Lessons from the lit train journey

Travelling in a train right now.

Started late afternoon. Will reach at night.

Thought something incredible:

During the day, when we peep out the glass window, we see nature.

As it gets dark, and we peep out, all that we see is our own reflection. Nothing external.

Darkness reveals ourselves to us. The pain, powerlessness and peeping for peace – show us who we really are.

No matter how much we wait for the morning to come, if we ignore the dark, we create another version of our dark in the light as well.

Travel diaries

Travelled from Kota to Delhi via train today.

The view itself made me more productive. Nature, itself, is a great healer.

Some lessons:

  1. Travel gives more ideas. Why not travel to nature, daily?
  2. I was surrounded by a Punjabi family, who spoke to me in Punjabi. What a great way to assume ๐Ÿ™‚ Btw, nicely generous people (and I will ignore the fact that they pushed their daughter to look up to me to see how I was working! Can you guys give yourselves a break? Dude, you were returning from Goa, why do you expect anyone to be working when they are returning from Goa?)
  3. Half of the coach was empty. A good way to live luxuriously.
  4. Did I tell you, my productivity was at its peak? None of my colleagues knew I was travelling (not to hide anything from them – we are anyway a chill lot), nor did I tell them – because work was getting done.
  5. It is important to give yourself some treats of solitude.

Had some more reflections, however, for now I want to sleep. So, see you tomorrow! Good night ๐Ÿ™‚

Pro tips for productivity

  1. Go for a walk to the parking of your home’s building during working hours. We can’t wait for offices to open up, to get our much needed share of outdoors.
  2. Read a lot, baby!
  3. Be kinder than necessary.
  4. Request, instead of dictate.
  5. Apply #4 for yourself as well.

The First Therapy Session

Had the first therapy session today.

Who in the world talks about it openly?

Well, we havenโ€™t been open, that is why we have been needing therapy ๐Ÿ™‚

On that note, it felt a bit better. Even though it will take some time to heal unseen wounds of years, well, all is well that starts well. ๐Ÿ˜Š

How past trauma affects work

Someone I know was in a bad relationship in the past.
Multiple traumatic experiences with the same guy.
He used to leave her, then come and physically and mentally exploit her, and the chain continued for several years.

Until one day she finally got the courage to get up and leave.

But you know what, this trauma continued for several years in her work as well.

She believed she was not deserving of getting her needs met at work, so she wanted to leave from work at the tiniest of discomfort.
She never went up to talk to her clients or bosses, because she was never spoken to in the most intimate relationships.
More than anything else, if anyone at work praised her work, she felt it was a lie just like the guy “loved” her and went away multiple times.

Here’s the truth: When you look at that guy, his social media profiles, his work background, he comes across as an Angel. Like no one could be as divine as him. Yet he is the cause of someone else’s deepest trauma.

Sometimes it helps to see that our desire for needs becomes someone’s long-term pain. Are we ready to bear the consequence of that karma?

Chinta na kar, ye pal bhi beet jayega

Chinta na kar.
Ye pal bhi beet jayega.

Wo aansuon ki dhaara
Wo samay ka ishara
Wo beparwah awara
Ye pal bhi beet jayega

Khud pe bharosa rakh ke to dekh
Apni baatein khud se kar ke to dekh
Khushi ko apna banaa ke to dekh
Khushi bhi teri mohtaj ban jayegi
Aur ye pal bhi beet jayega

Wo apne jo paraaye ho gaye
Wo paraaye jo kabhi apne the hi nahi
Wo kisse jo puraane ho gaye
Wo hisse jo kabhi apne the hi nahi
In begaani si baaton me
Tujhe khud ka sahara mil jayega
Chinta na kar
Ye pal bhi beet jayega

Wo toote sapne
Wo jhoothe vaade
Wo dard bhare din
Wo sooni raatein
Sabko intezaar hai to sirf ek baat ka
Ki tu kab
Beete hue kal ko chhorkar
Aane waale pal ke geet gayega
Chinta na kar
Ye pal bhi beet jayega

Wo tera khushi se jhoom uthna
Wo khud par vishwas mein pahaad ulta dena
Na duniya ki chinta
Na apno ka dar
Kuch tere paas tha
To wo tha junoon har pahar
Ye khoya khoya samay bhi vapas jayega
Chinta na kar
Ye pal bhi beet jayega

Ye pal bhi beet jayega
Ye pal bhi beet jayega

Stories on the street

Each morning as I walk or drive for around ten minutes to go to my meditation class, there are countless stories to witness on the street.

Here’s the two I witnessed today:

  1. A man was standing with his cart containing buckets of pickles. That is what he would be selling whole day, to make a living. Here he was, standing in a corner, serving pickle in a small bag. He then called out to the trash collector to come, so he could have his breakfast.
    Such beautiful thing. Most of us don’t do philanthropy because we feel we ourselves don’t have enough. But it is only in giving, that we receive the most. You do not have to empty your bank accounts. A small act of care each day, is more than enough. If someone who makes his living selling pickles can do it, what excuse do you and I have?
  2. Another woman was brooming the road, with the broom taylor made for thick surfaces. It is unlike the one that we use in our homes. It’s streaks are thicker, which makes it easier to remove dust from there.
    As this woman was brooming the road, I noticed a strange thing: that I could not observe dust on the road. Yet, as she broomed, the dust became prominent in every movement.
    That was a beautiful lesson: around how the deepest things are not visible. It is only through tough scratching that they surface. So are the things in our lives. Our deepest pains are buried behind us cracking jokes, being on time, being addicted to work, etc. Only when a deeper pain comes that it brings all that is within – to the forefront.
    A wonderful reminder of how we pain brings the best in us.

That said, there is a third story as well – story of you and I – walking on the roads, streets, malls, etc.
We get the stories that we see. And we become them.

The question is: What do we see?

To those who have failed in CA exams…

19th January 2015.
The day I became a Chartered Accountant.
I still vividly remember the day.

We had just returned to Kota (my hometown) after an overnight train trip from Mumbai, after attending a family function there for three days. So the winter was a harsh reality from the pleasant zero winter of Mumbai to being back to Kota. Because of this train journey, I had taken a shower quite late, around 10-11 am.

The moment I came out, I saw a miss call from a fellow article at the firm I did my articleship from.

Oops, my heart started pounding.

As I called him back, he picked up the call and asked: “Kya hua?”

“Result aa gaya?” was my surprised response, to which he said yes.

My mom had gone to take shower and I was virtually alone at home. So I opened up the laptop, connected it to the slow BSNL router we had and checked the result.

452 out of 800, result: PASS. (*Top 100 scorers in India then)

Wow!

The day I will never forget!

Throughout the day I did not feel cold at all despite returning from Mumbai back to shivering winters of Kota. It was in the evening that I finally realised I should be feeling cold ๐Ÿ™‚

My mom came out of shower and started crying a lot. A lot. She basically missed my Nanaji for whom I was a source of pride and who had passed away eleven months back. The day was something me and my parents had been waiting for, for years!

But this is the success story. That I cleared CA Final (both groups together) in the first attempt that too with very good marks.

Here is the back story: I failed in IPCC twice. As on date, given the number of failures we get to face, this doesn’t seem huge.
Back then it was. Especially for a class topper like me since childhood, who ended up with this major jolt for the first time in my life.

You know what, my Mom cried then as well, for how could such a thing happen to me? (Yes now I know that I was responsible, but I just couldn’t convince her to see that part. Maybe I didn’t want to see that either!)

But I did clear the IPCC exam eventually. One group at a time.

That is the word you need to remember my fellow CA students: eventually.

The world isn’t going to be smooth even if you clear all three stages in the first attempt with AIR 1. It’s true that social media is not going to have your pictures when you fail.
It’s true that your neighbours will probably stare at you when you’ll leave home for coaching classes.
It’s perhaps true that a friend who was not expected to clear is a CA today and you aren’t!

All this is real pain.
And it hurts, especially if you worked hard.

But there is one more thing that is real: Your grit. Your persistence. Your belief in your capability that no matter what, you will end up with the prefix CA before your name eventually.

Feel sad as hard as you want to. Clean your nose with your sweater that your friend likes who is a CA now. Look at yourself in the mirror and just be, it’s okay!

But when you are done, don’t waste a minute pondering about what was and what could be. Just focus on what you are going to do next.

Winning in life is less about numbers and more about your attitude.

For example, I’m not a cunning person and because of that I sometimes get walked over (sometimes by my hashtag friends), and that feels very bad. But then I tell myself that my systems and ethics are powerful, so I needn’t be scared. NEVER ever has been a place in my life that because of not being cunning, rather being a simple human being, I hadn’t won eventually. Things always turn out to be in the favour of the person who works hard with the rights systems and the right mindsets.

And if you are worried about number of attempts, yes I did get a bonus of 1L INR extra back in 2015-16 because of being a first attempt passout. But today, 5-6 years down the line, almost everyone is earning in the same income range. Time is a great leveller and a wonderful thing to forget.

So keep up your spirits high my fellow CA students, it is only a matter of time that you will become a member of the reputed ICAI. Till then, focus on building systems and attitudes that eventually and undoubtedly lead to success, instead of letting things happen.

PS: In case you are wondering if I used some systems while preparing for CA Final exams after failing in IPCC twice, of course I did! I won’t blabber them here because the purpose of this blog is not to show you how, the purpose is to show you what. If you need help with systems and processes while preparing for CA exams, drop me a note at ngehija454@gmail.com and I’d be happy to help you out.

PPS: It will happen, eventually!

The usual boring stuff

Much of our lives is the usual boring stuff.

Extreme events – such as a job promotion, getting your dream client, getting that deal, your first pair of Nike’s, no matter how eventful – they’re extremely rare.

Which brings us to the boring stuff, and make the best of it.

How to make the best of it – no one can answer that for you, only you can.

But if you keep making the best of each boring day – trust me, you will have ideas to an extent of just extreme events.

Only one caveat: Keep working on your habits and the usual mundane stuff of doing the right things while watching someone else’s happening Insta feed.

The Raw and The Rich

If you are reading this, chances are you were not born with a silver spoon.
Don’t worry, even I wasn’t.

The point is, when we are born into a humble family and grow up to make a decent amount of money, it is easy to fall into the trap of speaking, thinking and behaving like the rich.

Nothing wrong with it.

However, remembering your raw nature, remembering the village you came from, remembering the raw tone you were raised with – if you can live with that even while shopping your clothes from Sabyasachi and be proud of that instead of being ashamed, there is nothing that you can’t do!

The rich human who hasn’t forgotten the raw human that they are, is the most priceless asset ever.