Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why i so strongly recommend the Art of Living :)


It was 4 years ago that I was first told about something called the Art of Living and how it helps transform lives by empowering individuals. Like any other youngster my age, I felt strongly apprehensive in even remotely being a part of anything that seemed connected to religion/spirituality/Yoga and so on. Thankfully I was convinced by my school senior and now an AOL teacher Pranav Bhatia join one YES + (Youth Empowerment Seminar) course in which you invest 3 - 4 hours each day for close to a week.

There were many other youngsters from all walks of life in my course and each one seemed to have similar confusions regarding what the course will actually give them. 3rd day of the course and we were introduced to something which we are never ever going to forget all our lives. Called the ‘Sudarshan Kriya’ , it was a breathing exercise where you have to breathe in particular cycles of long breaths. Only if it was possible for me to tell you how it feels the first time one does the Kriya I would have definitely told you, but just so happens that you can't explain it. It just does magic to your body and you suddenly feel relaxed, light, tension free, less burdened and many other things. Till date I am perplexed how a simple breathing exercise did that to me, but it did. The rest of the course also was a very memorable experience which included a wide array of teachings which cater to youngsters and help them in their personal and professional lives.

Just like we treat all other good things that happen in our lives, after that short stint I sadly moved away from AOL to my ‘regular mundane life’. Three years later, something clicked inside me and I decided I need to give the AOL advance course a shot to try something new. Must give you a brief about this particular exercise - The advance course is a 4 day course, where you spend the entire day at the course. One of the most remarkable features of the course was that every participant had to stay quiet (keep ‘maun’) for 3 WHOLE DAYS! :O I don’t remember the last 15 minutes of my life that I spent without uttering a 100 words at least. “3 days? Are you crazy??” I said to myself. But then maybe being crazy is what it was going to take to experience magic that was about to unfold :)

What followed over the 4 days during the course is something I can’t really pen down. I have done quite a few interesting things in life, ones that i am very proud of, but the moment the 4 days were over, i said to myself "These have been the 4 best days of my entire life" (so far, as they tell me AOL has more to offer :D :) )
The feeling is like that of the favourite pasta you crave to have, like that dream holiday you have always been wanting to go to, like what you felt when you by mistake topped an exam, like eating the best chocolate in the world that you didn't know existed.

Is the experience momentary you may ask? The answer is no, it stays, it stays on for long :) Why? How? Don’t really know, but can vouch for it for sure because I can feel it :)

Until I did this course, ‘Bliss’ was just a word. Now I know what it means to feel bliss :)

Coming over to you, you've experienced a lot in life. You've done so many things. You've achieved so much. Why do you do all of that? To feel happy and content and satisfied, right? Now how about getting to know that all that happiness and peace actually lies within you and you can feel it each and every day that you spend here on the planet? 

Wouldn’t you want to experience it at least once? If nothing else, do it as an experiment :) Even if this were the first and last thing i were to recommend you all  my life, i'll go ahead and do it :)

Still not convinced? To be honest, it'd be sad if you leave this world without doing if nothing else, then the kriya at least. You will in any case regret not doing it earlier whenever you do it, but that’s a different case; to not do it is like saying no to primary education of this subject called Life. 

Do you have to pay? Yes. Now you may ask why do you have to pay? Lets see.. How much did you spend in all the 'education' you've received till date. A few lakhs ATLEAST. Now how much can it pain you to spend a few thousand bucks more? The basic course fee is just Rs 1500. (That's like an evening out with 4 friends)

Where do these courses happen? They happen right around you! Near your college, near your house, near your workplace, they are just all over the place!

Any more doubts or details, please feel free to get in touch with me.

Actually that is what the problem is, we just never feel free, NEVER :) Do the course and you will begin to realise what it is to feel that ways :)

Am i getting paid to write this? Do i have vested interests in promoting this? Haa haa haa :) The only thing i might be able to achieve by doing this is to perhaps help at least one of you see the world in a different light and feel so so so happy :D

Did i exaggerate while writing all of this. Well if you know me you know i exaggerate most happy things in life, but having said that this one time i am being pretty honest :)

Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam – One World Family

Monday, October 18, 2010

Goonj 2010 Its Here

Goonj 2010 Its Here

Life is funny and I am a firm believer of that fact. Today has always had a long story set in yesterday. I am going to get a little personal and candid this time :) . 3 years ago, I did not as much as know where Gujarati Samaj exactly was in Delhi. I had very few Gujarati friends, that too all being from my colony – Gujarat Vihar. Most of the Gujarati folk seemed somewhat alien, since I wasn’t sure if I could ever gel with anyone. While I understood bits of the language, speaking was next to impossible, and you will have a good laugh if you stand beside me when I still utter few sentences.

But times, they change without warning. One fine day I got a call and was invited to attend a ‘meeting’ at Gujarati Samaj. To add to drama, I can fairly say that one call changed my ‘Social Life’ forever. We(a bunch of gujju youngsters) met up to discuss details about organizing a fest. Every subsequent week, we met and met some more ending up organizing Delhi’s first Gujarati Fest ‘GOONJ 2007’. While the fest was a success, there was a bigger success that happened behind the scenes. I got connected with a lot of gujjus, and suddenly they became my immediate friend circle. The bonding between everyone grew so strong, that I am as of today a ‘Muh Bola Bhai’ to a generous population in Delhi :) .  We all ate so many thalis and had so many chaach’s and spent time around so many uncle and aunties who lived Gujarati, Slept Gujarati and most importantly ate Gujarati, that my ‘Gujaratification’ process started!

3 years down the line and after 3 annual fests, many other events, whole lot of thali, tea-samosa outings at Samaj, I hereby happily declare, “I am Proud to be a Gujarati”! and I am glad to have found and met some of the most awesome people in my life in my own city and community.

“Ab zara mudde ki baat pea ate hain”

G O O N J 2 0 1 0 is here and is here with a bang! Meetings with participation from corners of the city are on in full swing! And we are thrilled to announce that this year’s fest is on 31st October 2010 at Shah Auditorium, Gujarati Samaj.

Auditions for various events like Dancing, Fashion Show, Singing, Gujju’s got Talent shall be held on Sunday, 10th October and Thursday, 14th October. To register yourself and participate, please call up our coordinators at 99680 51034, 98680 69690 .

To give you a feeling of what Goonj is and what it has been like to be a part of it, following pages have articles from Goonj 2007 and Goonj 2008. Read and enjoy :)

Request you to join Delhi Gujarati community on Facebook to get updates – 

Prateek Raja Shah
Mail feedback to youthkigoonj@gmail.com , or sms to 98106 20791

Monday, September 13, 2010

I am Sorry

I am Sorry

Unusual title to the article? Yes, I guess so too. But that was the most relevant topic I could think of writing on for this issue. As many would know, Jains all over the world are celebrating Paryushan Parv and on the day of Samvatsari, people say Micchami Dukdam to each other, which requests forgiveness from everybody we know if we have hurt them in any form whatsoever knowingly or unknowingly.

Sorry as per me is one of the strongest words that is grossly underused especially in the present day world. We commit more mistakes than we ever used to, be it at home, in the office, the college or even as we go somewhere on the street and confront strangers. But none of that results in an increase in the apologies. Why? Because something else has taken over us, its called EGO. Yes, wrote in caps because it is that big. Ego, a term largely associated with snobbish individuals who would throw around attitude for no reason is now a common trait available in abundance amongst kids, youngsters, middle aged and the elderly. Why? No reason whatsoever, just the feeling of being (read feeling) important. You have people get into arguments at the drop of a hat, and then continuing to argue till the other person gives up. Rarely would you find people owning up to faults, or even accepting part fault and apologizing to others to sort matters out. They feel insanely proud of ‘winning’ arguments and making the other person be looked down upon.

What does it take? I ask, to say the three magical words “I am Sorry.”.  Seems simple as simple could be, but I guess man finds it way too tough to say something that simple or bow down in front of somebody, even if they know that somebody is right and they are wrong.  Funny, very funny. While apologizing too much in life can make others think you are always on the defensive and never right, everybody must make an effort to ensure they apologies when required.

Religion has always meant to show us the larger picture which we all very conveniently forget. By saying Micchami Dukdam one day, you don’t really cover all the sins you have committed over the year, but it is supposed to be a reminder to not sin again. We should think twice if not thrice before speaking ill of others, we should contemplate multiple times before doing wrong things that may harm others and we must never ever deliberately bring upon harm on to others.

Having said all of that, I personally know that I speak a lot of ill of a lot of people mockingly or otherwise. I therefore extend my apology to all of them and you the readers through this medium. May you forgive me for mistakes that I commit, correct where required and help in making me a better writer and thus individual.

Sorry! :)

Prateek Raja Shah
Mail feedback to youthkigoonj@gmail.com , or sms to 98106 20791

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Delhi Dhul Gayi

Delhi Dhul Gayi

Aa gayi bearish, ho gayi chhutti.

With the rains just round the corner, all Delhiites look for that one column in the newspaper  which is authored by the met department. Breezy, 39 C, chances of RAIN! Drizzles, drizzles and more drizzles before it finally starts raining one fine day(much after the predictions) .

The mood suddenly changes, the frowns become smirks, the dull faces become lively smileys and the pale yellow trees also suddenly start looking greener. The kids enjoy getting drenched in rain, the females put their umbrellas to more use than just getting protecting themselves from the sun and the bike riders get to use their wind cheaters which have been lying unused in the trunks at home. Office goers look outside the window , thinking how it would feel to be out there and the ones who are out there keep thinking of places to take shelter and dry themselves up.

After reaching its peak, slowly and steadily it recedes till finally leaving you with drops falling off leaves and railings which could manage to store some of the water that came their way. The real story begins now. The sun comes out, beaming infra red rays from up there. The roads get water logged as if they were originally supposed to be man-made lakes and had gone dry due to some reason. The clothes get wet like they would if kept in a washing machine and forgotten about. Cold spreads like it was the worst trojan virus to ever set foot on this planet.

Since Delhi experiences the extremes of all weathers, we manage. We manage to get our vehicles stuck in rain water. We manage to make the place under bridges our safe temporary haven when riding a bike. We manage to not react too badly to scolding received due to late coming to school/college/office. We manage to dry up our clothes and not make it look like the non ironed cramped clothes are the same as were dressed in yesterday. We manage to lead simple lives without internet because the wires are messed up with the rain and humidity.

We love the rain. We hate the rain. We reign the rain or the rain reigns us, that is the question.

Rain rain come again?

After the sun makes everything way too dry,
we crave for drops which will fall from the sky,
and fill our hearts with vigour and joy,
soon enough, the monsoon does come by.

Then its time for jalebi, pakodas, tea and coffee,
not to miss the the love birds that roam the locality,
or the pleasant weather with breezy velocity,
which engulfes the city with scenic beauty.

So far so good, but then the troubles begin,
water logged roads, jams and drenched skin,
to be followed with a lot of sneezing and coughing,
and conked off phones which suddenly stop ringing.

To love it or not is entirely your say,
after all, things are balanced both the ways,
all i can think of is "rain rain go away,
come again another day, little Johnny wants to play"

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Time Nathi maari paase!!

Time nathi maari paase!!! Arre jaldi maa chu!!! Ohhoo, late thaaye che!!!

are some of the words and phrases we use commonly each day. Why? Have we been given the task to run a country? Have we turned into actors and actresses overnight? Is the time you and I get lesser than other people in the world?

No, obviously not. Then why do people keep cribbing and complaining about the lack of ‘time’ in their lives, how they don’t get ‘time’ to do things they like, why nobody else in the entire company/friend circle/society is as busy as they are? All for a simple reason, we don’t know how to use our ‘time’. I know suddenly you will ask the 10 year old in your home to come and read this article, but the harsh reality is that this is meant for you and you sitting besides watching TV and even the ones whom you will tell later about the same. Youngsters or elders, working professionals or housewives, we all love to waste time in things that have less or no importance at all and this small write up is a small attempt to try and evoke the feeling of managing time better.

Let me be honest, I am pretty bad at this myself, which is why I m writing this in the first place. When asked to submit this edition’s Youth ki Goonj, I thought for a moment, let me skip it and not write but then realized how important it was and decided to push other things rescheduling them. So what do we do when an important task is given to us. We do it if we like it, and procrastinate if we don’t. That’s how the entire world works. But then there are the people who do well in life. The achievers, the stars, the famous ones and more who may not have necessarily known more than when they were born nor might they have had better circumstances than you did as they grew up, but they just turned out to be better, through appropriate management of ‘time’.

Everybody around us stresses a lot on studying, getting degrees, good marks and a whole lot of other things. They forgot to add the all important lesson of time in our course books. By prioritizing right, and by ensuring the right things happen at the right time, the rest of byproducts in life (marks, money, mental peace) will automatically be taken care of. Sounds tough to believe right? That’s the whole thing, the biggest secrets in this life are toughest to digest, yet they are true.

How do we change? In fact do we want to change? What do I do if I want to change? That I am afraid are questions we need to ask ourselves. And here’s another secret. The answer lies with us as well J We just need to spend time with ourselves and sort this out. Once done, I can guarantee your life to have become far more productive in all respects. And the lack of time will soon be converted into so much of time that you will start wondering what to do with it.

Start writing for a magazine I say, it’s a good ‘time’ pass J

Feedback appreciated as always, we are overwhelmed to receive good reactions and responses through email, phone and sms. Thank you all for the love J

Prateek Shah (Raja)
For previous articles – Log on to http://youthkigoonj.blogspot.com
Feedback - youthkigoonj@gmail.com or
SMS YKG followed by feedback to 98106 20791

Monday, June 21, 2010

Haalo South India!

Ae Haaalo re halo, amey farwa chaliye! Been on this trip to South India over the past few days, and think there’s no better topic to write on than the experience. Presenting now, Travelogue South India!

So my first stop was Chennai. No matter how much you may have supported or loved the super kings for winning the IPL, being to Chennai and hanging around town is a different feeling altogether. So what is different there? If you truly ask me, I think practically EVERYTHING is different there. For a Gujarati born and brought up in Delhi who has never been anywhere down south, the feeling is just all new. So what do we people have for food through the day – thepla, dhokla, khandvi, fafda, mathiya, mamra, undhiyu, and on and on and on(ya I just know these many names). What do people there have for breakfast, lunch, dinner?  Sambhar Chutney, Sambhar Chutney more Sambhar Chutney with idli, dosa, uthhapam and a few other varieties. It’s not just love, it’s a passion. I mean I fail to understand how somebody can have a similar meal each day, and in some cases all the time. For the one and a half day that I was there, I saw as much South Indian food to fill up the kitchens of Sagar Ratna(which by the way is continuously deteriorating as I hear from sources). Moving over to the language, I think, I am rather sure that had I gone to Germany, France, Japan or any other place instead of Chennai, it would have just been the same. I did not understand a single word, A SINGLE WORD of whatever the locals there were uttering. I felt so lost and out of place in the city when I was by my own, that u can only see it to believe it! J I must admit that I was warned by a ‘Young Man’ from our community before I went there, but I was least bothered to pay any heed. Now I can only say, yes you were right Chemical Man!

Next morning, I was at Bangalore(sorry Bengaluru). Oh the weather, immediately brings a smile on your face J Brazil is supposed to be the coffee capital of the world. If there is a city that can probably give it some competition, it has to be this one! A coffee shop here, one there and one there, and oh there’s another one. They are everywhere! As a friend there told me, at some points you can actually see multiple Café Coffee Day outlets standing at the same point. Phew! No wonder MNCs and other IT companies have ensured that youngsters turn coffeeholics! Thank fully, there are good places where you get good North Indian food which made way for me having a sumptuous meal after a couple of days(gluttonous eater I am). Evening sets in, and suddenly, out of the blue it starts raining! No sign of a rain earlier, and there it was, making the city look even beautiful. As I later was told, it pours in Bangalore every now and then, without warning for any amount of time. It’s another thing that all of this leads to an even higher number of traffic snarls across the city, which already are very high by the way! In simple words, I can say it’s a small city made to seem big thanks to its traffic jams. Lovely place in totality, must visit whenever u happen to go down south.

Let us move to Hyderabad. Much unlike the Nawabi feeling I had in mind, the new city is developed like any other regular urban center. The food joints are nice and the weather which is supposed to be hot happened to be pleasant because of the looming cyclone back then. Something interesting about the autos there -  they run on half meter after a particular time in the night. When told so, my friend had to call somebody up just to check how this works? So the amount that it shows on the meter is multiplied by 1.5 to get to your final amount. Thought we Gujaratis ought to know this J

All in all, it was lots of fun going down under! I Must recommend all these places to those who haven’t been there so far. As I am beginning to realize in life, it is quite important to explore the world around you in order to grow.

Wish you a Happy Journey, and in case you need any advice, any contacts, any information about these places, their hotels, how to go and where to enjoy, please mujhe phone mat karna :D J I will be the last person who can help with you any of these things after this one trip J

Aaujo, read on!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy 50th Birthday Gujarat Vihar

Kem cho!

Birthdays are special, oh yes they are, and the occasion becomes extra special when you are celebrating it for the 50th time! Gujarat Vihar Swarnim Jayanti Mahotsav was conducted with much fanfare and a lot of excitement and enthusiasm that was infused into the program by the society’s many ardent fans who we know as its residents. You may feel that it is unfair to talk about a society because the author belongs to it, but no, we are in fact encouraging you to send in your own account of things happening in the locality so that it can be shared with everybody.

For now, here’s a run through of what happened on an exciting weekend!

Date : Saturday, 24th April
Time : 7:00 pm

With the evening setting in and the members of the colony returning home from their work, it had never looked so beautiful. With multi coloured lights flooding the streets and many shades of tent adorning the green lawns, it would only be apt to say that the colony was dressed up like a bride about to get married! People started coming in and soon enough the place became abuzz with activity. It was now time to begin the show which kids, youngsters and adults alike had been preparing for many days putting in all the efforts for the colony they all love to call their own ‘Gujarat Vihar’.

A colony is made up by its people, and therefore the first program on the cards was Q&A session with the residents of the colony who had gathered there. The old generation, the newly weds, the youngsters and the uncle aunties, they all shared their experiences of growing up with the colony, of saying what they miss and suggesting what changes they want. It was a lot of fun hearing everybody talk at a public forum in the society premises about things close to their heart. Kids, especially tiny toddlers are the jaan and shaan ofevery place! Similar was the case here, and immediately after the Q&A, we had the cutest fancy dress competition for kids aged under 10 with Lakshman ji, Elephant, Dietician, Ranbir Kapoor and many more characters gracing us with their presence. The audience loved every bit of it, wish we could have some more J . If you happen to cut the veins of any person from the 110 plots we house, you will definitely find dance flowing in it! 3 little angel like creatures stole everybody’s heart with their performance on Pappu can’t Dance.

Every place has its own unique characteristics, features and people. Taking on the mammoth task of imitating all sorts of people were young kids again who presented a skit on ‘A day in Gujarat Vihar’ . They held their stomachs, tears came out of their eyes, they went up and down on their chairs, they all had the time of their life. People laughed like they had never laughed before, the skit turned out to be a laugh riot and actors performed brilliantly.

Dayra is close to every Gujarati’s heart, and the night of 24th April was to relive all the moments listening to wonderful rendition by some of the finest singers who had come all the way from Gujarat. And thus late in the night ended day 1 of Swarnim Mahotsav, with everybody going back to have a peaceful sleep only to be ready for an even more action packed day two!

Date : Sunday, 25th April
Time : 5:30 pm

With the IPL final set to begin at 8 pm, the stage was set for an early evening start to the proceedings. The kids were at it again! Short skit depicting the plight of animals with a hunter being reprimanded for his doings served as an ideal start point to showcase the sensible generation that is growing up. Sania Mirza along with the Pandit Ji who apparently got her married next turned up on stage! While a lot of discussions with the colony members happened last day, there was so much more that still needed to be talked about. So the floor was once more thrown open to the audience and what came out were beautiful memories from the past which were not yet known to many of us. It was then time for the adolescents to show their Jalwa! Dance upon Dance, applause upon applause, the people kept grooving to the beats of the peppy numbers and the dancers danced like they owned the stage. All in all, a rocking dhamakedaar performance! The skit about members of the colony was liked so much by everyone that it was repeated on day two to have gathered not just as many, but more laughs, appreciation and love from the audience.

When the guests for the day arrived, it was time for the official lamp lighting ceremony with senior office bearers from the society welcoming them. Everybody shared their thoughts about the growth of the colony and wished that it only grows further from here. The official souvenir commemorating the 50 years of existence of the colony was then released by the guest of honour amidst thunderous applause.

To culminate, we moved towards the even that everybody had been waiting for. Never seen before, never conceived before, one of its kind Fashion Show including members of all age groups between 16 and 60! Lights, Camera , Action! They walked like they were from the fashion industry, they were dressed like they came straight out of their own weddings, they exuded confidence like they have been doing this for ages! They all rocked, they all rocked big time!

And thus we came to the end of this 2 day marathon extravaganza with all participants up on the stage dancing and chanting AR Rahman’s Jay Ho! Fun filled days laden with excitement, energy and vigour were enjoyed by one and all, and they will love on to be in the memories of all those who attended. Wishing Gujarat Vihar a very Happy 50th Birthday, may the colony live on to be many centuries old.

Jai Gujarat Jai Hind Jai Ho!