Finding yourself. Losing your ‘self’.

For the last 2-3 years, I have been trying to be more of myself.

I used to live an outwardly driven life where others’ perceptions and opinions of me mattered… a lot. I wanted to achieve things and in the process be respected and admired. That’s the simplistic way of putting it. 

Deep inside, driven by childhood insecurities, I felt like an inadequate guy. Scared that our unforgivingly judgmental society would find out my inadequacies and reject me, I covered it up on the outside. With accolades, achievements and other props that the society valued a lot. Externalities that made me ‘look good’ on the outside, but mattered less deep inside. That’s the complicated way of putting it – something even I realised only in my mid-thirties.

Before that realization, life was easier, relatively. I would chase things. Once done, I’d go after something else. However, that endless loop got tiring. I was tired of running from one achievement to another. At times, I wondered if I was chasing things just to please an invisible audience. I felt pretentious at times. 

Tired of the unending loop, I slowly turned inwards and started seeking answers.

In the beginning, I didn’t understand why I gave so much importance to others’ opinion of ‘me’. My insecurities were embedded deeply inside and like most uncomfortable things, the mind buried it deep enough so that one doesn’t have to deal with it daily. It took a while and a lot of digging into to uncover the built-up anxieties and insecurities.

It became clear that I had bottled up childhood insecurities and was very uncomfortable in letting the world know of my shortcomings. I was scared of being rejected too. That fear of rejection made me conform.

And when you conform so much, you can’t be yourself. You turn into a kaleidoscope of the society’s whims and fancies – but little of your own. You essentially live other people’s lives rather than your own!

Once you realize the issue, you’d think things would be easier. Nope!

As I kept peeling the layers of outwardness, hoping I’d find the ‘real me’, I realized that a lot of things I chased in life were simply props to enhance others’ opinion of me. Beneath the layers, I didn’t find a ‘real me’, but only nothingness. The nothingness was extremely unsettling at first. All those things that meant so much to me suddenly lost its importance. Everything I pursued crumbled merely into a facade. There was nothing to hold onto – to anchor my life and strive for. Seeking of any kind, the very thing that gave my existence so much meaning until then, seemed unimportant.

When you seek, it means you have somewhere to go. However, when you introspect deeply, you realise there’s nothing to seek. We are all just fine, in the here and now. To do nothing, to be nothing and simply be here without much ado, just like kids, appeared to be the only truth.

It’s as if I spent a lot of time shedding my outer-self in pursuit of a true inner-self, only to discover there’s no such thing.

It’s been a year now – and I am a bit more comfortable with the nothingness or whatever else you could call it. It’s still uncomfortable at times, but then we are a resilient species and I have figured out ways to cope up with it. Or so I fool myself.

Tea review: Gopaldhara autumn ruby

The Gopaldhara estate teas have been a mixed bag. Autumn Ruby here. Brews into a bright orange liquor that has a mild honey smell. It tastes of a mix of honey and some ripe fruit. Sweetish, but not quite the way I like it. It feels as if someone dunked the leaves in a honey-fruit syrup to add this flavour as an after-thought. Zero astringency. Sweetish after-taste, but again, not quite the way I prefer it. 

Similar story with Gopaldhara Red Thunder autumn flush (2018) too. The biggest disappointment, however, is the Silver Needles white mix flush. All of them have this honey-fruit taste that feels like an after addition rather than a natural flavour.

Tea review: Korakundah organic green tea

Tried the Korakundah Organic green tea today.

It is green tea alright, but I didn’t find anything special about it.

Very mild woody kind of aroma. A sip wraps you in a woody and astringent taste that disintegrates slowly. After-taste is neither clean nor smooth, but isn’t harsh either. After tasting the White teas and Oolongs from the same estate recently, this one feels like medicine :(.

To be honest, I think I could have done a proper job of brewing. I suspect the water temperature was a tad too high. Will try sometime again at a bit lower water temperature.

Tea review: Korakundah Organic White tea

Today’s infusion was the Korakundah white tea. Another high-grown Nilgiri tea that yields a clear smooth liquor and has a meditative aroma.

As you slurp, you probably notice the floweriness first. The sweetish fruitiness kicks in much later and stays on for much longer leaving you with a clean soft after-taste, just like the one you get after you’ve just brushed your teeth.

At Rs 510/50gm, it’s not cheap – but then you could steep it several times. I infused my leaves 4 times and still got solidly good liquor. Was even tempted to brew a 5th time.

One of those clean, soft and meditative kind of teas with a very distinctive flavour. Loved it!!

Tea review: Korakundah Organic Oolong tea

My first tryst with Korakundah Oolong tea.

Pretty mild, flowery and fruity tea. Has a strong aroma that is distinctive of most Nilgiri teas. After a few sips, one would notice a flowery taste (jasmine?) and as it washes down the back of your throat, a mild peachy taste that lingers on.

Gulp it down and it is as good as hot water. Slow down, close your eyes and let the flavours unfold slowly – only then would you appreciate this tea.

Another note, this leaf is definitely for one brew only. On second infusion, the aroma was almost nonexistent (did I steep it wrong?) and the taste was much mellowed. My amateurish knowledge says that high grade oolongs could be steeped multiple times. Nevertheless, it appears to be a lovely delicate tea.

Baggage of dreams

It was his first TEDx speech.

He rehearsed for yet another time on the way to the venue. A lot of people knew about his achievements already. This was his chance to let them know the story behind it – the pain and hardships he had to undergo to make it happen.

Not every seedling becomes a tree!

Dreams don’t just fructify out of thin air. They need intense effort, discipline and dedication. They need a lifetime of sacrifice. Stuff that people with broken spine simply cannot manage.  Continue reading

Tangled

Should I do it? Would I be able to live with the guilt? I kept thinking.

My mind wandered to the day when I first met her.

I work as a consulting neurologist and movement disorder specialist here. It would have been just another day in the hospital, but for this particular case.

Adhira was referred to me by our neurology resident Dr Kumar.

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Walking away from a wrong table

Several times in life, I’ve sat at the wrong table and waited for things to get better. A wrong job, a bad investment, a bad industry… to list a few. Talk about table selection and I’ve made all mistakes one could!

2 years in a job I hated. 3 years with a significant investment I wasn’t sure about. 2 years in an industry that I knew would take me nowhere.

I waited.

Nothing really happened!

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