25th Birthday, 25 Lessons 

25th Birthday, 25 Lessons 

19th November 2017 – I am a quarter century old today ! I was pretty much excited for my 25th birthday. My entire year went awesome; explored new places, made new friends, discarded some toxic people from my life and spent a lot of time with nature and myself. I wanted my 25th birthday to be a different experience, not regular partying and dinner scenes. Wanted to disconnect and be with nature, see the sunset, sunrise, and the night sky. So I booked star gazing camping with a travel group, at a village where there would be hardly any network. I was almost reaching the base railway station of the campsite (Asangaon), and I get a call from my mother that my grandmother passed away. I returned home to support my family. I had spent almost 6 hours in train continuously , had a very bad headache too. But I had to be strong, I did not even shed a tear in front of my mom or dad. My sinus triggered due to train commute and stress. My birthday eve and weekend was not at all close to what I had planned, but how does it matter ? You need to be there when your family needs you. 

My birthday overall went good, I disconnected myself, no calls at 12 am, as anyway had to get up early as mom had early morning flight. I watched the sunrise, had a good breakfast and my close friends came over to my place to cheer me up and took me out for sometime. 

I took the time to reflect, and jotted down 25 lessons I have learned so far; 25 lessons learnt documented on my 25th birthday :

  1. Not everything will go as per your plan, accept it , life is full of uncertainties, be prepared for everything
  2. You and only you are responsible for your happiness, there are external factors, but peace of mind is an internal job
  3. Laugh and smile often, makes you forget everything for that moment
  4. Manage your finances well, you never know when you may need surplus money
  5. Live in the moment
  6. Don’t postpone things and happiness for a later time unless necessary
  7. Waking up before the sunrise leads to a very positive day , gives immense energy and even some quality me-time
  8. Face your fears, small steps at a time, but do face them, may or may not conquer
  9. Distance and Duration of friendship doesn’t make it strong or weak. It all depends on the connection between two true selves.
  10. Spend time doing something you love, as much and whenever possible, it refreshes you
  11. Stay away from toxic people and negative sources, automatically focus on oneself would be more.
  12. Take care of your health, nothing is worth compromising your health
  13. Follow your heart, don’t seek too much advice from outside, everyone has a different path and outlook.
  14. Document experiences, whenever possible, a good way to reflect on your experience, positive or negative.
  15. Respect every opinion
  16. Let things go
  17. Your family will always support you , and want the best for you
  18. Love yourself, always be there for yourself.
  19. There are some people who always want you to stay happy and smiling, Treasure them
  20. You cannot please everyone, and even trying that is merely waste of time
  21. Not having any expectations from anyone is the simplest formula for happiness
  22. No point in stressing about things which are beyond your control
  23. Don’t create mental blocks for anything
  24. Never say no to any new opportunity, even if it seems challenging 
  25. Travel as much as you can, we were born nomads, and not meant to be in one place forever

    Straight From My Heart, 

    Prakriti 

    The Pursuit of Fitness- Starting small

    Five kilograms in five months…she couldn’t understand the reason for the sudden weight gain ! She turned into a lazy girl, with minimum physical activity. All she desired was to sleep in her free time. She started her introspecting-Was it the change in lifestyle ? Or is she suffering from depression !? Maybe it’s a mandatory weight gain after joining office and the “corporate club”.

    More than the weight gain, she was more concerned about the changes in attitude. There was nothing much to look forward to in her life, other than dressing up, going to office, coming back and sleeping, and yes plan for the weekends. She had promised herself in college, that her life would be more than this, more than just waiting for the weekends, eating out, posting pictures on social media and repeat.

    Is this my story, or a close friend’s ? No. This is every individual’s challenge, who enters the corporate world, leaving behind the active college life. This is every person’s story who starts spending more on luxury and eating out. Moreover, those who fall in the trap of peer pressure or rat race or whatever you call it, and follows image management to post pictures of clubbing, drinking, exotic food dishes irrespective of realising whether it makes them content. There is nothing wrong in eating out, there is nothing wrong in posting pictures. Even my Snapchat and Instagram is filled with food and cafe pictures. What is wrong when this activity itself becomes the happening stuff in life.

    I realized the absence of real physical activity, other than daily commute (which is not considered an exercise, as its routine) when I decided to stop eating out. I missed posting on Snapchat and Instagram. It also gave me a deeper understanding for the love of food I have developed. Connecting the dots, the reason I wished to sleep more and why I never woke up fresh for office, was the absence of physical activity and actual purpose of life.

    Fitness by definition means-“the condition of being physically fit and healthy.”For me, health includes all physical, mental and emotional health. Our lifestyles are really messed up, which makes it difficult for one to be fit according to this definition. We rush to catch our trains, metros, cabs ; Missing the most important meal of the day- Breakfast. We feed ourselves with biscuits and chai most of the time. And we have late dinners, and then interrupted sleep. Apart from the lifestyles, there are enough crabs present in our lives who will keep us away from reaching our goals. If you haven’t read the crab in the bucket theory find it here.

    The only way out is to take control, stay away from negative people and start small. Start from relatively easy exercises, and later push yourself. There would be a lot of inertia in the beginning, but once we overcome it, it becomes easier to continue. When I started cycling after about 7 years, I had no confidence at all for a long distance ride. But after the first ride itself, I felt so much happy and confident that I started looking forward to cycle rides. Then I joined Zumba, as I thought I am not a gym person and I love dancing. But yes, the challenge is to overcome the inertia and believe in the change you want to see. As nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar says it will take atleast 6 months of eating right, sleeping well and exercising well to the years of damage we have done.

    So go on, start small and follow the way to fitness. All of us are in some way, or the other in this pursuit, the pursuit of fitness.

    PS-The next few posts will describe how I started exercising again in different forms.

    Straight From My Heart,

    Prakriti Singh

     

     

    Discovering myself at Sarasgad – My solo hike experience

    Discovering myself at Sarasgad – My solo hike experience

    I left, all alone for my first solo trek. But no, I wasn’t alone, I had the spirit of adventure with me, I had the desire to explore.
    It was not a pre planned solo trek, it was supposed to be a group one, but later all backed out, some because it was risky in the season(it rained heavily one day before). But once I make up my mind for something, I go for it. So I decided to conquer Sarasgad fort, the base village for which is Pali, alone. At first, the thought seemed very scary, but then I planned for it. I decided to take 7 am ST bus for Pali from Panvel. As it’s very unsafe for a solo female hiker, I kept my pepper spray with me, and even practised few kicks, punches and aims with the pepper spray. I packed my bag with overall 1.5 L water bottles, stole, cap, extra clothes, sanitizer, towels and some fruits. There were many constraints which I was aware of, the major one that I had no power bank, and my phone has a battery problem; Imagining myself lost(worst-case) with no humans around, without any means of communication, made me question my decision. Later as a solution, I decided to keep mobile data off, and use my phone in battery saver mode throughout the journey, that meant no snapchats, no maps, just me and the people around in case I need help. I even made a milestone list to track my journey, and even motivate myself at every step. Once done with planning, I slept early to reach on time at Panvel. Both excitement and nervous filled me, somehow managed to sleep.

    Milestone 1: Boarding Panvel-Pali bus 

    The next day, I was on time, it was all dark when I left home. On reaching Panvel, I enquired about the bus for Pali, and within few minutes got it. For the first time in my life, I was travelling in a ST bus. There was a weird hesitation inside me, or I can say, a kind of fear, which accompanied me. This feeling was there inside since morning, when I was packing up, going through my checklist, wearing my shoes and when I left. Ignoring this weird feeling,  I concentrated on the surroundings, the view and decided to forget all tension. The song “Yuhi chala chal rahi, yuhi chala chal rahi, kitni haseen hai yeh duniya“( The traveler travels… just like that, The traveler travels…just like that, How beautiful is, this world) was running in my mind. The route was full of greenery, green  hills, green grass and green trees all around. The bus takes the Bombay-Pune road, from Khopoli, it enters the Khopoli-Pali road and enters taluka Sudhagad.

    Milestone 2: Reaching Pali , Having Breakfast

    As planned, reached Pali at 9, luckily the bus was on time. By this time, the weird feeling, the fear, the hesitation was vanished. Reaching Pali, was a major milestone of my plan. I decided to start by visiting Pali Ganpati temple, which is one of the“Ashtavinayak” Lord Ganesha.

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    Before starting I wanted to have proper breakfast, my friend Dinesh had given me a contact of a local resident Harshal who had a food joint there. I called him, but he dint pick up. I kept walking and found a good place and ordered misal paav, one of my favourite breakfast item.I found some people staring at me, maybe because I was alone, and everyone in group of friends or family, the only person seemed welcoming and smiling was the boy who got my order. Confirming the way to the fort from him, I continued.

    Milestone 3: Start of the hike

    Walking for few minutes landed me to the start of the journey. I could see the map, and a narrow way between houses.

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    Wondering if it is the right way, I confirmed again from a female who was passing by. She confirmed back that I was on the right way, but after knowing that I am going alone, she started shouting that its very risky and I shouldn’t be going. She managed to gather few people too. Everyone said the same. Apparently there was no hiking group which started for the fort that day, and few “bad boys” according to them who went up. No this was something unanticipated, and shattered my confidence I had gained from Panvel to Pali journey. I could see the fort from below, and I thought it would be very stupid to return from there, hence started. I walked for few minutes and I came across a diversion, both ways I could just see narrow pathways surrounded by tall grass. I took one for way which seemed obvious, took few steps and all I found was, tall grass. The pathway was blocked completely because of grass and plants. No way was seen through it.It was very risky to get into it, now I could understand why the villagers reacted that way. Unwilling to give up, called up Harshal( the localite) , hoping this time he would pick up. He did in sometime, and came rushing there too, he was the same friendly guy who got the breakfast for me. Unknowingly we met before, had a conversation too, like we were destined to meet. After discussing with him, came to know that there is a separate route too, which is actually meant for hikers and trekkers , its from the opposite side of the fort. He suggested that his brother will guide me to that route.

    I thought it would be a simple route, but it was steeper,more challenging and through dense forest.

    Harshal’s brother insisted me not to go alone, but I insisted him to let me, as otherwise it wouldn’t serve the purpose. Finally he agreed; and I went by myself to continue.

    Milestone 4: Reaching the top

    With a stick in hand, eyes and ears alert, I kept walking and climbing. Tall grass, rocks in between, slippery hills, nothing could stop me.

    I just had one thing in my mind,  I have to reach the top. There were places when I felt I wont be able to go further. The first time I came across a probable block, totally steep rocks, I panicked, wondering how would I manage. It was like a big challenge for me, but I managed, the grass which seemed hurdle for me, came to rescue, it gave me better grip while climbing. Similar blocks kept coming; I found my own way to keep moving forward. It became more and more humid, and the route more and more difficult. At a point later, I felt lost again, couldn’t find the way ahead. With no humans within kilometres, there was no point in shouting for help too. I halted, took deep breathes, and felt good about reaching so far. The small, quaint village of Pali was visible. I settled on a rock somehow.

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    By this time, I started enjoying the silence; the silence of nature. I started enjoying being alone; I began my introspection, trying to find answers to the questions I had within myself. Then suddenly I hear a hissing noise, and felt something crawling near my feet, Yes , it was a snake !! Startled initially, but dint make any movement, and it just passed quietly. That time I realized, Nature doesn’t harm humans, humans harm nature.

    Gaining confidence, started again. It was cloudy by then, something which was both a reason for being happy and worried, happy as the scorching heat won’t trouble me, worried as it would be really difficult if it starts raining. Hence I increased my pace to avoid getting stuck between insects and snakes. I climbed and climbed, and finally almost reached the base. I could see the fort , and was curious to get to the top, and other side.

    Completely exhausted due to the humidity, I decided to give my back some rest. Lying on the grass, with a sense of satisfaction, was a beautiful feeling that nothing can replace. I walked a little further, and decided to stop, and go back. Not that I gave up, but my purpose was fulfilled, the journey gave me answers I was searching for. Also it was a calculative decision, as continuing the return journey, when it rained would be difficult; and I couldn’t afford to wait.

    Milestone 5: Return Journey

    I thought the return journey would be very easy, but again, obvious assumptions tend to be wrong. I was confident and bold, with no fear at all, but there were times I literally sloped down the steep rocks. Finding the way was another task, I got confused between the trees and landmarks which I thought would help me in my return trip.

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    Instead of descending vertically, I started going horizontally, like a crab. Using this technique, I covered most of the area. I reached near to the village. But I knew I was going on a different route than I started. Looking at the village, managed to find the way. And this way, I reached down. I could see the twin fort of Sudhagad too.

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    Harshal had come to pick me up. He was still worried, but happy to see me happy and safe. He told me it was a risky decision, to continue it alone, that too from the opposite side. I also became aware that monkeys in approximately groups of 20,attack hikers, particularly in that season.He purposely dint tell me prior to the start. I felt grateful, that I din’t encounter such attacks. He dropped me at a restaurant near ST bus stand and returned to his.

    As soon I entered the restaurant, it started raining heavily. I looked back, and thanked God again. Feeling dehydrated, ordered fresh lime soda and puri bhaji after changing my clothes.

    The Conclusion

    I couldn’t conquer the fort, but I conquered one of the biggest fear, which every human share, the fear of being alone. An extrovert by nature, can enjoy being alone too. The writer within me loves to spend time alone, get lost in nature, because nature has its own way to answer questions, and provide guidance.The journey made me firmly believe something which I always read and found beautiful, Paulo Coelho’s quote, When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. Connected everything to it- me unknowingly halting at Harshal’s restaurant, those villagers warning me, the snake passing by, my decision to descend, me being safe and not attacked by monkeys… and then it all made sense…

    Straight from my Heart,

    Prakriti Singh

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    The Storm…

    She could see the storm outside,
    She could feel one inside
    It rained heavily and continuously,
    But the intensity of her tears seemed more…
    Never before she actually understood what a “heavy heart” meant
    Heart so heavy, she could feel her body sinking
    Walking in the rain, trying to hide her tears…
    Tears which didn’t stop !!
    “Why me ?” she thought
    Life is all unfair she started believing
    Cursing her luck, and destiny
    Anger, sadness, all came out as tears
    The storm outside settled soon,
    Birds started chirping
    The grass seemed more green
    Roads more clean…
    Heart still heavy, the girl realized,
    She got the message..
    Nature’s own way of saying
    There will always be sunlight after a storm.
    Sooner or later…
    That this is Life..
    And Life goes on
    Keep Moving…

    Straight from my heart,
    Prakriti