From the Archives – Time

August 13, 2009

Since I was recently harping about how it is time to get out of ‘The Comfort Zone‘, this is an old post that I thought I would cross-post here.  There’s no connection, but just felt how much we talk about having ‘no time’ to do anything.


Of the three types of input that every activity needs, material goods, skills, and time, I’ve come to feel that perhaps the least understood is time. In conventional economics, it is treated as a commodity to be bought and sold at will, and therefore needing no special consideration. Yet experience suggests that the economics of time is not quite so simple.

We need time to work, to eat, to sleep, and to accomplish all the daily chores of living. We also need time to know and understand our partner, our children, and our friends. Most of our relationships, in fact, require more time than we have, and it is difficult to avoid the feeling that we could never have enough. Nor is our list of demands on our time complete. We have ignored the time we need to be alone, a necessary but invariably short- changed period.

I know many people, myself included, who often feel “time poor” and who bemoan this limitation. Perhaps this attitude is a great mistake. Perhaps if we were to embrace the limitations of time, to celebrate them and explore their implications, we would find that they hold an essential key to the fundamental attitudes and experiences we will need in a humane sustainable culture.

The Comfort Zone

August 9, 2009

Sitting in one of the plush malls in Gurgaon, I was having a discussion with my wife about life in general. It is then that it became increasingly clear to me that I had become like the others…something that I had promised to myself years ago that I would not become.

The Comfort Zone as I refer to it, is the typical situation in which a working individual finds himself in. Resigned to the fact that the rest of his life is going to shuttle between his workplace and his home. The same dreary routine of waking up in the morning, rushing to work, rushing back, having dinner, and falling asleep for the major portion of his life. It’s getting into this comfort zone that I have always been wary of and now I feel that I am getting into this position as each day passes.

I asked myself what is it that I have to look forward to in the next few years? The answer was not very difficult to come up with if I were to look at things from a normal human’s standpoint: I now have a home loan, the liability of which forces me to work days on end, tirelessly. I will soon have commitments towards my family, which again I have to work the same way years on end, tirelessly. Life becomes similar to a million other lives in the past and possibly a billion other lives in the future.

Is this what I thought life would be? Away from friends, family, loved ones? Not being able to find joy in the smallest of things? Am I in a place where I don’t want to be only because of money? Doesn’t that make the meaning of life so trivial?

Well it’s true that the power to change one’s life lies in one’s own hands and my life is not an exception to that rule. However, the willingness to do that rests on more than just one’s whims and fancies. There’s an inherent amount of risk that one has to take and each person’s situation to take on that risk varies. My ability to take on that risk, for the sake of my family, is extremely limited.

My wife asked me, “What do you want to do, what do you want to be”? My answer, which I felt was too dreamy and non-consequential was “I want to be famous. I want to be different. I don’t want to be in a situation where I get uncomfortably comfortable with life the way it is right now. I want to do something that I enjoy, that I find pleasure in. If asked what do I see myself doing 3 years from today, I can only say that I will be sitting behind some desk doing pretty much the same stuff that I am doing now. Sure, there will be salary hikes and I will still have my job till the age of 60 or thereabouts, which is precisely what I mean by being uncomfortably comfortable.”

Of course, there might be unforseen situations that might make things uncomfortable, but my classification of feeling comfortable is different. It doesn’t revolve around my being handicapped and unable to do anything as being classified as uncomfortable, but moreso challenging myself to do new things, following a passion and living life on my terms.

It’s time to move on. It’s time to take matters into one’s own hands. It’s time.

We Love You, Tintin – and we miss you.

July 18, 2009


From my father to Tintin

When he came home he was barely an armful

Used to snuck into the tiniest space

The sound of a spoon in his favourite saucer

Prompted him to run a private race.

He frisked about and explored at will

Soon there wasn’t a corner unknown to him

He kept a tab on where everyone was

Lively and frolicsome right to the brim.

Biscuit time was just after dinner

And he’d long for just a tiny treat

Squatting while we were having a snack

Quite often tripping our feet.

He travelled with us wherever we went

And adapted joyfully to each new place

Just to watch him explore around

Was enough to light up our face.

He was convinced that any packet that crackled

Contained biscuits of his very own

Every container that was opened

Would miraculously produce a bone.

Occasionally he would want to be pampered

And refuse to eat till fed by hand

Once I had knelt to feed him

He would gobble the food as if at a pizza stand.

He loved being scratched on the head

And would close his eyes during a tummy rub

Enjoyed getting wet and having a bath

Whether under a shower or in the tub.

When we returned from even the local store

He used to go mad and jump from place to place

And at the height of his ecstasy

His wet tongue would, by turns, slobber our face.

All in the neighbourhood asked about Tintin

And for the local kids, he was a walking talking toy

Everyone knew him by name, sight and sound

He was a celebrity, the area’s blue-eyed boy.

The doorbell was his signal for going crazy

He welcomed every visitor with a rare elan

Anyone who met him fell in love with him

Whether another pet, woman, child, or man.

Running on the streets or garden

Was the pastime at which he excelled

Or pulling at a shoelace, running off with a sock

Or simply yanking at a leaf that we held.

He was very scared of loud noises

People shouting upset him too

He cowered and barked alternately

But in a jiffy was as good as new.

Wary of car rides when he was a baby

Preferred to stay in the comfort of home

But soon he became a veteran traveler

His adventures could easily fill a tome.

He’d amble upto me with loving eyes

Knowing exactly when I was upset or such

He’d gently nudge me with his paw

And that felt like no other healing touch.

He trusted me blindly and implicitly

Because his Bauji could never be wrong

Thunder and crackers terrified him

But he’d venture anywhere fearlessly if I went along.

Sometimes, when he was feeling low,

He would just come and stare

And as if our gazes were speaking

He told us what was wrong and where.

He lived a loving and carefree life

And knew the meaning of everything we said

The mention of some of his favourite things

Would make him sit up and cock his head.

He never left my side for nine years

Did anything that I asked him to

I never believed such a companion could exist

I was lucky to have a friend so true.

Happy with just a twig or a piece of string

He just gave and gave to all his everything

Total faith and companionship he knew best

Right until he opted for his final rest.

Funny how he always understood my every gesture

On my every command he would devotedly dwell

Except on that last fateful visit to the vet

When I asked him to return quickly and well.

The bushy tail wagging and thumping

Golden mane blowing in the breeze

Eyes staring adoringly at his loved ones

These are etched on my mind like a frieze.

One day he fell sick, but not a whine

Quietly accepting all that the medics would do

Just a moment ago he peeped in at my door

It’s sad that was his final adieu.

When he died I felt as if I had died too

For he treated me as if I was his father

And my two sons and wife he doted on

Just as they were his brothers and mother.

He made us know the meaning of love

And then said a silent goodbye

In so short a time he stole our hearts

And left us forever to remember and cry.

Little did I know till he was no more

What that noble soul meant to me

He lived in style and died in style

Everyone who knew him will agree.

Oh! I’d give anything just to hear his pant again

Or just smell his heady odour like an evergreen tree

Oh! To feel him cuddle up against my leg

To once more see his eyes gazing at me.

Never made a demand or even a fuss

Was loving and caring when even in pain

He was just a dog, but when men do the same

They are called saints or even Jesus by name.

Now his memory lives on in my heart

I wish him well in that new world of his

That tiny soul touched me like no-one else could

His friendship felt like the most wonderful kiss.

Goodbye, my friend – I’ll always love you

We’ll meet soon, I promise from my heart,

When you see me just bark and wag your tail

That day no one will ever make us part.

Till then, take care, Tintin darling

And rest in peace knowing that I’ll always be your friend

Till then, play with the Lord and make him happy too

I’ll join you soon and we’ll chase each other again.