10 July 2017

જીવન...



જીવન ની તમે મઝા લેશો,
તો સબંધો તમારી મઝા લેશે...

સબંધો છોડીને પણ જોઈ લેજો,
ખુદા ખુદ આવી એનો સબંધ બાંધશે...

મરજીની આ આઝાદીથી, શું ઉખાડી લેશો,
અંતે તો આઝાદી જ, એના ગુલામ બનાવી લેશે...

કઈ કર્યા વગર, જીવન વ્યર્થ જ ગુજારી લેજો,
બાકી મતલબ ની શોધ જ, મતલબી બનાવી લેશે...

19 April 2017

Today, On this day...how much I have changed

The 19th of April has been printed deep in my mind, naturally because 4 years ago, I met an road accident on this day. Today I re-read my Post about that incident, and thought to write this blog post about the changes I have gone through within these 4 years and what I have learnt in dealing with them.

"Some strengths we would get to witness only in the time of despair": While getting dragged on the road along with the scooter, I also saw myself getting the strength to bear that pain. So now I am not worried about how painful it would be to be the accident victim. But still plz avoid accidents as more than the broken parts, cost to fix them might kill you :)

"Find humour in every situation, and you can actually turn a tragedy into comedy.": I kept myself getting entertained on the site of the accident, whether it was the crowd watching me, the police who were questioning me, or my own stupid jokes I was making up in my mind to distract from the broken tibia.

"Pampering broken parts does not help much": I pampered my broken tibia almost for 3 years. After all it has been through 3 operations. I am not even afraid of operations anymore, but it is the physiotherapy I am scared of now. Being a super lazy, I would not exercise, gain weight and was feeling lucky with being able to walk. Gradually I observed that I had developed a phobia of falling on my left knee. I pampered my left knee so much that my right knee had to support and handle all alone and it also sometimes appeared to give up and asks me are you trying to break me as well.

"Convince your mind with evidences":  I joined the society gym and in the same month I saw a fb invitation from a friend to join in a half marathon. I asked my instructor if I can run 5km race, to which he said No, keeping my broken tibia in mind. But this time I wanted to participate to get rid of the knee phobia. So I went for a checkup and asked my doctor if I can run. He surprisingly told me that I can do whatever I want to, but I have to build up the stamina gradually and judge how much would be okay for me. See it is not easy to convince mind, but getting more information helped and I got myself registered. Started a run/walk approach as suggested by a friend and finished the 5k race.

"Make New friends": You don't actually select or make friends but nobody is going to visit you home and say how are you doing? I think after I left my last job I had not made any new friends as working from home does not create that opportunity. Being an introvert it's even hard for me to meet and greet new people. But without thinking much this time I choose to join a running group when a friend asked to. Running thrice in a week gave the opportunity to meet new people and slowly the circle expanded and at least now I know many people (most of them are crazy though) and have chance to learn from each of them.

"Sport Activities help beyond our imagination": Physical activities like running, cycling, swimming has power to recreate us. I have not researched or gathered any data on this fact, but with experience I can tell that if I keep myself engaged in any kind of sport activities, it would not only help me remain fit physically or mentally, but also my outlook to see and perceive the surrounding changes. Mainly because if our physical energies get the right outlet, it would leave us active and light through out the day.

"Live in the moment": I experienced this while trekking in mountains that you can not plan certain days or months to fill with waves of peace or happiness. You get that in a small packet called "moment". It depends on us how much we observe and care to live.

"Finishing thing builds up the self confidence": I don't have right words to describe the happiness I felt when I finished my 5k race. It was something I thought I would never be able to do with my knee phobia. Gradually finishing 10k, 21k, 30k runs and cycling 55 and 76km have helped me a lot with how I tackle my mind to finish the things. Slowly you get the confidence in yourself that you too can think of something as big as it sounds and finish it as well. Even I have taken trekking into my bag and after HamtaPass, now it is PinParvati trek I have set my eyes on. Also I want to see myself finishing triathlon as well this December. But I am not gonna overdo anything and misuse body's strength. My strategy is to build up the stamina and do something upto a length I can enjoy.

I would end this post by thanking three friends because of whom I started and continued running, cycling and swimming. Having their company I would also register for the event and so slowly I also started enjoying running and cycling.

Gopi: I used to work with Gopi in the past. So he made me join the group. Even while running his eyes would keep scanning the people on the road who can run and be the part of our group. May be most of us have joined because of him. He has tips for everybody. If he knows it, he says it.

Viren: It was Viren who used to pack us in his car and drive us all to the running site on Sundays. I might have not joined long runs if I had to drive that long on scooter. But it was his enthusiasm and helping nature that we would go to a distant site and run. I have not seen anybody crazy like him when it comes to running. He actually runs on a run command and would not stop until he finishes his target.

Santosh: He does not know how to run slow. He was the fastest one when I joined the group. Even when he walks he is faster than me. I think 5-10kms are now peanuts for him. 

So this is it, for how and how much I have changed. May be the next year when I would witness this date again, I would have something more to cherish and remember apart from the accident story.

14 April 2017

The acceptance of the calculated Freedom

I didn't want to write this case particularly, specially when one does not want to remember something which brings disappointments in own-self. But to get rid of such things and thoughts, the best way is to write them down. Not because somebody, will read it someday, and can sympathise with you, but writing for me is liberating. It helps me getting liberated over getting suffocated by keeping it all inside.

Last year I had volunteered for an ultra run event, where participants ran for 12 hours. I never imagined myself running for that long, so at least witnessing such events, brings sense of joy. This year also they announced the same event, and so I thought to run this time for the partial distance, at least 30 kms at minimum. I was not running since more than a month and felt out of practice, so I decided to cycle the whole distance of more than 70 kms after the evening. I had asked few running fellows if they can come along, but they might have other plans so I was all on my own. I choose the evening time, as it could resemble the actual event, and I also wanted to check the visibility along the route and the quality of the road as well. Most importantly I knew that, chances of me getting left behind on the running day, would be high as I run very slow specially when I have a broken leg.  So being a tester I created a whole set of test environment to check if it would be feasible and okay to run all on my own.

The moment I told this idea to my sister, she immediately denied me the permission. As we two only live here, I had nobody else but her to convince, and that made my task more easier. I have not yet told my mother about my adventurous ride. Initial 5kms ride, were like look at the route, no of bridges, the quality of the road and so. After 10kms passed, I was like a happy bee flying on the cycle. After 15kms, it turned into dark but as it was a highway, there was a full traffic going on both ways, which lend me enough light to see the road ahead. I was anyways equipped with batteries on my cycle so I had nothing to worry about. The only thought which I was worried about, was if the cycle gets punctured, I might have to cancel the plan in between. But anyways I could take cab anytime, anywhere these days so I had a back up plan as well.

After 25 kms suddenly a car stopped by myside and I found a friend passing by with his family. So I stopped, chatted for sometime and clicked a picture of us and I started back as I had got 50 more kms to ride. I was really enjoying my ride so much. After around 45kms I stopped by a road side restaurant to get water for a few minutes and then started back again. From this point I felt like I had no energy to ride as I am not used to ride for so long, almost 2.5 hours had been passed, and this was my third longest ride as of yet. But I gathered the strength and will to continue thinking about the ultra event I am going to run in.

Just after few kms from this point, I found an auto rickshaw driving behind. Initially I took it casually as another vehicle passing by. But later I got to notice it because of its unusual slow speed. I slowed down and still it didn't cross me. So I got more suspicious. Ladies in general get the instinct when something is not right around them. I looked back a few times to check and gave a hard look to the auto driver. Upon figuring out that now I am aware of him following me, he drove to my next and told me that he is doing so just to protect me and for my safety on the highway road. I scolded him 3-4 times, and directed him to get away, but he kept following me in a slow speed. The one thing by this time I made sure, is to keep paddling though I had no great energy, but if I might have stopped ,I would have not been able to walk properly. It was almost 5-6 kms, the auto driver was following me.

For a moment I thought it could be that he is genuinely following me for my safety. But I didn't have a good reason to believe him based on his body language. I finally told him that I will call police and I acted like I am calling the one, still doing all this I didn't stop anywhere and kept paddling as fast as I can. By this time he lost his polite language and started talking badly. I could not hear everything he said, as I was riding on the cycle and his auto too was making a noise. But I could read his body language and I kept myself alert from this point. The passing vehicles were so big and fast that they would not notice us. I tried to stop a few two wheelers but they didn't stop. This guy was still following me with his continuous murmuring, and by this time I too lost my anger and told him so angrily to go away. He then started calling bad names and I am not sure but all I could hear had either of two meanings, he was threatening me to use a rod like thing either to break my cycle or insert it in my body to show me what he can do.

Naturally I understood the mess I got myself in, and there were no people walking by nor the vehicles which would stop. Suddenly he overtook and stopped a few meters before my cycle. Luckily he stopped on the sides and there were no other vehicles coming by and I had a full road to change the course. He came out of the rickshaw, but by the time I changed the direction on the other side and paddled as fast as possible to run away from the spot. He still started following but I was now about to reach the circle full of people and buildings. He overtook again and stooped by the circle, may be to read my next direction. But instead of going ahead, this time I drove down to the service road and reached to the building security personnel who was sitting outside. I told him about the guy and by the time they would see him, he flew away from the spot.

Naturally, the first question of them were why was I riding cycle so late and alone. They helped me to cross few meters so that the guy does not follow me and they made sure that he is not around now. It was around 9:30 pm and the auto guy almost followed me for half an hour. I still had 20+ kms to ride to reach home. I had not only lost the physical energy but the mental energy as well. Whether to call home or not, whether to take cab from here or what, would it be okay now to ride for next hour and two, what if he comes again. I was not in a position to take a decision and I didn't take any. I kept paddling on the road. I lost the sense of people and vehicles passing by, though I kept scanning them as they passed by.

The remaining distance I rode that night with thinking about what the girls who face the worse of the situations would have gone through, how terrible it feels in the situations where you can not save your own self. I have grew up in a family where my father had never questioned me or restricted me to do something, nor he ever lectured on what girls should do and when. He was always okay and chilled out person who always encouraged me to do whatever I like to do. He himself was so adventurous that he would go anywhere anytime and sometimes we would know when he returns from the journey. The freedom which has been given to women/taken by women, is very dynamic in nature. There are situations, and there are timings women should be aware of. A woman can not just go on her own will or should not take decision on the spur of the moment, because then there are consequences to face. If you don't have to, you might be the lucky one, but all days are not same. Understand that as a woman, one has to be ready to negotiate freedom at each level. Keep calculating how much freedom is good at which point of time. If a man runs at night, he is cool, but woman would be fool in doing so. For men, it's training, for women it's risk.

I consider my freedom the most richest thing, I never have had a calculated freedom. If I felt doing something I have done it. But this time when I saw myself running from the spot while sensing the danger and the consequence of the situation I was in, even in those fraction of seconds I might have asked myself thousand questions like What did you think of yourself, Could you been able to fight and save yourself, Why the hell no vehicle stopped to help, What could have happened, if the security guys have not helped you, Would you ride again like this, and and take risks. I reached home after riding for almost 4.5+ hours. Have not had hunger to eat but drank milk and went to sleep weeping silently.
Next morning I told my sister that I would not participate in the ultra event explaining her everything. She told me that she would come along but I was firm in my decision not to run.

Two-three days passed but I was weeping the whole day and night, and I could not understand why and what is bothering me so much, that, I am crying unpredictably at random times? That is when I realised that it is not the incident that is bothering me, but the disappointments in myself. I guess it was hard for inner me to accept the fact that I had to run away from the spot. Technically it was right and was not the time to show off hollow bravery. But somehow my inner being was not happy with me running away instead of fighting. I tried to make peace with myself and make her understand that you can't win all battles by fighting, and to save yourself, the best you could have done was to just run away and that's what you did. But I was like talking to myself with "You disappointed me, you just accepted the thought of the calculated freedom and your acceptance is what bothering me. You have never disappointed me so much"


Now it was high time for me to get over this, as I could not continue like this and also have my everyday training to go on. So I decided to run the event again and strangely the day I changed my decision, those thoughts left my mind and I didn't cry thereafter. I did run 30 kms in the ultra event. I would not stop doing adventures, but certainly one more safety check has been added to my checklist. This is what life is, you try, you learn and you move on. The moment you stop, you are dead. Keep paddling.









08 March 2017

And it's Women's day again

Sometimes "Human Rights" seem like a software development project. Human Rights were defined as a model to make our society understand and provide basic freedom to their fellow human beings. But like in softwares... bugs happen, and we fix them...sometimes in the next versions. So when the definition of human is not clear to most of us, we then defined and fixed them with a new set of rights, so now we have women rights, LGBT rights, Disability rights and may be many more.
too believe and like celebrating days, specially for the beings who can not speak/fight for themselves like animals. But when it comes to humans, I feel very confused on how to support the movement for a particular cause and to what extent. Many of them exist to cure the problems suffered particularly by that section. The people who have suffered the same and/or can sympathise with it, would immediately feel connected and might join the movement happily. But somehow we all have been separated and disconnected in this fighting spectrum to find ourselves a new identity.
I don’t want to live in a confused and limited band of the spectrum thinking which religion or gender do I belong. I don’t want to prove anything to anybody not even to myself. I don’t want to look for equality specially in the system which is already broken. But then how do I know about, what is my right, and how do I get it and what should I support?
1) Don’t be conscious of your gender, and it won’t affect your choices and decisions. People and their opinions would not even matter to you when you are clear in your mind.
2) If somebody reminds you of your gender, ask so what? or better don't even listen to it. Sometimes no response is a big response.
3)Be more open and inclusive when it comes to humans. We need humanity.
Finally, I know that there are many who think women can’t do this and women should’t do that. To them I have only one thing to say that the day all women started driving on roads, I tell you, you would run for your life… I guess it would do more good if all women drive on this #internationalwomensday

09 February 2017

Guess who is Lucky?

I guess I have something interesting to share today, at least to my friends. A bit lengthy but I hope my friends can make it upto the end. My recent experiences say that people see happy posts/photos on fb and think how wonderful life those smiling faces would be having. Own life seems sad to them, and not being at the place one wanted to be, is enough to build up the stressful life.
My father always thought that I was lucky for him, and ran every business of him on my name. When in my masters I used to get first class without much reading efforts, I had been labelled by some as lucky. When I say I work from home, I am lucky again. When I say I love my work, I am lucky again. I go hiking, I am lucky. I run with a group, I am lucky. I join some class, I am lucky. I go wherever I want, I am lucky. I learn something new, I am lucky. I have time for me, I am lucky. There is a whole lot who think I am lucky, and the happiest person, and the main reason according to them, is because I am SINGLE.
So pondering over my luck, one thing I find common is the CHOICE I made at every stage.
1. I was the dumbest student in school, got a bit better in a college but still missed a first class. That made me think and the choice I made in my masters was not to care about studies, I read, but the concern was never of getting the first class. It reduced the pressure and studies became effortless. I got first class in each semester then.
2. I left my job in a peak recession time, that too after my father died. I didn’t accept the job I got the very next day, and I remained jobless for six month until I found good projects to work from home. That was a choice.
3. I run with a group, but to join that group was a choice I made
4. I join classes, but for that too I have to make a choice to enrol myself
5. I go to the places I want, because I don’t take up the work which eats up my MeTime.
6. I am happy because I am quick to re-order my priorities and end up with a choice. I don’t have regrets.
7. I am happy because I never accepted anything which I thought would make me unhappy after sometime
8. Sometimes being happy means to be ready to be unhappy temporarly until you reach the stage
9. Being lucky means to know inner self and don’t settle for less
10. Being lucky means to say a few NOs to material things. One might ride a small car or a bicycle, but the person riding the car/cycle would be happy, Isn’t it true. Why everyone wants to cry comfortably in Mercedes.
And the main reason as they say, because I am Single I can do whatever I want to. But you guys got married because you loved somebody, to have a secured life, or may be your parents told you so, and you thought it was the time. May be you can not go out as often as Singles go, but you still can go somewhere near. May be you have to work hard to pay EMIs but if it is the car loan which is making you work extra in the office, then sell that car. If it is your kid’s school time, which is not allowing to exercise, wake up early. If you are not happy in the current job, then change the job or even the field if necessary, but never settle for something to have a quick gain and be unhappy later. Also don’t follow and promote boss is always right culture, if you won’t say, things won’t change on their own in the office.
Also if you are in a marriage project, then treat it like so, help your partner in achieving their goals, kick them out of the house to have some MeTime. It is called partner for a reason, don’t expect only one person to do everything for you and kids. A unhappy partner would never make the happy project.
What I think makes people happy is to make a choice to get some MeTime, talk and analyse oneself and keep updating the inner being and that might need you to have or settle for what is enough. Does not matter how much we exercise, we all gonna die one day, but we can still choose to die with no regrets and a big smile(last selfie must be rocking right :D)
The reason to write all this, is only to motivate some of my friends, who if try, can do wonderful things. If I can be lucky, you all can be, and in fact it takes very little to be happy. Also you have a chance to prove me that married people too can enjoy the life as we singles do.
So the plan is to make some of my friends, relatives RUN and spend time with their inner being, and there is a challenge for them to RUN at least 6km a week for next two months. You can run 6kms at once, 2kms for 3days or 3kms for 2days, but you will run it. Don’t forget to do warmup and stretching afterwards. You have to prove to yourself that you are lucky to have two legs and are able to run, take out some time and go. Believe me if you fix this, the other things gonna fix on their own. 
#MakeUrselfLuky #HappyRunning

22 January 2017

HikingForest

After doing a #Hamtapass trek, trekking has become one of my "Dil maange more..." things. Also unlike any other sport activities it is something very unpredictable and brings down anyone's lifestyle to a survival mode. As of yet I have seen people demanding only two things when they hike, first is obviously some resting time and food. Everything else is offered to you by the nature sights

Hiking is not where people compete, and it demands unity. Not the fastest one, but the slowest one decides the speed of your group. Walking with the loaded stuffs makes you aware of the things you are carrying unnecessarily. So before I do our next long trek, this one day trek at Vijaynagar Forest was a perfect opportunity, specially when I had never been to the forests before.

We started early in the morning from Ahmedabad, and reached Polo forests around 9 am. In next 10 minutes after warming up, we started walking. Our organizer, the little young man was carrying his own rule book in his head, which included we keep silence and do not talk, do not touch anything unless required, do not pick up stuff on the way, do not break anything, and most importantly do not use our mobiles or camera. I really like the kind of awareness he was trying to create. I had no issues with not using mobile also, but I like capturing surroundings, and being a tester soul breaking rules always tempts. So I took liberty whenever the sight itself was loudly telling me to capture it. But the organizer was also kind enough to click us with his mobile and captured some of actions on the route. Don't have those pics yet though.

I expected to see animals but thanks to us humans reaching everywhere no animals appeared on the way. However I saw bear's nail marks on the tree and some new plants also. After hiking some 600m, and walking 10+ km, we reached the Harnav lake site, where we rested for quite sometime. Like everyone else, I selected my stone, put both legs into the water and I didn't realize when did I fall asleep hearing sound of waves. Around 3:30 we had our lunch, and then we cleaned up the lake site as much as possible by collecting plastic bags, bottles and broken glasses. I mean seriously how come people be so careless to leave there garbage behind. You want to drink in a dry state, then drink but do not for god sakes leave your bottles and its broken glasses behind. Few people swam in the open water, and as I am still recovering from ooty's cold I didn't dare. 

I guess we left after 6 pm. This ending time is what I don't enjoy. It always gives some mixed feelings. Before leaving the forest, I stand there on the side and was looking back at those trees standing so far. I told them don't let me go plz, but I guess they wanted the otherwise so I politely left the place.

#Tip: when you go trekking, plz plz plz do wear the shoes meant for trekking only.

so this is it...

13 January 2017

Our need of applying Adjectives

The need to identify and associate oneself with adjectives builds up invisible walls... one would not know when they got themselves confined and are now miles away from the truth...
People are connecting to only what they know or able to measure... If they don't or could not, they get offended... For example if one says he is a manager, everybody can figure out his role, like he must be managing something and can easily figure out the respect a manager deserves or hope for... But if one says, he is happy, then everybody finds him crazy... because happiness is something momentary, and nobody expects it to be a stable state. If you work you must have a title which should keep changing every year to show your growth. Housewife sounds degrading so change it to a homemaker. Does changing the title changes the job she does or the dedication she puts in her work. But to change how people look at you, needs changing yourself by adding adjectives. That's the way to build your confidence in a society, one is trying to prove to... The more adjectives you have, the more you would need to prove to...
Oh good you are working for women, or for specific kind of patients. But in that process of creating awareness for the unattended issues, one unknowingly enters into the buildings of closed walls who then does not let you know/hear truth screaming outside. The NGO who works for birds does not care if a cow dies unattended, and the people who save girl child feels proud if to be parents are wishing for a girl child. How come wishing for a girl child becomes right, when wishing for a boy child is wrong.
From ones' personal to professional details, everything needs adjectives so that our people can relate to us, can connect to us, but in the process we are loosing our senses to see and feel the very obvious. We think we are working for our freedom but we are not. Freedom is liberating, it needs dropping adjectives, unlearning the years of conditionings and building bridges and sharing what one has gained...

07 January 2017

Journey to Inner Engineering...

Before I start writing about my experience of doing #InnerEngineering course at Isha Yoga Center, I feel a need to describe the spiritual quest and how my beliefs and conditionings changed.

Spending childhood around grandma got me hear a lot of epic stories. My parents had sometimes caught me reading saint's miracle stories just before my exams days. Also I used to accompany my grandma whenever she would visit any satsangs. So from childhood I started learning good vs bad. I would almost give God my wishes as command and he would generously fulfil it. I am not sure when I started sensing future events(ofcourse not all though and a few) in way that I would almost know what question and experiment I am going to get in exam. I never used that sense in a profitable way nor I tried to develop it as it used to generate more burden.

When my grandma passed away at the age of 95, it was a big loss for my family. So I started reading Gita - the holy book after her death, thinking her soul would benefit from my readings. Day by day I was like going more closer to God. Three years after that suddenly when my dad passed away, I was in a complete shock. All beliefs of me having a sixth sense suddenly started stumbling. I was so angry at God that when you gave me a sense to know a stupid thing before hand, how come you didn't make me sense this loss I was about to have. From this point I started to loose my senses in a way that I would get confused to select a normal thing. It was like a blank space inside. I would not pray, reading Gita was out of scope. I was turning myself into an atheist and armed myself with sarcasm when it came to Gods and religions.

But something was struggling to live within myself. It was hard to accept my father's loss and I wanted answers to all my whys. So to make a peace with God I restarted reading Gita. This time I was reading it with more involvement and slowly I started accepting things. I can summarize my learning in a way that now I would like to imagine that my father must be chilling somewhere else on this planet(coz I don't know if life exists on some other planet as of yet).

Few years later I attended a Vipassana - 10 days meditation, where one stays mute for 9 days, skips night meal and do meditation for almost a whole day. This is where I started enjoying silence and got to know about karmic chains, what a simple breath can achieve you and could look beyond castes and religions with more open mind. This course taught me not to believe anything which I have not experienced myself because then it's meaningless for me. But by this time, I became a confused atheist, who was starving for spiritual growth but not by traditional ways where I don't know what am I doing and why. Of course I believe my intuitions but I started refusing all non-sense ways people perceive religions and Gods. I wanted to set God free, and make myself more responsible for my future and present.

I kept reading and decoding spiritual articles and videos here and there. This is where I happen to listen to Sadhguru's video. His ways to present complex things logically but in more simpler ways could easily convince me. My understanding was getting better. The most precious thing I have learned by listening him is "Nothingness".  I can not explain it, but sometimes for few seconds I have experienced the joy of nothingness. I really want to embrace Nothingness. The quotes I wrote about my experience with nothingness are "Everything is there, wrapped carefully inside Nothing" and "I came from nothing ... and will dissolve into nothing.. I owe everything to nothing and nothing is where I belong..."


#Inner Engineering Journey

We checked in at Isha Yoga center around 10 am on 29th, made our registration and headed to our room at Nalanda cottages. The site was so wide and surrounded by green mountains. Saw little kids playing in a school uniforms, ducks were digging in the small pond which had so many colorful lotuses, birds were flying over by singing their love songs, and some local people were doing some rituals in their traditional dresses. Ladies there drive the three wheelers which run on batteries, and they would help elderly to reach their rooms or other halls whenever needed. This helped Mom who suffers from knee pain. The next thing I did was to switch off my mobile, shutting it helps to focus you know :)

They gave us an ashram tour so that we know what are we going to do in a next few days. The first session started in evening where we have been introduced to the course and then some of the fellow mates gave their introductions. I guess there were some 120 participants including my sister and I. Mom didn't participate, you know it's not her age to meditate yet, and also because the course language was in english so she would not understand the instructions. See how learning different languages helps, and many still don't feel right yet to unite over a single Indian language.

From next day we were supposed to be present at hall at 6:00 am, and then we would do Upa-yoga shortly after a prayer. It was a combination of "Yoga, Meditation and Sadhguru's video lectures. We were not given a schedule before hand, so we would not know when we would get breaks, lunch and dinner, or what we are supposed to do at what time. But teachers and volunteers made sure we get everything right. Teacher would repeat instructions as many times she were asked to, and would also help anybody who faced issues in doing asanas, even after the session completes.

There we got many surprises. The first surprise was that the teacher was not of Indian origin, not that I had issues, in fact she was very kind, energetic and full of life and helpful. There were also a few participants and volunteers from other countries. When we were touring the ashram, we saw many people meditating in the lonely corners. On the eve of 31st, when we got out after evening sessions, everybody was in awe seeing rows of diyas(lamps). When we went to dining area, each table had been set with candles and we got so happy that tonight is a candle light dinner.  One would mostly get a very basic food when it comes to meditation courses, but we have been fed very well, and food was yummy and we had many varieties to choose from. I guess I gained 2-3 kgs. For next two days we practiced Upa-yoga and its sequence, Sadhguru's videos helped to understand better and clear mind. We have been taken for walks twice, and the second walk was almost like in a forest and we mostly walked on water full of rocks. We have been told to keep silence and be aware of self and what we sense or feel. I remember seating quietly by water side on a rock, like everybody else, and suddenly people started throwing water onto each other and the silence turned into a joyful fight. I was saving my clothes from water through out the walk but ended up in wet. Once we went out in the ashram, where we played many games, and then danced on the beat of dhol. 

During this stay we visited Dhyanalinga twice and Linga Bhaviravi. There is a Suryakund for gents and Chandrakund for ladies where they can take a dip. They play a very nice music inside Dhyanalinga may be twice a day when people sit there in a silence and nothing more is required. Some people felt a very different vibrations while being there. The silence is the only prayer one does there. To be greeted first with Namaskaram(with folded hands) is a very normal thing there, and even foreigners would do that. Also I have been referred as Akka(means sister) many times which sounded a quite new but good to ears.

The new year, the first day of the year, where we were taught Shambhavi-mudra after finishing the session of Upa-yoga. We have been told not to worry if somebody behaves in a different way during the practice as somethings are common to feel. I remember a few started crying as I could hear the weird noises. My eyes were closed but first thing came to mind was how come this happens and why they cry. Few minutes later I saw myself laughing and I was shocked as the next thought was how come I. Though I controlled a bit but I laughed few times. Later my hands started shaking on which I didn't have any control. All stopped after a while when the session was done. Just after that all headed to the dining area. The tables were lined up in a row such that most people could sit together on a new year. We were served food on a banana leaf which is a traditional way to eat in South India. Everything was very pleasant outside, but nobody was talking as of yet. All were in a complete silence and were trying to ponder what they practiced and what they felt. I could not differentiate whether I am feeling good or bad, but certainly I felt more comfortable with silence. Later we practiced the same mudra in evening and again I felt hand shaking. But this time I was calm while witnessing it.

After the session people shared their experiences and we had a blast together by dancing together and then later in circles. Nobody wanted to leave. We were not talking usual things but still we were enjoying standing there. Later after a dinner few people left as it was the last session. Those who were staying the night, set there together and sang many songs. The next day after a morning practice to clarify doubts, everybody said goodbye, and we too left the center after having a breakfast at the canteen. We then left for Ooty - a hill station in Tamilnadu, where we stayed for 2-3 days and then back to home


To summarize the practice, the learning, the experience, I would say: 
All the Upa-yoga on physical level are helping to lubricate the body parts, some of the asanas are the ones I have been told by doctors to do to keep my operated left knee healthy. The practice need to be done twice a day till next 40 days and then once a day till 6 months. So far so good and we are balancing meal and tea times to keep the practice going. As for experience I used to sleep less, I never saw it as a problem as it was more of a habit which I have from my childhood days. Being up at night was normal and I mostly enjoy it, but that creates a problem on my running days as I would never have enough sleep. Doing this practice(today is just a 7th day), I feel I am sleeping as soon as I go to bed. Earlier I used to wait for sleep for hours even after lying down, but these days I am like sleeping within a few minutes. Hope it goes on like this. As for learnings I am trying to bring myself back to the present moment as soon as I find myself wandering off. Then the accepting the truth of the moment(read current situation), and the most lovely thing I heard Sadhguru says, was, "The problematic thing is, when you don't do what you are actually capable of doing and let your skills go waste". I am like a happy go lucky person, I can live and survive at anywhere and on anything(Yes I believe so). What I can't live without is only a freedom to choose what I want to do and what I don't want to. I guess I have left many things and places when I felt a shortage of freedom, and that naturally made me shrink my capabilities and be happy with whatever I'm doing. I am still happy, it's just that I would now explore all my capabilities. As far as God is concerned I would want to perceive him/her in a form of energy rather than in any idol form, which connects with each being