Tretar 21, Revealing your Truth

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

At one point, I was struggling to get on with my book. Nothing I wrote seemed good enough. And I remembered a quote by some great writer, he said – ‘write the truest sentence you know’. Somehow, that was when a very dear character in my book was born. This excerpt is from the Conversation of Purpose and the character is Satyapoorna - the fulfiller of truth. Truth, like the rising sun, can erase all darkness. Have you ever wondered, what’s your truth? what’s your purpose?

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‘Hi Meera, how are you?’
‘I am very well, thanks.’
‘My name is Satyapoorna, the fulfiller of truth,’ the woman added with the trace of a smile.
‘Nice to meet you. Your home is very simple and empty.’ ‘Truth needs no adornments, does it?’
‘No. And you can help me understand the truth?’
‘Well, I am your own truth. I am the truth that lies within you but is still to be revealed. So what I tell to anyone depends on what lies within her and how much is she capable of understanding.’
‘I’m sorry but I don’t understand. What is my truth? Isn’t truth absolute? How can it vary from person to person?’
‘That is what you think but truth comes from knowledge and knowledge is inherent in everyone. When we say we know, we simply mean we have discovered that piece of knowledge that already lay covered within our soul. We have the infinite library of the universe in our own minds. Newton did not discover gravitation from some external flash of knowledge, it was all there in his mind. Some are able to tap it better and others not so much.’
Meera was taken in by the novel concept propounded by the wise lady in front of her. ‘What is my truth? What can I know?’
For the first time, Satyapoorna laughed. ‘You cannot expect me to unleash the infinite knowledge in a flash but the gist is simple. You know the truth once you understand the illusion. What remains after you remove the illusion is the only truth.’

Nistha Tripathi, Seven Conversations

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this full conversation in the book, it was like an act of mental cleansing. Hope you will enjoy it. To read the rest, please check my book (which is now available on Amazon (paper and kindle, India and US), Flipkart and Crossword).

P.S. This picture is of the most magnificent sunrise I have seen in Hawaii.

  

Indian life in USA

I love Quora, I suppose it is one of the better social networks out there and I have got lot of knowledge from it. So, I am pretty active there. Recently, someone asked me to answer a question – ‘What is an Indian’s life like, after they get a job in the US after an MS in the US?

I was amused. This is what I answered-

This is what its like after getting a cushy job in USA-

  1. Rent a decent apartment, buy new clothes, laptop, SLR and all gadgets you want to show off with.
  2. Get a car if you are not in NYC.

On weekdays-

  1. Get up early for work, talk to your Mom while commuting in a public transport.
  2. Have lunch at your desk or sometimes in cafeteria, finish by 6-7pm earliest.
  3. Come home, cook with your roommates/spouse or go out for a cheap dinner if you are not cooking type.
  4. Watch some sitcom or surf/facebook.
  5. Call India and talk to your family.
  6. Sleep by 11pm.

On weekends-

  1. Drive to a nearby beach/mountain/park or any picturesque place. Take lot of pictures, share on facebook.
  2. Do hour long skype calls with your family.
  3. Go out for dinner at fancy places esp with non-Indian cuisines and click lot of pictures (closeup of food items), share on facebook.
  4. Once in a while, go to factory outlets for branded shopping.
  5. Slowly, start hiking/trekking/swimming/diving/jumping/flying/cycling or whatever activity you can – its become your new passion. Click lot of pictures, share on facebook.

On Diwali-

  • Light fancy candles, scented oils, draw rangoli – click lot of pictures, share on facebook. Post about ecofriendly Diwali.

On Holi-

  • On weekends when actually you can celebrate it, go to a community gathering, put gulal on your cheeks, click lot of pictures, share on facebook.

Same for other festivals like navratri. Gather with friends, click lot of pictures, share on facebook.
For US festivals/holidays-

  • Dress up awkwardly on halloween, go to parades, click lot of pictures, share on facebook.
  • For fourth of July, go to nearby places for the cracker show, take a lot of blurry pictures and share on facebook.
  • On New Year’s, stand for hours in line in freezing cold in NYC or something similar, and end up exhausted by midnight.

Move from cricket to baseball, soccer to football and spend couple of years learning the rules of the game (or don’t even bother). Call your friends when a popular match is about to telecasted (Rose Bowl etc), decorate potato chips, nachos, guacamole and fancy dips on your table with 2L coke, sprite bottles. Cheer loudly when commentators seem excited. Post furiously on facebook how the winning team was frickin’ awesome. When some Indian friend asks about it in the comments, refer them to a link and tell how awesome the game was.

The bottomline is do anything on the weekend that lets you click lot of pictures, and yes, you got it – share on facebook!

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I think I even offended some people. To that I just say – don’t be offended, I was there, I did it too :)

See the post on Quora here.

  

Tretar 20, Embracing the Change

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

I can’t believe the year has gone by so quickly. I myself have seen so much happening in these 10 months and its incredible that this is already the 20th post on Tretar! This picture is from an earlier travel where I had lost my way in a little village in New Zealand. It was one of the first times I had started venturing alone and getting lost scared me.

tretar20, embrace the change

I remember that little fear of getting lost and being on my own. It was the onset of a change. And, what can define you more than the changes? I believe it is all about how we react to the changes in our lives that shape our character. Losing happiness, losing people, losing livelihood, losing love, losing identity – in general, its those big losses that force us to react. Those either destroy you or transform you. If you survive, you come out a different person. Everyone tries to fight the change – we, humans, hate change. We cannot deal with changes, they make us get out of our comfort zone and who wants that? But sometimes, I feel they are for the best. They will make you cry but they will help you find yourself. Until you deal with the loss, you can never make new beginnings. And from that, comes the important part that you need to deal with the loss and close it. You need to write it off and set out on a new journey. Don’t mourn for rest of your life; embrace the change and rise. A better chapter awaits you. 

Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.Maya Angelou

  

Happy Diwali 2014

Dear blog readers,

I have been blogging since 8 years now and it seems incredible that this blog has not only continued but grown with your love. I wish you all a very Happy Diwali!

Celebrate it noiselessly or noisefully, crackerless or crackerful, sweetless or full of sweets – the point is: Enjoy to your heart’s content. Drop the work and live in the moment. Spend time with your family, compliment your Mom on the lovely snacks she made for you, compliment your sister and bhabhi on the beautiful rangolis they create, light some fuljhadis with your Dad and sons, call your good friends and most importantly thank God for all the love He showers on you everyday.

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May your world be always full of lights and colors.

Love,
Nistha

  

Tretar 19, Colors of Life

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

 In 1943, Abraham Maslow put forward this hierarchy of needs that says that human survival needs the fulfillment of basic needs (physiological) first and then only can he appreciate the others such as love, esteem, creativity etc. I agree with Mr. Maslow but my question is if one eliminated the ones higher in the pyramid – that is, if there was no sense of creating, innovating, love, intimacy, appreciation of arts and finer things in life – even though you could survive, would that survival be worth it?

So, while this pyramid may very well satisfy the academic need of survival, what makes life truly attain its purpose is the exact inverse of this pyramid. And those things that make life worth living is what I term as Colors of Life. This picture, taken at the crazy Garba fest in Ahmedabad during a recent trip, shows those colors. Amidst the cooking temperatures of Gujarati nights, people were happily dancing with beads of sweat turning into streams. The music made you oblivious to the otherwise awful weather and let you enjoy in a way comfort alone cannot do.

garba movements

I would quote this from Robin William’s heart wrenching movie-

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?”

Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?Dead Poet’s Society