Category: Knowledge

What is SUCCESS?

But even before this question, a rather intriguing question passed my mind

What if I am already successful, but I don’t know it?


I have been basically torturing myself from the last one month or so regarding the issue of success. I was beating myself up, berating myself and criticizing myself in the meanest ways possible! At the basis of this was comparison to other people whom I perceive to be “successful”. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I am a full-time musician. And for artists and musicians, success is even more hard to define. Would I call Justin Bieber/Lady Gaga successful? I don’t know. I don’t look up to them and so I actually I don’t care if they failed or not. But I’d say Sting is very successful. Not because of the money or the glamour, but because he does exactly what he wants to do, sings his own songs all around the world. That for me is success. Doing exactly what you want to do and getting paid for it! But everyone can’t be Sting. For example, do you think Sting’s guitar tech or his sound engineer go home and cry because they’ve failed to be on stage with a bass guitar singing a song they’ve written? NO! Because I’m sure they’re pretty satisfied being on Sting’s team and doing exactly what they gain satisfaction from…mixing sound, tuning his guitars etc.

I just thought of all this. From the time I picked up the guitar for the first time when I was 16, I knew that I wanted to play guitar all the time, make music, sing and have fun. And you know what? I’m doing JUST THAT. Isn’t that success? I think it IS! I have been so busy driving myself paranoid because I am not yet on my way to becoming Sting-like, that I haven’t had a moment to acknowledge my success. I am already successful! I have enough money right now that I can sit throughout the day reading books and watching movies and then going out for leisure walks, working out, practising different styles of music on my guitar, buy new equipment etc. That IS success!

Now I am not saying that I am satisfied and that I don’t want anymore money or exciting opportunities to play and perform. But that will happen joyfully only after I’ve fully acknowledged my first successful milestone: Surviving successfully as an independent musician. And I’ve done pretty well upto here…including releasing my debut music album last year.

I have always been relatively shy considering that I am a performer, an artist. I am not flashy or flamboyant even in my daily life. I’m not loud or attention-seeking in conversation- it’s just who I am. And as of today I feel that I won’t feel too bad if I don’t develop showman-ship like some of my idols or my contemporaries. That would be like going against the grain of who I am as a person. I am all for learning and growing and imbibing desirable qualities, but I feel foolish even to imagine being a loud, extroverted performer. From this point on, I have a few dreams and ideas about my future life which truly make me happy. And being ridiculously famous isn’t one of them. I have had the great fortune of being closely connected with a lot of high-achieving, super-famous individuals and friends. One of them gave me a very interesting and intelligent definition of fame. He said that fame only indicates how many people approve or disapprove of you. That’s it. There’s nothing beyond it. It makes so much sense. So for any kind of artists, it’s even more pertinent. Talking of Sting, I recently discovered that not everyone like him! It was shocking to find forums on the internet actually dissing him and his music. So basically a certain number of people dislike him+certain number of people like him=Sting’s fame. Approval+Disapproval. Likes+Dislikes. And I after realizing this, I am not getting along famously with idea of fame πŸ™‚

I have anyway always composed, sung and played what I like. I almost never listen to people when it comes to musical or artistic choices. I can’t be any other way because this way makes me immensely happy. To listen to my own songs exactly the way I wanted them to sound is an unmatched feeling and so, I don’t think I will be affected much by the opinions of listeners.

I’d rather be true to my calling, true to my adventure, making pots and pots of money, travel around the world, soaking in culture, forging friendships, read a lot, attend performances, wake up at noon if I feel like it, build my body, acquire new skills and be happy in my personal life. That will be success for me. But success is not one event or one day or one situation…it’s an ongoing thing. It’s a process. Although I do realize now that I CANNOT get to success from a feeling of failure. Success leads to success. I’ve only failed in being successful at something that I didn’t want to be successful at to begin with! I am okay with that!

So what’s YOUR idea of success?


What’s up

Well pretty much everything is looking up! And just when I think that things couldn’t get any better, they DO!

Even though my resolve of writing a blog-post daily lost steam somewhere after the 4th day, I have managed to achieve a LOT else! A personal victory has been being off Twitter for 30 days straight. It’s especially important to me because I was heavily addicted to Twitter to the point of being worried about myself.

Then in this 30-day challenge I released my debut album to a very good reception! I got promoted with my album cover on one of the biggest international apparel and footwear brands’ official page too! I hadn’t planned for all this in detail. But I guess this is my biggest lesson: I made space in my life for the things that are important to me and the Universe paid back with such rich dividends.

What I am currently experiencing is INVINCIBILITY and a feeling of being un-hurtable. It’s a pretty awesome feeling also because it’s sustained over many days πŸ™‚

Of course there are many personal challenges in front of my eyes right now but I know that one very important thing is off my bucket-list, which is my music album. You can get a sneak preview over here πŸ˜€

Flowers for sparrows

Today I had an epiphany about why I could be an atheist. The reason is my mother. She said something so supremely beautiful just sometime back that I fell in love with that thought instantaneously!

So during one of her early morning walks, she noticed a tree laden with white flowers near where she lives. And as she observed and appreciated the beauty of the flowers which looked like beautiful white stars in the morning light, a sudden interruption disrupted this innocent imagination that played in her mind: a devoutly religious person from our building plucked all these flowers to offer to “God”. And my otherwise cool-headed mother lost it and told this man, that your God has made these flowers for the sparrows to enjoy and not for you, to pluck them and drop them at an inanimate idol’s feet.

I am so moved by that thought. It’s so beautiful!

If this is how beautiful atheism is, I am so glad to call myself one.

Bucket List

So, here is my Bucket list:

  1. Be a published writer/poet.
  2. Be able to do 108 Surya Namaskar
  3. Visit Ayers Rock
  4. See the Aurora Borealis
  5. Own a Steinberger guitar
  6. Learn to play a sport REALLY well
  7. Learn to dance really well
  8. Experience zero-gravity
  9. Learn to play drums
  10. Sing for patients in cancer ward
  11. Travel to Leh-Ladakh
  12. Solve the Rubik’s CubeΒ 27th May 2012 πŸ™‚
  13. Get invited to speak at TED
  14. Photograph something that wins an award
  15. Donate 50,000 to charity in 2012
  16. Start my own self-help blog
  17. Learn French
  18. Take a helicopter ride
  19. Help a stranger
  20. Get 6-pack abs
  21. Be able to do 20 pull-ups in 2012
  22. Travel to New York
  23. Release a best-selling spiritual music album
  24. Go star-gazing with friends
  25. Be a motivational speaker and travel around the globe
  26. Have an incredibly fulfilling life-long partnership with someone I love
  27. Be an expert creator of my experiences
  28. Float in the Dead Sea
  29. Visit hot water springs in Iceland
  30. White-water rafting!
  31. Take a trip underwater in a submarine
  32. Study Quantum Physics
  33. Be a mentor to someone
  34. Learn Chess really well
  35. Meditate daily
  36. Fly a kite (which can happen tomorrow! πŸ˜€ )
  37. Fly First Class
  38. Go on a Star Cruise
  39. Get closure on all past hurts/grievances
  40. Be at Zen with self
  41. Skydive
  42. Visit Greece
  43. Witness a meteor shower
  44. Get a flat pebble to bounce off the water surface
  45. Bombay-Goa-Bangalore road-trip
  46. Fly a plane
  47. Para-glide
  48. Lucid dream
  49. Break cycle of Anger-Despair-Anger
  50. Stop trying to control things and people
  51. Be an absolute Master of my life every moment
  52. Laugh daily
  53. Face my fears regularly
  54. Get a Ph.D in Metaphysics/Philosophy/German
  55. Β Be an expert at Ableton Live
  56. Be a world-class music-producer
  57. Learn Piano
  58. Have 5000+ followers on Twitter
  59. Be an inspirational speaker
  60. Achieve a mind-blowing amount of money/success
  61. Travel to 5 countries in 2012
  62. Compose music for a play
  63. Make salt ‘n pepper sexy
  64. Dream bigger
  65. Love myself unconditionally
  66. Be grateful daily
  67. Gain enlightenment while alive πŸ˜›
  68. Experience Astral Projection
  69. Meet Esther Hicks
  70. Have my dream home
  71. Learn horse-riding
  72. Start and build a successful business
  73. Speak in front of 5000 people
  74. Win a lottery
  75. Be more deeply influential
  76. Get featured in a newspaper for my work
  77. Live in a different country for a stretch
  78. Experience a long-term relationship
  79. Visit a volcano
  80. Chase a tornado
  81. Fall in love
  82. Stay in love
  83. Make 12 new friends in 2012
  84. Attract interesting rendezvous regularly
  85. Develop an unrelated skill. Example: Cooking
  86. Conquer anger
  87. Achieve astounding financial abundance
  88. Follow my bliss πŸ™‚
  89. Be a better person in 2012
  90. Meditate in the Himalayas in 2012
  91. Meet Sting and ask him about songwriting
  92. Meet John Mayer
  93. Throw a huge party for everyone I know
  94. Intend for sharper ESP
  95. Build my own mini-studio at home in 2012
  96. Celebrate New Year’s eve on foreign land
  97. Learn a martial art
  98. Publish a book of poetry in German…some are here already
  99. Learn carpentry
  100. Learn to paint and put the paintings on exhibit
  101. Learn pottery/clay sculpting

And there’s more coming! What’s on YOUR bucket-list?

Painful Evolution

Growth is painful. Ask children who are teething or someone who’s trying to grow a pair. Just to make it clear, I am in neither of these stages. But I know that I am growing. There’s this larger part of me who already has become that which I aspire to be. The pain is from knowing that I am not up to speed with that!
In fact it’s not just growth. Evolution it is.
Self-reliant only. Letting other people be. Allowing myself and others in the immediate surrounding to be as they want to be. Asking myself to let go of the impossible task of keeping people happy. Well this doesn’t sound so ambitious. But being a center of unconditional love and allowing the world to be as it is, is the goal.
In theory we all KNOW that it’s not possible and even warranted to control someone else’s behaviour in a way that should make us happy. It’s truly not their job! Keeping oneself happy and high is an inside job. And really it’s time we realize that whatever situations we have in our lives, especially the ones that we complain about, are drawn to us because on some level we have elicited them. We have expected them to occur. And recur. It’s a work in progress for me as of now.
I have been listening to a lot of fabulous new knowledge lately and it has made me more and more aware of how I feel. It has begun dawning on me that the way I feel is EVERYTHING. If I am thinking about something that doesn’t feel good, it is absolutely my responsibility to CHOOSE thoughts that do feel good and then finally let go of the futile exercise of having to control the world to make me happy. And logic begs for the intelligent choice of turning our own thoughts little by little, step by step towards something that at least feels “less bad”. “Less bad” is less bad than “terribly bad”. So it has got better already! I think this is exactly what the wise ones have been proclaiming when they say “take 100% responsibility” for your life.
It’s not easy. But who’s to blame? They never said it would be easy! Then again given a choice between the familiar, comfortable toilet seat and a throne which requires an uphill climb, which one would I choose? Most definitely the throne! And who knows, the journey to the throne might be even more exciting than the throne itself!

I have recently formed a band with two awesome friends and equally awesome musicians. We are called The Blue Job. And while writing a lot of our original songs, we also discuss our personal experiences, moments, lessons and disappointments. As artists we have noticed that some of the most intense songs/poetry has come forth during periods of intensity. But what baffles me is this: Why does intensity associate itself more with feelings of pain or anguish? Is it because we contaminate our intensely blissful moments with tinges of insecurity? Possibly, questions like whether this happiness will stay or not, make the intensely happy experience a little diluted. This in essence might hint at a truth that as human beings with vested emotions, we are greatly insecure because of the lack of knowledge of the future or fear of the unknown.
As a poet and songwriter, I and many like me, have a different challenge to tackle. When we fall in love, we make this person our muse. So after a heartbreak, apart from getting used to not having this person around, a bigger problem arises because the poet within is threatened with extinction. I really do not know how many will truly truly understand this predicament!
Not being able to write poetry and sharing it with someone who enjoys the beauty of it is akin to asphyxiation.
But as shameless as life is, it makes you live anyway- maimed, bruised, battered, scared, hopeful and hungry for companionship. After a point I think it’s not even about love. And what the hell IS love anyway. Nobody seems to know it and yet everyone is searching for it with the desperation of a famished man. All we know about love is a few symptoms. But that’s about it.
A poet’s heartbreak or even his breaking-point brings forth something so pristine and real that it’s almost tangible…as sensations in the body as we read his lines.

There’s a poet inside each one
Who needs to be satisfied
Whose intensity and passion
With mediocre life can’t be pacified

A lesson in secularism

It’s not about money, honey!

“Why does Art of Living charge money for courses?” “If Baba Ramdev can teach it for free, why can’t Art of Living?” …and other such expressions need to be given a very satisfying answer.

For one, I am very grateful to my Guru, H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, for teaching us to respect and revere all Gurus…in fact everybody- whether Guru or not. So, there’s no one-up-manship involved in desperate insecurity to prove whose Guru is the better one! It’s so ridiculous. In fact Guruji himself cites ample examples of Lord Buddha and Jesus Christ in most of his talks!

What Baba Ramdev does is absolutely brilliant too. But there CAN be two ways of approaching the same summit. When Nature herself is full of variety why shouldn’t Gurus be two or more of a kind? There’s place for everyone and everything. And I personally have always thought that to prove the greatness of one’s self, one doesn’t need to demonize the other. Art of Living is largely misunderstood and there’s nothing that can be done about it- unless of course the prejudices are set aside.

I think it’s an amazing thing that Art of Living charges a donation because that enables it to provide courses(and much more-it’s not “mere breathing”) for FREE where it’s really needed; prisons are one such example. But as one would know, volunteers go there and teach and they need to have some kind of money in hand to do some really basic stuff. To organize medical camps, for example or to build temporary shelters in some affected areas or to travel in remote areas to teach pranayama- everything needs money. And if people like you and I can spend it as Dakshina, why not? By us paying the donation someone completely unrelated in perhaps some tiny village in Tamilnadu might get to go to school! One such example, right under our nose is the Dharavi School. Please check out the outstanding work that happens there: Many students over there are the first ones to ever go to school! And NOTHING is charged for their education, mid-day meals, uniforms, books, stationery etc.

In fact, I think it’s superb that not only is Art of Living a spiritual organization but it is also mighty efficient πŸ™‚ I am a proud and grateful Art of Living Volunteer…what about YOU?

Beyond Me

Beyond Me from frank huguenard on Vimeo.

Dear Logic…where art thou??

It’s so amazing to see that the ones who know the least, speak the most about even people who know the most! I’m talking here about random people talking more random things about H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. I have seen my growth through the change that earlier I would be angry, now I am amused. In fact if I’m in the mood, I laugh on their faces too.

I agree that there’s freedom of speech and thought and all that. But freedom of ignorance?! Never heard that one before!

For instance, I get asked questions like, “Why do you follow him?” or even better, “I hope you are not his follower!”. So that is to say that “following” someone is bad. But as far as I remember we have been following something or someone right from childhood. We followed our parents. Then we tried to follow Mathematics-most of us didn’t follow. Then in our teenage we followed Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd or Bryan Adams? See, now the teenagers are left with just a Bieber…pathetic. Anyway, then for our professional aspirations we followed some role model. So we have been a follower anyway…whether we know it or not. But far beyond teenage or professional role models is a Guru. A Guru is an embodiment of selflessness and wisdom. Why wouldn’t a sane person become a follower? In fact I would like to ask a question, “How is it possible to NOT follow such an amazing Guru? HOW? HOW??” And by the way, if all Gurus were selfish, this knowledge of the self would never reach us! They already have the state of mind and being that we want to reach…what need do Gurus have to reach out again and again to the common people? Ok, now if the your mind has just said “for money”, you should take a long hard look at Sri Sri. No rings, jewellery, designer clothes nor shoes. He needs nothing, because everything belongs to him. Belongingness with total responsibility. Because trust me, taking courses in Naxal areas or talking to prisoners and ex-terrorists is not a “fun” idea for most of us!

And being on the path of spirituality takes courage. It’s not for the meek. Not for geeks. It’s for the ones who seek…something higher, better, subtler and deeper than the ordinary. More the number of people who come on this path, more peaceful the society around us will be. Simply because today we need more and more people who realize this once and for all that buying that 3 BHK or having that lavish wedding are not the only worthwhile events which will happen in our lives! People put their everything last penny and every ounce of peace and happiness behind ONE wedding…you know why? Because they believe that that is the only memorable thing that’s ever going to happen to them! Sad. And it’s sad because we are capable of so much more…each one of us. Is having a 3-day-multi-crore wedding great or getting permanent peace inΒ  life for rest of our living days great? Not to say I am against lavish weddings at all! But priorities, people! Priorities!

So, yes, I am not just a follower, I am an ardent, happy, blessed and grateful Devotee of his. I have raised my standards of whom I am following, now up yours(pun is purely intended).

Jai Guru Dev!