked this photograph. But, I wanted to look at it more objectively instead of romanticizing it. The fact is I thrive on solitude because I’m an introvert whereas an extrovert might detest it. It doesn’t make an extrovert any less wiser. But, it doesn’t make me, the introvert, any lesser either. The sad part is the importance we are given about blending in and being sociable which somehow has become a synonym of extroversion. This post is for all the introverts out there who might have struggled to blend in at some point of life. Do you remember the time -

    1. When you were forced to participate in a school play, so you found yourself standing on the stage in a tree costume and you just wanted the play to end
    2. When you were ‘encouraged’ to mingle with other children in your parents’ social gatherings or visit those relatives who kept questioning the hell out of you and you just wished you could get back home to your favorite book
    3. When you were were supposed to get good at public speaking in college by standing in front of so many people and you would rather discuss what mattered to you one on one with people you were comfortable with
    4. When you were supposed to prepare for group discussions and the more aggressive you could get mattered. You wished you could clear it somehow so that you can show your real self in the personal interviews
    5. When your popularity was judged by the number of friends and strangers in your birthday party at midnight whereas you would have been much happier with a quiet getaway with your loved one
    6. When you were under the pressure to ask questions in team meetings to impress your superiors and you would rather send your concerns passively over an email
    7. When you were judged by how many bars and networking events you visited at Business School and you just wanted to get some sleep

The real key is to understand that introversion is not awkwardness and while it is great to learn to be more companionable, there is no need to prove ourselves by the standards of extroversion. It is time to accept your strengths and do your best in those rather than living someone else’s life and struggling in it. While the world continues to celebrate outspokenness and people who can initiate handshakes and debates, it still needs people who can tap their internal fire and create the masterpieces of art and science. Do it your own way and do it happily.

There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.Susan Cain

Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again. Anaïs Nin

Some people would laugh on this – what center? And may be there’s nothing but how about if there is? Even a tiny nucleus of some indefinable energy that is resting within us. Something that is driving the whole outer Universe, something that we connect to while meditating? That leads me to one of the Mahavakyas (great saying) of the UpanishadsAham Brahmasmi (I am Divine). I wouldn’t elaborate much on it here as I cover it in Seven Conversations and I would rather have you read it there.

I feel like I have been given this time to live and I want to spend it on only the stuff I absolutely love or that is important to me. I don’t mind being in pain for something I love but I will not take the easy way out of faking stuff to blend in. I will not be a manager driving pointless meetings, I will not be forced into parties I don’t want to go, I will not indulge into smalltalk with people I am not interested in and I will not apologize for being quiet.

See this great TED talk on The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain


Seven Conversation’s website is ready for you

If you read my post on Tretar, you might remember reading this-

With that, I am going to announce one more thing – I am going to publish my book this year – no matter what. Its called Seven Conversations. I don’t care if a publisher picks it up (which is still in process), I don’t care if I have to self-publish it or even give it out for free. This book is the essence of everything I have learned so far in life and I am going to make sure it gets to people. I don’t care if they like it or not but it will be out there. If you subscribe to this blog, I will post out the information on the book soon.

Here’s the good news. I have found the publisher for Seven Conversations and we are hoping to get the book out in stores in coming 6 months.

And I’m sure you wanted to know more about the book at some point. For that, I have put up this website.


Check it out, send me any feedback (negative is even better!) and share with friends if you like it. Here it is -

Why that picture, you might ask.

Well, one, it is from New Zealand and story has a significant episode in NZ.

Two, it is exactly what I think of this whole journey of writing a full frickin’ book. Lets look at it – I think I came swimming out of no where from that aquamarine ocean and stepped on that piece of land (point marked 1 on the picture). I had a big life behind me and I was starting something unknown. Yes, I was lost and found both. That’s how this book started. Then the words and incidences came together just like that point 2. A couple of diary entries stitched together and a book began to be conceived by me and in-spite of me at the same time. I had even taken the story far into one angle when it became clear that the direction was wrong (point 3). I scratched out nearly 20,000 words and began thinking again. It was painful and too tempting to just give up. And, then I had my voila! moment. You know when you are staring into the dark and suddenly you smile and say to yourself – “that’s it!”. I was on the right path this time and wrote the second half of the book in a good flow.. Now, the book was over around point 4 and all I cared for was to get it out. And, this perhaps took longer than even writing the book but had to be done. After 6 months, a lot of rejections but at the same time, positive feedback from some people, I reached the lighthouse (point 5). That was the publishing deal. And when I look back at the view from this lighthouse, I see how beautiful it is. Hard, impossible, tiring, hurting – but beautiful nonetheless.

I might have given up at any point between 1-5 (if I hadn’t already drowned in that ocean) and would never have known what this view would look like. That thought makes me shudder. I just want you to know that if you are struggling or discontent or frustrated, know that it is part of the journey. Don’t give up till you reach your lighthouse.

Thanks for reading. Happy Friday.

P.S. If you want to hear everything about the book, do sign up on the book website (I will use that list exclusively for book updates).


Date a guy who blogs


He is the one sitting quietly in the corner sofa of a cafe and observing things around. He sees everything and nothing. He is as comfortable ordering a single black coffee as working on his regular day job. He is a bit shy and quiet – at first. But his smile hides a lot of stories and to know those, you need to get through his heart to his blog where he keeps his old colored secrets hidden.

You see, he gets inspired and restless sometimes. Some nights when he is exhausted from work, he feels like walking back home and that’s when the ideas haunt him. He is thinking about traveling, his bike or that old friend who he could never quite forget. So, when he enters his apartment, the first thing he does is open up his laptop and type out his incoherent but genuine thoughts on wordpress. Only then, he realizes that he is super hungry.

Date a guy who blogs and writes. He has habituated his mind to articulate and while he may not be a polished speaker, he can express his feelings in a way that you can understand. You might have to check his blog after a date that you thought went okayish and you will discover that he has written a poem on how you smiled every time you talked about your earrings. You will discover that he remembered the tiny detail you mentioned even though his countenance lacked interest.

Date a guy who is sensitive enough to blog. Don’t talk to him about jewelry or ask him how you look before you have decoded him. He will be quiet in the beginning, almost awkward. Ask him why he quoted Tennyson in his last post and he will tell you absolutely random stories of how he loves Bond movies. Be a part of his writing and his stories, inspire him to write and he will pour out his heart to you. Now, he will tell you that you look cute in those dangling earrings and that you should wear that wooden bracelet.

He will not console you on failures or tragedies but he will be there listening without interrupting. He will be anything but fake. He may tell on your face that you complain too much but that’s because you are in his inner circle now and you are, for him, a part of his own self . And he doesn’t lie to himself. He expects nothing short of you, so don’t use your fake tears to get something done, he will soon lose interest in you. He doesn’t like dressing up but will have his weird muses. Don’t boss him around or you shall find a subtle rebellious post the next day on his blog and perhaps, the last one for you. Be his muse and take pride in it.

Pardon him when he looks dreamily at your and smiles for no reason. He is just falling in love with you again and again but too inward to say it out loud. With him around, you will need nothing else because small trips to cafes will feel like witnessing a broadway. He will never be busy for you and will go out of his way to steal a walk with you and make you smile. He is not too ambitious to plan a secure future but he will be game whenever you ask him to take you for a ride. He will talk and laugh in your company and appreciate that because you are the only one he can be carefree with.

Things will not always be bright and he will seem distant and cloudy at times – his beard literally clouding his chin. Give him time and don’t impose. Let him break free of his thoughts but be around just in case he needs to kiss you. He will mess up at times when you need him but remember he never lied to you. It will hurt but he will find you when you are fallen and will help both of you survive the setbacks.

Celebrate his birthday with words, write something for him – he will treasure that forever and may even post it on his facebook before changing his relationship status to ‘in a relationship’. And when the time is right, set up a joint blog with him. You will find a daily piece of love that will change your life forever.

You will counter that such a guy doesn’t exist and you are half right because he is a rare breed and a prized keep. So, you know what to do if you ever cross paths with him.

(Pic by Thomas Leauthard)

-Inspired from Don’t date a girl who travels.