Don’t let your Dreams Die!

Two pink balloons flying high in the sky!
Let your dreams fly high!

The sun is about to go down in a while. Mild golden rays of the drowning sun gets into my room filtered through the long outstretched branches of the lone coconut tree outside my window. In some moments, the year would come to an end. There is that anticipated excitement of the New Year which is only a few hours away and at the same time, a feeling of loss engulfs me too! Loss? Yes, loss of the golden time that just zoomed past in the form of a whole year! But why say loss? Well, loss as so many things still unaccomplished in my life! Every year is just slipping by like the sand in my fist…yes, there were important tasks accomplished and some big achievements too in this year but what about those dreams that still remained dreams year after year!…

“How is your Portrait learning class going on?” I asked my school time friend when we recently met.

“No, I never started!” He replied with a sigh!

“Why? What happened? Last, when we spoke and that was quite some time ago, you seem to be very keen on learning the art of Portrait making?”

“Yes, it was my dream for long…but you know, not able to find time for this. Also, the kids need more of my time now when I am at home.”

I did not ponder him any further. I myself have been struggling to find time to learn the Guitar for long. The now not so newly bought Guitar is just hanging on the wall since it made that grand entry to our house. It must be feeling acrimonious in a similar fashion to what my colleague , Subramanian (actually, Subbu my dear friend!) feels towards me for still not having met his long pending request of releasing one of my team members to his team. Shame on me for letting both, the Guitar and Subbu, down!

Forget about the Guitar or Subbu, but this is a hard fact and a harsh reality of our life. We somehow get so much consumed in our routine job and the family responsibilities that it leaves us with no time to pursue our interests which are so close to our heart. And it is true for both genders. So, what do we do with our dreams that are still unfulfilled? Should we let them die a quiet and peaceful death? Does everyone do that? I don’t think so. There are many people, despite all their professional and personal commitments, who find time to pursue their hobbies and dreams. After all, you just have one life to do all these!

To be somewhat more granular, you will find that if you do an analysis of your daily time-spend including weekends, you will find there are multiple occasions when you just have nothing to do. And how do you spend this time? You become a consumer- a consumer of internet usage (going through useless updates and mindless surfing of net), endlessly gossiping over the phone or mindlessly watching TV which adds no value to your well-being. Also, I believe a little planning on time management would yield us ample spare time which we can utilize managing our interests and hobbies. It is our mindset which we have built over the years that makes us believe that there is a scarcity of time…all the time!

As we travel through our journey of life, we often find ourselves caught up in the mad race of acquiring more and more- more wealth, multiple houses, more cars, more ‘likes’ for our profile pictures and so on…or simply put; becoming  more acquisitive in nature. In this process, we just lose track of our destination and start wandering around. Just pause for some moments and think for a while- where did you want to go and where have you reached now? Are you moving towards the destination that you had in mind when you started or have you deviated? Have you achieved your dreams or are you letting them die a slow death?

I would suggest some simple but very powerful ways to ensure that you don’t lose track of your cherished dreams and goals. And here they are:-

  1. Write down your dreams or goals in block letters in your personal diary or journal (if you maintain one!). Or, simply write down your dreams or goals on a plain sheet of paper and stick in front of you on your study table or your work area. Read it daily and all the time! At least once in a day, read it aloud! This will help you to mentally register your goals and dreams which will automatically yield in producing some concrete actions to achieve the same. Believe me, it works!
  2. Discuss your dreams and goals with at least one person in your life. It can be your family member, spouse, close friend, a colleague or your teacher or mentor. Ask for advice and means and ways to achieve your dream. There is nothing to feel shy or secret about it. The psychology behind it is that when you speak about something with another person close to you, it creates an obligation in your mind to ensure its completion. You feel obliged to do it as in your sub-conscious it creates an objective for you to achieve that task. Also, you become answerable to the other person when he or she inquires about your dreams or goals. You become accountable in the process!
  3. Maintain your diary or journal and visit it periodically. Your dreams and goals should be listed there in order of your priority. Keep ticking the boxes as and when you achieve or complete your goals. Whenever you visit your journal, it will remind you that you have pending tasks to complete. This way you will not lose track of your dreams and goals.

Remember, life is short. Yes, one day you will wake up and find that you are no more capable enough of doing things as you were able to do so earlier. So, wake up now and accomplish! Fulfill the purpose of your life. Life without purpose is meaningless. Set your goals high so that the process of achieving them becomes a journey to remember in itself. And while you are on this adorable journey, don’t forget to enjoy and have fun! After all, one lives for what?

Well, the sun has downed now and slowly the chilly wintry night is creeping in. Wow! In a few moments, we will usher into the New Year! A new year that will give us innumerable opportunities to grow and shine along with loads of fun-filled moments! So, enjoy it!

Have a great New Year ahead!! 


Beautiful Life Quotes by Ayn Rand

Autumn leaves on the tree

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.

We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.

Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think.

Learn to value yourself, which means: to fight for your happiness.

If you don’t know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.

Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision.

Every man is free to rise as far as he’s able or willing, but the degree to which he thinks determines the degree to which he’ll rise.

Do not let your fire go out. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in the lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your riad and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.

I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.

People create their own questions because they are afraid to look straight. All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don’t sit looking at it – walk.

Ayn Rand born as Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum   on February 2 1905 and died on March 6 1982, was a Russian-American writer and philosopher. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. Educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935 and 1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own periodicals and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982.

More on Ayn rand is here.

Lady in Red! ( a heart-warming tale of a young couple)

Back profile of a spanish lady wearing red dress

I was driving through the western express highway for my office at the Bandra Kurla complex. It was morning rush hour but I found the traffic was less today. I did not have breakfast.  And the reason being I again had a fight with my wife Anjali. This has become a sort of routine now i.e. having fights and missing breakfast. We would fight for any stupid reason and then she would bicker on my family and my salary. My blood boils when I hear those nasty comments. I believe Anjali understood that perfectly as she used it as her weapon to degrade me and make me feel miserable.

We got married a year ago. It was an arranged marriage in the sense that our families got in touch through a marriage platform. We liked each other’s picture along with the short resume and decided to take it to the next level. The phone conversations were short initially but once the ice was broken, we started talking really long. We would just talk and talk…the talks would never end. I am twenty-eight and never had a girlfriend. It used to annoy me a lot when I saw young boys and girls always talking over the phone all the time. I thought…hell, what they must be talking all the time every day! But now I realize that when you are in love, talking to your partner is all that it matters. When in love, you become silly and stupid! And stupid we were as we got married in the very next month!

I realized that I have touched the Bandra signal. In the next ten minutes, I’ll be at my desk doing the mundane work that I do daily working with the same people with the same fake smiles and same artificial talks. Can’t we make life a little more interesting?

Make Life interesting? No way! I just married into a week and I realized the grave mistake I committed! My life turned topsy-turvy. Before marriage, I stayed alone as a bachelor in Mumbai following a certain way of habitat. Anjali stayed with her family and could not digest my way of living! From waste bin to water filter to the shoe rack, everything to Anjali was out-dated. I was told bluntly on my face that I was not maintaining personal hygiene properly. And then the family also came into the picture. Anjali would be giving a running commentary to her mother as to what was happening in our house. Commenting on the small packet of Bournvita, condition of the gas stove window curtains and so on. Nothing was left un-discussed including even our bedroom endeavors. And for each update provided by Anjali to her mother, the mother would provide some weird advice or suggestion which would further make my life complicated.

It all started with my way of living and the substandard things that I was using. Then it spilled over to my family. Anjali’s mother had a specific grouse that my mother did not give them good quality saris or designer ornaments matching the beauty of their beloved daughter. I chose not to revert as it will only aggravate the nastiness of her barbs. This all started within three months of our marriage and got worse. But sometimes I too would react aggressively and it only worsened the situation. But one thing, there was no physical violence from either side.

I parked my car in the basement parking area of my office and proceeded towards the lift bay. While waiting for the lift, I remembered our honeymoon trip which was a complete disaster. I always wished an exotic locale for my honeymoon and as a result, I chose the destination as Singapore. This was the only foreign exotic locale that I could afford in terms of flight tickets and a week’s boarding and lodging. Luckily, I got a loan from the bank for the same.  I worked out the expenses and was satisfied that everything fell under my budget. But I was a fool. I included only flight, boarding and lodging charges. Any experienced married man would tell you that I missed out on an important expense head: WIFE’s SHOPPING!!

On the trip, we had massive fights all through our stay. It was mainly to do with dominance over one another. The fights were mainly on what to eat, what dress she would wear, how many times she would call home to give running commentary on how we were ‘enjoying’ and lastly with regards to her shopping. She wanted to buy things for everyone – for her parents, brother, two cousin sisters, her maternal aunt and uncle, her other maternal bachelor uncle and for the rest of her clan. There was no mention of anything to be bought for my parents though! I was so disgusted with our constant bickering that while on the return flight, I removed the wedding ring from my ring finger and put it in my pocket. I thought of sending Anjali to her parent’s house directly from the airport.

’13th floor’ I heard someone calling out. Yes, my office was on the 13tth floor. The lift door opened and I stepped out. I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I did not notice Neha, who was my subordinate. We exchanged a smile and pleasantries and proceeded towards our respective areas. I liked Neha. She was always smartly dressed in her business suits. On top of it, she always had a charming smile on her face throughout the day. As I settled at my desk, I checked on my emails. There was one mail from my best friend Kaushik who was from my home town. It read ‘Happy First Marriage Anniversary!’

Gosh!! How can I forget the date?

I sat for a while and got nostalgic for no reason. We were fighting continuously for the last one week. I opened my drawer and pulled out our wedding card. I had distributed my wedding card in the office last year and this was the only one left which I had kept with all care in my personal folder. The cover of the card read’ Aditya weds Anjali’…well, a year has passed! How time flies! I reached out for the phone to call up Anjali but considering what all happened in the morning made me paused for a minute. I somehow did not feel comfortable calling her.  Throughout the day I was in this melancholy mood which somehow generated a miserable feeling in me along with some amount of contempt.  Throughout the day I thought of giving her a call but something inside me stopped me doing so.

I wound up early that day knowing that Anjali normally reaches home by seven in the evening. She too was working for a private financial company. On my way home I stopped at the Flower’s shop and handpicked some flowers. She loved flowers especially the white coloured lily flowers. I then stopped at the bakery house and packed a half kg Belgium chocolate cake with cream topping that read’ Happy First Marriage Anniversary’. From the same shop, I also picked up a peach coloured bone china mug which had an imprint ‘Together Always’. I was feeling very romantic. This feeling ran through me after a long time! Reaching home I parked the car in the building compound and collected all the special items that I had bought for the occasion. With slow steps, I started moving towards the building lobby. I don’t know why but suddenly I was having a sinking feeling in my heart as to how Anjali would react? What if she was still angry and if she shows no warmth, then?  ‘You will not react. That’s it.’ I heard a voice inside me. The lift arrived by then and I entered it.

I put the keys inside the door lock and opened it. The lights were not on. Oh, she has not returned till now. It was almost eight p.m. I switched on the lights and kept the things that I bought on the dining table. There was a yellow post-it pasted on the flower vase. It read’ I am going to my mom’s place and would be staying there. Dinner is kept in the fridge, warm it. I have made a special Rajma curry, your favourite as the date is 16th Sep’. I was stunned and my mouth went dry.  Not sure of what to do, I sank on the sofa. I felt as if there was no energy left in my body. I lay on the sofa blank and motionless for almost half an hour. There was anger and remorse inside me. I realized that it’s difficult to read a girl’s mind. Despite our fights, she remembered our anniversary day and made a special dish for me. At the same time, she also had the ego to have not informed me of her decision to leave for her mother’s house. Or maybe it was her self-respect that made her to take this decision as I did not wish her on our anniversary day. I was not sure what it was but I had not imagined that she would be taking such a step.

After freshening up, I decided to call her. She did not take the call. Feeling dejected, I decided I will not call her up again…at least not today. I lay down in the living room couch with lights at a dim level; I was battling all sorts of thoughts in my mind. Did I not take care of her? Did I not treat her well? Did I take her for granted? Agree, we were having daily fights but was it all my fault? Deep inside, I felt very lonely and felt pain too heavy for my heart to bear. But something was preventing me to call her again. Was it my ego, alter ego, anger, feeling of let-down…I could not make it.

I did not go to the office the next day and neither did Anjali called. In the afternoon her mother called up and said she was very upset about my behaviour and she would like to stay at her place for some days. I did not say anything and just hung the phone. In the afternoon as I lay on the bed, I was thinking about Anjali. I was missing her. All the fights and the bickering, her sarcastic comments about my salary seems too trivial to me now. Why did I react to all those nonsense? I asked myself in dismay. I got up from the bed and went to the dining table picking up a bar of dark chocolate I had bought yesterday. Looking outside the living room window, I finished the whole bar. It was a somewhat cloudy sky with a strong westerly breeze blowing across. It might rain if the breeze stops, I thought. Exactly at that moment, I decided to meet Anjali! I decided to go to her house without informing her over the phone.

I was out on the road. I was charged up again as I was yesterday evening while buying all those Anniversary gifts. I had worn my best blue jeans with a maroon and black check shirt on top. I wanted her back today. I wanted my Anjali back in our house.

Their maid opened the door and gave a shout to Anjali’s mother. Her mother came to the living room area and was slightly surprised to see me. I thought the way I responded to her last evening on the phone she was not expecting me so soon. Anyways, after making me comfortable and completing other formalities she conveyed that Anjali was not at home. Her cousins have come from the US and she had gone with them to a nearby shopping mall. I did not know how to react to that. Also, I noticed a sly smile on her face. I might have interpreted it wrong but I decided to leave the place immediately. I left the place without having any further discussion on what happened between me and Anjali.

I did not receive any call or message from Anjali post my visit to her house. I too did not call her again. The days turned into a full week. A full week when we did not speak with each other. I tried to immerse myself in my office work working till late at night. I suppose it was the best remedy for me at that time. Weeks passed by and it was almost two months now. Somewhere I was getting the feeling that something fishy might be cooking at Anjali’s house. I knew her parents, especially her mother, were not very supportive of our marriage initially. Only after interacting with me on a few occasions did they started liking me. But that was how I comprehended the relation. What was in their mind only they would know better?

In the third month of our separation, the realization was dawning on me that I have moved out of Anjali’s life now. There were days when I would try to convince myself to at least speak with her on phone but my hurt ego and bruised self-respect prevented me to do so. And this frustration started to build more anger within me.

The date today was 12th February, Anjali’s birthday. I went to the office trying to ignore the importance of the day but at the same time continuously prodding myself to make that last one call. But the phone call never happened. As evening approached, I decided to wind up early. My mind was not into work today. Physically I was present in the office but mentally I was not. I once again checked my email and messages on all media platforms in case Anjali had tried to reach me but there was no mail or message. I pulled the bag on my shoulder with my car keys in hand proceeded towards the exit of the office premises.

I was lost sitting at the steering as I did not know where to go. Going straight home was not an option right now. I called a close friend of mine to have some beer together but he apologized citing work issues. As I drove past the Bandra Kurla complex’s main signal which connects to the western express highway, I decided to visit the restaurant ‘The Grill’. This was the same restaurant cum bar where we had celebrated Anjali’s first birthday post marriage last year. I still have fresh memories of that day! Anjali had worn a beautiful red coloured dress when we had gone to ‘The Grill’ where we had dinner together. 

I parked the car and entered the cafe. There was a couple sitting in the cafe when I walked in. As the light was low, I didn’t know who they were until the woman turned around, and I saw it was my wife. Yes, it was HER! My Anjali! In the same red dress that she had worn last year this day. And then my eyes fell on the guy sitting with her. I felt a lump got stuck in my throat. My voice got choked, it was not coming out. The reality hit me very hard. So I have lost my Anjali. I felt the same embarrassment as a man would feel when made to stand on a pedestal and pronounced a thief. But why was I to feel embarrassed? She was still my wife… Forget about the embarrassment, the pain of seeing her with someone else was much more to bear. I looked at Anjali again. She was beautiful as ever and especially in this red dress. As I gazed through her eyes, I could see a glint of affection mixed with a shadow of hurt.  She was not surprised to see me there. In fact, I just felt that she was expecting me to be there. I don’t know what but suddenly it woke me up from my momentary grief and sense of loss and without saying anything, I just turned around to leave the place.

“Aditya!” I heard Anjali’s voice when my back was towards her.

I turned again facing her.

“At least say Happy Birthday” Anjali spoke in a low tone.

“Aahh..mmm” I heard me muttering something before she spoke again.

“I am your wife and I still…” she did not complete the sentence. Still perplexed, I was about to open my mouth but was hindered by the gentleman who was with Anjali. He, who looked younger to Anjali and shorter in height too, now got up and walked towards me with an extended hand.

“Hi…I am Rishab. Anjali and I were together in our CA articleship and had been friends since then. Though we lost touch post our articleship, it was only recently that we meet again. Actually, we hit two weeks back accidentally at a shopping mall. Today, she insisted that we visit this place.” he continued for some more time but I was not interested now. I interrupted and straightway shot at Anjali;

“Why you did not call me all this while?” I said in a loud and clear voice.

“And why you did not call?” she still spoke softly.

“I had called your home. I even visited your home for that matter.”

“Was that enough? Your ego did not allow you to go further than that. You never loved me Aditya…” now even her voice was loud and sharp.

“You are too self-centered. You don’t care about others. You never thought it appropriate to meet me and understand what was bothering me. I felt so lonely all this while…” now her voice started quivering and it appeared that she would break down. Before she could continue any further I extended my arms and pulled her close to me.  “I always loved you Anjali and only you…you know that. But you hurt me time and again with your comments and behaviour…” I spoke gently getting emotional.

Tears started flowing down as she gently sobbed with her face tightly clamped to my chest. I had never felt such warmth before.

A song was playing in the background “Lady in red…” by Chris de burgh. Ah! This same song was played last year too upon my request for my lady in RED!