When you sleep the whole day and are not able to push yourself out of the bed when you repeat the words that “I know but I don’t want to but I can’t, when you give yourself one million ways of ifs and buts then understand that you have been bitten by the bug of procrastination.
Often when I hear people questioning that “I want to be rich but I don’t know HOW”, “I want to get fit but don’t know HOW”, “I want to start reading books, but I end up watching TV”, “I want to stop worrying but I get more insecure”…so tell me what should I do and HOW should I stop all the worries and achieve whatever I wish.
Youngsters also frequently ask sounding frustrated about the habit of over masturbation and watching porn. “I want to stop this habit as it is ruining my peace and energy, but the problem is I can’t”.
“I plan to study but when I sit and open my books I start to day dream and get distracted by million things and by the time I realize I end up already wasting my time”.
Wish all the day, and so you wish but nothing is going to happen. You are not procrastinating but actually, you are in the “habit of procrastination”.
Don’t you really know HOW to? Tell me your schedule and I will tell you whether you are building your life to become rich or its just a mental speculation of hollow aspiration.
Tell me about your calorie intake, and I will tell you whether you really want to get fit or just ruminating on failure to stick to a diet and exercise?
Stop giving yourself the excuses of “not being able to” anymore. If you desire something then it has to be backed up by your efforts and perseverance. And probably that’s the reason behind the success rate of people with talent without motivation or perseverance is lesser than people with average talent and with a high level of perseverance and motivation.
Procrastination is an extension of chronic thought of ‘if’s’ and ‘but’s’. “What if this and what if that? I know everything but I don’t want to”… First of all, there’s a huge difference between knowing and doing. Everybody knows what’s the right thing to do, and it doesn’t matter at all and makes no difference if you are not converting your knowing into actions. If you are not doing anything about your ‘knowing’, then it is as good as a big zero-0.
So how do you stop procrastinating?
If you are expecting to read a trick or some quick fix tips, stop reading and leave the blog right away.
I see that you are still here and really want to get over this habit. So, let me tell you the secret of stopping to procrastinate, and that secret is to START!
Stop being caged in your own myriad of thoughts and START. Whether you are a teenager, whether you are a youngster in your early 20’s struggling with your career, whether you are someone who is struggling with your relationship, whether you want to control your financial situation, whether you are disappointed with your health status and the way you look…Take a decision to START, take a decision to start the ignition, take a decision to stop worrying, and START to take actions.
Each day, every day start taking a decision that will enhance your life, that will enhance your health and habits. You might ask me, where do I start? Start from anywhere, your life can be compared to a messy closet and when you think about rearranging it, it might give you anxiety but the point here is not to look at the closet and worry but starting to arrange it. And you can start from any section. Once you start it would just be about your effort and patience.
Change would come with you or without you, time would pass by with you or without you, and life will move on with you or without you. You need to be the one to decide whether you keep resisting it or embrace it and make it meaningful for yourself.
The kind of life you want is right in this moment happening, don’t complain when you are in a toxic relationship, don’t complain when you don’t like the way you are, don’t complain of being sick and tired of the job that you are in, don’t complain about your habits that you are putting you down. Because you yourself have been deciding to be in this state, to be with the person who treats you like a garbage, to be
Because you yourself have been deciding to be in this state, to be with the person who treats you like a garbage, to be in a job which doesn’t give you any fulfillment, to be in a self created shell. So stop complaining and DECIDE to break the pattern. If you are not happy do something about it or SHUT UP!
Take a decision to change, then plan to implement those changes, begin and repeat it each day, every day!
You can’t be motivated all the time or all the day. You cannot always have your peak time when you feel. Because when you are going up you shall come down too.
Then what’s the point of this question? Why not live life as it comes and as it shows?
Yes, you can but the question is can you afford to? Can you afford to live life without asking yourself what you really want and going after it?
Motivation is basically a mindset or temperament that arouses an organism to act forward to the desired goal, and it depends on how strong your purpose of going after it.
In fact, your purpose of going after your goal has to be bigger than you, bigger than yourself. A goal which can be bigger than yourself can only be that goal which strives to work for the betterment of the others. Simply put, how achieving of that goal can help someone better?
Motivation is directly related to inspiration, and when you are looking for inspiration they are everywhere, only thing is you have to keep your eyes and ears open and have a heart which believes in acceptance.
When you are down and out- few questions to ponder upon are-
Why are you doing what are you doing?
Why is it important for you to achieve this/these goals?
Because when you are down and out these questions shall act as a compass and directs you. At the end of the day, it is pointless in expecting someone else will come and raise you up. No, that’s not going to happen. So have the clarity of what you want to achieve and most importantly -Why you want to achieve? And don’t worry about motivation, because if you are inspired you shall find the motivation within you!
In my interaction with various people in training, and one to one counselling sessions I commonly encounter these two questions- what is the purpose of life, and their inability to accept themselves.
The nature of these two questions seem to be unrelated. But at the same time if one cannot accept oneself there is lesser possibility of growth of an individual, leave alone the discovery of one’s Purpose of life.
Many a times people find it difficult to accept themselves because they don’t like the way they look, they don’t like the way people judge them, they don’t like the way they think, and they don’t like the way their life is in comparison to others.
The stratum of comparisons have reached the level where the individuals know that they are comparing their life with others but still they can’t help but end up doing the same. We have reached the point of learned helplessness to the extreme levels where we derive pleasure in comparing, complaining and contemplating without doing anything about it.
Why accepting your ‘self’ is necessary and pivotal?
When you accept yourself as you are positive change starts to take place. Accepting yourself includes accepting your thoughts, individuality, your behaviour and your situations and circumstances. Unless you recognize the concerns you cannot start working towards any change or improving the circumstances. You can’t shoot arrows in the dark and expect to hit the target. It is better to have clarity on the foes we are fighting.
“But what about my circumstances?”
“What if even after trying I go empty handed?”
Do one thing today, strike out all your “ifs” and “buts” from your vocabulary. Those are powerless and do you no good. We have set our standards for being ugly and beautiful, and being successful and a loser. But who is defining the standards and against whom or what do we compare with to set the standards?
Not accepting or inability to accept is like saying, that you have discovered a cancer in your body but you don’t want to do anything about it, but you are too stressed because of it. Does it make any sense?
You have heard it million times, and I would repeat it again that no human is alike, everyone has a distinct set of DNA and cell structure, and therefore it is nonsensical to compare yourself with anyone. Another point to understand is we are here to contribute and help others to reach their goals and in turn nurture ourselves to achieve ours. It’s a powerful act of interdependence. And unless you discover your gifts how can you contribute to the humanity. Remember the world is waiting for you!
The problem here is the resistance to change, and thinking that when your circumstances will change then you will be happy, when people treat you right then you shall be happier. But how is that even possible when you are not ready to change your thought patterns?
But, it’s so difficult to start!
When you are ailing and decide to visit a doctor do you complain that you have to take out time, fix an appointment and visit the doctor? Probably not. Of course it may be too taxing to go because of the health condition, but you do go. So it starts with a step and that may or may not be difficult.
We get overwhelmed by the mountainous problems that we see in front of us. But look at the problem like this, unless you start with a step how can you even think about scaling the mountain. So go one step at a time, and one day at a time. Don’t worry and stress about the whole problem in hand, slice it down and take one piece at a time.
Effective people don’t find their passion first, they first find out their interests, and on the way there will be many trials and errors, and you shall fail many times. When you take initiative you shall find few things where you are good at, and few areas where you are average at, and yet some where you will find its out of your interest areas.
Then keep on experimenting with your interests, keep doing that until you find your uniqueness there. Don’t loose heart if the results doesn’t show up.You don’t expect a seed to grow into a sapling then start giving you fruits immediately after planting it in the soil. It takes time, it needs proper nurture and care. And when its time, it shall give you the fruit. You got my point!
One of the powerful affirmation that I came across and I constantly recommend to the people i meet is- “I AM ENOUGH!”
That’s powerful enough to change your circumstances by giving you a different paradigm.
With that affirmation, don’t wait for the circumstances to change for you to make a start, start anyway. When you undertake the journey, things will unfold itself just like when you read a book the story will only be revealed while turning the pages.
So, start by recognizing your reality and your individuality, and accept it and approve of it. There is no need to resist what you discover, you only have to work on your gifts and contribute back to the nature.
Do share your view on the comments below.
(The featured image was clicked near MG Road in Gangtok by the author)
I am excited! Yes, being in a place where you always wish to be, doing the things that you love and most of all living a passionate life, all of these marks for the perfect ingredient for a purposeful living.
Mountains and hills inspire me, and having born and raised in a city I always hankered to spend some time amidst nature. But I never wanted to visit a hill station as a tourist, in fact I don’t enjoy crowded tourist places where people are too noisy and busy clicking selfies.
Rather I always wanted to stay in the hills, wake up every morning to the chirping of some unknown flock of birds, hear the distant giggling of children playing in the nearby mounds, sip my cup of tea looking at the magnificent landscape right against my balcony, and the smoke coming from the chimney of a wooden house surmounted on the surrounding hills.
Yes, all that is happening right now.
When you live your dreams, it is not less than a magic!
Last March when I resigned from my job I wanted to pursue that I enjoyed doing. It’s not that I did not like my last job. I was working as a learning and development professional with a good pay.
But I was fed up with the 9-6 timing (sometimes till 10 PM), the daily meetings which I found nonsensical. The monthly reviews on some imaginative figures defining the feasibility of learning and development. And the regular poke by the manager to doubt my abilities.
It’s an irony when people with least empathy work in human resource department.
After resigning from the job I packed my bags and went to Himachal and traveled to some beautiful hills and terrains of Barot and Parashar lake. I also stayed in McLeod Ganj for few days and made a wonderful friend there.
I still had some doubts to live an unconventional life, I applied for another job. I was confident that I would get through. However, my name was not there among the selected list of candidates. I was in deep trouble, I didn’t had any plan B.
When life becomes stressful, it takes a toll in your health too. My back was anyway not in good shape as I have strained it too much during my first attempt to start a cafeteria.
I was diagnosed with a slipped disc in the month of May, and my legs started weakening gradually. Doctor advised me a complete bed rest for 3 months. It was really frustrating but it also gave me time to reflect back on my strengths and inner calling.
It turns out that life becomes monotonous even when you don’t do anything; I would wake up by 6 in the morning, do my back exercises, have breakfast then go for physiotherapy. Then the whole day I would search for jobs and apply the suitable ones. Read as much as I can, Have dinner and sleep.
Then, I would repeat the same the next day, and for the next three months I would repeat the same.
After three months I stopped applying for jobs anymore.
I started meditating regularly, it helped me flush my negative thoughts and made me stronger physically and emotionally.
After a month of regularly practicing mindfulness in meditation I felt much better, a ‘feel good’ feeling can do wonders. I gradually made myself believe that I don’t really need to work conventionally to sustain myself. While meditating I figured out my purpose and my goals. I felt lighter!
I realized that throughout my life I have lived a twofold purpose– to Inspire others and get inspired. So, why not start working on that? Why not continuously do something I love- write, coach and inspire others and in return get inspired!
Everything started falling in place. I have started working as a consultant counselor, and now I am working on my first book. I have also started to jot down ‘ideas’ (will write about them later) daily. I will also be giving a session on ‘stress management’ and the ability to say ‘no’ for school students in Chemchey in South Sikkim. I am excited!
Sheer law of attraction!
We get a beautiful view of Mt. Kanchanjanga from Chemchey, so you can expect lots of pictures of the place in my next post.
“If you have time to breathe you have time to meditate. You breathe when you walk, you breathe when you stand, and you breathe when you lie down.”— Ajahn Amaro
It took me a while to understand this, but unless you don’t meet face to face with the realization it takes time to understand what meditation really is. At least for me who is not so advanced in the transcendental knowledge of the supreme or perhaps you can say the nature, it is really difficult to attain the state of meditation. As I am still discovering the path of being in the meditative state here is a small write-up which I have co-authored with my spiritual friend Milli Datta Khan who is a Nichiren Buddhism practitioner.
Let’s dissect the word to understand it better. Meditation is according to Wikipedia“is a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.” That’s one of the most lucid definition of meditation I could find on the web, and when I dwelled on the meaning within the lines it was indeed enlightening.
Another insight to ponder upon is the word ‘meditate’, meditation is noun whereas the word meditate is verb i.e. to take action. Therefore, to meditate is to take conscious action to achieve the desired mode of consciousness, and it can be said that meditation is a way of life, and how beautiful it will be if one’s life itself is converted into meditation. Now it starts with the very simple process of meditation and one needs to meditate on something to start the ignition.
Let me narrate a simple yet an apt metaphor, say, you decide to go somewhere by your car, in order to run the car you need to start the ignition then the car will move. Your ride depends on few factors like the condition of the road, the agility of the driver which is you, and the knowledge of the destination. Similarly, meditation is the journey, to meditate is to start the ignition and to keep running it, depending on your karma how smooth or difficult your journey will be is decided, but if you have developed the firm skills and character to face the adversities just like the skills possessed by the driver there is no second doubt that you shall reach your ultimate destination. Yes, the paths may be different and even if it sounds a bit clichéd it is true that it will lead us to the same destination. (Now, isn’t funny how people are hell-bent in destroying each other because they happen to choose a different path in order to reach their destination)
Just like you have the choice and free will to decide whether to undertake the journey by the car, you also have the free will to decide whether to meditate or not. It is for those who seek answers for their existence in this world, those who have realized that their existence perhaps might not just be a coincidence but by a deliberate design. Knowledge of the knowledgeable is important and that is there in the form of books and their wisdom is inevitable in search of truth, but without the knowledge of the ‘self’, the knowledge of within, the realization is not possible. The key to all the knowledge within is meditation.
When you initiate the process, when you start to meditate, you open the window to unlimited possibilities, you reach the ultimate knowledge source. If one needs to understand what I am talking about through graphical representation you can watch the movie Ant-man. Towards the end, when the Ant-man destroys the Wasp to keep his little daughter safe, he becomes so tiny that he is able to enter the smallest part of the atom itself. It appears that there is no concept of time and space here. There is just a vacuum which is so peaceful and full of transcendence.
All the answer lies inside us, we hold all the knowledge of the universe, and in fact all human beings are super powerful and full of knowledge. If all the bliss and eternal knowledge is inside us then why do we appear so much in difficulty and so much in pain? The answer to that question is very simple, if you have a trunk load of treasure which is locked inside, unless you open it would you have the access to it? You need the key to unlock the trunk, and that key is the way of meditation. We seek the key to that trunk outside, whereas it is within us. Failure after failure of inability to find the key leads to frustration.
That trunk is nothing but your subconscious mind that stores all the treasure of knowledge. When you are aware, you will observe that it is always guiding from what is (right) and what is (wrong), I have put them in brackets as these spheres are always subjective for humans, but our subconscious mind knows it all. When you listen to your ever existing voices inside you carefully then gradually it starts giving you all the answers that you need to know.
There is no particular way of meditation, however shutting down your visual sensory organ is necessary as it helps to shut off any distractions. Our mind is ever restless, it is here with us for a moment, and the very next moment it shall cover miles to be somewhere else, and that too before you realize. When you close your eyes, your inner guiding light is lit and helps you to have conversations with your ‘self’. In a definite way meditation is a prayer to invoke the higher powers to communicate that we surrender before You, it is a way to touch the ever beautiful ‘self’, and when that happens your world turns out to be beautiful, the sky, the flowers, the stream brings you message of happiness. You become filled with gratitude, and full of compassion.
Our heart only knows the path of happiness that gives us the inner peace and serenity. Spiritual practice such as meditation and prayers are nothing but to remind us what we are and we already know, why we are here, and what our mission is. And we all forget our heart’s message and fall into life’s ruts and crevices. We feel unfulfilled and unhappy. We get depressed and anxious. We have blurred our perspective and forgotten you bigger picture, and lost the way.
The remedy is simple. Take the time to remember our divinity, our spiritual nature. Remember why we are here. Meditation is one way to triggering our memory.
Meditation is a feeling of self-realization, and to know our subconscious mind where we can face our inner potentialities as well as our inner flaws and have the Strength to take the full responsibility of it and have the courage to accept it and change it. Here change is an inside job which causes conspicuous as well as inconspicuous benefits means unknowingly we start changing from inside and along with our outer circumstances also start changing.
As we take the full responsibility of ourselves that means we have already open our subconscious mind because with close mind it’s impossible to learn anything new. Only open mind can receive and process new knowledge. Now there will be a question, what is subconscious mind? Subconscious mind is our conscience. It can also be called our higher mind, higher self, or inner voice (the feeling that your subconscious mind gives you is called ‘instinct’. The subconscious mind is our true mind, spiritual mind. Just as the conscious mind or physical mind take care and guide our body, the subconscious mind take care and guide our soul. The soul and the subconscious mind are joined together for eternity. So after guarding our soul by preventing it from taking the wrong actions, the subconscious mind guides us towards what is morally right. Only spiritual knowledge alone will help our subconscious mind to evolve. It is only when we put that knowledge into practice that the subconscious mind grows. Therefore, the key to spiritual growth is pure action. Physical mind sets limit but our subconscious mind is actually shows how much limitless or powerful we are, and can only be done through meditation.
Meditation is an art or technique of quieting our mind. Although everything is energy and everything in this universe are interrelated and all set in a beautiful rhythm. With the help of meditation we can follow and sync ourselves with the universal rhythm. So that the endless chatter that fills our consciousness is stilled. In the quiet of the silent mind, the meditator begins to become an observer, to reach a level of detachment, and eventually, to became aware of a higher state of consciousness. By pulling us out of the rut of everyday awareness, meditation serves as a reminder of what we have been learning about higher, more spiritual values. To meditate is to remember regularly. You are reminded of the bigger pictures, of what is important in our lives and what is not.
There is a very beautiful line by Osho — “If u can be in love in any situation, then you are in meditation.”
It means only love is real. Only love is an energy of incredible power and strength. We are all made up of energy and love encompasses all energies. Love is an absolute. Love never ends, never stops. The purest form of unconditional love, expressing your love and expecting nothing on return. By giving love away freely you become a spiritual millionaire.
Remember to listen to your intuition, and try not to let your fears sway the soft and gentle murmuring of your beautiful heart. Feel the freedom to love without holding back, without reserve, without condition. For our lives in this plane is limited ones. We are merely in a school. When we return home, we take only our thoughts, our actions, our learnings, our love with us.
Finally, do not be afraid. We are immortal, eternal spirits and we are always loved. In fact we are love.
Therefore, remember, when you are seeking love and happiness you are seeking the path to self-realization. You just don’t know it yet or perhaps still seeking ‘happiness’ at the wrong places. When you are walking the path of your passion, the things that you love to do, it is in fact a manifestation of meditation. Sooner or later we will be there, we all will be taking that journey. You just have to understand our relationship between you and the Gohonzon, till the time your life itself is converted into a form of meditation and it becomes visible when you walk, talk, sleep and think.
It was when the bus reached Palampur bus station I initiated the conversation with this guy from Israel. “My name is Dudu Elbaz, Dudu as the milk” he introduced himself, there was a moment of pause, and the very next moment we were laughing our gut out. I was meeting someone from Israel for the very first time. There are many rumors that surrounds an Israeli who visits India, like some are run away soldiers, and lead life of a wasted, some are just charsis, and yet some are involved in illegally supplying the ‘green diamond’ internationally. It is also rumored that Israelis are actively involved in the cultivation of hashish with the support from the locals. It sounds both intriguing and thrilling to me. Truth might have different layers of shades to it but I couldn’t care more. With some broken english he said, “ I go mmmm..Dharamshala first time, then I go to McLeod Ganj and go Dharamkot” Trying to match his broken English, I replied, “I go there too the very first time, don’t know where to stay”. “May be we can stay together for tonight, if you are ok with that”, he replied, “Ookay”. It was seven in the evening when we reached Dharamshala bus station. We two were the last one to get down from the bus, there were countable people in the station, nonchalant buses stranded there in the dark and resting after a long day on the road. We sat on the concrete pavement near the tikki wala. Dudu took out his hand bag, mixed some charas with the bhang and rolled a perfect joint. While he smoked his joint he said, “Don’t worry we look a room and stay”. He offered me a puff which I denied for later. He finished his joint, ate another snickers gleefully that I offered him. McLeod is around 4 km north of Dharamshala and I could not see any vehicle nearby in the station which was going towards McLeod. Always take help of the locals! We did the same, and after walking for few meters in the dark we reached the taxi stand. Whatever fare the taxi driver quoted we agreed, soon we were passing through narrow steep lanes. It was a drive of under 20 minutes and he charged us 200 bucks, basically 100 bucks each as we shared the fare. Everything in the valley costs double.
McLeod town is just like any other commercially abused hill station in India.Full of tourists, small shops that are fighting to breath, and various cafes. But still it had some magical charm with its monasteries, and the lanes full of monks, yoga parlors and Tibetan refugees.
The moment we got down from the taxi, few guys approached us, “Hotel?” We said, “Yes”. We two followed the guy who was showing us the room, the first one was located just beside the busy street, we wanted to make sure that the room is situated in a distance away from any noise, and with the clear view of the valley. Dudu was in fact very specific about these two concerns more than me.After rejecting couple of lodges we were guided for the third lodge which was located down the never ending concrete stairs. After descending through the stairs, passing by couple of yoga parlors we reached Victoria guest house. The guest house was mainly occupied by few Europeans, and other foreign nationals. Ramu, the guy who guided us to the guest house informed that the room at the top floor has already been occupied the moments before we reached, he can give us the room the very next day they check-out. Elbaz was very specific with what he wanted, a quiet room with a picturesque view of the valley. Sensing our disappointment, Ramu showed us another room in the opposite building, we were not impressed either but decided to take it and stay for the night. We thought of taking a shower before we climb those steep stairs again and head for a late dinner considering hill station standards. A shower always work wonders after a tiring journey, but it rapidly speeds up your hunger too. We climbed up the stairs again to reach the intersection and search for a place to have our meal. There are ample number of cafes and restaurants to choose from. Tibetan, Indian, Israeli, English etc. You name it and you shall find it. We decided to check the Chinese restaurant that served Tibetan dishes as well. The place was quite upkeep and upbeat. As there were only westerners and non-Indians who were dining and drinking and at the restaurant the place was quiet. Dudu ordered for ‘chicken saute in black soy’ with plain rice, I went for a bowl of ‘thukpa’, and two bottles of Tuborg. That late evening I had the best joint of the valley mixed with hash (I am not encouraging substance abuse here). It had these intense but soothing after taste.When your tummy is happy you can have the best-est of conversation in the universe, and if you have a knowledgeable company nothing can beat that intellectual pleasure. Dudu is a student of psychology and is still pursuing his studies. Our only medium of communication was English and his verbiage and stock of words were not many, he was carrying a pocket-sized book which was helping him to translate the words and sentences of daily usages from Hebrew to English. But he had picked up the language fast as it was only a month back that he started learning English. I would use sign language and through body movements made him understand anything if he couldn’t any. He would ask me the reason of so off tuned music being played in Indian channels, he was talking about the numerous ‘devotional channels’ where various ‘gurus’ were playing their own music which didn’t strike any chords of the heart. At times he got annoyed with himself when he could not think about the right words to express himself, we would simply laugh out and leave the expression as it is.
Next day we woke up late, and we didn’t had to rush anywhere, neither I had any work to get ready for, nor he had any classes to join. Morning in the hills and valleys are generally always pleasant, what makes it more appealing is the aroma of loafs and pies being baked, and a subtle rhythm of guitar being strum in some distance. The mountains that are thickly covered with snow appear to be so close, but no one seems to know how far-fetched they are. The never ending sky at times turning blue and as clear as fresh set of paint being done on it, and within moments it will be covered in thick clouds ready to pour down on all the things that are living and the dead, and the next moment it will come to a halt, be drop dead, and quite. These metaphors are simple enough to explain why men and women fall in love in the mounds easily, because they fall in love with the ‘self’.
It was time to explore McLeod. For breakfast we stuffed ourselves with sandwiches and a slice of a carrot cake with cappuccinos. We took a stroll through the narrow lane full of cafes, hand-loom and handicraft shops, the place is packed with tourists, and backpackers. We would just pass an occasional gesture of greetings to the fellow strollers whenever our eyes would meet, unlike Indians who are generally not used to this habit of greetings, in fact when two strangers pass by and their eyes happen to meet they generally end up frowning. I remember back home when I tried to pass by a stranger with a smile, he stared back at me with some silly suspicion. But I believe these unconditional gestures can change the world. Smile is the panacea to a broken heart and contagious enough to heal the world. Unlike for a typical hill station, temperature was quite sunny and humid. We headed towards Bhagsu waterfall which is again a steep trek, on the way we crossed through Bhagsu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. I saw people changing clothes and jumping into the water reservoir which looked more like a swimming pool, I am not sure whether they have some sin cleansing effect on humans or not. On the other hand foreigners from the west were busy being curious to know the temple architecture and history, some were equipped with sophisticated camera and other gadgets, likely some travel crew. And yet some were busy bathing, and may be cleansing their soul, seems to be a tough job anyway. After witnessing some mundane melodrama we trekked to Bhagsu waterfall. Nothing extraordinary, the trek itself was more tiring but that’s the thing about nature, it is very ordinary and nothing can match or can come close to that ‘ordinary-ness’. On the way a hawker offered us saffron (crocus) at a very cheap price, and he tried his luck by offering ‘shilajit’ (an Indian herb for improving vigor and potency) by insisting us that we will be stronger and be good in our beds. Dudu replied, “I am sttrongg my frriend”. When we reached the waterfall it was a sheer disappointment as it was littered by beer cans and lousy tourists. We witnessed the While coming back we stopped to listen to ‘banjaras’ playing a tune from Bollywood movie Raja Hindustani on their four-string. We sat, smoked a joint and decided to trek towards Triund, 2800 which was a 9km gradual trek. It was a moment spent in leisure without any intention of the worldly affairs, sharing thoughts and expressions, exchanging and learning words of each others language, that’s what we did while passing the curvy and narrow road across the hills. We would give a nod of satisfaction and a high-five to each other when we could pronounce the newly-learned words correctly. On the way to Triund there’s a serene and quiet place- Dharamkot, the village situated in this beautiful valley is occupied by seasoned travellers, and backpackers. Tushita meditation center and Vipassana center is also located in Dharamkot, later we decided to come back for a guided morning meditation in Tushita the next day.
To my pleasant surprise I saw Morgan’s place which is owned by Muruggan (my former partner in PCB whom I had outsourced the kitchen when we introduced the Italian cuisine), this place makes the best Schnitzel in the town, I know. After enthusiastically walking for almost two hours Elbaz lost interest in going any further, we decided to walk back, we straightly went to Morgan’s place. We had the world’s best Schnitzel and Buschita there, my favorite is the dip though, the Hummus, in fact I don’t mind having the whole bowl of Hummus dip to myself.
We tried searching for another room from where the view of the valley was the way we wanted but couldn’t get one. Either the place was noisy or it was way out of our budget. We decided to stay at the same place until we get some other suitable alternative. That evening we did some juggling and engaged ourselves in some leisure games. It took me back to the good old days of innocence. Afterwards we went for a stroll in the town. I would say, this time it was more of a discovery of human interactions rather than exploring the valley. I had tofu with chowmein for the night, and Dudu tried his taste buds on Indian thali.
Next morning we woke up earlier than usual. We had to attend the morning session of meditation in Tushita. However, by the time we could just pull ourselves up from the bed and finally get ready it was already 9:00, and the session was about to start at 9:30. We rushed and after quickly climbing the stairs, we went for a quick bite and a cup of coffee. It was already 9:20, we took an auto and took us there in 10 minutes. We followed the signs and entered the room, it was packed, we were late by 5 minutes. Somehow, we adjusted ourselves in the little space that was left. A tall, bearded guy with a pony tail, must be in his late 20’s was leading the meditation. Perhaps he was an European as one can make out from his accent. Moreover, he was dressed just like us, so it was probably easier for the crowd to relate with him as well. We started by concentrating on our breathing, when our minds became distracted and restless his voice guided us back to our breath. Starting from the breath entering the nostrils and going to different parts of our body. The second phase of meditation guided us to being aware, and aware of being aware. Third part was concentrated on dissecting our anger, being aware of our anger, what is making us angry-is it the person, situation, or is it the reflection of our self. During the meditation he gently stroke the bell after regular intervals which created an ecstatic vibration striking deeply within. It was a productive session. Dudu had a mixed response to the session, he enjoyed the meditation, and at the same time he became a a bit agitated because he could not understand most of the things spoken. I was to leave for Delhi the next day in the evening and we wanted to utilize the whole day exploring Dharamkot. I regret staying in McLeod, after walking down the narrow lanes and the very feel of the place, I was sure I missed some great experience by not coming to Dharamkot before. It was quite, clean, bereft of loud tourists. On the contrary there were many tourists from Israel, Europe and many other countries. I saw people lost in their own world, engaged in some lively conversations, some trying to learn new scale of music in their six strings, yet some were trying to come out of their confused state of slumber. I also saw an Israeli dressed in their traditional attire and a three-storied building dedicatedly build for them. Soon, the day was over and we sat still in our chairs listening to the various echoes of the hills, gradually time was shifting and I had to go back. The next day we went to Dharamkot again.
Dudu decided to stay back for another couple of weeks, we searched for a room which we bargained it for 400 bucks a day.
It was time for me to leave. It was an overnight return journey. I booked a seat in a Volvo bus and reached the bus station on time. It was time to say our goodbyes. Dudu came to see me off and with some broken expression of ours we exchanged few words, we hugged. I knew he would miss me like I would miss him. There was a sudden flow of emptiness as he left and I boarded the bus. God knows when we would see each other next, or perhaps would loose each other in oblivion only to meet someday all of a sudden. Soon, the bus was occupied with people ready to return home or wherever they were heading to. An Israeli girl came and sat next to me. I was soon lost in my thoughts, thinking of the journey that I undertook and the journey that I will take in some time to come.
Well, I did not find my purpose in the journey, but I have grown manifolds again, grown as a person and experienced the different aspects of life, meeting new people and learned from them. Hills and mountains have always had a deep impact on me, I am always at peace within and without here.
Thank you for reading through and being a part of the journey.
The streets were getting lonelier, and few of the shop’s were already shut.Some travellers had just arrived here like me, but they seemed to know where they were going as their stay for the night I thought was sorted. But I was yet to search a shelter for the night, and my tummy was screaming to be fed. I was too exhausted and thought before searching for a room I ought to have something else I would die of starvation. There were several cafes, restaurants and German bakeries in the area, but you call it intuition or gut feeling I thought of climbing few stairs and check in to Richik’s cafe. Richie is the owner of the cafe and hence the name.
The cafe is divided into two parts, the first one is the typical sitting area where you can grab your meal and chill there, although I like the other half of the cafe. There are mattresses and cushions with comfortable blankets in case you doze off. He greeted me with enthusiasm, and after exchanging greetings he made me comfortable in the other corner of the cafe. I just realized then it was really freezing outside and I was in my floaters and wearing a sweat shirt accompanied by a trek pant. As my concentration was on searching for a place and fill my tummy I didn’t realize it till then. I asked for mushroom soup and a penne pasta in white sauce. I was a hungry animal ready to devour anything that was thrown at me but I clung to remain human and rather order something which can be quickly prepared and served to the table. I asked Richie if he could help in arranging a room for a day or two. He said, “No Problem Sir, there are several lodges and motels available, I will send Kamal to ask on your behalf. Kamal is a young man, may be around 20 years of age and is an employee of the cafe. “I don’t want to spend much, 500 for a day at max.” “Don’t worry” he said. I quickly put my focus back on the meal which was served steaming hot, the pleasure of food can only be felt when you are starving. By the time I finished my respective dishes Kamal came back with an arrangement of a room in the nearby lodge named Yik and Yak, he said, “Sir, the room has been arranged at 500 bucks a day plus it has a television, a balcony and a geyser too”. I thanked Richie, tipped Kamal, paid the bill and left for the lodge. Kamal helped me to locate the place, the room was big enough for two individuals, it had no doubt a big television and other facilities stated. Apart from all the amenities mentioned the television didn’t run, not that I plan to watch it but some times when you are all alone by yourself this idiot box can act as a cushion, that can be true for someone who is an urban dweller. Other than that the carpet laid on the floor was unkempt and and covered with dust. I am not sure but I think I have an OCD to take shower if I am sweaty and sticky but did not had to chance to take one. It doesn’t matter the temperature outside is in minus and your geyser is not working or functioning at below par when all you want is the million droplets of water to calm you down. I had a tiring journey after all.
When I woke up the next morning it was raining. The rain had made the temperature drop by another one degree Celsius. Due to rain the snow-covered mountains in the distance was lost amidst fog. It was freezing, with nowhere to go for the moment I thought of spending couple of hours at Richik’s cafe. He welcomed me with enthusiasm again, I learned the cafe was only seven days old but looked quite promising. He played tracks from yesteryear consisting of Uriah Heep, John Bon Jovi, White Snake etc. I recalled my days with Pink Cherry Bubble, I sighed. After stuffing myself with potatoes tossed in red sauce with shredded chicken, egg poach, club sandwich and two cups of coffee I retired to the other corner of the cafe and utilized my time in writing journals. It was freezing, and Richie was kind enough to lend me his gloves and also sent Kamal to buy woolen socks for me. He even gave me a piece of paper where he jotted all the nearby places where I can either trek or take a cab. I even thought of renting a bullet but it was coming too expensive. Sensing disappointment in me Kamal offered his new Pulsar and insisted that I can keep it as long as I was in Manali. Soon the rain came to a halt, I thought of taking an auto-rickshaw to a nearby hill called Vasisth. Vasisth is a temple dedicated to Hindu God Rama, and named after sage Vasisht, this place is famous for hot spring waters. People visit this holy shrine to take bath in the ‘holy’ spring waters which is believed to cure various physical ailments. The autowala said, “It would be 150 rupees to Vasisth”, “I want you to take me back here too”. “It would be 300 rupees then”, he said. We agreed and the auto took me to Vasisth. Too many people, crowded, and flocks of regular tourists in every corner. The driver suggested me to take bath in the shrine too but I already made up my mind not to.Temples as tourist destinations has never been my suo moto and too many people discourage me from visiting them. I guess in a country like India when a family witness a guy alone and all by himself they consider him a prey to click pictures for them. “One with the temple door please” the husband with a heavy south Indian accent instructed me. While I was taking few snaps of the intricate designs of the temple entrance the newly married couple caught hold of me and ‘requested’ me to take pictures for them. I clicked half a dozen pictures for them until they were satisfied. Vasisth temple is believed to be more than 4000 years old, sounds older than ancient.
For some unknown reason I was in hurry that day and I could not properly explore the place as I could have. The auto driver suggested that I can visit Jogini waterfall if I want to and he would wait for me till I come back. I found Manali to be traveler friendly and very comforting. I took his suggestion and started trekking towards the waterfall. The view from the narrow lanes of the snow-capped mountains is enchanting, it is needless to say but I can never get tired of the view, it gives me so much of peace that I can die gazing at them.
As funny it can get I never reached Jogini waterfall, I realized that later when I was checking the pictures of the place in the internet. I somehow doubted it when the auto driver asked me, “Did you even go to the waterfall, how come you returned so early?” I said, “I did not spend much time there”, looking perplexed he didn’t ask anything much. So what happened was I did reach a waterfall and another trekker probably from Britain must have thought the same as we sat near the waterfall for some time. I did not see any path ahead so I clicked few pictures and returned. Later, I picked a swarovski for Megha from a nearby crystal and precious stone shop. That was it, I returned to old Manali, had my lunch in one of the German cafe, and went straight to Richie’s cafe, by that time the sky was all clear and blue.
“Richie, would you tell me little bit about Malana, all the rumors that I’ve heard is it true?” He replied, “Yes sir, Malana village is a solitary valley, they consider themselves to be the descendants of Alexander”, “I’ve heard that they don’t follow Indian law and they have their own set of rules and procedures”, he replied, “They actually consider themselves superior to the rest of the people and fellow citizens, they don’t appreciate someone talking to them directly or touching them, or entering their household.” Malana of course is known for its hash, the premium cream it produces, its not a secret anymore. Richie also tells me that there are drug portals very much active in the valley and they supply the hash internationally. I have never smoked a joint properly in my life and my desire to taste the premium hash became stronger after such thrilling intro to the mysterious valley. Sometimes what you wish for comes alive in such a manner that you feel the old man from up above was just eaves dropping you.
I could never visit Malana though, next day in the morning in spite of so many places to visit in Manali I immediately decide to leave for Dharamshala. I heard a lot about the place but knew that its a commercial place. However, I felt I should be heading towards it anyway as I was sure I would be meeting new people and experience something new. I bid my farewell to old Manali, the same autowala took me to the bus station, I bought four snickers and got inside the bus. This time I made sure the bus was going directly to my destination. When I inquired, the bus-conductor told me that the bus will reach Dharamshala at seven in the evening. I glanced at the my watch, it was nine in the morning, I sighed. It turned out later that I was the first one to board the bus and also the last one to get down. The bus again took me through the zig-zag, across the valleys and hills, people getting up and getting down at different stands. It was 12:30 in the afternoon when the bus entered Mandi bus station, the conductor asked me, “Where would you have your lunch, in Mandi or Joginder Nagar?” As if I have a fair idea of the places, I replied promptly, “Joginder Nagar”. “Good, we will have our lunch there too, we will inform you, we can have our food together.” Later, I realized the distance between the former and the latter was 72 km, and my tummy rang several bells before I could fill it.
When the bus made its halt in Mandi for fifteen minutes, I saw a guy who was not from India but at the same time did not appear to be from typical west got inside the bus. He was traveling alone and seemed to be backpacking like me. He had a curly hair which was giving his look a Seurat’s painting kind of appearance. I count on my intuition and they were telling me, “You need to strike a conversation with his guy”. The conversation did happen and I initiated but not before we reached Palampur. Soon, i came to know he was carrying the hash from Malana. In the next three days we would not only be smoking joint together but would also sharing thoughts on philosophy, culture, teaching languages to each other and laughing out loud. Salom to David (Dudu) Elbaz. Contd…