Thriving Mindfully

Tag: Adventure

Where are you bicycling to?

While passing through the hilly roads in Himachal, I would often pass through little hamlets. By the surprised look on the villagers’ faces, I guessed they wouldn’t be seeing many bicyclist on this steep terrain.

They would often ask,
‘Hey where have you come from?’

Not knowing how to answer that for myself, I would just say,
‘I’ve been bicycling from Delhi.’

‘Really? Where are you going?’

And that’s where I had three answers in my mind to choose from.

1) I could say the name of the very next village, (A commonplace goal)

2) Or the name of the next city. (A difficult but achievable goal)

3) Or, I could share my ultimate aim,
Of until which point up north I really wish to bicycle to.
(A Big Hairy Audacious Goal)

I always made it a point to share the third option.
And when I did, the villagers would take a good look at my modest physique and deep in their mind assume that I was crazy.

But I was always bid goodbye with good energy.
They would always wish me good luck and wave at me as I moved onward beyond their vantage.

In life, we are also asked similar questions by people. Mostly, concerning what we are doing and where we are headed.
And we are all guilty of sharing the most commonplace of activities we are engaged in, the most mundane of goals we have.

We feel we might be ridiculed if we share our grander goals, and be laughed at if we fail to achieve them.

So the conversation always goes like this.

‘Hey man, long time no see. What’s happening?’

And you say, ‘Same old, same old.’

Now, aren’t we guilty of limiting ourself?’

The common defense is,
‘My goals are none of their business. I like to keep my dreams to myself.
I might get jinxed.’

But deep inside we know, we are just afraid. We aren’t even afraid of our failures. We are really afraid of our own achievable greatness.
Plain and simple.

But the moment you choose to share your grander goals, ambitions that bring a beaming smile on your face as you say it out loud,
You reinforce the dream within you.

Our mind needs a constant reminder of what we are capable of and what we should be aiming for. Repeating our grander goals in front of people does just that.

Your dreams might seem outright crazy and unachievable to an someone who doesn’t know you so well. And mind you, just because someone is family or has been a friend for long doesn’t mean they know you well enough.

But share your dreams nevertheless. The crazy ones.

Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

Sharing your grander dreams will over time, only inspire confidence in people to do the same.

On that note,
I should share where I wish to bicycle to.

Laddakh, India.

Wish me luck 🙂



The Power of Everyday (May-June)

Yesterday, I completed the second month of ‘The Power of Everyday project.’                        For those of you who haven’t read about it before, let me share a brief overview of the project.

The Power of Everyday is a project that investigates the effect of consistent deliberate practice on the body, mind and soul. Each month I pick up a few actions that I resolve to repeat every single day. In the end of the month, I reflect on the progress and learnings along the journey here on my blog.

Last month, I had five challenges to complete everyday-

1) To wake up before sunrise and write a page about it with my left hand (26/31)

2) Daydream for half an hour and write a page about it (25/31)

3) Practice Yoga every single day (25/31)

4) Celibate (31/31)

5) Write and publish a blog post every single day (30/31)

So how did I fare this month. In the month of April, I had a 100% success rate.
While I could not have similar success this month, I still learnt a lot.
I have mentioned in the brackets how many days out of 31 days of May was I able to finish the task.

The days I missed out on doing the tasks were mostly because of my peripatetic lifestyle at the moment. It is difficult to keep doing the daily tasks while being on the road, when you don’t know where you’re going to sleep at night.
Keeping that in mind, in June, I am only taking up those tasks that I can fulfil considering my current travel lifestyle.

I will keep sharing individual posts about what I’ve learnt from each of these experiments in the month of May over the next few days.

Meanwhile, I would like to share the projects for June for ‘The power of everyday project.’

Tasks for June :

1) Daydream and write two pages about it

2) Practice Yoga every day

3) Celibate

4) Write and publish a blog post a day

5) Spend 10 minutes on ear training every day

As you can see I’ve only added one new task this month.

I wish to be realistic and choose tasks that I can complete every day when I’m travelling.

This month, I wish to have some company in this project.

I invite you to choose a simple task that you’d like to do every single day and experience the progress first hand.

We all want to improve, don’t we?

Let’s commit to one simple task and take little steps to an evolved version of our self.

You can share your task for the month of June for ‘The Power of Everyday’ project in the comments below.
Let’s keep each other accountable and engineer our personal growth.

I look forward to know how you are challenging yourself this month.

In anticipation,

Your friend,


My fuel and fire

Touring with a bicycle comes with its own baggage. Quite literally. I have two pannier bags and a backpack strung up to the carrier at the rear of my bicycle. Collectively, with three liters of water and bagful of fruit, it would weigh around 25 kgs. My bicycle itself weighs around 18kgs and I weigh close to 54 kgs.
Adding all that up, we are a unit of 97 kgs.

The sight of the bicycle when fully loaded up is quite different from when it is not.
On first look, it almost seems impossible to an onlooker that a bicycle could support so much weight and bulge on the sides.
Often while bicycling through rural parts of Thailand, I would be greeted with curious stares from perplexed village folk. They would seem to be looking too closely at the bicycle as if trying to spot an engine or a motor that’s fuelling the loaded up beast of a bicycle I fondly call Mowgli.

When I would stop at a roadside shop to eat, they would look at my lean body frame and wonder how I am even biking this thing onward. I would be tendered sympathy and encouragement in equal measure by locals.

I wondered why it seemed so impossible to all the people I met with.

Then, I took a good look around to see all the other vehicles on the road.

Ah, they all had a big fuel tank!
My bicycle doesn’t !
And that’s where lay the difference.

I moved on to embrace the approaching breeze on the highway.

Curiously I asked my bicycle,

‘Mowgli, I just realized why people stare at us with such wonder !’

‘Really? What do you think the reason is?’

‘Because we don’t have a fuel tank !’

‘Ah, that’s not true’ dismissed Mowgli.

‘What do you mean?’

‘We definitely have a fuel tank!’

‘Really? Where is it?’

‘The fuel tank is right there inside you.
In you mind.
It has always been there.
And each new adventure, each new experience, fuels us up even more.
No wonder we don’t have to stop to refuel like other vehicles. In fact we have to keep riding to refuel!’

‘That’s wise of you my bicycle! But if there was always fuel in my mind, why did I not start a journey earlier?’

‘Oh ! Simple.
Because you did not have an ignition to kindle the fuel inside you.’

‘And what’s that ignition Mowgli?’

‘My humble self,  your bicycle, isn’t it so?’

And I wondered,

Yes!  This humble bicycle has ignited my fuel to head on a wonderful journey of deep discovery,
of worlds inside and outside.

Singing to the soothing breeze, our collective unit of fuel and ignition, with all our luggage and love,

Head on in search of newer lands
Of friends to be.



My new Thai name!

me…near park…
you go here. Okay?
said Lucky , maybe in her first conversation in English over a phone.

Okay, Lucky. You wait for me.
I come to you.

Chai, chai (Yes, Yes in Thai)’

And I started to ride around the park trying to spot my friend Lucky and her husband Pravee. In case you’re wondering, Sunny is my Thai name which this lovely couple gave me, since it was difficult for them to pronounce my real name!
After a five minute search, we spotted each other. I crossed the road and went to see them. There was such excitement in our spirit to be meeting each other again. But we did not have a common language to communicate in!
Like overjoyed kids we opened our hearts and smiled ear to ear as we greeted each other.

We put my bicycle at the back of their pick-up truck. I went inside and sat on the rear seat.
What a joyride it was for the next three hours !
We managed to communicate using different aids. Sign language, English- Thai translator, exaggerated expressions and of course, unbridled laughter when we would fail to understand a word of what the other person was saying.

There was a childlike innocence in their demeanor. Lucky had a book called, ‘Working conversation to perfect your English -Thai Edition’ which she routinely referred to for asking questions.
The excitement and enthusiasm this couple shared despite the language barrier was adorable to witness.

After an intimate tour of Bangkok, they dropped me back home. They had a long conversation with a chatty watchman which had the word ‘India India’ in almost every other sentence. They would point at me lovingly all throughout their talk.

Okay Sunny, Goodbye.
See you India’

Yes, In India, you stay my home Okay?’

‘Okay Okay!’

They left shortly afterwards. I waved them goodbye till they were beyond sight.

I had met this couple by accident at a bicycle rally in South Thailand. And we had exchanged our contacts.
They had so much love in their heart that they wanted to see me again just to show me around. They didn’t speak English and communication was an issue.
But their alacrity to make a new friend was so sincere that nothing could come in the way.

They gave so much love and energy that I came to believe, I was Sunny !
I would happily identify myself with that name.

Beyond names,
beyond languages,
beyond all barriers,
Is the language of the heart.
Once you communicate from there,
You will find a deep connection no matter what.
My cheeks hurt by smiling so much all throughout the day in their company.

With a new name,
new friends,
And with the promise of keeping an childlike heart,
I assure myself,
To carry the spirit of friendship on and on.

If life is not going anywhere

Deep in our hearts, we all have that little dream of an adventure. But we are guilty of postponing it forever. We think that life is not going away anywhere and we will fulfill our dream of that adventure someday along the way. We do this because we are too afraid to stray from the constancy of life. Since an adventure asks for a tectonic shift in our lifestyle and outlook, we postpone it.
‘Life isn’t going away anywhere,’ we rationalize. ‘One day we will embark’.

However, there is another perspective which might serve one better.

Life truly is not going away anywhere.

Yes, an adventure asks for time and mindspace. But if we give it what it takes, our life will only be further enriched through the experience. We can always come back to the constancy, the mundane daily life. And it is best to come back to it enriched.
As we return to our previous lifestyle after the adventure we’ll discover that we’ve evolved. And we are ready to imagine a life that’s true to who we are deep inside.

So if you feel your life is going nowhere, remember that life is not going away anywhere. Make time, be brave and fulfill the adventure you’ve always wanted to.
In the interest of the evolution of your soul.