Refuse to Choose – Book review

Being multi passionate, often throws the question of worthiness that seems to defeat the purpose or meaning of life. Many of us are culturally brought up to earn for living and lead happy life with family. But after a point when basic necessities are met, some of us get in to questioning the purpose of life and search for the true meaning. That too, if many areas interests you and not an expert in one will post lot of questions and dissatisfaction over all.

This book of “Refuse to Choose” by Barbara Sher is for type of people who are interested in many areas. She calls them Scanners and the books explores the Scanner characteristics and types of scanners. Reading this book, gave me realization that there is nothing wrong in having varied interests. And it is like giving yourself permission to follow your heart.

Book entirely deals with Scanner personality, experience from different type of scanners, projects and exercises for each scanner type and whole lot of examples from people. Author recommends different careers from her experience and other scanners. Underlying theme of Scanner is to try out the different projects in parallel and not to stick to one or two areas as conventionally thought.

While most aspects of the book are informative read, at times, examples get overboard and dilute the essence of the chapter. Apart from this, its is a good book for scanners and in fact an eye opener in getting to know multiple characteristics of this personality type. And how relevant and relaxation it gives you if you are a scanner.

Green – The Color of Happiness

Gardening is one of my pursuits for several years now. It could be in my blood but being in midst of greenery makes me calm, happy and being home. It teaches me Life.

What started with few pots, now expanded to trees and 40+ plants/trees at home. I often think, what am i gaining out of it, because it requires lot of time and physical effort to maintain the garden.

Every morning, taking a look at my balcony garden gives happiness and feels all worth the effort. And rainy season does wonders to plants. During summer, i didn’t properly maintain and it lead to most potted plants dry up. Where as now, in the last month with all the rain in Chennai, this is how it turned in to with minimal effort from my end. While i need to add few more plants to it, its all grown from the compost and remains from the previous season.

Gave up Composting due to lack of time, but doing both Gardening and Composting are more fulfilling pursuits. Sowing the seed, waiting for it to prop up it’s first two leaves, watching daily its growth though the growth is slow, watering with care, taking out the weeds, sudden buds and blooming in to colorful flowers, fruits coming out of the flowers and waiting for the fruit to fully grow. It is a long process but it teaches me patience, hard work, love for nature, connect with birds and butterflies, value the rain water and fall in love with life.

Not to mention the taste and pleasure of eating the fruits or vegetables coming out of our own garden, it is again fulfilling! Engaging kid in the activity along (though it would add more workload than help) makes them to get involved and have fun time with no gadgets. She would play with soil, do the weeding, water the plants and do what ever i am doing. And now days, she would get out of the balcony on her own and say, i went to take a look at the ‘thottam’ (farm). Kids learn from what we DO!

And it also in hard way conveys what would it take to grow vegetables and fruits with out any inorganic fertilizers/pesticides. My short term goal in Gardening is to consume at least weekly one day meal with vegetables/leaves from our garden, even for that its a long way to go!

The Old man and the Sea – Book Review

Its been few years that i read a novel. Picked up this book “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway. This is a small book and it narrates the story of old fisher man, young boy and a large fish.

At some or other point of life, every one goes through a phase of solitude. Its that phase makes us strong or weak and to retrospect or introspect. It also gives us opportunity to stay strong, stay still and not be a prey for the situation.

This story is very much about it where the author take us with the old man to the sea, be patient enough for the right fish, stay put for days hanging on to the big fish, waiting for the right time to bring it onshore.

Its a story of loneliness, love, struggle and perseverance. In the series of events, there are places where one needs to sit through the tide and one where one need to stand against it strong.

Its all about life and old man is only a metaphor here. A short classic for week end read!

The Shooting Star – Book review

Travel being interesting topic to explore, i picked up this book in the hope of learning or get inspired. Scanned through internet about this author and her solo travel interested me to buy this book “The Shooting Star” by Shivya Nath.

Book is fast paced with chapters going back and forth in the years. Author narrates her life from being Indian upbringing girl to a nomad-nomad life she has been leading for many years now.

When i say nomad, its actually being nomad with no home to come back. She lives with 20 kg luggage and stays which ever place she is traveling to. And she is traveling through the year!!!

Definitely daring but not a lifestyle or life that most people would aspire for. This book will take you through night skies of Spiti (a valley in Himalayas), Costa Rica, Jordan, Armenia, Australia, Guatemala and place i never dreamed of to travel.

This books is for people who are daring to adventure solo or interested in reading the adventures.

A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment ! – Part 1

I follow few of bloggers and take lot of learning’s from their learning. One such is Anu’s. In one of her blogs, she mentioned about a Coursea course which is title of this blog “A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment !”. This is something i read quite a lot in books and articles in the last few years. So immediately took this course which is also free of cost. If this title rings a bell for you then this course is must take for you.

From my experience, Happiness is something we seek for at some point of life. We live years together not thinking about it but actually being happy. But once you get out of that and start seeking happiness that is when pursuit becomes a tedious job.

While i started this journey not for happiness, but for the meaning or purpose in life. It eventually lead to the point where if you are happy then what you do is meaningful for you or if you do what is meaningful for you, then you are happy. This seems easier and simpler.

This course gives you the process to achieve the happiness and fulfillment in life. I would have not given a serious thought and attention to this course, if i wouldn’t have spent enough time in seeking the purpose or happiness. So unless you are not serious seeker of it, then this course might not be for you!

Before i get in to details of the course (that i planned in later blogs), let me tell you why this course impressed me a lot. This is well researched, well detailed, lot of references to relevant books, articles, survey and fully backed up by data. May be because of our industry experience and my area of interest, i started seeing data backed metrics outside of work too. While this topic being too vague to be data based and too subjective to lay out a process, this course meticulously cover these aspects with complete data from different countries, different age groups and different characteristic people. And to add, this being authored and implemented by premier management colleges in US and India adds its own credibility to the consumer.

To give bird’s eye view of this course, this course talks about 7 deadly sins of happiness and Habits/Exercises to overcome the sins. This will eventually help you to lead a happier and fulfilled life. This is a 4 weeks course with some 20 hours of video and additional study materials. I am 70% complete and planning to share the learnings post completion.

If this topic is slightly intriguing too, then i strongly recommend to try out this course – A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment

Happy Learning!

Journey to Dhanushkodi…

Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi are the names familiar through history and films but never felt its impact until been there. It is one of most memorable travel we have done so far. We started off to Rameshwaram post lunch from Madurai. Its approx. 4 to 4.5 hours journey, roads are neatly laid and it was a pleasant drive through out except for no good restaurants available on the highway.

Narrow roads with sea on both sides started few kms ahead of Pamban point. Colour of sand, tree types started changing slowly reflecting that sea is nearing. White sand and Palm trees are seen throughout the stretch. Houses, farm lands, people reduces as we move ahead. We reached Mandapam village (last village of mainland India) around 5 pm

Pamban Bridge

Pamban bridge connects the mainland India to the Pamban Island. Pamban bridge was a magnificent sight with water all around. This historical bridge is now 100+ years and 2nd longest sea bridge in India (running 2 Kms). We got down the car and stood on the bridge for few minutes (paid penalty for that though! – people can stand on the bridge but not the vehicles!).

Standing on the bridge was one of moments where you feel connected to nature and question the very form of existence

Rameshwaram is one of villages in Pamban island. Starting from Pamban, we reached rameshwaram in ~12 kms crossing thangachimadam and couple more villages. Rameshwaram is yet to be commercialized. Though there are some good hotels around to stay, you wont find much options for restaurants or commercial places to hang around. We visited Ramanathaswamy temple in the evening, had dinner at Daiwik Hotel’s restaurant and rested for the day.

Trip to Dhanushkodi was the most awaited personal trip for several reasons – myths around the faded bridge , stories we hear from the epic about the place , picturesque photos you see in internet never failed to arouse interest . We jumped off the bed by sharp 5 am to take a glimpse at Sangamam where the Bay of Bengal and Indian ocean meets.

Sangamam or Dhanushkodi beach point is ~22 kms from Rameshwaram. Roads are neatly laid till sangamam point and personal vehicles, share autos/public transport are permitted till this point. Looks like this road was laid in 2016 and prior to that only local tours/maxi cabs were only allowed here.

Road to Sangamam point

We reached the Dhanushkodi police checkpoint, that is approx 7 kms away from sangam point , by around 6 am. However we came to know that public will be allowed to go to sangam only after 7 am . So we spent some time in the pristine beach of Danushkodi which you cannot find easily in Chennai .

Beach at Danushkodi Check point

Road to Sangamam or Dhanushkodi Beach point is like driving through the sea and its best to be visited in the early morning. Indian Ocean at the right and Bay of Bengal at the left, it was a blissful sight. Interestingly, India Ocean is full of waves and Bay of Bengal is still and calm with absolutely no waves (locals say its men on the left and women on the right ;))

Indian Ocean side of beach

Reaching the beach point, we got down to the beach. Beach sand feels like flour and very pure. We walked towards the end point, played at beach and little drenching in the shallow area. Sea gets deeper from the start at some areas and locals advice not to get in to water especially on the calmer side of Bay of Bengal.

Beach on the Bay of Bengal Side

At around 8 am, it gets hot and as the time goes you start to feel the heat. Post 9 am till 4 pm would be too hot to enjoy the place and should be visited early or towards evening. Checkpost at Dhanushkodi village is closed at 5 pm and vehicles are not allowed post that.

While Danushkodi is a historic or mythological place for its fame of Rama visiting, building bridge to lanka, i felt gloomy when going through the Dhanushkodi village. Nature has its way to send powerful message through the calamities and this is one place that will remind you all the time you are there. This is high intensity area prone to storms, depression and Tsunami. I wonder, why people continue to live here, while the reality is also explicit. Life is not fair to everyone!

Trip to Rameshwaram was both to be cherished and gloomed!

Stop at 99 Km Coffee Shop

We were on a trip to Madurai and Rameshwaram recently. Weather was refreshing in the morning, roads till chengalpattu was scenic with colourful bouganville and Gulmohar tress.

Stopped for a tea break at 99 Km Magic coffee shop. It’s one of shops selling food, books, plant saplings, wooden toys, natural products to be close to nature. They serve food mostly from South Indian millets, haven’t tried their food as we mostly stop for tea break.

This time, there were variety of herbal waters available for free. Though it might be for marketing, it’s eco friendly one than the thirst quenchers sold at abnormal prices. They had

Tasted all of them expecting to have not so likeable taste but to my surprise each of them had different taste with nice aroma. Except for sugar which our taste buds are used to, these were tastier and pleasant intake.

Followed by Vaazhai Poo vadai (Banana Blossom). Tried this vada at different places but defiinitely it’s best here. With no or negligible oil seen, crunchy , soft and at its best taste. This is must try at this shop.

Nice ambience and feel good place to visit!