3 memories - 2012

After the last few hours of 2012 that are left have passed by, we will bid good bye to this year and the whole world will be celebrating the advent of the New Year. While there is nothing wrong in celebrating the New Year, I feel compelled to introspect on the year gone by, to analyze the sharp turns encountered, the joys it brought along, the failures it popped, the misgivings it handed and the moments of wonders that managed to freeze in our memories. I would like to pen a few good memories of 2012 that remain with me.
This year would definitely go for me as one of the most magical and enchanted one where I could re-live my childhood. I could see how a baby goes from a crawl to wobbly step to an uncertain gait to a confident walk and run. How a toddler looks at everything with awe. How a child learns to speak. Sharanya, my 2 year old in fact was late in taking her baby steps. She started to walk only at 14 months. It was a joy to watch her transform from taking baby steps holding my hands to running gleefully now without care. Her baby talk smoothened out to become quite clear and mellifluous over the year. Never was such a day this year that did not bring her the joy and wonder of discovering something new. Even simple things like knowing that the red ball like thing is called a tomato would capture her greatest attention.  Mindfulness is what she personified when doing anything. And these experiences are the greatest gift that the year has given us to cherish in our memory.
As with everything, the year will go by and Sharanya will also grow up. We will be left with reminiscence and gratitude.
This year also presented me with a joy of running my first half marathon. Talking of running, I took to it last year, but the running bug really bit me this year. I am grateful that I could practice well for over 6 months and was able to run the half comfortably. The joy and exhilaration of doing the unthinkable (running for me was) cannot be expressed in words. One needs to run and get into the zone to understand it.
This year also gave me chance to meet several interesting people from who I could learn fortitude and persistence. I met this young boy whose father lost his job when he finished his 12th. Due to financial hardship he had to discontinue his studies. He had to go in search of job to fend for his family. He did all kind of odd jobs. While doing that, he completed a computer course and then enrolled in a distance learning graduation course. Finally, he was able to complete the 3 years graduation course in 5 years. He then cracked the entrance test for post graduation, but as luck would have it, since the results of graduation was not out, he could not take admission. He lost that opportunity and one more year, but he did not lose his determination. He came back again next year, cracked the entrance test again to do post graduation in a college. Even while doing his post graduation, he fell sick and lost one more year. Finally, he is going to complete his college the next year. Salute his grit. Reminds me of Maya Angelou's quote - “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
The year was composed of several such memorable moments. I am sure the New Year will present its inspiring memories that are worth recounting.

Think More, Say More, Do More

From childhood, we have been conditioned to say less. "Keep quiet" is what our teachers tell us in classroom. Stop chattering is what our elders tell us. You have been given two ears and one mouth. Hence listen more and speak less. This speak less dictum has so permeated our lives that we remain mute spectators even when someone perpetrates injustice. We remain silent observers when someone is victimized. Yes indeed, we need to Say More. Saying more may not directly translate to speaking more. It would rather translate to airing our views and opinions on various issues.
Words emerge from our thoughts. It is the distilled thoughts that form concrete words. Now, to say more, we need to think more. Think right and think more. Sometimes, thinking is a difficult thing to do. We shun it. We speak without thinking. And then repent. Hence think more.
Again, action speaks louder than words. Hence we should do more. Do more of what we love to do. Do more of what interests us. Do more to help others. Do more than we are required to do.
Think More, Say More, Do More.
This blog is inspired from an essay by RaamDev, writer and explorer, on Say More.

How Winners Are Made

It is here. It is now. Never before was the time, never again will this time come. It is this fleeting minute that has to be seized. Action has to be taken. Action is the consummation of a moment. Action is the propeller towards our goals. Without action, nothing is possible. Achieving any goal, small or large, needs persistent action, every minute and hour, day after day, week after week and months together, depending on the magnitude of the goal.
All large goals can be broken down to smaller chunks of actionable targets, that are achievable and within reach. Completing smaller targets gives a boost to the confidence and makes the larger goal look feasible. Small wins breaks the ice. It dispels inertia. It urges us to pursue the next target. It develops the winner's mentality. 
The power of action comes from the fuel of thought. Positive thoughts coupled with motivation produces the right action. Each time we take the action against various odds; it instills discipline and over a period of time forms a pattern that is morphed into a habit.
So, have a goal. Break it down. Take action now. Reach the target. There may be some failures as well. It is inevitable. Reflect on each failure. Do course correction. Collect small wins. Series of small wins leads to large victories. This is how winners are made.

The World at Peace

The last few months have been very hectic. My work has been taking me all over the country.  My daily routine tossed out flat under this juggernaut. I have sent my family on a vacation for about two months now. There has been incessant work and no rest even on weekends. This is my life now. This is what some people envy and some people craze for, while others despise.
Yesterday, I went to bed at 3:00 AM in the morning and had to be in my workplace by 9:00 AM in the morning. After running around like crazy till 7:00 PM when the event I was managing got over, I reached back home by 8:00 PM. Had dinner, made some calls, and then started working from 10:00 PM till 3:00 AM this morning, when I went to sleep. I woke up at 8:00 AM this morning to a phone call from a business associate related to today's event. There was this event today, which I had to oversee, although remotely. Hence, though strictly not a complete holiday for me, it is a relatively free day.
After having my brunch I went over to the balcony of my 6th floor flat. The weather was just perfect: ample of day light, a light breeze, and best of all, no scorching sun in the sky. It was just a rare lazy cloud-clad Sunday noon that I crave for.  These are the moments frozen in time which gives one time for reflection. Instinctively, I had an urge to go for a walk.
A short walk from the side gate of the community where I live takes you to nice desolate spot. A road lined with trees on both sides. On one side of the road, beneath the shade of the trees there is a large wooden bench beside a stone wall. It is just an inviting spot to spend a few minutes alone to enjoy one’s own company. Though, it is a residential area, there is hardly any vehicular movement. It is mostly visited by our two and four legged friends - birds on the trees and buffalos on the ground.
As I took my seat on the bench, I could hear the birds chatter. They were restless. On the other side of the road, there were about 7 huge buffalos and a small calf. As I watched them, I wondered how these buffalos think of themselves. Do they admire their symmetrical horns? Do they like the white moon on the forehead? Do they think about any such thing? Or they just laze under the trees all the time thinking about when they will get the next patch of green grass? All of them lying down in the shade, without a care in the world, were chewing cud and lost somewhere in their thoughts. Or maybe they were not thinking anything at all. They were just being in the present and letting things happen as it would. Hardly could I notice any movement except the continuous chewing movement of their jaws. Occasionally, they would turn their head or flap their ears. No deadlines, no urgency in anything, nothing to manage, nothing to change, no reports to be sent, no discussions, no arguments, nothing to altercate or improve upon. Just peace, serenity and contentment with what they have.
The pack of birds, on the other hand, was creating a ruckus. They were a boisterous bunch of sparrows, highly energetic and noisy. They had the unwritten agenda to make their presence felt in the world. They pushed the propaganda well to prove their collective might in spite of their size. They were jumping up and down for reasons best known to them. Some of them were flying down to the ground, pecking at it and then flying back up to the tree with glee. Even while on the ground, they appeared to be never at peace. They were hopping and skipping all over, ever restless like hyperactive children. I remained there motionless and maybe they took me as part of the natural set-up.
Being a self-styled thinker, I did not have any other wont than not to ruminate on this. On one side there was this large, heavy animal, full of confidence, self-assurance and poise. This was one way of being carefree in the world. On the other side there were the sparrows, one of the smaller sized birds in nature, fidgeting all the time, with a highly undisciplined and racketous behavior. But they projected fun, happiness, life and carefree nature in another way.
Sometime later, a person arrived. The sparrows, ever restless, flew back up to the bough of the trees and remained invisible, though the incessant chirping, as is their wont, could be heard. The person, apparently, the herdsman who took care of the buffalos, started poking one of them with a staff that he was carrying. It was more of a gentle thrash than a poke I would say. The buffalo having being prodded against their wish, very reluctantly moved her body. I was quite amused. Slowly, she looked at the herdsman, and then looked the other way. The herdsman shouted. She then made an effort to move. But inertia took over. The herdsman prodded harder again. By this time, the calf was already on its legs. The buffalo, acted very slowly, taking its own time, put herself back on her legs and stared at the herdsman.  While all this was happening, the other buffalos still held their ground literally. Though, I am sure they would have noticed the arrival of the herdsman and his intention to take them back to their shed, they were hardly bothered. They were in their own world, without a care for their master.  I was wondering who the boss here was. Attitude wise, no doubt the buffalos, while action wise, maybe the herdsman since he was wielding the rod.
One by one, the buffalos, in spite of their inertia, got up. It was like they did not want to leave the place. They could have spent their entire life lying at the same spot, chewing cud and being at peace with themselves and the world. But even after the herdsman poked and shouted at them, they did not have a tinge of resentment. In a few minutes, they were all up, walking in a file with the herdsman at the end. My eyes followed them till around the bend in the road where they disappeared.
The sparrows, by then, had resumed their game.

The Picnic

There were large green trees all round in the wooded area. And the large trees created a mesmerizing effect with the sunlight playing hide and seek beneath the large boughs creating a motion picture of light and shadow on the ground. If you looked up, you could see thousand suns shining brightly through the green foliage. Many birds were chirping happily oblivious to the fact that we had invaded their space. Nature is always accommodating. The trees, birds, sun, earth, rocks, all of them welcome us without any inhibition. They give us all that they have without reservation and without demanding anything in return. It is only Man that needs its own pound of flesh from everyone.
It was for the first time for we had come for a picnic at this place. It was away from the city, in middle of nowhere. The place did not even have a name. But I loved it. We jumped out of the van and started exploring the place.
From the distance, we could hear a gurgling sound. Attracted by it, we went in that direction to check where this sound was coming from. A few hundred yards beyond the huge trees, there was a rocky area and over the huge black rocks, a stream flowed peacefully.  It was chuckling away its own song while tumbling over the black rocks below the green tree tops. It was such a serene song that there was no need for any language to understand it.  This place urged a closer examination.
Jumping over the rocks, we went to the where the spring was flowing. It was not very deep. On the edge of the spring, we could see clear still water. There were some minnows swimming happily in swarms. Few brown and yellow leaves from the trees above were floating on the water aimlessly. Through the transparent water, we could see the black rocks formed the base of the small pool. Further towards the opposite side of the stream, the water flowing in a gentle pace downstream. The play of sunlight on the water through the canopy above was captivating. This was unmatched beauty and unmatched experience. Nature was at its best. Everything there had its own place in the world. Each movement synchronized by the natural clock. No one was running after anything or pushing anything. There was nothing to achieve. No goals. No targets. No one was needed to tell us that these experiences in life are to be treasured and savored.
Tossing my slippers aside, I dipped my left foot inside the water...ohhhh...it was so unbelievably cold. I was afraid to go inside. Others were also trying to stay out of the water. Suddenly there was a commotion and a push and one guy was inside the water. Next I realize that someone pushes me and I make a shrill noise before landing in the water.
The coldness engulfed me and for a minute or two I felt numb all over. I was inside the water and unable to breathe or shout. The chillness was permeating through my skin and getting inside my bones. I tried to mumble and flayed my hands and legs to draw attention. No one seemed to care. I was restless. I felt as if I would drown. My end was imminent. In a last ditch effort, I gave all I had to take my head out of the water and clumsily sat upon my legs to catch my breath. Sweat was dripping from my head. I wiped it off my face to soak in the surroundings. I was wide awake in the middle of the night, sitting on my bed, just having returned from a picnic in my dreams.

When was the last time

When was the last time that you scribbled away on a pristine white wall to glory till someone had to snatch the pencil away from your hand
When was the last time you smeared chocolate all over your hands, face, wall and dress and anything else that you could land

When was the last time you put on your left shoe on the right foot and right shoe on left and put up a smile as if you have conquered the Everest

When was the last time that that you were mortally afraid of a pigeon fluttering its wings, trying to fly and at the same time eager  to go near it and see it brood her egg

When was the last time you ran to the front door with a sense of urgency to check who is there, exhorting someone to open the door, when anyone came calling

When was the last time you attacked every bit of news paper and magazine that you found as if it was your worst enemy and destroyed it by shredding

When was the last time you ran away from the room when you were offered a glass of milk to drink and you did not want to drink it anyway

When was the last time you crept lovingly up the lap of someone having some snacks and pleaded for a morsel of the food in your own way

When was the last time you picked up the phone and spoke to an imaginary person at the other end for some time, finally ending the call saying “ok, bye" and putting the phone down.
When was the last time you used the living room for what it is meant for - playing and enjoying life, scattering on the floor all the toys and every bit of any movable item that you could find, created and wondered at the beautiful mess, oblivious to your mother’s frown
When was the last time you decided that the utmost bliss in life is to play in the bath tub, splash water with gay abandon, and resist with mind and body when anyone tries to pull you out of your goodtime
When was the last time you lived in the present, enjoyed the moment, no hoot for past or a care for future, no goals, no targets, no worries, no fear, just life sublime
When was the last time you lived, you loved, you laughed, you learnt every hour, every minute
When was the last time you became a curious 2 year old with a loving attitude to match it

Keep Trying

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better - Samuel Beckett
Every day is a series of effort towards our goal. We may succeed or fail in our attempt.  A string of failure in our life pushes us back. It makes us lose the joie de vivre. It makes us listless.  
How to encounter adversities in life but still not yield to them?
How do we bounce back every time we are pushed down?
How to develop resilience in character?
The resilience in character comes about by going through life's experiences and then reflecting upon them, analyzing their impact, and imbibing the learning in life. Working towards a greater mission in life and having passion for our goal also helps building resilience.
Each failure is a stepping stone towards success. And we should not fail to learn the lesson from each of the failure. Each failure adds to our knowledge of knowing one way of how things can go wrong.  So long as we fail better, we can feel better.
Keep trying.

The Promise

The early morning august air was heavy and humid. The sun was yet to come out and darkness still enveloped all around. A gust of chill wind swept through, attenuating the undercurrent of tension among the crowd which had gathered on the wide road. Not everyone was tensed though. There was also a sense of festivity among some of them. Once could see groups of people meeting and greeting each other, talking to each other in animated manner, performing some kind of tribal rituals, having fun, and generally preparing for something that was about to start.
Beside the wide road, there was a pandal over which some people had assembled. Light and music were arranged. The glow of the blue-green lights cast a soothing magical charm over it. The rhythmic beat of the music induced an atmosphere of hypnotic trance. Some people were dancing just below it. There were announcements being made from over the stage. I found myself in midst of what seemed like a celebration of some sorts. But I was lost in a sea of people. There were many happy people, tense people, young people, old people, and people of all types and of all stripes. Among them I was searching for any familiar face to start a conversation with.
This was the day that I had been waiting for. This was the day that I was preparing to meet, over the last six months. And this day, there I was, standing alone, afraid and uncertain if I could make it or not. I would be lying if I tell that I was not tense. In fact I was quite apprehensive. A sliver of fear had stabbed into me. And that was all the more reason that I wanted to talk to someone desperately. I had to dispel that fear. I was attempting to do something which I never had done before. I was there to prove something to myself. I was there to keep a promise that I had made to myself few months back. And I was not willing to let myself down at this last hour.
Unable to spot any familiar face, I embarked upon surveying the lay of the land. There was a park besides the road where several tents and stalls were put up. In the dim light, I could see frenetic activity going on. In front of some of the stalls, there were people lined up in queues waiting for something. Others were huddled in groups doing some drills. Some people were alone talking to themselves under their breath in some kind of a self-talk, probably trying to please the spirits of the other world to help them in their pursuit. Others were sprinting and stopping and then sprinting again. Most of the people being quite busy and self-absorbed, did not notice my presence among them.
"Hi Braja", suddenly someone called out from within the crowd. I was surprised to hear my name and turned back. Kishore was there with a group of his friends. Instantly, I felt a bit relaxed. We exchanged greetings and I joined their group. There were 2 others with him who were there for the same purpose as I was. We discussed our plans. In a few minutes of discussion with them, all my fear and misapprehension disappeared. I regained back my confidence and was raring to go for my dream.
A little more than a year back, I was a fat and lazy couch potato. But, I had resolved to change that and took to running. On 26th of January this year, I ran a 10K successfully. Swamped with the feel-good endorphins after the race, I had decided and promised myself to participate in a half-marathon and finish it with panache. I chalked out a meticulous plan and strived to follow the plan religiously. I was quite successful in being able to stick to my plan till July. In July my confidence levels were high. My fitness was optimum. I was good to go. But over the last one and half months, something unexpected came up. As a result, my training suffered. Though I managed to run a couple of times a week, I could feel that my conditioning was going down. Having invested so much time and effort, I knew I had to start. I could not let all of it go to waste. And also I wanted to finish and finish with panache. But, I seemed to have lost the confidence that I had earlier. An annoying voice in my head was talking incessantly and tormenting me of not being prepared enough. That was the reason I was tensed.
Back with the group, the demon of apprehension receded back to some corner of my mind. I got busy in the light banter and warm-up exercises, exchanging tips from experienced runners, looking with awe at the elite runners and generally commenting on the scene around. We spent the next hour or so warming up for the run while the sky cleared up a bit and the darkness of the pre-dawn was making way for a cloudy morning.
The Airtel Hyderabad half-marathon is a grueling 21 KM route starting at Necklace road, going over the Khairatabad fly over, through the Rajbhawan road, and again taking the Punjagutta flyover to Banjara hills road and then through Jubilee hills to Madhapur from where it went to Gachibowli and culminated in the Balayogi stadium. Anyone familiar with the topography of Hyderabad would know that it is a tough route. Banjara hills and Jubilee hills, two of the most posh localities in the city, are home to undulating wide roads and rolling hills. Couple them with the killer flyovers on the route; it would make this course a really challenging one even for an experienced marathoner. Though mindful of the challenge ahead everyone was still eagerly awaiting for the gun to start the race.
It was announced that the race will start in a few minutes and people started to assemble near the start point. The faster ones took their spot towards the front. Lesser mortals like us stood behind in the crowd so as not to be pushed and shoved by faster runners. There was a countdown and then the race started. People around me were just walking lazily. I realized that unless people in the front move out, it will be difficult for us to start to run. So, I also walked slowly, allowing others to start running so that there will be enough space for everyone to start running.  It took me almost 2 minutes just to cross the start line. And I was still walking. I was not in any hurry as were most people who were walking along with me. None of those walking along with me were in for winning the race. It was a race that each was running against his own self. Maybe everyone who was participating in this run also had made a promise to their own self, which they wanted to keep. Otherwise, what mad person would pull him out of bed at an ungodly hour in the early morning, drive for 20 KMs or so from his residence to reach the start point, and then keep running for a punishing 21 or 42k in a lazy Sunday morning?
Slowly the crowd broke into a jog. The ones in the front had dispersed a bit now and there was more leg room for the ones in the behind to jockey around. I also started to fall in the rhythm. The slow jog gradually became a brisk jog and after some time, almost everyone was in a run. In a few minutes, we were at the base of the Khairatabad flyover when someone running beside me remarked to look up at the flyover. When I looked up, I could see a sea of runners sweeping over the flyover. The sight was something to notice. Though the Khairatabad flyover posed the first threat to the runners, everyone was full of energy and could take it pretty easily. The run continued onto the Rajbhawan road. There was a water station and I was not feeling thirsty and did not want to stop for a drink. I kept running. I looked around and saw many people who had come out of their homes. Some were staring at us, unable to fathom what kind of madness had taken over these few thousands running amok. Some of them understood our passion and were cheering at us and encouraging us to forge ahead.
When I was pulling up the Punjagutta flyover, I could feel a mild pain in my left leg. Seemed like a minor muscle cramp. I ignored that and pressed ahead. In Banjara hills I came across the second water station. I stopped for a few seconds, had a sip of an energy drink to quench my thirst, and pushed off. By that time, I had gotten into the groove and started enjoying the run. The sun was still not out. We had covered almost 5k by now. Some runners had started to stop and walk on the way. I could hear another runner running ahead of me who cheering and encouraging others. I got up to him. He was a small built man with thin but strong legs. He was wearing a white runners’ shirt and shorts with running shoes. “Hi”, I said. He acknowledged. Looking at his face I realized he must be a senior person. I asked him, “Sir, how old are you?”  He gave me a cold look as if I had insulted him. He did not tell anything. I thought I must re-phrase my question. I asked him again – “Sir, how young are you” – 59 he said. I was amazed. He was 59 and was able to run 5 km in 30 minutes. I congratulated him for his perseverance and he wished me luck. Yes, I needed loads of that!
I was pushing on fine in the race, just near the KBR Park, when I heard a gunshot. And then, like a three dimensional net moving in the sky with a will and purpose of its own, hundreds of pigeons took to the sky in a big swarm and covered the entire morning sky. They all went around several times creating a maze of interesting shape in the sky. It was another sight to behold.  With all these scenes, my leg pain had disappeared and I again was on a roll.
 I had almost crossed the 10k mark somewhere between Jubilee hills and Madhapur when a light drizzle started. Unmindful of the same, I kept running. So did the other runners.  By the time I was on the way to Gachibowli from Hitec City, the rain picked up pace. My sweat drenched body almost took bath in the rain. It was quite a pleasant experience to run in the rain. By the time I crossed the 15 km mark, I was pretty confident that I could easily go on running like this for any distance.
There was a long flyover, the last big challenge at Gachibowli. I could sense tiredness was taking over. My legs were begging me to stop and take a walk. But I had a plan for myself. I had planned that if ever I stop, I will stop at a water or aid station. I will not stop or walk anywhere in between unless I am feeling so bad that I would fall down. Somehow I kept on at it and managed to cross over to the downward slope side of the flyover. I did not know if I was feeling hungry or not, but when I saw one volunteer offering bananas, I grabbed one and ata it while in the run, thinking that it will give some energy to me. Someone told me 19k is done. The rain had stopped. I was talking to myself that it is only 2k more and that I would be able to do it easily. But my pace had come down and my running was more like a jog than a run. Every minute, a part of me was thinking of stopping and walking, while another part urged me not to. I heeded the second advice.
It was almost over when I trudged into the stadium gate. I knew I had almost reached home, but not yet. The run around the stadium itself, though hardly about 1 km, seemed endless. I felt as if I did not have any energy left and have to walk in the last mile. There were only a few people ahead of me. I looked at them and saw them running. I decided to continue. Thankfully, I could hear some music wafting and people cheering. I was making way into the red running track in the stadium. I could see the crowd and people at the finish line. All of a sudden, all my fatigue vanished and I picked up fresh steam. I ran with all the force using my hand and driving my legs hard to a stylish finish. And then I could hear an announcement– “A very energetic runner is just coming in”. I finished in 2 hours 22 minutes and few seconds.
Someone put the finisher’s medal on me. I was feeling jubilant. But at the same time, I was also thoughtless. My mind was empty. I kept running for some more time. Then I remembered that old voice. I tried to find the demon in my mind that was tormenting me in the early morning. I could not find that. Somewhere along the way, probably, it jumped out of my mind and took shelter in a lone tree hollow along the road.  While doing my stretches and cool down, I put the soul of the demon to rest.
Post run, I was famished. Brunch was good. I waited for others to finish. One by one, I could see known faces tumbling out of the crowd. Some had finished earlier. Some finished later. There was no competition with anyone. Everyone was happy that they had finished. They had been able to keep their own promise. So was I.

Article without topic

Need a topic to write on. I am still wondering. Just rambling around …aimlessly? Will I get any topic to write about? This has to flow through. Something has to be written. It will flow out slowly...yes; I think I am getting into it.  To me it looks like this is just like running. When you run, someone has said, the longest distance you run each morning is from the bed to the floor. For me the most challenging part of running has been going from the bed, wearing my shoes and hitting the road. Once I hit the road, the flow automatically comes.
And today, this is one such experiment in writing. I didn’t have any topic to write. There was no idea. I kept wondering since the morning...trying to get topics, ideas, stories that I could write on. Now it is 9:00PM in the night and then I realized that if I don’t write something right now, I will not be able to post this week’s blog. So grudgingly, I started writing. Just poured out my thoughts and now I think I am ready to write more.
So many times, we promise to do something regularly. Say writing a blog or running regularly. Let’s take the running example. We start out with a big bang. Depending upon our past lifestyle, we may or may not like running for the first time. But assume, somehow we persist for long enough that we get a kick out of running. Then we become quite regular as we start liking it. But then after a few months, monotony creeps in. We do not get the high that we used to get earlier. Slowly, it is because of habit that we keep running.
One fine day, some other high priority activity demands our attention. We stop running for a week or more. We think it is ok. The other activity is of higher priority. Or that I have no other choice than to stop running. Other times, we do not go running because we do not feel like it. We think that may be the time is not right or that the weather is not conducive. We cook many excuses in our mind to somehow fool ourselves believing that it is ok if we skip it. So, who is the culprit here? Who takes the decision to stop doing something that we are supposed to do?
I believe the mind is the culprit here. It works in mysterious ways to make us believe what it thinks is right at that moment. Some other time, it may think something else is right and will try to fool us in believing the other thing. You may be a bit confused here. Who is fooling whom you might ask? Isn’t our mind the same as we are? Well, I don’t think so. The mind is an instrument given to us whose primary function is to think. But we are not our mind. Just as we are not our hand or feet or any other part of our body. The mind is only that part which helps us in thinking among other things. Since thinking is such an important and critical activity in a human being, it is able to influence us the most. It is able to shape our attitude in the short run and our character in the long run.
Most of our activities are dictated by our mind. These activities may be generic involuntary activities or voluntarily conducted activities. But isn’t it true that any activity, whatsoever type it may be, starts as a thought in the mind. The thought floats as waves on the surface of mind. Slowly, that thought embeds itself deeper and deeper into the walls of our mind. Among the innumerable thoughts we may be thinking in a day, only some thoughts seep deeper in our conscious mind. If we focus on them and think more and contemplate on them for a longer duration, it may even go to the next level of sub-conscious mind. Still holding the same thought in mind for even longer duration allows it to seep even further into the unconscious mind.
And when something goes into the unconscious, it has the maximum effect to shape our attitude. But the most interesting thing is that, though that thought in our unconscious mind dictates and builds our attitude, we are not aware of it at all. We never really realize why our attitude is as it is.
Is there a way to be free of the stranglehold of mind on our life? Yes, there is. It can be done in many ways. But again the way is though the mind. Here, the mind is used as an instrument to free us from the mind-hold itself. For example, if we want to change our attitude, it can be done by changing our thoughts. A mind that is under control is able to think only on need basis.
But what happens if someone decides to be really free from the clutch of his mind. If we want to really free ourselves completely, it can be done by having a thoughtless mind - a mind without thought. Such a person is not even influenced by his own thought process. He is the truly the most independent and free man. A man whom none can influence; not even his own dogma or paradigms; cause he doesn’t have any. This is the pinnacle of freedom. But isn’t this eerily similar to the description of a madman? A man with no-mind?
By the way, now I am at the end of today’s post. I think I have been able to free myself from the clutch of my mind which had been thinking the whole day today that I don’t have anything to write.  Small victory though. I think I have been able to write something coherent in spite of not feeling like writing anything throughout the day today and even when I started writing just about an hour back. And now when the time comes to name the title of today’s article, my mind suggests me to use “A mind without thought”.  It says that this will complete the hat-trick of having the word without in the post title in the last three posts; however unrelated the trilogy. But I may want to name it, “The Culprit Mind”. What say? Comments please!

Tryst without a Cell Phone

Rushing out of the radio cab at the Hyderabad Airport, I barely realized that my mobile phone was slipping out of my grip.  It fell on the grey tarmac below and all its components got dismembered. I picked up the disassembled parts of the lifeless phone, put them in the travel bag, settled the cab and proceeded towards the departure gate.
Check-in was a breeze. The security check was also quite swift. In a short while, I found myself in the waiting area near gate 25B. I glanced at the boarding pass to re-confirm the departure gate. It was correct. Soft music was playing there. People waiting to board the aircraft were busy with their phones and other hand held devices. The LCD monitor hanging in the waiting area displayed the arrival and departure time of the various flights. It told me that I still have few minutes before the boarding gates were opened.
I had unfinished business on my phone. These devices have now become a part and parcel of our lives. Few minutes or hours without them, one feels as if one is cut-off from the world. There is this unknown attraction of the beep of the notification from face book, email and various other apps, which keeps us guessing and hoping - guessing on what the update would be; hoping of something to turn out the way we want it to. The ringing of the phone has an even greater impact on our psychology. The phone ring re-assures us that we are still needed and valued by others. We feel honored when we realize that someone is trying to reach us.
Fishing out the parts of phone from my travel bag, I got on to assembling the unit. I would have done the same hundreds of times and I knew exactly which part went in where. Basically, you have to place the battery correctly in the phone, and then slide the external cover softly so that the bottom pair of latches clicks to set. Finally you need to press on the top of the cover to lock the third latch. The phone looked smug and good. I loved my phone. I had got it only a few months back. It was pitch black in color with a big display as most smart phones have. There were shiny metal parts on it like chrome on a car engine grill. The other day, a friend had compared the look and finish of my phone to a luxury vehicle; black, sleek, and exotic. Though I realized that it was the height of flattery, I liked it anyway. I was happy with my choice of the phone. My reverie of indulgence over my phone was cut short with the announcement that the boarding for my flight has started. Airline regulations do not allow your mobile phone to be switched on while in the aircraft. So, I restrained myself from switching-on my phone for a few minutes.
The flight to Indore was at best staid. There was nothing special or remarkable to write about. The airlines crew went on about their duty in a clinical manner. The pilot mumbled something incomprehensible on the speaker. I looked for something in the seat pocket to read. There was none. I thought of the next day ahead and wanted to prioritize the things to do. But laziness got the better of me. I slowly snuggled into a sleep like state.
Indore Airport was a small nondescript patch. There was just one ATR standing in the airport. Few ground crews were moving about. There were a couple of vehicles to haul the luggage-boxes. The passengers deplaned and took a short walk across the tarmac to enter the airport building.  In a few minutes, the luggage started tumbling on to the carousel in the baggage claim area. After collecting my suitcase from the lone baggage belt, I took my phone out which was still lifeless and pressed the shiny metal switch on the top to bring it back to life. It made the soft buzzing sound as it makes when it springs back to life, calmly re-assuring me that my trusted friend is at my service.
Modern day devices have idiosyncrasies of their own. My phone takes its own time to get ready. It has to complete various tasks before it can actually be of service to me. It has to boot its Operating System, prepare the SD card, search for a friendly network, initialize the phonebook and perform numerous other things in the background including transmitting my location to various service providers and satellites around the world. What a remarkable device. Small and handy, but can track you down anywhere on the face of earth.
I waited patiently for my phone to complete its rigmarole of routine. But then, unexpectedly, it let out an unfamiliar wail of pain and went blank. I was puzzled. I tried switching it on again. It showed signs of revival. But no sooner than it got to the operating state, it died down again, emitting the same high pitched siren to signal its death. As users of modern day gadgets, we all know how our lives are dictated by the juice in the battery. Muttering something under my breath of taking things into my own hands, I started walking towards the Airport exit.
I did not have to walk further. The airport ended as soon as it started. There were very few people waiting outside the airport. Some of them were having placards in their hands to receive guests. I scanned the placards in the hope of finding my name written on one of them. The exercise went in vain. Without a working cell phone on me, I was wondering how I would contact the person who would have come in to receive me. A smart thought lined up to my rescue. The plan was to look for a pay phone booth and call up my contact. I looked around; there was none. The plan B was to borrow someone else's phone and make a call. This was a feasible one. As a knight in shining armor, I myself had lent my phone a few times to damsels in distress in desolate airports. So, it was my turn now to reap the benefit of the good work I had sown earlier. Providence should be with me. But alas, how do I get the number of my contact? The number was stored in the phone memory, which had by now, in spite of all my cajoling and caressing, completely refuted to get back into action.
While these thought ran across my mind, I felt someone gently touching my shoulder. I turned around and found a big and tall man smiling at me. He introduced himself and we exchanged pleasantries. I was relieved.
On the way to the hotel, I asked him how he could recognize me. He had been trying to reach me on my cell phone several times, but he was told that it was switched off. So, he was checking all passengers who were walking out of the airport building and saw my travel bag which had my organization logo. Using that as a cue, he approached me. I thanked my stars for having carried that travel bag. I told him about the state of affairs of my beloved phone. Assured him that the next morning, I will have it fully charged and it will be up and running.
The Sayaji hotel was great. I liked the ambience. The room was spick and span. Post dinner, I retired to my room in order to make a few phone calls to inform folks of my whereabouts. I brought out my phone and dug out the charger from the bottom of the travel bag. Found a socket on the wall, plugged in the charger in the socket and other end of the charger wire to my smart phone. The phone made a whirring buzz signaling that it was getting ready to spring up to life. I let out a sign of relief and left it on its own device to get a bit charged.
I switched on the TV and rummaged through the various channels. There was an audio channel playing old songs. I could set up a play list and it fascinated me and I was lost in that. When it was time to sleep, I checked my phone to set up the alarm. And lo-and-behold the phone was still dead. I tried all tricks that I knew. I pulled out the charger. Dismantled the phone, re-assembled the parts, and plugged in the charger again. It still did not buzz. I tried pressing all the metal switches at the same time. The phone showed a little flicker of hope. But then it died even before the hope registered on my mind. My dream machine, the so-called exotic luxury car had at the right moment decided to ditch me. I was dejected.  Few thoughts went through my mind. May be the battery is gone. Someone had told me that reliability of smart phone battery is really dubious. When they fall down, they have a knack of going out of order. I silently re-counted how many times my phone has fallen down from my hand and from others hand as well. May be I should change the battery. Or has the operating system become corrupt by the fall. Or some circuitry has broken. …
I used the old fashioned land line in the hotel room to announce my plight to my wife. I remember her number anyways. For the others, I was incommunicado.
Mobile Phones are not only instruments of practical communication; they have evolved over the last decade or so also into instrument of emotional satisfaction. For some, they are basic needs and for others they are status symbols. But in most cases, they tend to fill in a gap which I realized only after I was forced to stay without a working phone. Without a phone, we lose the sense of being in touch with others. We lose the feeling of being in control. We basically feel naked and open to the vagaries of the world. We feel insecure. We feel that there is no way to connect with others and re-assure ourselves of our worth.  How is it that our sense of security has been changed by the ubiquitous presence of this little device? This is a thought that we all need to think through.
I made through the rest of the 3 days without having the cell phone. I worked in the old fashioned way of using the land line whenever needed. There was no hurry to see the text message or the face book update. I re-lived how corporate world worked years ago when there was no cell phone and instant communication. Life did not change much in those 3 days. People understood and I was able to communicate whatever was needed. Those who had to contact me found out other ways of getting in touch: sending a message through someone or via scheduled calls over a landline which I had sporadic access to. Their messages reached me. If I had to reach someone, I could use the landline.
Back in Hyderabad, I tried one last ditch effort to revive the phone. I did something which is known as a hard reset. And surprise of surprises, the phone muttered, quivered and in an all out effort inherent to all living beings with love of life, it blinked, buzzed and resuscitated back to life. 

A Recipe without Spice

As the Bombardier Q400 screeched to a rattling halt at the airport on the cold rainy night, Arun’s train of thoughts were derailed. He did not like it. For a moment he felt uncomfortable. In fact, Arun did not like anything that intruded his thoughts. His mind was the sanctuary where he was safe and secure. Brushing off that feeling, he prepared himself to off-board.
Coming out of the arrival gate, it was not difficult to spot the cab driver who was holding a placard with his name written on it. After a quick chat with him, Arun settled himself in the car and they headed directly to the hotel. The rain drops were still falling on the car glass and that did not allow him to see the surroundings clearly. Slowly he found himself drifting back again into the safe cocoon of his thoughts. He tried to summarize the trail of thought which was broken with the landing of the Spicejet.
Past experience prejudices our expectation of the future. We are conditioned to expect things to unravel in a certain manner, based on our own experiences in similar environment and settings.
Arun had been thinking of the last two occasions where he had attended workshops similar to that which he was going to attend this week. He never doubted the intention of such programs. They were for his capability development and for the larger benefit of the team and organization as a whole. It consisted of like minded folks, people in similar industry and background. But somehow, he was rather concerned on the efficacy of such events. Efficacy is the ability to produce the desired change that is intended. And he was not convinced that such workshops could ever bring about the change.
The next morning, Arun found himself amongst 10 others folks who were from diverse academic, cultural and professional background. He was meeting all of them for the first time on this day. There was a soft spoken writer with a stately stance, an effervescent manager who could as well be a great actor, a financial genius with a desire to share his knowledge, an expert seasoned in all aspects of software development, an intelligent young man from marketing with a regal voice, an affable people person with a soft smile diffusing goodwill, an independent thinker with a penchant for quality delivery, a nurturing painter who fosters learning & culture, and a practical and seasoned black-belt process consultant. Only one of them was from the same office as Arun. The irony was that, they met for the first time in a different city. He was not surprised. Since they were from different departments, their paths had never crossed earlier.  But there was one common thread that brought all of them together. They were all in the same workshop.
The workshop was a mixture of many things. Activities, readings, discussions, observations and reflections on variety of topics were done as part of different sessions. Interactions were encouraged and people started relating to each other. As the days went by, an overall structure seem to emerge. They had a perfect take-off and a smooth flight and all the passengers enjoyed it. The entire 5 day event was orchestrated without a glitch by the flight directors. The pilots were amazing. A competent co-passenger even got a chance to fly and steer the aircraft. Everyone enjoyed it. Everyone cooperated and participated.
It is difficult to expect what can happen when you take a few people, put them in a stimulating environment, sprinkle in some great ideas, pepper them with a challenge, and ask them to find the solution from within. The experience may vary from individual to individual. But for most, it would be a journey of self discovery. For some, it is discovering their strengths, for some it is getting to know their areas of improvement, for others it is to understand how to handle a difficult situation.
The lessons from this workshop were as varied. Though the days were long and hard, at the end of it no one was tired, rather everyone felt at peace, happy, and energized.
The Spicejet Bombardier Q400 was waiting at the quaint little airport. The atmosphere was relaxed. The rain had stopped. The air outside was smelling fresh and passengers were walking in a queue to board the flight, eager to get back to their homes after a hectic week. Two friends walked up the ramp and entered the aircraft.
They took adjacent seats and immediately resumed their conversation. They discussed many things in their life and their experiences. The conversation flowed effortlessly. Both of them learnt many things from the other.  Somewhere along the way, their talk also took a philosophical turn as well.
Their conversation was punctuated when the airlines crew came along to offer some sandwich and juice. And then the conversation as in an auto-pilot mode veered towards their lessons over the last 5 days. They recounted how they met, their expectations, how things unraveled and what they learnt and liked the most.  Arun told his friend how cynical he was of the efficacy of such programs while he was on his onward journey. He retold his past experience in attending such events and his unenthusiastic takeaways. But somehow he felt that this particular one was different. There was at least one ingredient which made all participants lose their inhibition and open up which made the workshop really an engaging experience. He had never ever felt it that way in other workshops. His friend also agreed and told him about similar workshops he had attended before and that somehow their effect was not as powerful. Both agreed how "Richer" have they become with the experience.
There was a deep silence for some time. When the interior lights in the cabin of Spicejet dimmed, most passengers dozed off to sleep. The friends slipped into a deep reverie thinking of what happened at the workshop and why the effect was so powerful.
Then, both realized something. They agreed effect of the workshop was amazing. Each one of the participants contributed openly to everyone else. Though all of them came from diverse backgrounds, diverse culture and had diverse education and work profile, everyone accepted the other as they are. Since the group was so diverse, there was never a sense of threat or insecurity within anyone in the group. Not a single one of them was ever competing against the other. Ideas and suggestions flowed smoothly and everyone was open to accept the feedback. People could see and understand everyone else that they were just like the other person, with similar vulnerabilities and similar doubts.  While discussing this, in a flash there was an epiphany. As the Zen Master would have said, it was simple, but profound. The epiphany was that – When someone is grounded in his own self worth and does not pose a sense of threat to the other – the other person also becomes secure and reciprocates. In this group, a sense of security prevailed. Unlike in other workshops, there was no point to be proven, no game of one-upmanship was to be played and no scores to be settled. The absence of these spices, in fact, made the whole difference. That did not make the recipe bland, but in truth made it quite appetizing and delicious.

The Spicejet landing was gentle and smooth. The friends got off the plane, picked up their bags, shook hands and parted ways, still basking in the afterglow.

Stop and Start

Danger foreseen is half avoided. But the other half still poses a challenge to me. Though I knew of the danger of not being able to stick to my schedule, I still could not maintain it. I have had a break in my running and blogging schedule.
I had a break of 1 week in running and 2 weeks for blogging. Initially I felt bad, because I had promised myself not to break the streak. But then, I recovered and thought that there is nothing better than starting again instead of ruminating over missed targets. So, here I am back again. This week, I started running. And now it is the blog.
During the past 1 year or so that I have started running, there is this lessons among many that I have learnt. No matter how many times I stop doing something that I am supposed to do, if I start it all over again, within a few days or week, I am back on the track. Not only running, but the same lesson can be extrapolated to other things in life. Blogging  or getting into the habit of saying ‘Good Morning’ to people you meet in the office, or greeting  people on the elevator, there are many such small things we often tell ourselves we will do, but again either due to inertia or due to some other important or unimportant activities, such plans go kaput. But, as long as we start again, we are not a failure.
In running parlance, completing your run within your target time is best. Completing the run, even if you may not achieve the target time is better than DNF (Did not finish) . But DNF is better than DNS (Did not start). So, it is important to start. But it is even more important to start again if you stop for some reason.
The above lesson I believe can be applied to any new habit that we wish to create or existing habit that we want to change. This is possible only if we forgive ourselves for our failure and understand that everyone including your own self deserves another chance.

A Danger Foreseen - Half Avoided

Life likes to spring up surprises!
I have been training to run my first half marathon on 26th of August, 2012. My training, which started towards end of January this year, is a tailored training plan which allows me to repeat the training of each week again.  It also has a very low increment of mileage over weeks so as to reduce the chances of injury. I have been steadfastly following the same, without being injured, for almost 5 months now. Within this period, I could increase my mileage from 10 km in a single run, to about 19 km that I can comfortably run in about 2 hours 10 minutes now. So, I am pretty confident that I would be able to complete a half comfortably which is just 3 more kilometers.
Hyderabad running calendar has 2 major running events. One is the marathon by Hyderabad Runners in August.  The other is Heritage Marathon organized in month of September or October. In my current assignment, the months of September and October are invariably very busy for me and entail a lot of travelling on the work front. Therefore, I had decided way back in January that I would run the August 26th run this year and by September, I would be free to travel on my job. This was the basis of running the Hyderabad Marathon and hence the training.
However, this Monday, I got a bolt from the blue. Due to change in business plans, my busy season starts this week itself and I would be on the roads from next week onwards. I was shocked upon hearing this. Not that I am averse to travel. I enjoy it. But I was shocked because my first thought was, this continuous travel will definitely impact my training. I felt bad. I thought I may not do justice to my training. All the hard work of the last 5 months may go waste. Never before had anything been of more priority to me than my day job. But for the first time, I felt, running is as important, even if not more as my day job. I was debating within myself that I will discuss this issue in office and excuse myself from the travel till I complete my first half marathon. But better sense prevailed.
Colleagues at office knew that I am running the half on 26th Aug. I told them how important running is to me and how much time and effort I have invested and that I cannot let it go waste. I set expectation that I will continue my runs even during my travels and that I need to go to sleep by 11:00 PM every night (hence will not be able to stretch) so as to maintain discipline of my morning run. Also that on the week prior to 26th August and on that day I will not be travelling. Folks agreed. Plan is set.
I know there is a ton of work ahead of me in the next 4-5 months in the job front. If I am not careful, it will consume all my time and my training will suffer. This I cannot afford. Neither can I afford to be slack on my job front. A danger foreseen is half avoided. I have foreseen the danger of my training being neglected due to heavy workload. Hence planning is the key here. This will avoid half of the danger. The second half of danger can be avoided by proper execution of the plan.
There is always an opportunity in every problem, disappointment, or heart-ache. So, I tried to reflect what the opportunity is for me in this specific situation. Then it dawned on me that this is an opportunity to prove to myself that I can plan and execute competing priorities between work and life balance. Let us see how I materialize this opportunity.
The most tenacious will prevail.

Enjoy the little things

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
These days, when we keep rushing to fill our hours with as much action that we can pack, our homes with as much possessions as we can and our bank account with as much balance as we can, every one remains busy all the time and everyone is exhausted all the time. There is no time for anyone to stand and stare so to say. We have our big dreams and this time should be productively used to propel us towards our dream. And we remain focused towards our dream, with our complete attention on that big goal. But in this process of trying to achieve it, we miss out the opportunity to enjoy the small joys that life has to offer every moment.
Our priorities are misplaced. We do not value to fill our days with love, hours with laughter, and enjoy the living minute. We forget to cherish moment or even observe it. We do not care to observe the way the small boy in the elevator laughs or the gratitude in the eyes of that old homeless man to whom you tossed a coin or the way the water we drink taste. Sometimes, we forget even to acknowledge presence of others around us. We are so focused on our passion!
There comes a time in life when all our dreams are through. We have either achieved them or buried them or we have tried but could not and they are dead, or we chased new dreams and forgot the old ones in the pursuit of new dreams. If we achieve our dreams, we leave a legacy for others. If we do not achieve, we may not. But what is it that we gain from the pursuit?  At the end of the day, when one has some time to reflect back and take stock of what one have gained from the pursuit, one feels that the journey was important, not the destination. And that should be our priority. The journey comprises of a string of little things in life, one after another. It comprises of each small interaction we have, the way we talk with others, the way we listen, we see, we understand, and the way we maintain friendship and relationships. Each moment is to be tasted, savored and enjoyed. Finally, our life is a tapestry of these moments. At the end of the day, these small things are the ones which bring fulfillment to everyone. And thus these are but the big things in life.

Like a Postage Stamp

I have been trying to write something for the last 2 hours. Initially, it was difficult for me to come up with a proper topic to write about. The first article that I churned out was a write-up on the traffic jam that was witnessed near the Hi-tech city railway station underpass, last Monday. After spending a good part of an hour on it, I did not like the way it was shaping up.  So, instead of discarding it, I just managed to get it to a logical conclusion and again started thinking on other topics to write about.
What are the topics that I can write about? I can write about the weather at Hyderabad. I can write about the antics of my little daughter. I can write about the happy and fulfilling moments in life. Or the frustrations and insecurities in life. Or may be an imaginative story. Or a story heard from someone else. Thus, there are innumerable topics on which I can write.  Since I was still confused thinking about what to write , I decided to come back to the raison d’ĂȘtre for this blog to get a dose of clarity.
One of the main reasons to start this blog is to document my journey to the new me. I have been working on establishing some habits and on de-addicting myself from some habits. This journey started more than a year ago, when I decided to take charge of my physical health. I decided to get some healthy habits. Now that a habit of running has been established, I am focusing on getting some more good habits. I will document it here. Hence this blog.
There is a second raison d’ĂȘtre as well that has to do with one my childhood dreams. When I was a child, I dreamt of becoming a multi-faceted person. I dreamt of becoming a scientist, industrialist, politician, writer, environmentalist, zoologist and many more. It was anything that captured my fancy at that time. I couldn’t understand why should someone just have one professional interest? As I grew up, the zeal to become a writer stayed with me. I wrote few articles while in school. I also maintained a journal for more than 10 years. Then with advent of blogosphere, I tried my hand there too. But I was not consistent. Today, I am a writer who is trying to be a more committed and better writer. To do anything, one has to be like a postage stamp. Stick to the envelope till it reaches its destination. The small postage stamp is the one which pushes the envelope so to say, to reach the final destination. If the stamp is not there, the letter will not be delivered. The stamp provides the power, the thrust for the envelope to move. Hence, I decided to pursue stickitivity. I made the decision that I will stick to posting a blog every Saturday for one year. This will help improve my writing skills. And what better way to get committed to it than to make it public!
So, coming back to the main topic of what to write when you do not have anything to write, or when you feel you have nothing to do, you can always go back to the raison d'etre and then build up from there. If the reasons for your mission are clear and important to you, you will remain motivated and persist in your stickitivity which will lead you to your goal!

To run or not to run


I try to run at least four days in a week. Running has become a routine. On those days when motivation is high, the mind is swamped with feeling of going out and enjoying the run. But this is not the case on a daily basis, but only on some days. On other days, I still find myself not feeling like running.
It seems like a difficult struggle between two parts of my mind: One part not wanting to go for the run, and another part not wanting to break the discipline. And the struggle is interesting. The part which does not want me to go out for a run, tries to cook up several excuses in my mind: I am not feeling well, the weather is not conducive, running shoes have worn out, etcetera. It is also a master at recruiting help and support from my body. It influences my calf or knee to be sore. It influences my shoulder and back muscles to ache. And they send signals of pain and injury back to my mind to support the cause of not running. This is like a complete coordinated attack on me, by a part of my mind with support from my body to win over their cause of not going for the run.  And when such attack starts, the strength of the antagonists is very high. If given a chance, they also conspire with the weather and my surrounding environment to make me believe that they are right; that I should not go out for the run. It does not leave me with any other option, other than not running.
Then, there is the protagonist, that part of my mind that does not want to break the discipline.  It wants to go for the run because it knows that it is the right thing for me to do. But it is not very strong at that time. The motivation to go for the run is low. And the antagonists look for exactly such time to raise their pitch. 
But the part of the mind that is the protagonist has a few tools to help its cause. It talks to me directly. It gives me options. It tell me to start small. It tells me that I can quit anytime, but why quit even before starting? It prods me to wear my running shoes and get out of the door.  And even if I don’t feel like running the entire distance planned, maybe I can come back home after a short run. If my body pains and does not permit me to run even the short distance, maybe I will just walk instead of the run. And once I put on my shoes and I go out, it tells me to start running and focus only on the next small landmark like just one lap around the block. It tells me that I have option to complete the one lap and then stop, or if after doing that one lap, I still feel like running, I can take the decision to continue running. So, basically, it tells me to postpone my decision making. And if I am not able to run at all, at least walk for the single lap and then take the decision to stop if required. And I thus start running and postpone my decision on whether to stop running till I complete one lap. But by the time I complete the lap, the momentum comes from within. The chorus of the antagonists subsides. The antagonists hide behind some nook and corner of my mind and fail to raise their head.  My body starts supporting the protagonists and I start enjoying my run.
It is just the little push, one step after another which helps me overcome this daily battle between my two ears.

Causes of Procrastination

Procrastination is delaying or deferring an action to a later time. In many cases, this is habitual. No one likes to procrastinate consciously, but it happens. It happens by delaying one action at a time. Over a period of several days, we defer many actions. Over course of months, the habit of procrastination takes over. People who procrastinate, defer most of the type of actions. They may be important tasks but those that are not urgent. These are mostly the ones that get deferred. Some may be in the habit of delaying the important and urgent tasks also.
The most common cause of procrastination is laziness. Due to laziness, or sloth, we do not want to do something. Every act requires some initiative, some effort from our side. If we loathe to take the initiative, then, we postpone the job to some other time. Most of the times, we allow ourselves to be run by our feelings and emotions. And if we do not feel like doing something, we submit to that feeling and do not do it. We do something else. This breeds procrastination.
We should not allow ourselves to be ruled by our feelings. We have to do what we have to do whether we feel like doing it or not.
If we keep doing what we feel like doing, then most of the things will remain undone. Comfort breeds laziness and our comfortable life has brought in oodles of laziness into our lives. It has soaked through our skin, seeped into our body and has clogged our veins and arteries. It makes us feel like not doing anything. We feel jaded and numb in the face of anything that has to be done. Hence, we have to kill this laziness. We have to exorcise this demon from our mind and body so as to heal the disease of procrastination.
The other cause of procrastination is fear. It may be the fear of failure which stops one from doing something. Or it can be the fear of embarrassment due to the failure that stops one from doing something. Fear a very powerful. It has been developed by nature so as to protect us. But the same protection mechanism sometimes becomes a barrier for us in doing something and taking action. many a times, we shortchange ourselves due to our own fear.
We do not attempt something. We do not go the full throttle. We remain fearful and in turn, we do not achieve what we could have otherwise achieved. We need to understand that victory is in overcoming the fear. Once we realize that, we feel lighter and energized. And we will not feel like procrastinating.
Sometimes greed may be the root cause of procrastination. This is a very subtle cause and very difficult to identify. Greed may sometimes stop someone from buying even essential things. Even if the person knows that the need is there to buy it, due to greed for money, he may keep postponing his buying action. Here I am not talking of the person who does not have the resources to buy the thing of desire. Here the person has enough resources, but being of a miser mentality, he is unwilling to part with his money and postpones his action.
Indecisiveness is also one of the causes of procrastination. In many cases, we are bombarded by so many choices that we become quite confused on our need itself. Without a clear parameter on which to evaluate our choice, we remain indecisive and hence keep postponing our action.