Still not so far from home.

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It’s festival time in India right now. Diwali is a beautiful festival when everyone gets together to celebrate. We may party throughout the year, but this is the best celebration. Being with your family, the lights, the decorations, the food, the gifts, the crackers, and the festivity. Nothing comes close to all of this. But not everyone is at home for Diwali. Some spend the festival alone, no matter how much they hate it, how much they miss their loved ones. Last year, my friend, Vikas Khanna celebrated Diwali alone. This is how he felt.


Diwali for me was always a special festival. For the whole year, I used to wait up for this day. The whole family would be together. My sister, Ankita would fly down from Ahmedabad, even if just for the single day. My mom and sister spent the day making rangoli at the entrance, and decorating the house, while I put the lights all over the house with my father. The highlight of the day being the Diwali pooja in the evening, and then eagerly waiting for mom’s home-made Besan ke ladoos which she would never even let us taste before the pooja concluded. Me and my sister love crackers. We burst them, while mom and dad would meet up with the neighbors and exchange gifts and sweets. Then, even my dad would join us in bursting crackers. We always saved the sky shots for the end. The four of us would enjoy the beautiful, glittering sky together, just before midnight. It was a special day every year, and for me, one of the best times of the year. Diwali without family is not possible.

This year, I was not going to be at home for Diwali. I was far away, living in a rented flat, as I pursued my MBA. I had never stayed away from home, from my family. Staying away, that too during the festival time was killing me. I wanted to pack my bags, and just leave for home. But I couldn’t. Every university isn’t generous enough to give a week’s off for Diwali. Some of us just get a day’s vacation. Those with homes in nearby cities managed to get there on time. But for people like me, who had to go through a 25 hour train journey to be with family, there were hardly any options left. I couldn’t even tell my parents how much I was missing them. I knew they were missing me too, but they would feel worse if I told them how much I yearned to be with them. The only option now was to be alone, miss my home, and let that day pass. That was what I had planned.

The day of Diwali couldn’t have been more silent than what it was around me that day. Almost the whole building was empty. Most of my friends had left for home, leaving only a few home sick people like me behind. My friend, Raghav, had decorated his flat in the best way he could. that was his way of feeling at home. I was in no mood to celebrate, and so hadn’t done anything. That’s when a courier arrived for me. I wasn’t expecting anything from home, my parents didn’t inform me about it. Maybe they had a surprise for me. And yes, I was surprised as I opened it. I had just received some new clothes. Along with that was a box full of Besan ke ladoo. On top of the box lied my mom’s hand written note,

I hope you remember not to eat any of this before the pooja, and I am sure you wouldn’t have bought anything new to wear today ūüôā

That was the happiest I had been since I last met my family. I cried as I talked to my mom and dad on phone. I knew they know me better than I know myself, and they knew what it was like for me to not be at home that day. My dad instructed me to be all set and to keep my internet connection ready for the pooja in the evening.

My attitude towards the day had changed. I bought some lights and decorations for my flat, and adorned it just like I used to do back home. I was ready in the evening to be with my family as they celebrate Diwali. My sister set up the connection on her tablet and I could see them all through Skype. My whole family was in front of me. It no longer felt that I wasn’t with them. I sang the aarti along as my dad did the pooja. I ate the ladoos along with my mother. Later, I even burst the crackers as my sister instructed me which one to go for next.

On the night of Diwali, I was with my friends here in Pune. We celebrated and had fun together. But more importantly, I was with my family that night. They were very far away from me, but it almost felt like they were right next to me. I no longer missed my family that night. That was not the kind of Diwali I was accustomed to, but I still had a great time. It felt like I was still not so far from home.

rangoli-for-diwali

Diwali is a great festival. Find a way to enjoy it. ūüôā

HAPPY DIWALI !!!

Plans Don’t Always Come Together

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How difficult can it be sometimes to get or do a very simple thing. We plan about stuff that matter to us, all the time. But do we really achieve it? It isn’t so effortless¬†to achieve¬†what we think we can. We all have our dreams – some easily achievable, some require extreme efforts, some seem impossible while some fade away with time. We plan on carrying out¬†something but things don’t happen as per our wish. Some stuff¬†are just out of our hands and are uncontrollable. There always are numerous factors involved. Life may seem placid¬†but it often gets complicated.

Imagine you wanted to learn Kick Boxing. But over the time, you just got so engaged¬†with other important stuff that you didn’t take out time for it. No body has time to seek¬†their hobbies or interests. It’s the will and interest one has that forces them to take some time out of their “busy” lives and pursue what they love to do. You may think that you¬†will allot¬†time to it once you are done with your exams or your upcoming meeting at work. But things keep coming up and the time is never right to begin. We may plan on actually going for it some day but how certain is it that we can implement the plan we have?

Things don’t just always happen as we want them to. Something may happen and all our planning may go in vain. So does that mean we stop planning? Or do we stop expecting things to unfold our way. There are stuff that are important to us, the decisions we make and the choices we have. Its hurtful if we don’t fulfill our dreams or our plan doesn’t come through. In times of displeasure, it is necessary to keep faith and have patience. It might not be our day, but everyone has their day. All we need to do is never loose faith in ourselves and work hard to achieve what we wished for. Sooner or later, everything is achievable with the right attitude. If plan A didn’t work for you, there is always a scope for plan B or C or any other of the 26 alphabets.

“All human plans are subject to ruthless revision by Nature, or Fate, or whatever one preferred to call the powers behind the Universe.”

100 HAPPY DAYS – Take The Challenge !

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WHY?

In our everyday routine life, we do tons of stuff. Some of those is amazing while everything about our day cant be good or “happy”. But as we often hear or read – its all about our perception. If we look hard into our day, we will be able to find something good to be happy about, even on one of the worst days ever. Celebrating big moments or highlighting events doesn’t only make us happy, but more often it is those small things of our lives that give us the real joy. It can include spending time with our family or even having a lazy Sunday afternoon. As long as it gives us happiness, it works. And this is the idea because of which I started the “100 HAPPY DAYS”.

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HOW?

I got to know about this concept almost¬†a month after this started. ¬†I was puzzled when i saw #100happydays on a friends timeline. Gladly, the friend and Google helped me get familiarized with the idea. It struck me instantly and I loved the concept. It was challenging enough. I mean, 100 days, its not a short time and to be¬†able to accomplish¬†it ¬†would be tough. And that’s why I began the challenge, to know whether i can be so dedicated about something like this for the next 100 days and also to explore my areas of happiness. And as the official website said – you’ll fall in love with yourself all over again. So there was that too.

DAY 1
DAY 1

LET’S BEGIN !

The happy days began brilliantly. The level of excitement I had can’t be explained. This was a time of my life which was special anyways. I was going through the last days of my graduation. And highlighting them through the happy days seemed a good idea to me. I went through some big moments during the course of 100 days. Those include

  • one of the best ever trip with my best friends,
  • getting rid of my glasses after 13 years,
  • starting my first ever blog,
  • college farewell, and a lot more

SUPPORTIVE/ CRITICIZING PEOPLE

While I was spending my time eating food extensively with my friends and family, passing my time watching movies every week and playing games on my console, there were two sorts of people in my life – one who were extremely supportive to me and really helped me a lot to complete the 100 day challenge. These were the people who often gave me happiness when the day wasn’t going my way and I couldn’t find anything to be really happy about. Another set of people were who thought that this was a crazy idea and I should drop it, and also that I wont be able to finish it. Gladly, the number of these people was very less and so I didn’t loose the motivation.

Honestly, I didn’t think before I began posting “happy day” photos on Facebook. I just started it and was looking forward to see how far I can go. If I hadn’t been doing it on Facebook, I might would have dropped it halfway or even before. But some friends were viewing the photos everyday and were expressing their support by posting their honest opinions and through the likes on the photos.

SOMETHING GOOD HAPPENS EACH DAY OF OUR LIVES

The 100 days of happiness changed me somewhat. It made me understand that everyday has something good about it. We often think that we had a bad day and cry about it, but if we look at it carefully, there is something good about each day. There were days when I had bad times. I used to feel this is not one of the happy days. But i tried to find out what was the best part about my day and it made me realize that it wasn’t that bad a day after all. There is something good happening each day of our lives. We just have to look for it. It may be a significant part of our day, or just a small moment of joy. But it counts as long as it makes us happy. If we can try to look for that “special moment” every single day of our lives, I feel our days would become much better than what they are today.

CROSSING THE FINISH LINE 

DAY 100
DAY 100

After successfully crossing the finish line of my 100 happy days, I feel a sense of accomplishment within. I can do anything if I really wish to do it. I just need to have the right level of enthusiasm and will to complete the challenges I take. Even if an idea seems crazy, we must give it a try and do it to the best of our efforts because the “happiness” we get on completing it can’t be expressed in words really. Happiness is… completing what you start.

I had good days and bad days, some awesome days and one of the worst days; but when I look back, I just had “100 HAPPY DAYS “.

100 HAPPY DAYS : A GLANCE
100 HAPPY DAYS : A GLANCE

– SHIKHAR MALHOTRA

The Final Good Bye !!!

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When you know you may be meeting a close friend for probably the last time, how good are you at saying the final good bye ?

Accept The Change

Our lives cant stay stagnant and they are bound to change as we grow. With the changing time, our lives go through a roller coaster ride and it is up to us how we deal with it. We can either enjoy the ride or we can sit through it scared and petrified. When there arises a life changing situation, often we are not ready to move ahead and accept the change. We may be excited for whats gonna come next, and maybe thrilled about the future, but its a strenuous task to leave the past behind and progress toward the future while living in the present.

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The Final Conversation

Its the law of the universe that people come into our lives, give us some “legendary” times and they leave. Even the most closest people leave at times. And we can’t really do much to avoid it. Life goes on and people move on, get busy with their own stuff. We may not even be able to meet our once “best friend” for years. But what stay with us are the awesome memories of the times spent together. The amazing moments of joy and success, the annoying moments and the fights, the times of standing by each other’s side during the tough times of life. The friends we once cherished may not be there with us some day but they will¬†always be there in our thoughts and remembrance. But the problem is with the times when we¬†know we may not be seeing this person anymore. It is so stressful to say the final goodbye. We experience all the great times coming in front of us as if a movie is being played. The harder we¬†try to avoid the final conversation, the brutal it becomes to deal with it. It’s better to accept that our friends played the part they were meant to play. Learn from these times and move on. There really is no point wandering with the past once they are gone. We go on with our lives and meet new people. But we can still never forget those old, lovely times ¬†we spent. ¬†Enjoy the time we live in, but never forget the beautiful times and the people of the past as they are the reason we are what we are today.

Live Regret Free

The key to a happy life, people often say is to have no regrets. Never regret not doing anything once we¬†have the time. Never wait for the right time. There is no “right time”. Every time is right if we¬†make the best use of it. We forget to make the most of it when we have the chance and later regret not spending the time properly with our friends. Avoid it. It hurts later on. Enjoy every moment we get with the friends we have and live regret free. We may not notice it earlier but while having the final conversation and after that, we may remorse it. Because we know things are not gonna be the same how hard we try. Make the most of the times we have.

Whatever you do in this life, it’s not legendary, unless your friends are there to see it.

– Barney Stinson : How I Met Your Mother

 

goodbye

– SHIKHAR MALHOTRA

Sarcasm – spices up the conversation ?

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How often is it that we get a straight forward reply or answer when we are talking to someone? We all have to accept that we know at least one person who never or rarely responds the desired way. He/She would generally reply with a sarcastic comment and would leave us wondering whether  we asked the wrong question to the wrong person. Sarcasm when used properly and cautiously can be a really effective part of communication. But if applied carelessly, we mind end up hurting people and their feelings.

WHY BE SARCASTIC?

People generally use sarcasm to sound funny and make others laugh when among a group of Sarcasm-quotespeople. If one is good at passing sarcastic comments, he can be successful in gaining other people’s attention and he often comes out to be a “funny” guy. It is an amazing tool for breaking the ice when talking to someone for the first time. It helps us in forming a good impression. But it is extremely necessary to know the limits. We can’t just say anything and label it as sarcastic to get away with it. It is just intolerable. People may get hurt with our “sarcastic” remarks. Therefore, it is a must to note when to stop, how much ¬†to say and to whom to say. We can’t talk sarcastically with our grand parents. They might find it rude and unacceptable. But if we add sarcasm when we are talking among friends and peers, then we may stand out as a person and it may help us excel in our social life. The key here is to know how to avoid negative sarcasm.

ARE YOU BEING SARCASTIC?

There actually are some people who need a sign board to know when a sarcastic statement is made. They just find it impossible to understand sarcasm. A recent psychological study concluded that a TBBT_Wallpaperperson who is unable to figure out sarcasm, has a mental problem. A certain part of our brain is responsible for understanding the sarcasm behind a particular comment,if any. If that portion is damaged or isn’t working properly, then people don’t understand sarcasm. Those of us who watch the SITCOM ¬†“The Big Bang Theory” ¬†know about the inability to understand sarcasm. The lead character of Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons always needs to be told when someone says something sarcastically, in spite of him being a genius in the SITCOM.

BE CAREFUL

We don’t usually have time now a days to call each other and so find it better to SMS or WhatsApp each other. These are very good ways to communicate ¬†but things become problematic when people use sarcasm while messaging. Body language, an important part of expressing sarcasm goes missing while messaging. It may get difficult for someone to figure out the use of sarcasm in a sms. Avoid starting misunderstandings due to your “sarcastic” comments, by using ” ” inverted commas or writing in bold or italics. It will hopefully make it easier for our friends to understand the point we are trying to make.

TIPS AND TRICKS

 sarcasm-venn-diagram

In order to use sarcasm effectively, certain basic “rules” must be understood.

  • Understand to whom you are talking; whether sarcasm can be used with them or not. Being sarcastic with a police officer might land you behind bars.
  • Never talk about sensitive topics. Repeatedly making fun of someone’s overweight when you know they don’t like it might bring sourness into the relationship.
  • Don’t take hours to tell your joke. The best way of being sarcastic is to be quick, or else it looses the essence.
  • Stop being sarcastic all the time. You might end up with no friends if you keep making fun of them all the time. Better be careful.
  • Use body language properly. It helps the other person to understand that you are not serious and just being sarcastic, once again.

CONCLUDING

In short, try to make your conversations funny by adding sarcasm, if you are good at doing it off course. Try not to say anything hurtful and label it sarcastic. Use sarcasm effectively and properly to avoid conflicts. Don’t try to be over sarcastic and control yourselves when required.

” You see, that is the sad, sorry, terrible thing about sarcasm.

It’s really funny”

– Brandon Sanderson, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

P.S. : Just over 700 words. Not lengthy at all,right ūüėõ

SHIKHAR MALHOTRA

Are you Emotionally Intelligent ?

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people-gears-wide

How often are you able to control how you behave?

How comfortable are you in adapting to changing circumstances?

Are you able to make quick decisions instead of just panicking during tough times?

Are you Emotionally Intelligent?

Well, all the above questions can be answered by understanding one single term – Emotional Intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence? 

It may sound a little too tough but it isn’t so in reality. Emotional Intelligence (EI) simply is our Diagram of emotional intelligenceability to understand ourselves, being able to judge our behavior and analyzing the signal our mind gives while directing us to perform various day to day routine tasks. For example, we are irritated by a certain Mr A, but we don’t take out that anger on our friend Mr B because we know that Mr B didn’t do anything wrong and it would be unfair to take out our irritation on this guy. This shows that we are emotionally intelligent. A person who has low level of emotional quotient would find it difficult to control his emotions and ¬†may outburst on his dear friend without any reason. To avoid such imbalances and become a more sensible person, it is important to be emotionally intelligent. Wikipedia defines EI as the sentimental capacity of mind.

IQ vs EQ

Lets begin by defining the two terms.

IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient, which defines a person’s level of intelligence based on mathematical calculations. A guy with a mental age more than his chronological age is considered much more intelligent.

EQ stands for Emotional Quotient, which defines a person’s level of emotional intelligence; A person’s ability to evaluate, control , express emotions.

Now that we know what they mean, we need to understand their importance. While IQ can be helpful in getting you good grades in school, college and get you a good job; it still might not be the determinant factor for success in life. A person may be knowing how a building is constructed, but he may not be knowing how to handle his staff and make them work in his desired way. For this, he needs to have a certain level of EQ. It is very important to be intelligent to succeed but if you can’t get your work done the way you want it, even that intelligence goes in vain. A person requires leadership qualities to handle the job in hand at such a level. and the leadership qualities can be developed by developing emotional intelligence. So as much as possessing a good amount of IQ is required, even a certain level of EQ is also necessary in life.

My friend needs to develop EI

Recently I had an important exam. A friend of mine wanted me to go watch a movie with her just a day before the exam. Even after patiently explaining the whole situation to her, she was adamant about it and was not ready to compromise with the situation, and so kept on insisting for the movie. Now that is being selfish. She needs to develop and work on her emotional intelligence. If she was emotionally intelligent, she would have understood my situation and we could have gone for the movie later, rather than ending up with a fight. It is important to be able to understand and respect other people’s feelings. This situation lands up under one of the main characteristics of emotional intelligence i.e. Empathy.

Characteristics of EI

Danial Goleman, an American psychologist, developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence.

  1. Self Awareness : understanding our own emotions and not getting dominated by our feelings. These kind of people don’t let their emotions go out of control.6_comptencies
  2. Self Regulation : being able to control our decisions. This ability doesn’t let us take impulse, careless decisions.
  3. Motivation : people with high degree of EI are usually motivated.
  4. Empathy : analyzing the situation by putting ourselves in other person’s shoes. This lets us understand their situation better.
  5. Social Skills : this helps us in interacting with new set of people with much more ease.

Raise your EI

The best part about Emotional Intelligence is that it can be raised with a little effort. Strategizing and analyzing our ways can help us develop EI.

  • Observe how we react to people – It is important to understand how it is being on the other side of our own conversation. Try understanding the situation from other person’s perspective. We may be rude, judgmental, annoying when we talk to someone. Try understanding how they might feel when we talk to them in such a way. Are we doing it the right way?
  • Do a self evaluation – Lets take a check on ourselves. Try understanding our weaknesses and be willing to change them.
  • Learn ways to fight stressful situations – Stress often brings out the worst in us and it is immensely important to be able to manage our emotions in such situations.
  • Learn to take responsibility for our actions – When we hurt someone’s feeling, we must be willing to apologize. Try to make up for what we did wrong. Be responsible enough to accept our mistakes.

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“It isn’t stress that makes us fall – it’s how we respond to stressful events.”

– Wayde Goodall

No one is born perfect but it is our responsibility to try and progress our lives towards perfection. Understanding our own selves, others and their feelings will make things around us much more easier and comfortable. We will observe progress in our personal as well as our professional lives and will be much more joyous. Developing Emotional Intelligence will make our lives much better.

SHIKHAR MALHOTRA

Do what you love to Do. – Post #2

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This is an introductory video to the new post #2 about finding out what you are passionate about in life.
Hope you’ll like it …