Are you Happy ?

selective-focus-photography-of-woman-holding-green-leaf-2050989

In our day to day life, we run like head-less chickens to earn, to stay comfortable, for fame, for reputation and for so many other reasons…

Amidst all this, we are worried, stressed, often get depressed and carry emotional burden  for our whole lives.

Did you ever asked yourself this question…. Why are we running for all those things?

Any Guesses ?

The answer is, we are doing whatever we are doing to BE HAPPY.

Think about it, after you first got the ability to think, you thought, “I will be happy if I get good grades”, after sometime, “I will be happy if I get that boy/girl as my partner”, after sometime, “I will be happy if I get a job and start saving money”, and then, “I will be happy when I buy a house”, and then, “I will be happy when I am married and have kids”, and then may be promotion, further have my kids in a good school. And so on you just keep postponing your happiness always.

But have you asked yourself, after having all that you wanted, ARE YOU HAPPY ?

We spend years and years achieving things we want, we do get them, but amidst that we forget the purpose why we started what we started and  are we HAPPY.

Not after a month, or an year or sometime in future, NOW, ask yourself, ARE YOU HAPPY ? If not, then BE HAPPY.

I heard H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar once say,

“You postpone your happiness until some perfect future date, but it never arrives.”

Before deciding to write this blog, I asked myself “Am I Happy ?”. I ask this question many times to myself, because if I am not happy now, I would never be happy.

So close your eyes, take a deep breath in and say yourself, I AM HAPPY !

Sandwich Dhokla (Khaman) Recipe

IMG-4111

Dhokla is a Gujarati word whereas in Rajasthan we call it Khaman.

Let’s talk business, i know you are hungry and you want to eat.

So here we go,

Things needed –

  1. A big smile
  2. Rice and urad dal batter (same one used for idli)
  3. Coriander chutney or any chutney that you would like
  4. Olive oil
  5. I used idli stand to make dhoklas
  6. Tempering – mustard seeds, sesame seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, green chillies

Follow the below steps –

  1. Take around 2 cups of rice and urad dal and soak it overnight or for 7-8 hours. Grind it next morning to make a smooth paste like idli batter consistency. Add water if required.
  2. Grease the plate nicely with oil especially the corners.
  3. Now, spread the batter on greased plate approximately one cm, this will semi cook the first layer and it will be easy to apply the chutney. Steam it for 4-5 mins (i kept checking every minute but this is not recommended)
  4. After the first layer is semi cooked, apply a layer of chutney (i used coriander chutney) evenly on dhokla.  Then pour the final layer of batter on top of chutney and spread it evenly.
  5. Cook the dhokla for 8 to 10 minutes. (i will recommend to check once after half time)

For tempering –

  1. In a tempering pan or a smaller pan take some oil (good quantity), add mustard seeds, sesame seeds, curry leaves, green chilies, salt, asafoetida (hing) and pour it on the dhokla
  2. Cut the dhokla in any shape you want and garnish with coriander.

Feel free to share your thoughts.

My Meditative Partner

0D593B8E-DB39-459D-9E66-D8656C7E0D11

There is so much I learn from my partner.

Along with many other things, I love how he takes time out every now and then to reset and meditate. (Without any reminders)

One of the best things that I learned when I started dating him was to ‘never rely on each other to be happy’ his exact words were “You can make a person smile, you can make a person feel good, you can make a person laugh, but whether a person is happy is deeply and totally and utterly out of your control.”

And this helped me tremendously to just be myself and not feel pressured at all.

Our happiness is 100 %  our responsibility and not our partner’s responsibility

Couples trying to make each other happy at the expense of themselves need to change things. Rather motivate and support your partner. You are both a work in progress so grow and build together…!

The Mystery of Turning 30

1834E1C6-55BE-4E6E-86A9-0CE40F4592B0

 

I turned 30 yesterday. When I turned 30 people kept asking me with a smirk how it feels like arriving at the big 3 O (as if they expected an angst ridden answer).
Funny, how some people consider I should feel a certain way because I am turning 30. For me age has never been a limitation to doing anything in life. It is simply a number.!!
In my experience, there are two dual expectations around arriving at the big 3-0:

You either have it all figured out (ha!)

or

you’ve just hit an expiration date on multiple personal levels. .
From being an ambitious teenager who had a vision for what life at 30 years old would look like to coming at a point “I don’t know” (with wonder) was not easy. (Took me a long long time to realize life does not just revolve around career or other things that i made a priority over my happiness)
But a few things that I am grateful to  learn at 30 is –
1. There is no “perfect picture” for what any age looks like. We are all constantly setting goals and then re-working them, or coming up with new ones. Whether you have accomplished very little, or too much, it doesn’t really matter. No point running behind things/person because that is not going to give you happiness.
2. The more I’ve allowed life to sculpt me, the more satisfaction I’ve found with who I am and what I’m really meant to do in the world. My reason of being is more in the journey than behind searching my purpose. If things are not happening then just, Let it go na … Big deal?
So when it comes to the number of candles on your birthday cake, remember that your attitude defines your outlook going forward. You can choose to be stressed and anxious about a certain age, or you can choose to be grateful and open to another year of life on this earth.
How do you feel about turning thirty, or if you’re already there, what is the best part about it?
Please share your thoughts… 🙂

Biased Love for Animals

Its been more than 9 years that I have stopped eating chicken or egg. There was a time when I was one of the person who would eat a full butter chicken by myself. However, something changed from the day I had a ‘What am I eating’ moment. A series of thoughts like a flashback ran through my head while eating chicken and gave me a glimpse of compassion. After that moment I could not chew meat.

Yesterday while looking at my Facebook feed I was acquainted with a flyer where a friend of mine posted “Dogs are the best friend of humans”. And the other day he posted “Nothing compares eating beef and buffalo wings”.

Seems like taste buds have already decided its priorities. On one side we love dogs, they are cute and said to be the best friends of humans with faithfulness filled in their eyes. Contrary to that, we tweet about the cruelty against dogs/cats while eating beef and satisfying our own dear ‘taste buds’. We protest against China and other countries where dogs are tortured, killed, roasted and eaten while sitting in Buffalo Wild Wings having the best lunch there. 😉

We often complain about people defending animals that we like to eat, we dislike when they decide what we should eat. But really, are they wrong ? Just like you love dogs/cats, they might love cows or goats etc. Love is not contradictory, it is pretty straight forward. Either you love them or just like them. (The mushy mushy one)

As Buddha once said “If you like a flower, you will pluck it off the tree/plant. But if you love it, you will water it”. Choice remains with you.

Ashes on the Forehead

While having breakfast in my hotel lobby, a lady approached me and asked if she could join me. I nodded with approval to which she placed her breakfast plate on the table and with a gentle smile greeted me. I could make it from her facial expressions that she had a question in her mind.

After a bit of chit-chatting, she asked me with utmost curiosity, “I see you have applied something on the forehead. Could you tell me more about that ?”. I was not sure what she was talking about but then I suddenly remembered that she is talking about the ashes (bhasma) on my forehead. I usually apply some ashes on my forehead in the morning. Today, I forgot to wipe it since I was in a hurry to leave for work.

I replied to her about the question she asked. I mentioned, ” In Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma, ashes or bhasma is applied on the forehead to remind oneself that this body is transient. This body will be gone one day leaving behind nothing. We have been holding onto so many things as if we are going to live forever. Hence bhasma reminds you that the body which is felt so precious is impermanent.”

She was in complete awe and surprise as I was explaining to her. She mentioned that she had seen ashes on a lot of people’s head, but never knew the essence of it.  I always get wonder-stuck by the depth of knowledge hidden behind such things mentioned in the Vedas or other scriptures.

North – South Korea Peace Agreement

Big News. Isn’t it ?

After more than seven decades of war, here comes an initiative by both regimes to discuss peace and end the longstanding war. We have not only seen the involvement of USA, China, South Korea and Japan trying to suppress North Korea for its nuclear missile development but also sanction from UN, various twitter fights, nuclear tests, hydrogen bomb detonation. This all happened in a year. That was quick. Huh.

Being said that, I admire the way Kim Jon Un has displayed the strength of North Korea instead of a weak nation which stood up against the international pressure. Rather than being bullied by a developed and a big nation, N. Korea chose not to bend but to build itself as a strong opponent and then discuss terms and negotiations. I do not know that if the Korean Peninsula will ever be denuclearized as why will someone spend millions/billions of money on the nuclear arsenal just to dump or destroy it. Does not make sense to me.

One of my theory which can be a strategy of US is that, they might have helped North Korea to build its nuclear arsenal and would have just pretend internationally that they are against the missile development. However, it gives USA another boost to international diplomacy. Since North Korea now has nuclear missiles, US can not only make them their ally/friend but can also target/build pressure on China from there. It might look impossible now, but this is a checkmate situation.

This is hard to believe but if true, US that was a fantastic job !

Conversation with a Buddhist Monk

After reading ‘My Journey Home’ by Swami Radhanath, an American Swami, I was very keen to know more about the hidden yet profound wisdom witnessed by many great people on their spiritual journey. My perception towards such people has immensely changed from being sympathetic to the one who carries pearls of wisdom.

I was traveling from Texas to Philadelphia where I was stopped at the security checkin. (Their scanners always get confused when they see a harmonica case). After 15 minutes when I started walking towards my gate, I saw a guy wearing orange robes with a strong presence. I was very curious to speak to him and wished he was in my flight. Though not completely, but my wish was half fulfilled. His gate number was 50 and mine was 49 since he was traveling to Washington DC. After introducing myself to him (Master Lim), I asked if we can sit together and contemplate. To that he nodded with approval.

When we sat he saw my Yoga mat(I usually carry it with me when I am traveling) and asked me “Do you meditate ?”. To which I nodded with a broad smile. He told me he had been meditating since 40 years and is a follower of Buddha. He spoke about his spiritual journey with great enthusiasm. Though he was old in age but his undying smile and simplicity touched my heart.

The discussion moved on to Buddha to which I mentioned about one of his teachings – Nothingness. With great excitement and love in his eyes he started describing about Nothingness. He said “Nothingness means everything in this world is impermanent. The cloth, the carpet, this body, even this cell phone, everything in this world is impermanent”. I felt aligned with his words. He continued “Though everything is impermanent but it does not mean that you should not have a desire to have it. If you desire something, work towards it but do not run behind it. When you madly run behind something, you go far away from nothingness”.

After that I introspected my life in a series of events. I could actually relate each event to what he mentioned. I could see how I have been running behind things with hunger and madness.

He asked me about my Master and I showed him Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s picture on my phone. Out of curiosity he almost snatched my phone and told me “You are in safe hands. Congratulations, you have found your Master”. I nodded in agreement with gratefulness. We heard an announcement calling for Gate 49 which meant I had to leave. But before that I asked him for a picture and he happily agreed.

Before boarding the flight I just looked at him and he was sitting there being Nothing.