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Posts tagged ‘inspiration’

Quarter Life Crisis & 4 Ways To Deal With It.

A quarter life crisis is not a myth. Every 20-something reaches a point in life that is the peak of the adult version of adolescence. At that point begin a series of assessments, of one’s accomplishments, relationships, and the past, present & future. More often than not, these assessments give way to disappointment, anger and confusion, or a 20-something’s version of a mid-life crisis. The severity and implications of a Quarter Life Crisis aka QLC vary with each individual.

A study solemnly reports that every 3 in 4 people aged 26 to 30 go through a Quarter Life Crisis, while the Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia have some broad opinions on what such a crisis entails. The pace at which our generation moves has redefined most demographics, and having just turned 23, I’m attempting to discuss how to cope with a QLC, and hoping I wouldn’t relapse.

1. Let go.

We carry a heavy burden from our past, of broken friendships, unfulfilled promises and seemingly wrong choices. In retrospect however, these defining moments have made us who we are today, and if we look deep down inside, we’ve turned out just fine. We’ll never know what those friendships might have brought us, or those promises. We’ll never know how a different choice might have changed our lives, for better or for worse.

What we do know is our present, and chances are, it’s not as bad as we sometimes make it look. Take what you have and move on. Empty your backpack of the burden. Let go.

contemplation, quarter life crisis

2. The 80-20 rule.

In the last few months, I’ve developed great affinity with a self-derived version of the 80-20 rule : Spend 80% of your time with 20% of the people that matter most. Adulthood is marked with a steep rise in responsibilities and commitments, leaving much less time to manage relationships. Gone are the days when we could juggle a dozen people every day on different scales of friendship and trust.

Ask yourself, who are the people that laugh and cry with you, that make you happy, and you’ll know how to use the 80-20 rule.

3. Do what you love.

It’s the only way to live. We do what we have to do so we can do what we want to do. Sometimes, it takes longer to be able to do what we love, but we have to continuously work towards that light at the end of the dark tunnel we’re stuck in.  As George Elliot says, it’s never too late to be what you might have been.

At a sub-conscious level, we know what we love to do. Many people put it into a box that hangs at the back of their heads, surfacing again at their mid-life crisis. Unlock that box and start adding thoughtful ingredients to it, so someday, your life will be the product of that concoction.

A friend pointed me to how-to-do-what-you-love wisdom by Paul Graham for further inspiration. Get inspired :)

4. Be comfortable in your own shoes

The only person you need to impress is yourself. Say that to yourself every moment of every day till you internalize it, and you’ll see a giant difference in the way you do things. It’s human nature to feel judged, but that’s also the greatest obstacle to making the most of life and everything that comes with it. I can’t help but urge you to read there’s-no-better-time-to-be-happy-than-now piece by Crystal Boyd.

I'm scared I can't be any more perfect, impress yourself,

Spend your QLC thinking of what really matters in life, because that’s all that matters. And know that you’re not alone, we’re all in it together.

Also read: 25 things I’d tell the 25-year-old me

SPONSORED: Want to do what you love for a living, but need the right degree? Check out these great degrees.

25 Things I’d Tell The 25-Year-Old Me.

1. The first quarter of your life is behind you. Let’s keep assuming you’ll live to be a 100. Live your best life.

2. Apply the 80-20 rule to life. Spend 80% of your time with 20% of the people who matter most.

3. May some things never change. Like you obsessing over your blog stats.

4. Sometimes, you’ve just got to take the shit people throw at you & move on.

5. By now, you should have said at least once in your life, “There’s no where else I’d rather be, and nothing else I’d rather be doing.” And meant it.

6. It’s not all downhill from here. ‘Life begins at 30′ might just be true.

7. It’s okay to lie for a good cause.

8. We’re past the Gandhian era. If life bitch-slaps you, don’t offer your other cheek.

9. If you don’t wake up every morning just for a glance outside your window, you better be panicking. Life is too short to live in an ugly place.

10. What good is your money if it can’t make you happy?

11. As people get richer, they get stingier. Poor & big-hearted is better than rich & stingy.

12. The difference between a good day & bad day is just a moment. Find yours.

13. On some days, create that moment for someone else.

14. Think BIG. Always.

inspirational, motivational

15. Life is too short to watch someone else live your dream. Look elsewhere.

16. Just because everyone does it, doesn’t mean it needs to be done.

17. Just because everyone says it, doesn’t mean you should too.

18. Allow space for your principles to evolve. It’ll make you a better person.

19. Once you’re dead, it doesn’t matter what your grave says.

20. Don’t obsess over what people think of you. Judge yourself.

20. Take risks. What’s the worse that could happen?

21. Treasure good friends. They only come along a few times in a lifetime.

22. You are the only one stopping yourself from the next best thing.

23. Is today the day you’ll try something new?

24. Treat yourself to some chocolate every once in a while.

25. Why so serious?

PS: I’ll be bordering 25 in 2 years. It’s never too early to share the wisdom :)

What would you say to your future self?

Graduation day

Commencement officially marks the end of student life, even though in our minds, the transition was made the day we finished our last exam in college. We’ve entered the next level of that video game that never ceases to fascinate us. Treasures have been found, hills climbed, landscapes traversed, battles fought and won or lost, accomplices identified, cheat codes memorized indelably. The time has come to remodel the avatar and refine the tasks.

Staging black gowns and graduation hats, the class of 2009 officially ended its undergraduate tenure. There were smiles and flashes everywhere; Commencement 2009 at SMU (Singapore Management University, from where I graduate) became the culmination of all memories created and collected over 4 years. My own ineffability thus far was transcended by a sense of delight and hope, and a tinge of nostalgia.

grad pic

Graduation - July 09 122

The commencement address, delivered by a member of the Keppel Coporation, was, in all aspects, disappointing, dismaying and demotivating. The R word was justified in being featured in the speech, but certainly not expected to consume it entirely.

Tell us that for one day, we can forget the recession, the economy, the downturn, the crisis. Tell us that for one day, we can smile about what is and not fret over what could have been, because in the bigger picture, luck is still on our side. Tell us that for one day, we need to think beyond the obvious and look beyond the obvious, because in our tiny little existences, there is a whole world we have forgotten to think about. Tell us that for one day, we can nourish the relationships we have built over 4 years, because they matter more than all the money we’ll make in the next 40. Tell us that for one day, we can revisit the dreams we dreamed as students. Tell us that for one day, we can believe in our potential and battle all odds. Tell us that from hereon, we can choose to write our own destiny. Drilling the economy’s distress into our heads will not help us survive these times, believing in us will.

I posted 3 brilliant graduation speeches post my unofficial graduation. I shall spare you the torture of the commencement address I heard live. Instead, here is an awesome, light-hearted speech by Ellen Degeneres at Tulane.

Happy Graduation, class of 2009!

Poetry at its finest

While reading The Motorycle Diaries, I came across this hauntingly beautiful poem written by Otero Silva, a Venezuelan poet and novelist born in 1908:

I heard splashing on the boat
her bare feet
And sensed in our faces
the hungry dusk
My heart swaying between her
and the street, the road
I don’t know where I found the strength
to free myself from her eyes
to slip from her arms
She stayed, crying through rain and glass
clouded with grief and tears
She stayed, unable to cry
Wait! I will come
walking with you.

Of Rural India & The Aasha Build

The soul of an Indian is incomplete without a journey into the heart of rural India. The 2 weeks I spent in the slum region of Hegdenagar / Kamanahalli (to which I partly owe my long absence from the blogosphere) has transformed my perspective on India’s development, and my own ambitions and issues.

Hegdenagar is an ignored little village, about an hour’s distance from Bangalore city, and a few decades’ development. Honestly though, I had imagined a replica of the Dharavi slums, and Hegnenagar’s cemented, albiet small and dilapidated houses, alleviated, if only for the shortest time, my anticipation of the living standards of our rural countrymen. I learnt later that most Dharavi-styled slums stand on illegal land, and Habitat India has fought its fair battle to abide by the law and take Hegdenagar through its first stage of development. The same houses which teased us with a heartening peek into rural life, home 8-10 families in their 300-350 sq-ft boundaries, math that left me bewildered. Constructing new homes for such families that could afford to move out formed the bulk of the physical aspect of our project. Unfortunately, sanitation, largely government terrain, is still ignored and untouched, and the stench of uncovered drains and waste threatens to curb any real progress.

We got our hands dirty and covered in cement and sand, shovelled and sifted sand and stones, lifted and transported stone bricks weighing 22 kgs, tore down and built and plastered walls, and experienced the hardships of construction workers while toiling under the scorching summer sun. But construction, even though a 9 to 4 task, was only a filler in our interaction with the residents of Hegdenagar, whose swarms of children breathed life into each sweaty afternoon, and whose women defined new levels of endurance in their heart-wrenching stories. However, what began as a construction project became, in no time, an immersion into what Aravind Adiga describes as the darkness in The White Tiger.


The Aasha Build joins Habitat's India Builds

Construction site I

Construction site I

Construction in progress

Construction in progress

The Aasha Build team with the kids of Hegdenagar & the half-built house

The Aasha Build team with the kids of Hegdenagar & the half-built house

Hegdenagar proved, among other things, that all children, irrespective of religion, upbringing and family income, dream the same dreams. Everyone wants to fly on a plane, devour chocolates and become a doctor. And everyone is united in spirit by cricket, which never failed to transform the narrow lanes of the village into a festival of cheering, hooting and fighting. The kids, with their innocent smiles and sparkling eyes, and their excitement and curiosity in befriending new people, evoked in us something more than sympathy in their vulnerable living conditions; a desire to inspire them so that someday, they too could see the world that lies beyond the borders of Hegdenagar, a sense of gratitude because unfair as it may be, the odds at birth were only slightly tilted in our favor, and a conviction that by virtue of those odds, we have the chance to impact the future of our country.

Sameena, nicknamed Taiba, wants to become the Prime Minister of India someday

Sameena, nicknamed Taiba, wants to become the Prime Minister of India someday

Sumera, The Aasha Build's official poster girl!

Sumera, The Aasha Build's official poster girl!



Bindu Aunty, affectionately named Rasna Aunty, a home owner whose Rasna rejuvenated us during all the building, with her kid

Bindu Aunty, affectionately named Rasna Aunty, a home owner whose Rasna rejuvenated us during all the building, with her kid

While The Aasha Build has altered my impression of rural India, Habitat India has strengthened my faith in the non-profit sector. Although Habitat For Humanity’s cause is projected purely as housing, Habitat India is involved in the lives of its beneficiaries to a commendable extent. In Hegdenagar, for instance, Habitat works with a smaller NGO called Birds, which directly oversees self-help groups in the region (a concept which demands a dedicated blog post). Birds runs a joint bank account for these women-only groups, supports microentrepreneurs, encourages savings, and ensures timely repayments of home loans for homes approved and built by Habitat; in short, Habitat and Birds together try to create some semblance of fair opportunity for all. Over the course of 14 days, I met some really inspiring, incredible people, who have dedicated their entire lives to causes they believe in. I hope to document their stories on The Aasha Build blog.

Tangibly, our team completed 2.5 houses, and contributed the cost price of 5 houses, which have been added to Habitat’s revolving housing fund. Intangibly though, the people of Hegdenagar showed me a face of India that I have sparingly dared to imagine. The hospitality and warmth demonstrated by the residents despite their modest living conditions was both suprising and touching. The hope that glows in the faces of its children tugged at our hearts, the innocence of their youth stirred an affection that I know will draw us back to the world that is rural India.

I’m entering this post into the Too busy to care syndrome contest. I am too busy to care, but want to do something. Jaago Re and are helping me do my bit for the society.

*Photos courtesy Deep & Aditya, The Aasha Build’s official photographers.


As adults, we often train ourselves to think in ways that favor us. Instead of rotating thoughts, ideas and opinions through 360 degrees, we fix them at an angle and refuse to twist them. Gradually, everything starts to enter a region of grey, and we reach a point where it’s hard to seperate good from bad, right from wrong, and black from white. 

I guess my point is that as we make our transitions into adulthood,  it is important to open up to perspectives. We are often ingrained with opinions about people and ideologies, and it can never hurt to switch shoes and re-evaluate them.

I didn’t mean this to be a motivational post, I promise. All I wanted to get across is that the world is full of perspectives, and if only we loosen up, we’ll start to enjoy the 360 degree view.

Here’s a video on perspectives, courtesy a friend.

If you aren’t wowed yet, watch it again. The words, when read forward paint a picture of negativity. The same words, when read in reverse, do just the opposite. It’s a brilliant, applaudable piece!

PS: I am joining the NaPloBoMo (National Blog Posting Month) network on Ning for the month of April. The theme this month is Growing Up, so (hopefully) there’ll be a lot more reflections to read here :)

Earth Hour 2009

To some of our minds, climate change is still a far-fetched issue, way out of our grasp and way beyond our time. Even as we speak, people are getting trapped in poverty and hunger all over the world. Our generation is suffering, and climate change is trying to make us reflect upon the well-being of future generations. I don’t know if it’s a just cause, but I do know that we are genetically coded to be futuristic. After all, we do all we do in our life time, so our race could survive further, consciously or sub-consciously. 

Above is a glimpse into climate change. If you have ever been awestruck by the picturesque view from a hill top, been hypnotized by the turquoise blue of the sea, or simply marvelled at the sheer beauty of the evening sky, you know that our planet is worth saving. You can read more on CNN’s exclusive section Planet in Peril.

Earth Hour is an initiative by the WWF, that tries to urge each individual, household and organization to turn off the lights for one hour. The event was spearheaded by WWF Australia in 2007, and has since been adopted by almost 82 countries worldwide. Today’s aim is to get 1 billion people to embrace the dark for an hour, between 8:30 and 9:30 pm, local time.

Earth Hour

On average, turning the lights off for an hour in a regular-sized city like Bangkok can decrease electricity usage by  165 mega-watts, which translates to nearly a 100 tonnes of carbon-dioxide, a gas believed to be a major contributor to global warming. 

Apparently, during Earth Hour last year, Google turned its homepage black for an hour. The power consumption of organic LED monitors, though rarely used,  reduces on webpages with black backgrounds. Google’s tagline read,   “We’ve turned the lights out. Now it’s your turn – Earth Hour.”

Earth Hour seems to be pretty big in Singapore this year, from social media campaigning, to more traditional advertising on billboards and dedicated events. The city is always so illuminated that you can barely spot stars in the night sky; it will be interesting to see what it looks like in the dark. 

Critics claim that the amount of energy and money spent in propogating Earth Hour, engaging volunteers, and garnering support and participation, will negate the amount saved during Earth Hour, if not exceed it. We need to understand though, that the initiative is more of a means to create awareness about climate change and our role in it. 

Here’s some food for thought from WWF, Canada:

Remember to turn off the lights tonight at 8:30 pm your time. Do it for our planet, for a nice candle-light dinner, or simply to reduce your electricity bill. Whatever your motivation, you could help save the world.

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race…

Coldplay Live in Singapore!

We didn’t get to heaven but we made it close.

 This is going to be a really short post, because I can’t even begin to describe what it feels like seeing Coldplay perform live! Chris Martin is really awesomeness personified, with an unbelievable voice and a truckload of energy. *Bows*


I am still suffering from Coldplay withdrawal symptoms, or as my friend would say, Coldstroke! I can still hear violet hill live in my head, I can still choke on Chris Martin doing fix you,  I am still speechless imagining the hardest part, I am still lost. What a concert!

And in the end
We lie awake
And we dream
We’re making our escape…

Under the night sky

She walks the lone road,

Silence stinging her senses

Like a cold wind would sting

Her bare skin,

But the night is still

And dark, and the sky is dark,

Embracing the dainty arch

Of the new born moon,

As though it were created to protect

The moon alone, and nothing below,

And no stars shone

Upon the silence of the night. 


She walks past a house masked

By dull peeling white, the smell

Of rust, and autumn in sight

In a garden, brown and bare.


She walks through the night

Till she reaches the end

Of her road, the end of all life,

And peers through the sky above

At the morning light, at the first rays

Of the rising sun.

A new horizon?


Note from a friend

Sometimes, when you are daunted by the road ahead, intimidated and overwhelmed by the future, a word of advice may be all it takes, a vote of confidence, some encouragement, from someone whose been there, done that, someone whose walked that path, survived. I found mine in a friend and senior from school, whose well on her way to becoming an entrepreneur. Here goes:

” …not a long time ago..i was in a similar situation as you..I had these colossal dreams..and no idea whatsoever as to how I could turn them into reality..job apps were disappointing..but I had braced myself to endure anything which would help add new skills to my personality..and bring me closer to becoming the kind of person i’ve always wanted to entrepreneur..

And trust me when i say might feel like none of these jobs will do justice to your what you can bring to the world..but they will make you stronger..they will teach you a very imp quality (a must for anyone who wants to carve out a new path for themselves) – Endurance.

Many around me tell me..this venture is a big risk..i could have settled for a job..steady income..and a reputable company with far less at stake..I don’t have an answer for them..i can’t tell them that it’ll succeed..because i honestly..dont know. All I know is..that if I didn’t find out today..then never again will I be able to. I might fail..but..I’ll be happier..than I would have been elsewhere..doing something else..being someone else.

But, the confidence to take this step..stems from the fact..that I did a lot of things I hated..because each one of them taught me something new..prepared me..for today..And this is exactly what I want to tell you..Don’t be upset..every hurdle along the way..becomes a stepping stone after you cross it..and every thing you do (irrespective of whether you love/hate it)..has a lesson in store…

Endure..learn..and retain..and before’ll turn your dreams into reality..

all the best!! “

Thanks Nidhi :) I owe you.


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