Sunday, February 04, 2018

Minimalism and Leadership

One of the ideas I have found myself to be most influenced by in recent times is that of minimalism. Minimalism in possessions, but also in thoughts and actions.
Being in a new role where the stakes always seem high hasn't been easy, but the only idea that has helped me cope is the constant guiding question of: is this strategic? What is the best use of my twenty-four hours? How much of it is going towards quelling short-term fires, and how much towards longer-term growth, well-being, and slow but stronger and systemic change. Could even the first kind be a step towards the second? What is life but a series of decisions we make in the face of constraints? What is life but a long workshop in strategy? Isn't minimalism just strategy - choosing only what adds value and recognizing that any surplus might actually deplete value?
Some of my strongest successes in my role as an enabler have been when I've found the sweet spot of 'enough', when I've let go of the desire to prove *my* relevance, and have found comfort in my role of planting ideas and enabling conditions for them to be nurtured, when I've freed myself from the comforting feeling of *doing* a lot. Last week was a significant step in this direction. In attempting to find my method in madness, I stumbled upon the life-changing link between minimalism and trust. The challenge we are attempting to tackle requires a collective, and that requires that we don't just support, challenge, but also trust each other. That's the only way we'll be able to define a beautiful line of action around our roles - a limiting line of action that will make our locus of impact limitless.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Things in Boxes

It is time to put things in boxes
Times like this bring the customary over-analysis
Of moments tagged to places
And memories attached to objects
And people, 
of course, people
But we don't use them as symbols
They are the ones we find symbols for
In things, in places, in terrible attempts at obscure poetry
Just like this one
Isn't poetry a tool of deception?
One immensely empowering
through its nature
of concealed ammunition and partial catharsis
of uncorrupted choice to the poet
of the ratios of revelation and concealment
independent of the constant of expression
Free form is convenient
It's one of those big inclusive boxes
that eliminates a lot of smaller ones

Saturday, August 27, 2016

I think of coffee stained pages
and loose, ink-stained sweatshirt sleeves
of the valley beyond the library window
and the long road to the hospital
that was frustratingly uninspiring
I think of the road trips and the life lived on the edge
of adventure, eccentricity, wanderlust and madness
of how a lot of it was painstakingly deliberate
of how rain is never about the moment right now
of how when the red bricks soak, they register
but not quite
of how when the frogs come out
and when the green is pronounced
and when the air is laden with petrichor
and when LKP floods and footballers play
of how a lot of it is observation
one step short of experience
always almost there
but never quite
The shroud lifts only briefly
only to reveal what wonders lie beneath
and falls back very lightly
so you see through it but you can't feel
you can smell but not touch
I am a prisoner in my mind
and may be that is why I write

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Goodbye

Bangalore : Hey! Heard the ticket you're carrying is one way.
Me : Yeah
B : Here, take this ridiculously gorgeous and dramatic sunrise at the center of the road.

Me : Why, thanks! I can't believe you'd do this for me!
B : I didn't make it specially for you, but go ahead, take it personally. 
Me : I'm gonna miss you! 
B : Don't be embarrassing. I've already moved on.

Friday, March 18, 2016

To Leaving

A city is the crowd that makes you feel lost and insignificant. It is the finding of kindred souls in unexpected places. It is the claiming of freedom through the privilege of anonymity. It is the art and culture scene that happens in its theaters and city halls, and also in its parks and cafes. It is late nights and inebriation and long, aimless conversations. It is the rooftop of a friend's place with a beer in hand, or the quiet balcony of a dream home you moved into that you never could make your own. It is the unfinished businesses, the unsaid goodbyes, unexpressed sentiments, unvisited corners, unknown alleyways and markets that you wanted to see but probably never enough to make it happen. It is the beginnings and non-endings of uncooked could-have-beens. It is the rush hour traffic that chokes you at times, and comforts you at others, the landmarks that are remarkable only to you because you cared enough to notice, the books you've read on the commute that dissolved into the landscape to make it come alive. It is the language you never quite learnt, the regrets that lurk in the corners as you cross them, the nostalgia that you know is going to follow you, the moving-ins and moving-outs, the stability and the ennui, the wanting to belong and the realization that you finally do when it's time to leave.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Atticus and I

So, apparently, Atticus Finch is a racist.
Last night, I cruised through the city in a cab trying to decipher, for the millionth time, what this darkness that lurks inside is really about. For the longest time, I thought this is how people were. Now I know that that is not the case. It is not very common to be having an absolutely 'normal' or even 'good' time, and suddenly be hit by this sinister sense of darkness. I use the term darkness because I don't know how else to describe it. It is often just nothingness and hollowness, but many times, it feels like disappointed idealism. The world disappoints me in many ways, but more importantly, I disappoint myself every single day. I think, perhaps if I could come to terms with the 'grey' nature of existence, I'd be more at peace. I am still able to love people with their flaws, but may be that love would be more 'complete'. May be I'd be able to make peace with the fact that Atticus was not strong enough to resist social conditioning, and neither am I. Or may be, this is how I'd go through life, never fully accepting myself or loving myself, because isn't that how I have always been?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I sit after a busy busy day hoping that all of this matters - this wanting to make a change, to learn, to help, to be better. This tangle of responsibilities and answerabilities. This rush. This longing for the comfort of the bed, and yet wanting to stay awake for the greater luxury of typing out a few lines. This tiny little precious personal perfect moment of solitude in the deepest, darkest hour of the night. The desire to make this moment, this rain-laden breeze, this sound of the keys on the keyboard, the faint sound of crickets outside and all of the pervasive silence my own. This wanting to hold on to this moment lest the night give way to the day that is devoid of all this magic.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

I am the happiest in open spaces - spaces where I can stretch out my arms, make a full circle and claim the space. Perhaps, that is my personal key to happiness - having that space physically and metaphorically in my life at all times. And then, life is just about having the space and striving for that space. Just a few yards of empty space around me - a space to call my own.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Stand by your supposed-to-be's. Because no one else will. And because if you do, they won't let you down.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wait wait wait! Hold on! Spare me tonight, darkness. Not yet. I'm just learning to hope again. Tiny baby steps. Tiny little breaths of trusting anticipation and appreciation for the beautiful uncertainty of life. Tiny little whiffs of the uncharted unknowns. Let me, for now, soak in all of this. I am young. I am alive. And life is so intoxicatingly beautiful!