Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Choice

The only person from whom I derived strength had suddenly deserted me. A sense of unworthiness filled up inside me. What’s the use of living? The one person for whom my heart beat seemed to barely care about me.

Tears trickled down my face uncontrollably.

Nearby, on the table I saw the sharp edge of the knife glistening. I made up my mind and stretched my right hand towards it…

**************************************** 

Timeline: Two hours back

It had been 15 minutes since I had ordered a drink. Nothing was going right in my life. There were rumors of recession hitting my company and equations with my boss had touched the lowest bottom. Somehow my manager had taken a liking to criticize every action of mine. The same job, the same dull and boring faces, the same dull machine, nothing was exciting about life. The only bright side was the paycheck at the end of the month.

The world seemed tasteless and lifeless. Until I met her.
Sneha.

We had got to know each other in our first workplace. We had an employee social group and both of us were enthusiastic members. Since, we were active volunteers; we worked closely on many assignments. Eventually, we got to enjoy each other’s company. Not only did our friendship bloom, our feelings for each other bloomed as well. I proposed and she accepted. Those two years were the best years of my life. We started to make plans for making our relationship a permanent one.

Things don’t always go the way we plan it.

We both got better career opportunities and we had to make a tough decision. I relocated to Hyderabad and she moved to Bangalore. We promised to keep in touch but the heavy work load and late night shifts spoiled the plan. Days would fly by and we spoke over phone only during weekends. After planning for three months, were we able to make time to meet in person.

The ‘Hangout’ restaurant was our favorite spot. I had arrived early and was waiting for her. The place brought back so many memories with her. Our first date, our first kiss!

The clinking of the wind chimes brought me back to reality.

"Sir, Normal Water or Mineral Water?" asked the waiter.

"Mineral water without ice" I said.

"Waiting for Madamji, Sirrr?" He asked with a mischievous smile.

Just then, I saw her enter the restaurant. She was wearing a black tops and jeans. Her favorite. She came and sat in the chair opposite to me. Usually, she would sit beside me so I was surprised why she decided to sit across me. I wanted to tell her about how much I missed her and how I longed to see her.

"I missed you a lot" I said.

She didn’t say anything.

Usually she won’t miss an opportunity to say that she missed me too. Something was off.

So, I asked "What’s happening?"

"Life is good. I am getting to meet many interesting people", she started eating her food. After sometime she said "You know there is a guy who I met".

My heart skipped a beat. A guy! Who is he? I asked.

"Well, he is amazing. He makes everyone fall for him. The way he speaks, the way he moves, he is the perfect guy", and on and on she went. She recollected the times when she had gone out with him on weekends and he made her try stuff which she wouldn’t have done normally. He has freed me, she continued.

Of all the things I had dreamt, this was the last thing I needed to hear. She had been seeing the guy every weekend!!

The only bright light in my life flickered. It was clear that she had feelings for this guy. Surprisingly all these were the words which she had used to describe me, during our initial courtship days.

We finished our dinner as she continued to share instances of how good the guy was and how she was discovering new things in life. With every statement, it felt like a knife was being thrust into me.

We bid adieu and I rushed back home.

I entered my apartment. The lights were off and I slumped on the chair in the middle of the room. I couldn’t control my emotions. Tears started trickling down my face.

The only person from whom I derived strength had suddenly deserted me. A sense of unworthiness filled up. What’s the use of living? The one person for whom my heart beat seemed to barely care about me.

Nearby, on the table I saw the sharp edge of the knife glistening. I made up my mind and stretched my hand towards it.….

"Giving up so soon?" I heard a voice behind.

Shocked, I asked "Who are you"?

"Someone who cares enough"

The voice sounded familiar yet I couldn’t figure out who it was. A man wearing a black coat gently walked forward and stood before me. His face wasn’t visible as he stood in pitch darkness. However, the light reflected from outside through the window illuminated just enough to catch a glimpse of his cloth and a shred of twirled hair in the front which moved every time he walked.

What do you know about what I am going through? There is nothing in my life to live for. My life is a mess. And the only person who I thought loved me has abandoned me, I cried.

He listened patiently. He took something shiny from his long overcoat pocket and tossed it over to me. It was a metallic watch. However instead of the clock dial, it had concentric circles. The inner circle had revolving area and the outer circle had twelve tiny dots.

What’s this? I asked.

This is the watch of Destiny. With this, you can go to any moment of your life, once to past and once in future. However you will have only an hour to spend. Then you will return back and after five minutes, you get to visit your future.

Did he say a moment of my life which I can change!!

One moment came in particular. During the dinner Sneha had mentioned that when she was settling down in Bangalore, she was going through a tough phase at home and there was no one to support her. When she was struggling, she came to meet the new guy and liked him since he had been there for her. If only, I could go back and support her in the time of her need. Maybe, then she will still love me. Initially we had planned to meet once she had relocated to Bangalore. However, I had to cancel my plan last minute since something else had come up. But now, nothing else seemed more important than meeting her. So, I visualized the scene and touched the inner dial. The tiny dots blinked for twelve times and I felt a tingling sensation.

**************************************** 

Timeline: Two months back

I was standing near her apartment. I found her flat and knocked on the door. She was surprised to see me. She jumped on me and started crying. I hugged her tightly and comforted her. We didn’t speak but I could understand that she was going through a tough time and that she was happy to have me with her. She shared about her struggles and we discussed about how we plan our future together.

I felt that since I was being with her during her roughest phase, she would continue to love me. Eager to find, if it worked, I fast forwarded the side dial to the time when I was waiting in the ‘Hang Out’ restaurant. Hopefully, the final thirty minutes would end in a romantic way!

"Waiting for Madamji, Sir?" the waiter asked with a mischievous smile.

I saw her enter the restaurant. I was eager to hear what she would say.

Has her love remained the same for me?

Does she yearn for me the same way as I yearned for her?

I was getting excited with each moment as she came nearby.

To my shock, instead of sitting next to me, she came close and sat opposite to me.

She started sharing about this guy who she had met and who had bowled her over. The only difference was that this time, she quoted different reasons for getting attracted to him.

My heart skipped a beat. Even after changing an instance in the past, when I was with her during her low phase and in-spite of discussing our future, she found other reasons for getting attracted to him.

I couldn’t stand it. She went on talking about how impressive the guy was.

Why didn’t she love me anymore? I am not fit to live, I cursed myself.

Meanwhile, the watch dial’s light blinked brightly. The one hour time was getting over and I saw myself lift up and found myself in the dark room slumped in the chair.

So, how did it go? the Man asked.

Life is nothing but lie and betrayal. I loved her and was there for her. I felt we were made for each
other and will be together forever but she didn’t feel that way. She still chose the other guy over me.

Well, there is another perspective. Sometimes, for some people, love is limited to their need of you. Once their need is fulfilled, so is your presence. There is nothing wrong in what you did. You cared for her with all your heart. If she couldn’t realize that, it’s her problem; not yours, the Man said.

I started breathing heavily. It was extremely painful and unbearable to see that the girl who I had loved so much saw all this as a transaction. I felt used and thrown.

If this is what I get in return for caring for someone so dearly, I don’t think I deserve to live.

Before you decide to end your life, don’t you want to try out the dial one more time? Another few seconds and you get to see how your future will be? The Man prompted.

Saying so, he turned and moved.

I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath.

"Ten, nine, eight, seven..."

And clicked on the dial…

Timeline: Ten months later

A cool breeze blew across my face. I was sitting under a sun shade near a swimming pool.

I wondered what I was doing here.

A beautiful lady came and gave me a peck on my cheeks. Then she came and sat close to me and kept her hand on mine.

"What do we buy for Ma? Her birthday is coming up next month, isn’t?

I didn’t have a clue whom she was referring.

Who Ma? I asked cheekily.

Your mother, stupid! Her birthday is coming up next month. We said we will buy her a nice sari.

How did such a beautiful girl end up being my wife! I felt on cloud nine. She not only cared about me but also thought of my mother. Sneha rarely used to be concerned about others, forget enquiring about my parents.

Another thought struck me. What if this affection was short lived? Sneha too in the initial days had appeared loving yet in due time, all that had changed. Why not confirm it by visiting the future and seeing if this was a permanent. I clicked on the second square once more.

Timeline: Two years later

I was driving in a hurry, horns blaring around me. Sitting in the car, all I could hear was commotion. I drove across few streets and parked my car.

Happy Anniversary darling! I heard a beautiful voice as I entered the door.

A woman dressed in elegant blue and green sari approached me. She was carrying a baby. As soon as

I came close by, the baby had a big smile on his face and held out his arms towards me.

Seeing her and the child, I felt blissful and loved.

A sweet family which I had always dreamed for.

After freshening up, we went out for dinner. Being a special day, she had planned a candle light dinner. We spoke about how the years had passed so quickly and how Aryan had grown too.

Time just seemed to fly. We came back and after putting Aryan to sleep, we went to the terrace. A gentle breeze swung by and her face glowed beneath the moonlight. I clasped her hand and pulled her close to me. I brought my face close to hers and said "Promise me, you will always be with me. You are the light of my life".

"I will be there for you for the rest of my life" she whispered.

And we hugged. All my worries of finding the right person disappeared.

So, a wonderful life exist, a new life exist. I felt my body outline becoming thinner and looked at my watch. The last dial was flickering indicating that the time was coming to an end. Time had just flown.

I opened my eyes and found myself in the chair again. This time, I was relaxed and was feeling better.

I was reflecting on the experience I had since the two visits.

The Man walked to the front and stood with his back to me and said:

"I hope you got what you were looking for. Just remember. In life, nothing happens to you. It always happens for you."

Meanwhile, his outline had become semi-transparent and I saw the logo on his coat. It looked familiar. It had a symbol on the front pocket.

Where have I seen it?

He walked a little further and vanished into the darkness of the room.

I was taken aback.

This man… If he hadn’t come at the right time, I would be dead now. I didn’t even get a chance to thank him.

Then it struck me.

The front pocket! The logo "A". It was my valediction coat.

It was gifted to me by my parents. I had asked ‘A’ to be stitched on the front pocket.

I rushed to next room and unwrapped the coat. I put it on & walked towards the dark portion of the room where the Man had disappeared.

As I stepped forward, I hit against something.

I looked at it & smiled.

I saw the man with a black coat and with a shred of twirled hair on the top.

I was standing before the Almirah mirror!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Success is always around us

‘Success’ is a mystical thing. All of us want to be successful. Yet most of us want a free ride to success. Even though the intent is there within us to succeed, most of all aren’t willing to do what’s needed to become successful.

My weekend started off with a working Saturday by the end, I was quite tired & exhausted. In such cases, Sunday becomes a treasured day. But as I woke up in the morning, I was feeling quite lazy and completely purposeless. Though, I had few things which needed my attention, I wasn’t at all inspired to do anything on that. My mind was occupied with something which was wondering about something which left me powerless. All I did was switch on the TV, had food, lie on bed & pass time. The day passed like seconds. 

In the evening, when I was conversing with a friend, I realized that how much we take life for granted. There are so many things which inspire us, motivate us to do something, yet we end up choosing to pass time, wondering about things we don’t have & get stuck on issues, be it with people, our worries, problems etc. In the process, we exhaust the most precious resource which is NOW, instead of being at our best and when we are at our best, success becomes an outcome.


That’s when I thought I was stuck in the same trap. Few things which I had been planning to do, like writing a blog, reading a book, planning few things all were put on hold, just because I was waiting for something to happen and since that didn’t materialize, other things got inadvertently impacted. But the moment I realized that, I chose to work on. I did some exercise which usually makes me feel good in the end, switched on my fav music which usually inspires me & then got down to work on the things which mattered and which I wanted to accomplish. Here, Iam penning an article for my blog which I had been planning on for more than 3 weeks.

It is said that amidst the busyness of life, the simple things get side tracked. Most often the simple things are the most important as well. In the daily rush of our life, we make the simple things complicated. What’s needed to simplify our life is just to take a step back and look at what we have. Usually, the stuff which are required for us to be happy & be successful is just around  us. Be it caring parents, friends, resources to utilize, all is just with us. We just need to recognize and then choose to act on that.

I didn’t intend to pen a gyaan type post, yet for me it was a big realization on how daily moments just slip pass by while we keep waiting for things to happen, hoping for things to happen & wonder if things will happen. I took a step in doing something productive & break myself out from the quicksand of ‘waiting & wondering’ which goes on & on.

What we have with us for sure is NOW, and if we can choose to look at the things which we have with us & act, then in due time, things will surely happen.


Success is always around us, isn’t? 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Speech craft – A Journey of Discovery

One of the speech craft participant commented in the final session “Speech craft is a place where one learns not how to become a speaker but how to become a crafter”. And truly so at the end of 6 week Speech craft session at L&T Construction, HCI (Heavy Civil Infrastructure) IC, the participants had become Amazing Crafters; Crafters of words into mesmerizing speeches, Crafters of ideas to powerful thoughts & Crafters of personality. The whole journey proved to be of immense learning & discovery both for the participants as well as for me.


I would like to share 3 insightful learning which I had for myself during the course of coordinating the speech craft sessions. Hopefully, you find it useful as well.

1.       Camaraderie by Senior Toastmaster members: One of the unique selling proposition of Speech craft was the educational talk in each of the 6 week sessions. Whoever I had approached right away agreed instantly to come over as the educational speaker in spite of the fact that all of them had a busy schedule & had other commitments. My sincere thanks to TM Sridhar Ranganathan, DTM Lalitha Giridhar, DTM Nina John, DTM Saro Velrajan & TM Rajesh Natarajan, whose sessions were quite valuable for the participants.

2.       Assumptions Challenged: The Speech craft program was done for senior managers & Deputy General Managers and hence when we begin, I had a lot of assumptions. That
  •     they may be have a mindset of know it all types,
  •     they may not be able to commit the time required for the session amidst their busy schedule,  
  •     they will not be regular in attending all the meetings,
  •     they will be least interested in knowing about Toastmasters

Almost all of my assumptions proved to be wrong. All the speech crafters were excited about the opportunity to become more competent speakers and took each session seriously by putting immense efforts to give the speeches in every session. In fact, other than 3 members who dropped out since they got shifted to other location after the first session, the remaining 12 members gave a speech in all the sessions. Plus, 2 members became members of our Toastmaster club in the midway of the program. It made me realize that most of the assumptions which we carry about people may not be always true.

3.       Expressive Communication - Competitive Advantage: Even though the speech crafters were senior managers and had large teams under them, they exhibited extreme enthusiasm & commitment in taking part in the speech craft and for the right reasons. And as one speech crafter said “Speaking is important so that the talented gets to express his work to top management. “Most often, a talented person remains unnoticed due to lack of communication skills. If one needs to be successful, one should know not only how to speak but how to communicate the right message in a right way.  Hence, as long as you can communicate well, you have a strong competitive advantage over others. And Toastmaster helps you gain that advantage.

Especially for a corporate, the outcome of the speech craft is directly proportional to the support extended by the top management of the company. Iam thankful to Mr.Srinivas Remella (Technical Training Head) & Mr.Anil Kalaga (Training Head) who were enthusiastic about the Speech craft program right from the start and extended complete support to ensure the participants are benefitted from the program. I also thank Division D Governor Deepa for her continuous support & personal interest in ensuring the program success. My heartfelt thanks to my Toastmaster friends who supported in the successful execution of the program.

I enjoyed & learnt from the session as much as the speech craft participants. The transformation which we saw in each of the participants in the final session was amazing. Overall, the 6 week journey has been truly fulfilling & of immense learning.I strongly recommend anyone who wants to start a self development regime to start attending Toastmasters, there are plentiful of opportunities to develop yourself on multiple dimensions.


As the quote goes “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends…” The travel will continue, so would be the voyage of learning & discovery.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What are your Assumptions

Recently during a discussion with my manager, the topic of discussion turned to my involvement in a work which was handled by another team in HR. I reasoned saying i felt that the work was confidential hence i didnt involve myself in it. He said "you seem to be bounded by so many assumptions".

Thinking over it i realized that so many times in our life, we have so many of the assumptions which put a veil over how we see our life. Just to name a few couple of assumptions which come to the top of my mind are:
  • Autoricksaw drivers always charge high fare
  • Politicians are corrupt
  • People who drink/smoke are bad
  • Money is the root of all evil, etc etc etc. 

During last weekend while traveling outside, I wanted to take autoricksaw to go to my destination.Usually, I dont ask any autoricksaw fellows who would be waiting at the bus stop since I have always assumed that they will quote a high fare. However this time, I felt why not ask and see what he says. So, when i enquired not only he quoted a nominal fare, I was able to negotiate with him to put the fare and charge an extra 10 bucks. The point is, my assumption about autoricksaw guy been unfair & charging exhorbitant fare was proved wrong. All i did was question my assumption.
i dont mean to say our assumptions may be wrong. In some cases, it may be right, but blindly following some assumption because thats what our parents had told us or that was what we had experienced several years back, might lead us to ignore the reality and keep ourself confined.

As a good colleague of mine used to say "When you assume, you make an ASS of U & ME".

So friends,

What assumptions do you have in your life?  To what extent they dictate your life.

Can you try challenging them and see how true or relevant they are?  
  

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Balance is the Key

In younger days during biology classes, the teacher used to ask the question “Which is the best diet?” Usually, 2 factions gets formed. One faction strongly in favor of ‘Vegetarian’ diet & the other one vociferously supporting ‘Non-Vegetarian’ diet. A couple of students would side with ‘Eggetarian’ diet and try to stay in the middle. This would go on for some time, with each faction saying their choice ‘pro & con’ & then after few verbal abuses & high raised voices, finally, the teacher would intervene with the answer. The best diet is ‘Balanced Diet’, a diet which consists of all the required nutrients in the correct quantity as needed by the body. Of course, we were left baffled with the answer and would try to justify how ‘Vegetarian/Non Vegetarian food’ is more balanced than the other.

Before you start wondering if Iam going to give gyaan about Balanced diet & how do we integrate it in our life to become leaner, a BIG disclaimer. I have no idea about balanced diet and know as much as that diet has four letters in it. Apart from it, all I know is what I have heard from hear say. Hence, I would restrict myself to the former part of the ‘Balanced Diet’. The Balance. How “Balance” plays a key role in our lives and how once we understand its relevance, we can live a more balanced life.  (not a happy life, but a balanced life)
 
I strongly believe that ‘Being Balanced’ is one of the key natural laws in life. Being very good is not good. Being very bad is also not good. One should always know both the good & bad and that allows the person to know both sides of a coin & accordingly make a decision. I have seen from close quarters on how extremity of a good thing back fires.
Take the case of parents who bring up their child. Sometimes in the name of loving their child, some parents don’t put any limit on them, pamper them with everything they ask for, in most cases, the child would turn out to be a brat & disorderly child. And if the parents are too strict & dictate each and every step of the child, he/she will be completely dependent upon them for all the work & would lack in self-confidence. What’s best for the child is to have a parent who gives them the freedom to express themselves while at the same time, being observant of certain values & rules which are sacrosanct to the family. The child in this case, would grow up to be a matured, independent individual with the confidence to face the world. What’s required a balanced love.

I recall a quote which I had read in my school days. It said something about ‘Life being a roller coaster ride’, what’s there today won’t be there tomorrow, what’s there tomorrow won’t be there, day after tomorrow. It took me sometime to realize the reality of it. No matter how happy you are today, the feeling is going to go off after a while. Similarly, troubles or worry, no matter how big they are, would pass off after a while. Be it happiness, sorrow, grief, obstacle, challenges, hurt, if we realize that holding onto one thing completely isn’t a wise thing.
As someone said ‘Dark is equally important to relish the Light in life’. Hence, sorrow is equally important to enjoy the happy moments of our life, obstacles are equally important as our achievements in life. Once we keep this in our mind, no matter what life throws at us, we are well set to take it in the right stride.
Let’s hold on to the ‘Balance’ in all aspects of life, and our life will be balanced.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Secret to become Rich

Iam back! 

After a long hiatus, thanks to the prodding of two of my friends, I finally got back to write an article. To think of why i stopped writing, there were a couple of reasons. One, I felt I had to write a truly perfect, and unique article, which will be well received. Secondly, I thought that instead of writing blog, I will use that time to focus my efforts in writing my book. Surprisingly, I couldnt utilize my time for book writing as well. To cut a long story short, I eventually ended up becoming lazy and my procrastination friend ensured that I continued to procrastinate my idea of writing a blog. That was until now, when I decided to kick out the procrastinator guy out and write an article now! 

I really havent a clue of what to write now. Iam just wondering which apt topic to write upon. If you are expecting something profound to come up, do not go any further! Seriously, do not go any further. One thing which comes to my repeatedly since the last couple of months is the desire to become rich. To have a big bungalow, have all the luxuries of life and being rich enough to travel across the world! As i sat wondering how will i go and make my desire come true, I came across an video in the net, which was about the topic of becoming rich! With my curiosity bursting out, I watched the video earnestly. At the end, I was dumb founded about what i got to see. 

The video had a very profound message to share. It tell a story of a boy who dislikes his father, and sees him as a nobody, a poor, unsuccessful and not a smart person! They struggle to meet their daily needs. His father inculcates a habit of making him put a part of his pocket money into a box. The boy asks his father "Why arent we rich". The boy's father responds "Being rich is not about how much you have, but about how much you give"

The boy doesnt understand it then, but resolves not to be poor as his father. He puts his best effort and in due time, gets scholarship and ends up getting a good job! He becomes busy with his work, neglects his father by not visiting him during the vacation. In few months, his father passes away. The boy visits the home then and gets to see a different side of his father (Dont worry, his father is not a CIA/FBI agent, as we most often see in movies). I have shared the video link below for you to watch. 


I will leave it to you to watch the remaining part of the story. IT IS WORTH THE TIME TO WATCH! 

As I watched the video, I had a couple of realizations. Most often we are so busy with our own concerns and problems in our life, that we wonder why arent we happy or why arent we getting rich. We are fully immersed in multitudes of problems in our life. But the secret of being rich, is not about having a big balance account in the bank, or owning a huge villa. Coz, at the end of the day, you would still want to have more, earn more. 



The moment one starts thinking about someone's else happiness, doing something however small to bring a smile to other person life, there is a completely new world waiting to be discovered. Just try doing any of the following today! 
  • Make someone feel better about themselves (Because you will feel better about yourself at the end)
  • Making someone belief in their dreams (Coz your belief in your dreams will become much stronger)
  • Making someone's hope come alive (Coz your light of hope will never fade)
  • Bring a smile to someone or (Coz you will remain smiling always)
  • Appreciate someone for their goodness. (Coz your good deed will be appreciated for eternity) 
Call it law of karma, law of universe or the SECRET working in your favor. Irrespective of what you believe in, when you truly take a step forward to help someone else by overlooking your own problems or concerns, that's when LIFE gives you much more than what you can imagine! 

Imagine a world where people respect you genuinely, love you and truly care for your well being! Imagine a place where your one simple action impacts someone's life so much that you are remembered forever. Imagine leaving a legacy behind where you are good deeds continue to touch and make others live their life for better. That is in the truest sense, being RICH. 

All you need to do is one simple stuff. Dont bother about how much you have, just give. Because at the end of the day, being rich is not about how much you have, but about how much you give. 

P.S: Thank you Preeti and Vardhinee for reminding me often to re-start my blog writing. Your insistence helped in me overcoming my laxness. 

As a extra note to the article, something interesting happened, which Iam sharing here. When i finished writing the article for the first time. I had fully written the article and had pasted it to the blog post, when suddenly my laptop got switched off. (it keeps switching off, arbitrarily). I restarted the system only to find my entire article disappear! I had written in a unsaved notepad, so it wasnt there and neither was it saved in the 
blog post draft. I had with great difficulty overcome my lazyness to write an article, and when I finished writing it, I found to my dismay that it had fully vanished. A part of me said 'it already late, go to sleep, you can write the article later, but another part of me said "if i dont write the article now, possibly, I may become lazy & not write the article for a long time. So, i sat back and again wrote the article for 30 minutes and published it again. 

The reason why Iam sharing this here, is to just remind my lovely readers that whenever you decide to change for the better, YOU WILL BE met with unforeseen challenges or troubles and you will be tempted to give up! My only request to you is not to GIVE UP! Just continue trodding an extra few steps, you will reach your destination. May the force be with you :) 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Five Insights from my Full Marathon Experience

You don't know what you can do till you try. 2 years back, 5 km Marathon looked like a monumental step for me.  I remember vividly the first 5 km marathon which I ran in 2011. Tired to the core after stretching myself to the limit to complete 5km, I thought I had done it. Then the 10km happened. Then the 21 km. After completing 21 km twice, finally, I mustered the courage to try out a full marathon. 42.198 km. and it happened at the Wipro Chennai Marathon event, which became the 2nd most happening Marathon events in India after garnering 10000 runners, after the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. 

I completed it in 7 hours & 20 minutes. Comparing it with other full marathon runners, the timing is ridiculously long enough to consider it as an achievement. But considering the fact that after running for 22km, I got knee pain and blisters in feet, & hence had to walk the remaining 20km, it’s amazing in one way, because I never fainted ;) On a serious note, during the run, I gained some insights which are very much applicable and relevant to our day today lives. I hope this post will help you get few insights of your own.  

1. It’s all in your mind:


Ideally, for a full marathon, a minimum of 6 weeks of training is recommended. So to get your muscles used to the full rigor. In my case, I had recovered from a viral fever 3 weeks back & was held up with few personal commitments to get the required time to practice for 6 weeks. By the time, I realized that I had to start practicing, it was just 1 week ahead for the marathon.

Still, with some exercises & practices in the last 1 week, I was set for the marathon. I realized that it mostly is a mind thing. Definitely, the practice helps, but more than the practice, its what you decide in your mind. My colleague Bala A had attempted 21Km as his first marathon and was able to complete it, without much of a practice. Iam not advocating running without any practice (you may not be that lucky ;)) but the point is, if you think you can do it, you will do it. Period.

In our lives too, let it be your goals, ambitions, desires, what you think in your mind, plays a big thing. No matter where you are, what you are, how you are, just BELIEVE that you can do, whatever you desire to do. In due time, you will achieve what you set out to do. Just realize it & leverage it, after all, It’s all in your mind. 

2. Relax, It’s your race to run:


When running the race, I saw people running faster than me, running far better than me. Sometimes, it was disappointing to see, how badly I was faring when compared to rest of the folks who were doing a much better job. But gradually, it dawned on me, that it was my marathon to run and I needn’t worry myself about how others were running the marathon. Others may have had a better (or less) practice, better (or none) accessories, may be running their 5th, 10th (or 1st) marathon.  Due to the knee pain and blisters, I was walking (mind it, not running) at a speed which would have made a tortoise speed look awesome! All this lead to a timing of 7 hour 20 minutes (Gosh, feels so embarrassing to say this long time!), and I was feeling bad over it, with every passing minute. But then the truth dawned. “So What?” Only, when I realized that it was my marathon to run & I can run it in any way, without any pressure or comparisons, I became relieved & tried to enjoy the run.

Similarly in life, as long as we are concerned about what others have, what others make, wear, speak, do, you will never be able to focus on the most important stuff, i.e YOU. You will just continue to waste your energy, time and effort living your life, the way you think, others expect from you. It’s other life, they are living it their way. You have a life to live, live it your way.  What others are and do is none of your concern, what you are and do is everything for your concern. So, friend, Relax, it’s your race to run.

3. There are some things you can never be prepared for:


I had kept a target time of 6 hours to complete the Marathon but I never anticipated the knee pain & blisters to occur. It had come few times before, but after running at Gym for 2-3 days, the knee pain had subsided. I thought it wouldn’t come. Similarly, it had started raining cats & dogs, shortly after the Marathon began. No matter, how much I had practiced before (though, I hadn’t done much practice), I could never have practiced with a knee pain or blisters. Likewise, the unexpected down pour of rain.

The point is, in our lives too, we can’t be prepared for few things. No matter, how cautious or well planned you are, you will always be hit by the unexpected in life. The question then is, what do you do then? When it happens, it helps to laugh at life’s unexpected twist & say to Life “You know what, I expected the unexpected”. Trust me, it helps quite a lot to know “There are some things you can never be prepared for”

4. You can’t do it alone:


After I had completed 24km, I met another runner (Ezhil Kumar) who was walking at a similar pace. Gradually we struck conversation and I got to know that even he had got blisters in his feet, due to which he wasn’t able to run or jog at all. It was his 3rd marathon and he considered it as the worst, coz of the unexpected rain and the pain.  Still, we managed to walk on. Many times, either he or I wanted to sit down for a while, take some rest but then, we continued to encourage and push each one to move on, one step at a time. In due time, both of us completed our Marathons, with our continued support to each  other playing a crucial role in helping us complete it. Likewise, 2 of my colleagues Nageshwar Sahu & Narita Kumari who had run 10km and 21km respectively, were waiting for me at the end to complete  my race. A senior leader (Venky) in my company, who is an avid runner, had shared some tips and wished me luck for the race. Few colleagues (Dharma, Uma, Sahu, Narita) had even called during the race to check if I was doing all right. Similarly, the encouragement said by the volunteers at the aid station, was very helpful. Such support played an immense role in ensuring that I complete the marathon at any cost.

I realized that no matter what we do, achieve in life, it wouldn’t be possible; without others support and encouragement. It doesn’t mean, one cant do anything by himself. The initiative certainly has to be taken by someone, but in due course, unless you have someone to support you, to motivate you, to mentor you, to believe in you, you can’t do it alone.

5. Your actions have a meaning:


Finally, after completion of the race, when the news spread to my colleagues, friends, they all congratulated me and celebrated it as if it was their own achievement. It was so touching to see that. Some even said that my act was an inspiration to them, to try out something new. Looking at it, I realized that what we do every-day, knowingly or un-knowingly makes a big difference in someone’s lives. We may keep speaking about stuff to be done but in the end, what we do, what others see us do, makes a big difference.  

In our daily lives, in the different roles that we don, a father, son, friend, brother, colleague, manager; everything we do, will impact someone’s lives in some way. A caring word, a shoulder to cry, a small support, may have impact, far beyond anyone’s imagination. We may or may not attach any meaning to it, but chances are that others might make BIG sense of your actions. So, friends, bottom line, whatever you do, think once before you say or do something, because way beyond your imaginations, your actions have a meaning


That brings me to the end of the post. Hope, you found the post useful in some-way. Before I end the post, I have a small request to you. If you haven’t tried running marathon yet, its time you give it a shot. Start with 5km or 10km, depending upon your appetite, believe me, the experience is truly mind boggling and elevating. Apart from the health benefits, you will do yourself a world of favor, by adopting a habit, which will give you memorable memories for a LONG RUN. :)

For those planning to take part in the upcoming Marathons, here are the details of the next eagerly awaited ones:

Dawn to Dusk (in Jan): http://eventjini.com/dawntodusk
Auroville Marathon (in Feb): http://marathon.auroville.com/


As a closing note, I would like to thank my Mom, my sister Chinth Nidhi, Sahu, Narita, Venky, Vikramadhetan (my 10th school batchmate, who I got to know recently & who is an avid runner), David, Dharma, Uma (BACI Team Aspire members), Ezhil Kumar, Harish Raichandani (facilitator who completed his dream of full marathon at the age of 50 and whose marathon experience was a morale booster) for their support and encouragement in helping me complete my FULL Marathon. Also, thanks to my BACI Toastmaster friends for their hearty wishes. :)