Tretar 24, You are the Universe

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

A year and 23 posts later, it is time for me to write the 24th. No doubt I shall put a piece of my heart into it.

It is not happy people who are thankful but it is the thankful people who are happy. On that note, I am thankful for every experience, travel, and moment this year. Good or bad, it is what life is about and it is about how we respond to things.

I would like to share this insightful cockroach theory by Sundar Pichai

At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady.
She started screaming out of fear. With a panic stricken face and trembling voice,she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach.
Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky. The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but …it landed on another lady in the group.
Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.

The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.

In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter.
The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt. When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior? If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed?

He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos. It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies.

I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me. It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.

More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.

Lessons learnt from the story: I understood, I should not react in life. I should always respond. The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded.

To this point of ‘it is my response that matters’, I turn to Rumi-

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.Rumi

Katau Sunset

I recently visited few pristine places in a northeastern state of India – Sikkim. The Himalayas (including Kanchenjunga) line the landlocked state that borders with China, Tibet and Bhutan on 3 sides. The sheer size of Himalayas around there makes you feel that nature and universe are so big and you are a glorifying speck of that same universe. Call it a sweet coincidence but my book ended with a conversation in Himalayas and so did my year. This quote of Rumi and this image of the gorgeous peaks remind me that nothing I do or react shall belittle who I am. Whenever you are tempted to react angrily or shout or be mean, ask yourself if it befits the person God has made you to be? Whenever you are ready to throw in the towel, ask yourself if you are really that fragile. I bet a booming voice will answer you back – ‘You are better than that. Heck, you are created by the same hand that created this beautiful world and life. Justify that creation, act as per your stature.’

Be gracious, just like the universe. Be your magnificent self that you were created to be. In storms of your life, stand tall. Don’t let anything or anyone reduce you for you are born to be grand and may you always remember that.

A very very happy new year to you!


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?


‘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.


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.


May your world be always full of lights and colors.



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


Commonwealth’s resounding success

I’ve been losing touch on news lately but one thing I did manage to follow and that was CWG. I am feeling f****** proud (I do always anyways) of India because it wasn’t easy and especially whole world was kind of waiting for one failure to pounce upon it. I know there are problems but they are everywhere and I despise people who are always badmouthing their motherland. This should be a lesson to them as well as orgs like BBC, Aussie media etc who are selectively critical of Indian success anytime and anywhere. This is in no way to encourage the kind of corruption Kalmadi and co. must have indulged in on the name of CWG but I would have been pissed if after eating all that money, they messed up the games. What’s truly heartening about CWG’s success is seeing public being mature about it. There has been lash on Indian media for questioning the games initially but I will give them the credit for following up on the important issues for if they didn’t, I doubt politicians would have taken significant actions. I heard Delhi is a changed place now (reminds me of my post on post Olympics China) from my cousin and I think we do deserve that modernization. I also feel proud about Ayodhya issue proceeding peacefully. These things do make me miss India more though!