Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tolle kya bole!

A few bad years at my first ad agency followed by a several months at the second, if not anything else made me,.. guess what? ..... Read!! Surprising (as much to me as to people who know me) coz i have always considered myself extremely averse to the printed word. Somehow i was never able to comprehend how people found reading newspapers easier than watching TV. TV gives you double the information in half the time! Infact TV watching, I thought, has its value adds, what with lovely models and great food and clothes as treats for every sense.Also, TV gives you those well needed breaks from all the disarry and chaos reported by the 'dressed for the occasion' Roys and Sardesais.

But the turning point came, and it came with a big bang into my life! Stints with 2 leading ad firms and exposure to some of the best brands in the country had left me with, well... a bruised sense of self, loads of stressed out nerves and a strong will to NEVER enter advertising again. You must be wondering what all this has got to do with reading. well the story goes like this....

It had been my second attempt at trying to do the most sensible thing after a Masters in Communication and having worked for 2 1/2 years in a leading ad firm... I joined Orchard with the hope that things would change and i would this time try and successfully make it as a 'client services' executive. After all , I thought, those lovely formal blazers, client meetings and the air of borrowed importance can't be without some meaning. In addition i knew i had it in me to think of great ideas and just knew i would become the next female Santosh Desai in a couple of years. Just 6 months later i found myself walking back dejectedly to the pavillion (in this case back home) cursing advertising. Guess there is a thin line between making a mistake and being foolish a second time.

6 months in orchard and there i was, having these vague early morning blues (not just monday but 7 days of the week) yet again. I also had some value adds from my job... insomnia, perennial nervousness, chewed and bleeding nails and worst of all complete loss of Nithya tke original creative confident gal (:-D ahem!).

It was the day i put in my papers that i decided to do something i had never done earlier ..... visit a book shop!! just days before, i was one the the few people who literally scorned the over-read over- informed class... whats the big deal with books anyway....just a bunch of frustrated idiots writing loads of nonsense to make a living. And there i was.. at the odyssey book store looking for... err.... actually i didn't know what, but had this hunch i would find it among the balderdash written by those very same 'frustrated idiots'.
i guess it was that day that I made an honest effort to find answers to questions about life... questions , that were all children of my failure - failure in trying to be like someone, failure in trying to 'make it big' be 'rich'.... to be 'successful'.
Intuitively (Don't know whether such a thing as intuition does exist at all but that day it seemed to for me) somehow within minutes after entering the shop i chanced upon a book by Robin Sharma "Discover your destiny".... its a rather run of the mill book , to be honest, for someone who has read enough of philosophy and self improvement but at that point in time i guess it shouted out to me ....a starting point in my quest for answers, i thought .... "Why do we do what we hate when we know we have a choice"... "How is it that everyday people lie... and don't even know it"...,"How is it that we follow the same society that we condemn"... "How is it that we love compliments even when we know the guy who is saying it doesn't mean a word of it?".....
That day was a day of enlightenment... enlightenment to the fact that i had lots to unlearn and lots to learn.. As is often said; suffering/pain/setbacks are mothers of philosophy and spirituality.... at least thats how it was for me (though i knew that what i was facing was nothing compared to millions out there , who have bigger, more serious life problems).That day i realised that there was a deep void in my life . I was leading life like a zombie. There i was, having just quit the only job i knew... the only thing i had studied and done internships for, the only thing that had made me 'independent'. (such an irony isn't it?.. that it was AFTER i quit my job i realised, that true independence comes from being able to be completely yourself and pure; irrespective of changes in one's life).
But funnily i was happy... in a peaceful sort of way.. as if i had removed some unwanted layers and a heavy burden off my life... i felt light as a feather and innocent as a child..

In the following couple of weeks, i started to live life from the start... Somehow for the first time I realised, that one needs to have a strong sense of philosophy and purpose in life to be able to be truly peaceful and successful.... Its more than just a happy (or unhappy) job / family / friends that one needs in order to see sense in the nonsense of this world.

I realised at that point , that i was better off than all those people around me who were carrying on cushy jobs, but were actually in a state of trance... a state of darkness... a state they'll probably snap out of, only in their death bed. And wake up to ask questions like 'what have i done with my life?".

Anyway, that day was the day my friendship with books started... i read many of them .. mostly philosophy and psychology. some really good ones like the monk who sold his ferrari, siddhartha, alchemist, the power of now, notes to myself etc. I realised a few very important things that i would like you also to know... if not anything else atleast as food for thought...

1. Never underestimate the direction your deeper self gives you. Most of us have a voice telling us about our dreams, what we should be doing, how to be etc but in all the noise of the world we somehow lose ourselves... LISTEN to that voice!!

2. Never do anything just to prove. if anything do it just to be a better you.

3. Quoting Prather "there is no best in a world of individuals"... somehow i don't understand why people are so dependent on others as benchmarks to lead their life... isn't it shameful that we don't respect our own sense of direction enough?

4. Nothing is more important in life than to experience it. Not money not power not status ... NOTHING... the only thing one will ever regret is not having seen enough or done enough...

5. Try and love even your enemies(sounds gandhian but will risk the cliche')... you know they're not so bad... youve been worse at times!

6. NEVER do anything to abuse your physical or mental health. Do what youre good at and what suits you.

7. Be genuine and say only what you mean.

8. And most of all..... LIVE IN THE MOMENT

I just can't tell you how important that last point is.. this is an important take out from a book by a person called eckhart tolle. somehow living the moment brings a lot of peace and appreciation to life. i can't believe i turned from a nervous wreck to an internally clear and tranquil person within days after i tried this.

At the end of the day i realised, that what gives a person enormous peace is the presence of what i call an internal compass; that gives directions... The fact is that everyone has a compass... The difference between someone who looks for peace and someone caught in the maze, i guess, is that the latter just keeps telling the compass to shut up and the former comes to realise that the world actually lies within and not outside and cares to LISTEN to his compass.

Wondering why my blog is titled.. 'Tolle kya bole!' ? Well what do you expect an ex advertising exec to do... sell a product with headline that has almost nothing to do with it!! :-)


And sorry if i ended up sounding like a spiritual guru... was not intended!! :-)

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