How successful are you?

success

I’ve always had an internal conflict on how successful I really “think” I am.

This kind of introspection almost always draws comparisons with friends and family members automatically.

Your college mate, who now happens to be the Director of XYZ company. Is he successful?

Your friend, who has been onsite for a long time and pocketed ‘em  dollars and pounds. Is he successful?

You colleague, who posts pictures of exotic vacations with his/her partner so very often. Is he/she successful?

Your sibling (brother/sister), who topped his/her class and now works at Wall Street. Is he/she successful?

Your close relative, who owns three cars and big properties around town. Is he successful?

You – stuck, short on cash, older parents at home, and yet to figure out what drives you. Are you successful?

People often correlate various degrees of success to how much one owns monetarily or in possessions or in the number of vacations one has been to. By this understanding, the more you earn or own and the more exotic vacations you take, the more successful you are. Of course, we all know that this kind of thinking is overtly skewed.

On a much personal note, I think I’m in a moderately well paid job. Nothing that would take my life away. I get a lot of free time apart from my regular work which I spend doodling, writing (this post included), and having a lot of laughs with my totally crazy bunch of colleagues. I also get a lot of free time in the evening (I’m home by 5.30!) that I spend with my wife.

To me this is success. Yes, there’s still a dream to make more money – to have the freedom to do what I love full-time. Yes, there’s still a dream to travel to exotic locations and go exploring. Yes, there’s still that dream to own that dream house with a swimming pool and a huge balcony. But, I’m still grateful for the life I have right now in this moment.

I’m proud to have had the courage to pursue my dreams and take risks in my early twenties. I quit a high profile job as an Aerospace Design Engineer at a billion dollar MNC to pursue music and writing. I took up a job offer in Intellectual Property to support my music. I tried my hand at entrepreneurship and failed. I’m currently devoted to learning and training in Mixed Martial Arts. And it’s all good. I’ve done a 100 different things all because I made a choice to take risks and find myself.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I look at my bank balance and wonder what would have happened if I’d stayed on in my high profile job. I know of some of my ex-coworkers who did and who’ve had opportunities to go live ‘n earn in oh-so many-awesome countries. They’ve bought bikes and cars that I’ve only seen in magazines, they’ve gone on vacations to places I’ve only dreamt of, they’ve bought houses (in multiples, yes) worth more than the rent I can afford to pay for the next 40 years.

Hey, if I’d stayed on, I know I’d have ended up like them too. But I probably would never have started my own band, recorded our first song, performed at crowded bars, written a Patent Application, or pursued Mixed Martial Arts with so much passion. But then, who knows, if I wanted all these things bad enough, maybe I would have done it, while at the high profile job, and with the big bank balance to boot.

But naah, I don’t think so! The reason I say so is simple. To all those those ex-colleagues who I just spoke of – I happen to be their unsung Hero or so they say so. A fool who had the courage to pursue his dreams – failure or not, who broke monotony while they still continue to do the same thing over and over, year after year.

Well, I guess there are Pros and Cons to everything. I explored a way of life, they explored Bahamas. I’d trade my life to theirs for a while and they’d, maybe, trade mine. But, back to the question, am I successful? Do I feel successful?

Yes, I think I am. I’ll still keep trying though to make more money and to see all those talked-of places. I know I only need to get it right once.

Cheers!

Comet

10 Things I wish my unborn kids would do

I haven’t had the opportunity to be a father yet, but I reckon fatherhood changes you in ways you couldn’t imagine. I think I might have clue why.
 
I’d put the average age around which men consider having kids at about 30 – plus or minus 5 (me included).
 
At this stage in our lives, we find ourselves constantly burdened to excel and have a point to prove to the world. We’re laser focused on making money and lots of it while we’re still struggling to figure out who we are and what we really want to do on planet Earth. We have expectations to meet and milestones to achieve. We feel inclined to impress and please everyone, including friends, bosses, and our peers.
 
We’re also an inspired bunch. We have our role models set and we aim to learn from the best. We feel inclined to ape and follow the footsteps of Successful people in hopes of “making it big” like them too.
 
Round about this time, your relationship with your wife/girlfriend has also matured and somewhat stabilized I presume. So you opt instead for change and unpredictability, and before you know it, it happens. Boom! You’re about be a proud daddy doo!
 
And then, suddenly, it hits you. 
 
You’re going be a father, damn it. This is huge. I mean, here you are, clueless about your own life and you’re compelled to be an inspiration and a role model to this clueless little alien. What are you going to do? This is huge!
 
I  mean, it’s really really scary to think that you’d be molding this kid’s entire outlook on life in general. 
 
I guess, you can’t just afford to mess up. You can’t just fight with or yell at your spouse, you can’t just swear for no reason, you can’t just keep things untidy and dirty at home(“Is that what you teach your kids!?” will be the accusation), and you just can’t be “busy” with your work or your cellphone like you used to.
 
This little fella will look at you, learn from you, try to be like you, talk like you, and even look like you! You’re being watched! You better behave yourself!
 
I’m sure many fathers out there would agree with me that this is NOT an exaggeration of how it actually feels to embrace fatherhood. Hell, I don’t have kids and I feel it too. 
So I’ve given it a good thought and I’ve come up up 10 things I wish my unborn kids would do. Of course, it implies that I do these 10 things regularly so they can watch, learn, and make it part of their own lives.
 

1. Punch and kick bags: I remember I was natural at beating other kids up and breaking their tooth. Not that I’m proud of it, but as kids we all have Hulk’s don’t give a f@#k attitude. I was a huge fan of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan growing up too. Now I pursue Mixed Martial Arts with a lot of devotion.

 
Children have surplus energy and strength, and what better way to channelize it than to learn some form of martial arts.  
 
2. Learn to Sing or play an instrument or two: Again, I can’t really explain the extent to which Micheal Jackson impacted me but there I was screaming and moon-walking like he did while I was only 6 yrs old. At 26, I was the singer songwriter of my band “Plunge”. No one in my family has had a history in music or creative arts as such. I’m the first misfit child who was dropped on his head at birth (not literally of course!)
 
Children are fast learners and music is the universal language that every child must learn first – not English.
 
3. Meditate: A highly underestimated activity. Needs to be a habit. There is so much shit surrounding us and inside of us that a quiet place to calm your mind is a worthwhile investment. No not in money but effort. They say “being in the moment” is meditation in itself. A practice I’ve been trying to get hold of.
 
Children, they say, are born Zen Masters, ’cause they “live” every moment without fear or worry by default. But the Industrialized world our ancestors left behind post World War was designed to instill in us a deep sense of fear of failure, anxiety of the future, and stress. If children can remain children that would be great.
 
4. Explore, Go on an Adventure: I haven’t done this as often as I’d like to. But I’ve lived this life vividly in my head. But, I’ve resolved to not compromise on travel from now on. I want to travel alone. I hope to scale more mountains and suffer if I have to.
 
Children are born explorers but they need us to encourage it and motivate them to do so. Frequent trips and camping should do the trick!
 
5. Write: Somehow I feel gifted to be able to express my innate feelings in words. I think everyone should, irrespective of how good or bad they think they are at it. It’s like talking, except there’s typing involved. How hard could it be, if practiced daily?
 
Children can often find it difficult to communicate throughout their growing years. Writing, should hopefully, help them express themselves more freely, alleviate their problems and help them cope with life better!
 
6. Paint and Create: I feel, colors and creativity are the same. Everybody is an artist with colors in their hands. Splash a red, some yellow, and blue! There’s so much you can do. There’s so much of it you see around you. This is something I used to do. Why did I stop? No Clue, I guess that’s what adults do – stop doing fun things and stay bored.
 
Painting comes naturally to children. They’re experts in handling paint I suppose. Give them empty walls and you’ll know what I’m talking about!
 
7. Cook: Cooking to me is sex. It arouses the same kind of sensations in my body each time I experiment with different cuisines. I don’t really cook that often but when I do, I’m awesome! ;)
 
Children are often finicky about what they eat. Maybe if they learned to experiment with food early on they wouldn’t be so finicky and eat they’re veggies without fuss! And maybe, just maybe, it’s good sex education too.
 
8. Play: It’s amazing how much we play as kids and denounce this activity as we grow up. I’ve always wondered why we don’t have a “sports hour” everyday at work. I mean, it was always the most awaited time at school!
 
I don’t have to “teach” my kids to do this I’m sure. Maybe with them, I’ll play more often! 
 
9. Sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep is a privilege as you grow up. Our work, cellphones, tv, and Internet have ensured that we sleep lesser and lesser each day. Worse, it’s monotonous, we wake up and sleep at fixed times to compliment our work schedules.
 
Again, this is not something you teach children. They sleep when they’re tired and wake up whenever they feel like! But boy do they sleep well! It’s almost envious. I hope I can sleep that way too, with them! :)
 
10. Above all be human: It’s funny how this sounds so obvious but quite often we forget that Life is not just about focusing on oneself. Life is about people, it’s about sharing, having compassion, teamwork, learning from failures, facing situations with courage, and loving all without discrimination.
 
I assuming I’m doing my bit on this front. So it’s good to also assume that I’d do well in teaching my children some of these values.
___________________________________________________________________________
That about completes my list. How about you? What would you do often so that your children can learn from you?
 
Let me know!
 
Cheers!
Comet

Ear Wax – I was partially deaf for the last couple of years!

I’m sure no one knew this, except my wife maybe. I’m sure I din’t know it myself. I was partially deaf for the last couple of years!

Yes, I didn’t realize it until it got much worse recently.

Now there could be a possible explanation as to why it took me such a long time to acknowledge it. Perhaps, just maybe, I actually enjoyed it.

There were several advantages to not being able to hear properly. I could manage the daily traffic, concerts, bars ‘n pubs, and other loud noised places with comfortable ease. I could ignore much of what people had to say by just nodding my head. The alarm clock failed to annoy me! Everyone seemed polite, even when they were angry! I didn’t have to turn the volume heavily down during ad-breaks on TV!

Image

But what was really beautiful about it, is that I could hear myself as closely as I possibly could! Every breath, every heave, every sigh, and every little gurgle from inside of me had my full attention. With sounds from the world outside almost cut-off, the world inside my head had become a large acoustic studio for all the murmur within.

Over time, the muffled comfort soon turned into nothing short of claustrophobia. I felt trapped inside my head and I had to get out of there somehow. I couldn’t stand speaking to myself anymore. I hated my inner voice. He was too loud and mostly didn’t make much sense. Having a conversation in your head most times is the worst nightmare. To the deaf (in George Carlin’s words), they now have nicer way to put it across – to the “hearing impaired” this is an everyday reality and I now have new found respect to those unfortunate.

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Sure I was an idiot for not listening to the Doctor when I happened to make a chance visit a few months ago. The reason too was simple enough – Ear Wax! I was told use to an ear wax dissolvent (Soliwax) three times for five days and come back later for cleaning. I agreed and never went back. First, I was lazy to follow the protocol religiously. Second, I was able to manage just fine. Until, last week! My left ear was completely sound-proofed. I could no longer hear anything coming in that direction even if it were a speeding train. This was followed by a deep sharp pain each time I opened and closed my jaw to chew food using molars on my left. This was it, I HAD TO visit the doctor and fix this once and for all.

So I finally did what I was recommended by the Doctor months ago and went in for my cleaning. He smiled, picked up an overweight syringe (I mean it was fat and huge and long), filled it full with water, placed a debris container next to my chin, and did a Swooooosh thing right inside my ear. Going once, going twice, and gone – A Big Fat Chunk of Ear Wax plopped out of my ear and that was it.

I have never felt a much greater sense of gratitude until that happened. If it were appropriate, I would have kissed the doctor. I wanted to scream, “I CAN HEAR! I CAN HEAR!” I had been handed the gift of being able to hear every sound more clearly all over again. I felt indebted, but just a Rs.500 fee settled it.

To some the gift of hearing is beyond what can be expressed with words. Watch this:

How do I feel? I feel like I’ve turned into Spiderman overnight. Like I’ve acquired this new super listening power. Tree leaves ruffling, every musical note in every song (I’m a musician, so this makes it extra special), the wind whistling, the clinking of dog chains, the random unexplained creaks at night, I can hear everything.

But the euphoria I’ve experienced since yesterday has only but died down come today, a Monday morning. The traffic, the horns, and the screeches, were so overwhelming that it got to a point where I felt like just closing my ears all over again. I couldn’t take it. Why are we killing this wonderful gift of hearing that we’ve been bestowed upon with noise pollution. If you don’t think its a real problem, trust me it is. Read this.

I can’t help but wonder, “Have we become accustomed to living like this?” “Are we just noisy by nature?” “Why do horns have to be so shrill?” I was wondering if we could replace all horns with good music or something so pleasant that people would smile at you before they moved. I’m positive the horns of our famous Autowallahs can be modified to play the best Jazz music! Imagine generators that played Beethoven, airplanes that took off to a heavy rock song. Can we do this? Can we modulate the noise created by machines into music? Can somebody think of this and come up with ideas?

horn_music

Let me know, I’d love to hear!

Cheers!

King Comet

The boring life of Flappy Bird

Yes, I downloaded Flappy Bird the other day

(But, It’s been taken down now apparently!).

Flappy

I’ve played around a little bit and I’ve even managed to score a 163 on my 30th attempt in a day or two.

My Flappy Score

Not that it’s something to boast about and I’ll explain why later.

While many struggle to get a modest two digit score, I reached my three figure score pretty easy and pretty soon. How did I do it? Well I’ve noticed that the less I focused on Flappy bird and the more I got lost in my own random thoughts I scored more.

I was taking a dump one early morning, still dreamy, and contemplating starting a new venture in fitness. When suddenly, I realized that I’d just hit my Highest three digit Score in Flappy Bird. Fluke!

Trick Learnt: Don’t focus on the bird or the pipes. Let your mind wander.

But comparing scores on Flappy Bird or giving you tips ‘n tricks was not the point of this post. 

It’s ridiculous if it was, have you seen the top score?

Flappy Leader Board

The truth is, Flappy Bird has unknowingly taught me a thing or two about life in general.

Flying through pipes is like to going through life. You have your highs and your lows and you try to dodge them both. Your cause of doom could be an ambitious jump, a steep fall, or an unexpected distraction while you’re comfortably cruising along. Your heart beats to the rhythm of the flappy wings (albeit involuntarily) and you move forward till you get a stroke.

Flappy Death

Your score, let’s say, is like the money you’ve manged to save and the medal you might get, as in the game, may mean nothing in the end (Best employee of the month?).

Flappy Medal

But comparing Life with Flappy Bird is not the point of this post.

The similarities are evident and quite obvious.

I only wished Flappy Bird could just stop flapping for a second, sit on a pipe, and gaze at the city that goes by in the background. But come day or night, you tap tap tap and  it flap flap flaps, through the pipes, till you nose dive, and crash.

Flappy Dead

Why just pipes, I wish Flappy bird had the chance to explore new places, flock with other birds, mate, and have flappy little ones.

You remember “Angry Birds”? You do? Good. Now they seemed like a very closed knit flock, a community per se with a common goal – Kill all the piggies! They also seemed to have a lot of fun doing it. Each angry bird brought in it’s own unique skill and capability to the task at hand. 

Angry_birds

But Flappy Bird on the contrary, is lonely and it flaps around aimlessly in one direction.  It’s whole purpose is to “Survive” the next hurdle. Nothing more nothing less.

But wishing what Flappy Bird could be and comparing it with Angry Birds was not the point of this post. 

Each game has had it’s own successful run and yes, has go on to become extremely popular.

But I’d definitely like to give a pat in the back for those who failed to cross a single digit mark or best, never played the game at all.

You see, YOU are the Flappy bird. You run through life just dodging pipes (buying things, saving, earning, rinse repeat). You’re always dreaming of making your life better while still flapping away to survive. Like a rat on a spinning wheel. You don’t spare time for things that matter most. You’re busy flapping. You don’t stop to wonder if all of this flapping is really what you want to do.

Flappy Life

Is this end goal worth your whole life?

I mean you have the gift of flight, what you would really do? Where would you go? How high would you soar?

Finally! I think I’ve made my point.

Cheers!

King Comet

Make Valentine’s Day about Love and nothing else

A lot of hype always surrounds Valentine’s day. Why not? There’s a lot of business to be made. Expectant Lovers waiting to be swept off their feet with surprises and gifts. Not that there’s anything bad about it, but I think Love, “You know, like that feeling you feel inside?” gets lost under all this glitter and extravagance.

So I hope, today, all you love monkeys take time out to address what’s most important to you both – Love.
Communicate
Hold hands, kiss and hug more, talk. Make every effort to communicate better. Good Communication will easily add years of bliss to your time together.
Stay device free
If possible, try to keep away from your devices today, switch it off. Your friends can wait, your work colleagues can wait, your Facebook updates can wait, your tweets can wait, and yes, your check-ins’ can wait. Stare at each other if you will but give your full attention to the person in front of you especially someone whom you love.
Have sex (of course it implies that both of you are above the legal age to do this).
Again, don’t make it just about sex. I hate it when people assume that sex is just about “doing” it. I worry more for people who think that’s all there is to it. Sex is about exploring, listening, and knowing what you and your partner enjoy, you know, physically. Chocolates, strawberries, go crazy. This  boils down to communication again. The more freely you express yourself the better the sex gets.
Forgive
Make this day about forgiveness. Fights get over but memories last. Some very upsetting and worth forgetting. So don’t carry it around if you don’t need it and if it makes you feel bad all over again. Drop it, burn it, and feel lighter. Both of you, just forgive and don’t let your past ruin your present and your  future.
Never Compare
Don’t compare the extent of love you have for each other with another couple. It’s a norm today. Someone gifted something to someone and took them to this fancy place and so on and so forth. Are you really going to measure the love you have for each other by comparing it with what other couples gifted each other? It does sound stupid when I put it that way, isn’t it? I sure do hope it is. But I fear most of you wouldn’t.
A couple can be happy in Hawaii or in a cozy one bedroom house with one window. It’s up to you really.
Being there for each other far outweighs any of the “stuff” you choose to give each other today.
Last, but not the least, always keep Surprise and Mystery as part of your game plan
I don’t need to explain this. What you have everyday is just routine. So, I guess there’s nothing more left for me to say or do here.
Go on now, Fall in Love again. Oh wait, here’s a song about love that I love. Enjoy.

Here’s mine
Hugs and Kisses,
King Comet

Your JOB is to Live!

This New Year, a gentle reminder:

Your Job is to Live!
Your profession is to excel in whatever it is you enjoy doing.
Your career path is to grow taller, stronger, wiser and become a better human being.
Your ultimate desire in life is to be loved and cared for.
Your uncompromising principles to live by are to sleep well, eat hearty, exercise like crazy, work hard, and always remember to have fun.

If anyone (society, parents, lovers) ever tells you otherwise, tell them to “Get a Life!” (pun intended).

- King Comet

I wish you “Life” in 2014

In 2014,
I wish you timeless moments with your family.
Moments that take precedence over notifications on your phone/tablet, your digital life, your work, your business, or your startup.

I wish you unplanned and impulsive travel to unexplored places. Places where you get to reinvent yourself, free from distractions, mindless routine, and clutter.

I wish you unrestrained clarity and flow of words.
Words that’ll help you reach out to the world and convey your grandest ideas, thoughts, feelings, and stories in only the best way possible.

I wish you peak health.
Health which can be measured in how fast, how long, and how far you can push yourself.

I wish you abundant creative success.
Success which solves real problems, improves lives, creates awe, inspires others, and brings joy, cheer, and happiness to everyone.

I wish you unprejudiced Love.
Love that overpowers societal expectations, rules, and norms.

I wish you unlimited fun.
Fun that de-stresses, relaxes, rejuvenates, entertains, and makes you come alive.

Last but not the least,
I wish you “Life” in 2014.
Life that is worthy of being cherished and remembered.

- King Comet