It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but mostly best of times back in 1994. I was 9, my cousin Aroop was 9 & my other cousin Kushagra was 7 - both these kids were enlightened because - cable TV watching Discovery, Zee, Star etc while I was stuck watching 'Aamchi maati Aamchi manase' on Doordarshan (come to think of it, that wasnt a bad show at all).

So we would like to spend our vacations in our village with our grandmother (I say "our village" coz it really is our village - we dont get called "Chaudhary" for nothing). The thing about villages back in those days was that there was no electricity for 4 hours of the day and no cable TV for 24 hours of the day. So what did we do to manage our time and boredom - these 2 kids would tell me about the wonderful world of Cable TV - the sights and the sounds - coz come to think of it, my life was pretty close to being a villager, only with 24 hours electricity  (well mostly - Mumbai kids wouldnt believe but there were years when we would have regular load shedding!) being the separator.

So Aroop tells me about this show called "Beyond 2000". This is a futuristic show telling us that everything would change post the year 2000 - so there would be flying cars and all cycles would be solar powered or something  -what they meant was 2050 or something, what kids took it to mean that somehow come the night of new years eve in 2000, everything would automatically change.

Aroop (at the end of a 15 min monologue): Arshat, sab kuch change hojaayega 2000 ke baad. Sab kuch.
Kushagra (realizing he hasnt contributed to the information at all): Haan Arshat, sab kuch change hojaayega - fir din bhi change hojaayega, sun bhi change hojaayega, moon bhi change hojaayega (looking skywards)

To this day we have made fun of him. He is now a neonatologist the last time I checked - I have stopped counting the number of degrees he amassed, if somebody asks, I just say he is a kids doctor. Now of course like Aroop and myself he is married, and keeping the tradition of our family started by our forefathers, his bride is also better educated and smarter than him.

But this post is not about my cousins, it is about Karan (or that is what I think his name is). Karan, or some other naughty name like Krunal or Jatin - these guys are rebels. In fact the original Karna was also a rebel. Anywho, so I come back to school loaded with this new found information about "Beyond 2000" show and start showing off. When the aforementioned Karna/Krunal/Jatin comes to me and says - "But 2000 mein toh world end hone wala hai"

I think to myself - What! - How did Aroop and sab-kuch-change-ho-jaayega-Kushagra not tell me about this part.

"Haan, Shiv bhagwan ka 3rd eye open hone wala hai" He said.



Now I have a scientific mind. I was not going to believe this till at least 3 other people agreed with this. And more than 3 kids did agree. Apparently their grandmothers had a club or something where they had read something - somehow this part of pop culture had evaded me. If this is going to happen - it will happen before my board exams - If yes, then why the hell was I studying so much. I should be living it up - like Karan/Krunal/Jatin

I asked my parents who said it was obviously a load of crap & then I asked a few other grown-ups because what sane 9 year old believes their parents, right? I got conflicting views - some said end of the world is near but 2000 is not the year, some said some astrologer has predicted this will happen, some showed me newspaper clippings.

Anyway, by 1998 I was 90% in agreement with my parents but 10% of me still felt what if it was true. But better, what if it wasnt, I couldnt wait to stuff in the faces of Karan/Krunal/Jatin a big "I-told-you-so-burrito"

Come 2000 new year countdown, with Australia celebrating it first, I was waiting for some explosion to happen somewhere. Nothing. Then when India celebrated, I checked if everything was alright - it was! Then I waited for the next day. Nothing. Board exams were on then, I assume. Nothing on Y2K either. Everything working as smoothly as possible. I should have been happy but something was a miss. I needed to rub it in the faces of my detractors to feel good.

But the problem was I changed schools in 1997 and was no longer in touch with my old pals, this was before Orkut or the mobile revolution.

But I did get closure later in 2000 when I met Karan/Krunal/Jatin in Veena Nagar, Mulund, a place close to where I stayed back then -

He said - Hi Arshat, How are you, hows the new school, are the girls any better.
I said - Leave that, first tell me why did the world not explode in 2000? We are in November, nothing has happened.

I waited for him to fall at my feet, for feeding me lies, for wasting my time carrying out investigative interviews. But he said -

Arre, 2000 nahi, dadi ne 2001 bola tha!

Crap.
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Are we in a simulation?

I have always been a deep thinker, me and Elon Musk have that in common. While he thinks about tech, electric cars and rockets to mars, I think about life, its meaning and what happens post life. There has been a deep divide amongst people as to who among the two of us is doing the bigger job, but let's just agree that both of us are helping humanity in our own way.




Isnt it funny that we have put letters of the alphabet to understand ourselves, our DNA, we can look at a string of letters and predict what colour eyes that person would have, whether or not they would go bald at a certain age, the probability of them getting cancer, and even their sexual preference! How did we put our entire existence in a code!

Human evolution is 200,000 years old, and we came to know about DNA and decoded it less than 50 years ago - so if Human evolution is 1 year in the earth's life, we have discovered the code only 2 hours ago! Only a matter of time that we begin to "write our own code" - construct people with favourable traits - I believe in our lifetime we will end up with being able to choose traits in the kids being born, ensure they never have certain diseases, are more athletic than their parents, have a higher IQ - there is no end to the possibilities.

But I am not going to talk about the science behind this - I am going to talk about it like there was a creator - a coder, if you will, who designed this "simulation" so to speak - for maybe his own enjoyment, or maybe to test a hypothesis, or for his/her school project,  & maybe what seems ages for us, is just one school semester for them.

So life started with multiple master codes (lets assume this) these master codes developed into multiple organisms, one of which was humans as we know them today - codes were hashed and rehashed and we got multiple races, sub races, families. The family bit is where it gets really interesting for me and allows me to understand patterns & make assumptions of what is really happening.

What we call soul, is nothing but a string of codes that describe how courageous we are, or how jealous, how greedy, how helpful or kind - when we reproduce, we send a part of the code to our kids, then they send it to theirs and then theirs - which is why people find similarities in their ancestors and the kids and feel they have been reborn as them - the truth is, the old ones (at least a part of them) are living again within the new ones. My grandmother would cook for her father-in-law (my grandfather's dad) - like a good daughter in law, she knew his likes and dislikes and how he liked he food - and when she cooked for me whenever she came to the city leaving the idyllic country life behind - I would request her to cook my favourite things, she would say my taste was similar to her father in law, which of course is my great grandfather - so shouldnt be a surprise since there are quite a few lines of code in me that might have belonged to him within me and some of them might have to do with taste.

Let's talk about taste - 10 years ago when I was in Germany my friend remarked how my diet was so much like a farmer (she was talking about German farmers) - she meant it in a sweet way (I think!) I like wholesome food that is filling and dislike pretentious innovative small bite expensive foods (Frenchies, I be looking at you) - well now I know why!

Sometimes I look at my elder daughter and am amazed at how alike we are - she likes freedom, is creative, likes justice, likes pattern finding at the same time she is also like my wife in so many ways - likes structure, can eat the same thing everyday, likes telling me what all things I do wrong etc.

So this is what a soul is - a string of characters that get passed on to your kids - the more characteristics you use, the more are the chances of them getting passed on to your kids  - if you are helpful, your kids will become helpful, if you are jealous, your kids will get that part of the code - this is what karma really is, whatever you are, your children become - or whatever you are more of, the children become.

The older I become, the more I feel that nature vs nurture is a very weak argument. It's all nature or at least 90% is nature - a horse is going to run faster than a, say dog regardless of how much we train the dog - it is not to say that running faster is good, maybe it is, maybe it is not, depends on the situation. I compare two very different species, but this is also true of humans belonging to different families.

We are in a simulation, that I am quite sure of - the design is outright incredible & the fun part is, we are so close to realizing that we are. There is a formula for Force & gravitational pull & intra atomic forces. How did we, with our little brains, come up with this! Decode the laws made by the coder - Maybe 100 years into the future people read this & think it is so obvious.

So where does it leave karma? And what about reincarnation? What about doing good deeds now so that we could be reborn or better go to heaven? This might be a simulation but doesnt mean we dont be nice, because after all, what we are, our kids become & while we might be someone else's code - but our kids are ours & we owe it to them and the world, simulated as it may be.



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How to man... correctly

This is the second post in my "How to-" series, which I obviously am so well suited to write as I know so much about so many things... 

Now, for those of you who have been following my blog religiously (I am looking at you Vijay) you must know what a good man I am and must have wondered numerous times on how to be a good man, & if I would ever teach you - well, your wait is over. Read on.

(I wanted to put my picture given that how much I look like Clooney, grey hair, piercing eyes and all, but I dont want to draw undue attention to myself, and away from Clooney - I mean thats all he's got!)

First of all, throw away everything society has taught you about being a man. Society keeps changing and so do the ideas. What is good and bad however should be universal and timeless, no?

1. Clothes Dont make a man:

"Clothes make a man" was a marketing ploy brought about by those Mad Men types in the 60s to sell more suits. While I agree that good suits, tailored shirts etc do add certain amount of value (esp in client facing roles) but that is true only till the point you open your mouth. God knows I have spent a small fortune on cuff-links and they are sometimes a conversation starter, but thats all that they are - conversation starters! Post that I am on my own.

I dont understand why someone would want to buy a 70,000 suit from Hugo Boss or Armani (Both among my favourite brands) - Sure, buy all the suits you want if you are Harvey specter, but if you make 2 lacs a month, a 70k suit indicates to me that you are trying to hide something that you lack in (usually, its intelligence) Little surprise then that I have mostly met idiots in Armanis.


2. Courage is what differentiates men from the boys:

In Cinderella Man, one of my favourite movies, there is a scene where before going into a fight, our man Russel Crowe is shown a specially rowdy fight between his next competitor and another decent boxer, who ends up dying in the match.

He looks at the guy playing the clip & says - You think you are trying to tell me something? That boxing is dangerous? That one can die in the boxing ring? You dont think working at docks is dangerous? That you cant die on the street?

Courage is not the lack of fear, it is but knowing that something is more important than fear

The corporate world doesnt like risky courageous ideas, they take comfort in ideas that are tried and tested, that are safe. Over time, in such a set up men lose this ability and become paper pushers, even the best of men. You will be surprised how easy it is to fall in line. Not falling in line is a skill, if you learn how, teach me too.


3. Take responsibility

My elder daughter (5yo) comes to me at 11 pm in the night as I entered home after a long day of work, (the younger daughter & wife had slept) & says - "Daddy, you know what my problem with people is - they don't keep promises. They say they will do something and then they dont do it."

I thought maybe it is I that she is talking about (Daughters can be passive aggressive like that) but thankfully she was only talking about her nanny. My elder daughter is among the nicest people I know, notice I said people and not kids, because she behaves like a woman not a kid. If we were to deserve nice people like that then we have to keep our promises.

The best men, I have found are dependable. They do what they say, it is comforting to know that promises made will be kept.


4. Seek wisdom, not information

I am always impressed by some people as to how much they know about the specifications in the latest phone or which country is going down the drain or why the fuel prices are going up. They are genuinely aware about their surroundings & that is a good thing. A friend of mine once said information is wealth, but it really is not.

Information is just money, wisdom is really wealth. If you stop reading the newspaper or TV or disconnect social media, you have no information and hence no money, but wealth, that bitch sticks with you no matter what. Also, don't say bitch, unless you calling someone that lovingly.


5. Take pride in your work

The best men take pride in their work, regardless of how small or insignificant that job is. This has baffled me for years. I havent been able to take particular pride in my work. Even if I am absolutely amazing at it.

Like take for instance writing (I kick butt, who am I kidding) but I wrote my first novel thinking, even if nobody published it, I would just save a copy of the word document in A4 spiral binded book for my grandchildren. It obviously went on to become a big hit and has touched lives of many men who are now in their late 20s & are able to "Get their girls back!" - The point being, I didnt take immense pride in it or anything. But I have come to think there is some merit in a man who is sweeping the floor and wants to do it right. Or someone who makes excel sheets for a presentation and does that right. These small things add up and if you arent doing something right now, because it is beneath you today, you wont be able to do it when it is really worth something. I fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, the worst of them fall at the far end, and in the end dont manage to do anything big because nobody trusts them with it.


6. Marry the girl who you will keep happy and who you will be happy with

Identifying characters of people around you and their worth is a learnable trait. Do this right and 90% of your life will be sorted. I have seen so many good men make mistakes judging women (usually when they are young, like in college) and then spending their lives with them unhappy, wondering where did they go wrong. Surrounding yourself with good people (of which good women are a subset) is a very important man trait.

I will someday write about how to Woman as well, and that might help, but for now, look at a woman as you would look at a man, if she was a man, would you be good friends with her? If she didnt have those big kajal lined eyes, long hair and smelled of vanilla, would you still want to be with her? If all it involved was talking about the weather or netflix (but not chill) or life in general, would you still be friends with her?


7. As a dad just ensure the mom isn't overwhelmed. If she is it will invariably go to the kids

A good man who doesnt choose to be a father, is a man who has wasted some of his potential. It is rare for good men to not want to father, but when I find someone like that, I recheck all the other characteristics and find him lacking in "taking responsibility" which makes me rethink whether he is actually a worthy guy.
Being a father is so much work if done right (and hugely rewarding btw). Read more about it here


8. Learn how to cook for yourself and a little bit for the people around you

If you have to open an app everytime there is no food in the house there is a problem. There is something terrific about taking raw materials and making something delicious out of it. It tells me there is a creative side to that man, and we have survived as a species because men came up with creative ideas to keep predators at bay. Then that maybe making metal weapons to safeguard one's family, or tools to dig up a well for water. While this may no longer be necessary, cooking up a meal still features as a life skill and a man should have at least some of it


9. Don't be ready for a fight

- that's what 13 years boys do. Be ready to diffuse a tense situation develop that skill. And animals, hippos, lions etc fighting for a mate or territory. Getting this without blood or losing one's front teeth is a kickass (pun intended) skill. This is what makes us different from animals & kids (who we all know are just little animals)

This post is a culmination of all my judgement about different men. This is all that I can think of, if there is something I might have missed that you think is important to man, correctly, do let me know.




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How to daddy...correctly!

Writing is like swimming. Even if you dont do it for a few months, or years for that matter when you go back to it, you struggle a little bit but then find your way. The most important part is to dip your legs in the cold water and once you do it then it is easy from that point on. But before you actually do it in real life, you gotta do it in your head, you have to imagine floating in the calm waters of your housing society's swimming pool. Ditto for writing. Only here you have to imagine sitting and typing at a blank sheet, hoping it all makes sense and then the millennial readers that you have (all 4 of them) take time out from Buzzfeed or scoopfeed or whatever that kids are reading these days to come on the site and appreciate what's been written.

Talking about kids, I have interns now who were born when I was hitting puberty. I have named them after the movies that came out in the year they were born. So I have a Dil toh pagal hai in my team, a DDLJ and even a Hum aapke hai kaun (he has work experience). I also have someone who I thinks is Andaz apna apna but she isnt revealing her birth year to anyone. I am of course, Rambo 4.

So I have realized you cant hit on women who were born when you had started getting facial hair. They automatically make you think of your daughters.

Now coming to the reason why all of you subscribe to my blog and have been refreshing the home page everyday for the past 200 odd days - to gain from my meandering experience and unlimited wisdom.

So, how to daddy? Not to brag or anything, I am particularly good at this job. I have a small fan club, comprising of currently just 1 member, my 4 year old daughter, but we are in the process of making new members, which is, my 2 year old daughter. With an amazing success rate of 50% which as Warren Buffet tells you is the exact number of times you have to be right while picking stocks to be rich, I share with you how to bring up kids with my 6 years (4+2, see how I did what those mahesh tutorial ads did?) of experience in doing the same.

Disclaimer: This is applicable to the angels my daughters are (they obviously take after me). Dont blame me if you were a brat while growing up and had to be disciplined weekly. Also not applicable if you have a couple of boys. In fact, God help you!

So here goes.

1. Indulge the kids: Having kids is a chance to grow up all over again. Having two kids, is a chance to lengthen that chance. There are things that they feel are important that might seem trivial to you, like tying those two ropelike things in a frock that you tie behind in a bow (what the hell are those called?), like the colour of the hair tie, the choice of soap, the need to brush their teeth at 8 in the evening. The point is, indulge. When you are small, small things seem important. This is also true of your colleagues in office.

2. Be their friend (coz once they grow up, they wouldnt want anything to do with you): Who's your best friend? Why are they your best friend? Be that to your kids. Exactly that. Coz that works for you and your friendship. And while you are at it, also check with that friend if they think you are their best friend too. If not, where did it all go wrong? Find it out and dont be that with your kids. It's that simple, only if we dont complicate it. This is true for all relationships

3. Make silly games for them: Kids get bored easily. No number of Hamley toys are going to cure that boredome. Btw, stay away from Hamleys, that place is evil. It can make even the strongest men want toys they thought they never wanted at prices they would never pay. Also for kids like me with deprived childhoods, it is a way to re-live our desires via our kids. I told you, Evil they are!

Instead make silly games for them. Whenever my kids fight, I made a game that points at the crying kid and say "NO" and they have to play with an action, like hiding their face. This game then expanded to Yes, no, maybe game and further to yes, no, maybe, coco. Now it's our favourite time pass.

4. Make sure kids know the value of things and not their cost:

 Like I said, it is an opportunity to grow up again. It is importnat not to make the same mistakes most of us 80s kids did. Along with the value of things, 80s India also knew their cost. 5 rupees for a loaf of bread, 50 paise for kismi toffee bar, with math came conversion, the realization that 10 toffee bars could give 1 loaf of bread, and that 10 loaves of bread were equal to that 1 toy you been wanting for a year, and you keep delaying it, because your 10 year old brain cant get to spending those many loaves of bread on a toy. Then you are 15 and the time to play with that toy is gone. Forever.

Dont do that. Do the exact opposite. Let them know the value, not the cost. Also dont let them know trivial things in your life, like EMIs, how much money you make and how costly the world is becoming. There is plenty of time for them to learn this. Let them be kids. For now.

5. Make stories for them. Name characters after them and their friends: I like telling stories. Duh! That is how I got my wife to marry me. Some brilliant story weaving there. Anywho, my 4 year old doesnt sleep without hearing her bedtime story. Most of it is made up. I have figured, mythology is her favourite, so I modernize it. Shiva stays on the 8th floor (like us), Sita has a red sofa (like us), Ram likes to eat healthy and Krishna is strong because he eats almonds and milk everyday. In every story there are 2 common characters - Pranaya (thats my elder daughter) & Manjiri ( that is my sister, her buwa). Girls that she has a fight with in school become the side villans in my stories, her best friends make special appearances in the same dress that they wore a a birthday party, btw.

I think she's reading through all of this maybe. she asked me the other day - Daddy, Sita's house is so much like our house no? I had to tone it down from there.

6. Give them a bath once every now and then and make it fun: We turn on the bluetooth speaker, bring the pichkaaris and it's holi everyday while taking a bath. The kids love it and on my days off look forward to it. It is also a good time to introduce them to brilliant 90s music. Baba Sehgal is not a name to be forgotten.

7. Kiss them Good morning and Good night. We Indians dont do this enough. Nothing is going to make the kids feel safe and loved as much as physical touch of their parents. Animals do this constantly because they cant talk, but neither can children, at least not properly till they are 6 or 7. This I have found also helps me sleep better and my general well being. Also try to extend this to the wife.

This is all that I can think of, right now. I will keep coming back to it and read it and edit if I learn something new or something doesnt quite work well with the younger one. That is the badmash one. Still an angel compared to your boys. Adios.
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Clash Royale & life

Warning : nerd post

Ever since I got interested in my job, all my hobbies have taken a beating. I really enjoyed writing but then demanding jobs happened, and kids & EMIs, and then Weekends became scarce. Off late, I have got some time to write but cant really find anything to write about. So I thought what takes up the most of my time, apart from work and travel and kids - One thing. Clash Royale.



Now I have never been the gamer type. I have never spent all night long playing counterstrike I still dont understand the game honestly. The only few games that I have been really a fan of are - Mario, Contra, Halo(what graphics!), Bond (forget the version, but had the best intros ever (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfZHKEU5rfc)

I have always wanted a Xbox but always found ways not to buy - would take up too much time out of family time, can use the money to buy better things etc. Somewhere in the middle, smartphones took over and I tried my hand unsuccessfully at getting addicted at some game. The only good game I remember was Explode Arena (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-vj8OQH2xo) I was the proud owner of a Nokia Ngage & we would play this on bluetooth with our college friends. Also, I was incredibly good at this.

The only other game that I have gotten addicted badly to is Clash Royale. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO_nF7FFp88) The reasons I recommend the game to every one in sight are given below (Please read about the game here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clash_Royale)

1. Only 3 mins per match. You are in and out in 3 minutes. If you are waiting in line to get your boarding card, or waiting for a meeting to start, this is the game for you
2. You are always playing against a real person on the other side not a bot.
3. It is a bit like chess but with so many more variables - like you have to guess what cards does your opponent have & then back yourself that he will play the card at x time & be ready with your antidote at x+1 seconds

But most of all, I like Clash Royale because no other game depicts life in a much better way

CR, is unfair, it gives a clear advantage to guys who pay their way to stronger cards, much like life. So many privileged people are successful largely coz their grandfather owned some mill somewhere during the british Raj. But very much like life, if you know how to leverage your strength and hide your weaknesses, you can win even against the strongest of opponents.

CR, is a game of the mind, more than anything else. If you can predict what the opponent is going to do next, irrespective of how strong his cards are, you can win. This is just how life is, you have to be one step ahead of your opponent, esp a worthy opponent.

CR, sometimes is about luck. Even smart opponents might make stupid mistakes, how to latch on to others mistakes and learn from them makes you a winner. Much like life, if you fail at latching onto the small opportunities that life throws your way, you wont win

CR, makes you treat win and loss the same. Sometimes you just realize that the opponent was just too strong - probably bought his way up, or just has played a few hundred hours more than you, either way it is ok, no need to beat yourself up too much. If you win, then you try to understand what you did right and repeat it for the next match (and you might still lose the next match coz this player has a completely different set of cards from the last one)

CR, teaches you that even small cheaper cards can kill strong more expensive cards, for eg, the skeleton army costs only 3 elixr, while a pekka costs 7, but played at the right time, skeleton army will melt away a Pekka.

CR teaches you perseverance, and to never give up. Recently I played a match with a Level 12 (I am sure paid account) & there were 2 of his friend who are viewing the match. They were all giving me crap with emoticons while the game was on. While I have won matches against many Level 12s (I am a Level 10 with 4200 trophies), this one I knew was special coz it is rare that 2 viewers are viewing a match. I was close to losing, and all 3 of them threw the same emoticon, giving me the idea that the card he just placed was a definite winner. I kept fighting and unexpectedly for them, won it! It was an incredible rush. Most days I would have given up, but this day I pushed till the end and won... This is what CR is all about. This is what life is all about.

I wrote this post coz I wanted to get back to writing, so the cobwebs would come off this blog and I could then think of something more deep. Also, I want my wife to tumble onto this post to give her an idea why I spend so much time on this game... Lol...

Thanks for reading this - I am back boys and girls!
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A letter to my just born child

Dear child,

I once wrote a letter to your elder sister before she was born (read here) and I wanted to do the same for you. But then I thought why do it exactly the same way? You are going to be different from your sister, even though both of you come from the same parents. I have seen so many siblings in my life and marveled at how 2 kids born of the same parents can be so different!

So I decided to write this post after you came in this world.



When the nurse handed you over to me, I held you confidently. I raised an amazing 2 year old girl, how could I not be confident? But I quickly realized, you could be a totally different kid. I want you to know that you need not be like Pranaya. Your amma & I, like all parents in the world, will love you regardless.

Love for me, simply put, is that your dreams, your comfort, your well being is more important to me than mine. Simple, no?

I am in deep love with Pranaya. The kind of love that I didnt know was possible. When I fell in love with your amma, everything became beautiful and I was 13 (yes, that little!) at that time & then 21, I think when I again met her. The love at 13 was the most I could love a girl, & at 21 it was even more strong. But nothing even comes close to the love one has for their kids. I am telling you this now, because maybe sometime in your life you might feel differently.

I want to talk to you about luck. You would read quotes about how luck is all about working hard, and that it is non-existent. I think it is real. I have no idea what did I do right to have such amazing daughters, first Pranaya and now you. I dont know why your amma thought it was a good decision to spend her life with me (I have asked her numerous times through thinly veiled questions). I have no idea what good I did to have the parents that I do. Luck is how I explain it.

On the other hand, I have no idea why I havent had the luck in work. Got into top schools at the last and got out at the top, mostly through sheer hard work. Dont understand why some of my less hard working friends have better jobs? I dont get why my hard work hasnt got its due. Luck is how I explain it.

Some things are not within our control. Media, newspapers, celebrities tell us that they are. What is within our control is to give our best. Newspapers print the names of the kids who top various exams. They then take their interviews, ask them for tips for aspirants. Why? What is so special about getting 750 marks our of 750 that makes it news? Shouldnt they cover stories of resilience? Where some kid living in sub par conditions who came 25th? Isnt that better news?

News is not of much use. Nobody is going to gain wisdom through a second hand account of what is happening in Syria, or the US, or even Vidarbha. Wisdom in our times is underrated. Information is overrated. Only follow this advice if by the time you are 8 years old, your daddy has made a name for himself. Else choose to ignore. That is true for this entire letter. Not everything that I say is correct. My knowledge is a culmination of what has happened in the last 30 years of my life. My biases, my fortune & misfortune colour my ideas.

The core of Human spirit is freedom. We all aspire to be free. But society has made systems that will reward you a little, every time you let go of a little freedom. You want food everyday on your table, give 8 hours driving a truck, or painting a wall, or making excel files and ppts. Want your teacher to praise you for that assignment, that is actually not going to add much value to your knowledge? Spend the night working on it and skip the planet watching that you had planned.

That said, do whatever you do with passion. Easier said than done. You can only do things with passion when your wants/needs dont plague what you want to spend time on. Trust me, if you want that latest iphone (hopefully they stop) or that Merc (guilty), much of your time will be spent on earning money and not so much on what you like. I havent learnt how to do that, hope you do, then teach me.

I am saying all of this as I am afraid that as time passes, I will no longer be able to make sense of your generation and maybe then, this post written by your dad at 31, might make some sense.

Staying happy is the aim of life I have found. Being happy is an art and good art happens when what you think, what you do & what you speak is in alignment. Everything I do for you would be directed towards this. If you ever feel that I am not being true to this, please remind me, I tend to forget.

In closing, I wish you find what you love, and find the courage to do what you love. I hope you find happiness in your life. Love, courage & a heart that seeks happiness, my child, will lead you a long way.

Lovingly,
Daddy

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The ideal life

I have been thinking about the ideal life. Everything that I could come up with directs towards total freedom.

1. Its a Tuesday and first rains. I want to go to Lonavala. Now.
2. I want to watch a late night movie and go to office by noon
3. I want to go home early today.
4. I want to work till late today
5. I want to hear a song while working and maybe hum it too
6. I want to have lunch out today
7. I want to play cricket/TT/badminton this morning
8. I want to have misal pav from Mamledars on a Thursday
9. I want to write a poem and its 11 am in office
10. I want to play on my Xbox at 4 in the evening on a working day
11. I want to buy a Xbox
12. I want to plant a garden and then take care of it
13. I want to wear shorts to office
14. I have an idea, it might be stupid, it might change the world, I want to work on it today, all day.
15. I want to come home for lunch. Everyday.
16. I want to live in Portugal for 3 months.
17. I want to drive a Mercedes
18. I want to read at least 1 book each month
19. I want at least 1 night out with friends each month
20. I want to live in pune for a week once a while.
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