Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Yet another tag from Impulsive Outpourings. Two tags on the same day? I guess this a way of taking your revenge for cheering for you in your TT matches? ;)

(1) What were you doing 5 years ago?
Working at India Software Labs, IBM.

(2) What are 5 things on your to-do list for today?
Zzzzz... (5 Zs in the snore) as I intend to sleep in a few minutes! :P

(3) What are 5 snacks you enjoy?
I will list them out only if you promise to deliver them to my house.

(4) What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire
Here is my ICICI account number - 341267845 - Please do the needful and I will practically demonstrate it to you! :P

(5) What are five jobs you’ve had?
Do you work for ;) Sorry.. am not looking for a change right now!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

One Veggie Mc Please!

For twenty nine years, I can barely remember when I ordered a Veg pizza or a veg burger! I wasn't too sure if I could keep up my resolution of turning vegetarian!

Three months ago, I resolved that there needs to be some wholesale changes in the way I live my life. And one of them had been in controlling what I eat. I must confess that the very next day I broke my resolution as I gave into the temptation of eating chicken biryani. That incident raised a lot of self doubts in whether I can actually go about implementing the changes in my life that I was seeking for.

There is one quote which kept ringing back in my head.... "only the worm does not stumble! Everyone else does!" I resolved to have more control over my senses this time around.
Everytime I saw those helpless hens clipped off their freedom and being butchered, it made my resolve stronger. I asked myself the tough question - "is my momentary pleasure more important than their lifetime agony?"

Controlling diet was not alien to me. Being a fitness freak I always maintained a well balanced diet. But the reasons this time are very different - its not about health, its not only about compassion to other living things, but its about controlling from indulgence.

There has been so much going on in my life externally. Infact so much happening on my professional front that I have to consciously slowdown to strike a balance with my personal life. But I think last few months have been so hectic in a different direction... an urge to conquer my earthly desires. Being an entrepreneur, it is not the easiest thing to strike a balance of controlling the desires and yet strive for betterment of the setup that I run. But thankfully, there have been multiple sources from where I get my direction and inspiration.

Books, my teacher and my own innerself - have been very useful in helping me show the direction. A book which has profoundly influenced my decision to turn veggie is Mahatma Gandhi's "My experiments with the Truth". I have heard from various sources (including my recent 'art of living' classes) that the food we eat dictates our senses. But I must confess that I have been "arrogant" enough to believe I was a very strong-willed person and I could control my thoughts without resorting to changes in dietary habits. But as I read through Gandhiji's autobiography, one question started staring in my face - "What the hell do you think of yourself? A Mahatma like Gandhiji found it useful to control his diet and where do you stand?"
Yes... sprouts for breakfast soon replaced dosas and vadas. Am not able to give up spices completely yet. But here is a start and I must say that I see a lot of changes in me already.
I started hesitantly but in the last 3 months, I have had various ocassions of temptations. But I will tell you that the happiness and pride I have in not giving in for those momentary pleasures is immeasurable.

According to Gautama Buddha in Dhammapada, one who conquers himself and his desires is a thousand times more powerful than the warrior who has slain a thousand men on the battlefield. Now when I read that, surely I was inspired to try that. But I will admit I was scared too. I doubted whether I can even start the journey.

My teacher encouraged me to meditate to calm down my inner conflicts. Again to be honest, my "ego" started dancing and I said "I dont need meditation to cool me down! I am born intelligent and I shall find answers through my intellectual skills!". But then something prodded me to start meditation which definitely introduced me to what I now consider as the finest form to connect with the one-ness of life! Well, its not all rosy and I still struggle very hard to feel that bliss, but I will confess that I do notice that meditation gives me a lot of strength from within. It generates a feeling of compassion to life (specially the weaker ones) which most probably was absent (or at best inactive) in me earlier.

I can sometimes get a little difficult to handle for my over eagerness to do things in a fast pace! Everytime my teacher tried to congratulate me on every little step I could take, I would always ask her if there would be a day where I could walk free from all temptations even with options and temptations right around me!

As if to answer my question, I had to make a trip to the Forum mall with my wife. I wondered if I could really keep up my experiments when I walk into a place of so many distractions! I have resolved not to give any girl a second look however beautiful she might be! And here I am walking into a place like Forum where all the girls would come in their best attire, some of them even in short skirts. I wondered if I could still walk through that crowd with out reacting to any of the external stimulus. I have not been 100% in the past in this experiment - I think I did turn around a couple of times to have a second look in the last few months - and here I was wondering if I could actually do it in the shopping mall.

I went around the mall... spent sometime with the books there in Landmark. Surprisingly I did manage not to give anyone a second look even from the corner of my eyes! We walked to Mc Donalds. Feeling a bit odd, but with out a second thought I proudly said "Veggie Mac Please"! Yes I said VEGGIE!

The evening reassured me that I was capable of sticking to my resolutions if I try hard enough. Sticking to my resolutions for three months by avoiding to go to the eating joint is one thing. But to turn it away when it is just a 'pick away' is something different! And I felt elated with that.

The same evening also showed me to let go all the things that my intellectual brain ever taught me and to embrace and listen to my inner voice. But then things do not end here...
What I really have achieved here is to control my actions not necessarily the thoughts. The urge to take care of my stomach and other senses still lingered on. It is just that I have learnt to refuse to give them any leeway. But an ideal situation would be to not even your thoughts wander. Tall ask, but I would believe that would be the next logical thing to follow. And I seek encouragement from what caught my attention from Bhagwad Geetha - "When you abstain from the object of desire (maya), the urge still lingers on. When you realize your full potential with the help of Grace even that urge gets annihilated!"

Well... that could take a lifetime. Atleast this time around I would not want to be arrogant to believe that its a cakewalk!