Focussing on Time, Positivity, Purpose, Passion and Vivacity

As I lie awake at 3 in the morning, I am pondering about time. How time is something I never seem to have; for I have this need of seeking out new information and doing a plethora of things. I learned very early that life is too short; too short to waste it on counterproductive things. They say time and tide wait for none. I think it represents a universal truth: time is a luxury most of us can never seem to grasp. It is perplexing and I keep wondering how people have so much time on their hands to whine, plot and scheme against other people. I might sound preachy in this post, maybe some rambling also might follow; but this has been something weighing on my mind since quite a few days.

Here I am, with ambitions to do so much with my life but with no time at my disposal. I want to read countless number of books, watch immeasurable amount of new TV shows, movies and all types of sports, I want to travel the world, I want to write, I want to learn cooking so many different things, I want to indulge in adventure sports; the list of what I want to do is inexhaustible! I have barely any time to do even a quarter of what I aim to do. Yet I see people around me wasting their time bellyaching or plotting someone’s downfall or gossiping. Time for me is a luxury, while for them; it seems to have no value.

An acquaintance of mine has this annoying habit of whining and crying about everything under the sun. Nothing is ever good enough; everything is a negative. She does not find anything positive from anything that happens around her. I do not know how she lives her life like this. She has so much to be thankful for, she has a nice family, a beautiful baby, a great job and a great support system behind her, but she chooses to ignore the bright side and and keeps on harping about the negative side. If a person were to live like that, their life would never hold a purpose. There would be nothing to live for. What a waste of life that would be. Even when darkness creeps upon us, we usually switch on a light, or a candle, to get rid of this darkness. But she sits in darkness I suppose. While I understand that she might have become this way because of something that happened in her life; of which I have no clue about, her friends, including me, have tried to reason with her so many times. Everytime she tells us of a problem, I give her a solution. But she always finds a way to negate that solution as well. For a while it’s ok to keep on giving her solutions, but when someone does this every single day, it becomes exasperating. We all have our own problems and stress to deal with; it becomes awfully difficult to not feel irritated. Circumstances are not in our control, but our own attitude is. David Guetta and Sia’s song Titanium explains this in a very inspiring way:

I’m bulletproof nothing to lose

Fire away, fire away

Ricochet, you take your aim

Fire away, fire away

You shoot me down but I won’t fall, I am titanium

You shoot me down but I won’t fall

I am titanium

And while some people whine, some people contrive and manipulate to harm others. They have this need of sabotaging others to progress. It is a twisted way of working on their ambitions. I am sure most people have suffered or gone through something in their lives which makes them a little ruthless. There are times when I try to understand why a person could do something like this. I have seen people derive some sort of a sadistic pleasure by laying a minefield on a person’s path; relatives who have gone above and beyond to create upheaval in the lives of their own flesh and blood, friends turning into foes and co-workers destroying someone else’s careers, just because of a bruised ego or greed or blind ambition.

Do they not have passions? How do they find so much time? Maybe they are incredibly good at time management; following their passions as well as indulging in some megalomania on the side. Or maybe megalomania is their passion. I do not have a clue to how their brains work. I keep racking my brains to try to understand this phenomenon. They may have narcissm, or some psychological disorders which need professional help. Or I may be the odd one, the square peg that can’t seem to fit into the round hole. I think that we stop growing as a person when we intentionally hurt someone. We need to think about how we can go farther in life by doing our own work rather than sabotaging others. We need to cultivate various passions to keep ourselves busy; or just live it up a little.

When I think about my own life and the hurdles that have crossed my path so far in life, I have seen so many ups and downs. Losing two of my closest brothers, being stagnated or even on a downward spiral and heartbreak, has taught me that life is too short. Life is much more meaningful if we were to work on ourselves, work on solutions for ourselves rather than paying attention to what others are doing. Whatever problems I might face, if I was to find the solutions to them rather than making someone else fall, my life would hold much more significance. Focussing on ourselves will make us become better people. We could achieve all our dreams and ambitions by resolving to keep striving, without hurting someone else. This aforementioned acquaintance of mine, not only whines, but also has begun plotting against people. The person, who hated someone for scheming, has turned into one herself. I really do not think that would serve any purpose. We must own up to our mistakes, and still be positive enough to bounce back and vow to not commit the same mistake. We are humans and we are bound to make other mistakes. Life is all about learning and living. We could help those who are far worse than us. We could make time and contribute to the larger society; some people have no limbs, some people have no food, and some people live in the most brutal conditions that we can never even imagine. We are much more privileged than them and we need to do something about it rather than believing that we are the only ones in trouble. All of us have different abilities and interests, why cannot we put them to a better use than lead a life filled with such triviality? We could groom ourselves and take care of ourselves and of our loved ones.

I remember my brother wanting to live his life and yet being constricted with a terminal illness. I remember just how much he wanted to live and yet the grim reaper was knocking on his door. I remember him comforting us in spite of his own helplessness and physical and mental pain that he suffered from, at the tender age of 19. We are blessed with one precious life and we tend to squander it in such inconsequential pursuits or actions. I have often mentioned that life is a cycle of joys and sorrows; it will keep spinning. It’s like the waves at the beach; they will keep hitting us in succession and we need to be resolute enough to not let the waves carry us far into the sea. We have to be relentless and keep being positive, no matter how many waves hit us. Life isn’t always about being successful all the time and reaching sky high; it is about failing and rising up again. Athletes always find a way to rise up each time they fall. No matter how broken down our soul gets, we have to find our own ways to be stronger and deal with the source of the stress. We have to find joy in the small little things in our everyday lives; a bird humming a sweet tune, the flowers blooming, the wind caressing our face, experiencing the first rain of the season, finding shapes in the clouds and admiring Nature, walking early in the morning and breathing in the cool fresh air, laughing at the little pranks and jokes we share with our friends, celebrating our special days and indulging in our passions and fascinations, etc. There is an abundance of things that we could do instead of being so down in the dumps or causing destruction.

I think failing is more like a stepping stone; what really matters is how we stand up after the failure and strive again and again. If my brother were given a chance to live, he would have used it to a greater purpose than most of us ever would. He never let his disease break his spirit. Why cannot we do the same? No matter how many problems we have, nothing can ever compare to a person who is at the death’s door having endured such malaise and torment. Their life is slipping away and yet they find enough positivity to deal with it so bravely. My brother was a teenager when he was sick, yet he was far more mature and braver than anyone I have ever known. He still makes me think about him and not give up. He did not give up his fight for life till the last moment. My parents who lost a child, can any other problem ever compare to this loss? No, it cannot! Yet they live and go on with their lives so that they could see me happy. They have invested all their energies into making life better for me. They never whine. That’s how we all need to live; make others happy, make yourself happy, find a purpose, find passions and live for them. If life gives you lemons, throw the darn lemons away, or rather give them to your neighbours and buy yourself some mangoes. 

As Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like a bicycle, you must move forward to keep the balance.” 

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Railfanning: My Passion for Railways and Trains

I can hear the sound of the train chugging along and I can see the sparks flying out as each metal wheel makes contact with the iron tracks. I can hear the horn tooting. I look out the windows and I can see numerous train carriages chugging along; I can see the beautiful countryside rolling by. It doesn’t matter where my destination is or why I am traveling, but when I am in the train, I can feel a rush and tranquility gripping me at the same time. When the train stops at a station, I can see the legendary Wheeler’s book stall, I can see various vendors selling tea and fruits and many delicious snacks. I can see people waiting for their trains to arrive. I can see people embarking and disembarking the train. I can hear the coolies trying to negotiate the charges for lifting and transporting the heavy luggage for the people. All the sights and sounds make me very happy.

Since my childhood, I have had an intense love towards anything that is even remotely related to the railways; trains, tracks, railway stations etc. A few months back, I had read an article about railfanning; a term that’s fairly new I suppose, but one that has a Wikipedia page dedicated to it.

Wikipedia defines a Railfan as:

A railfan, rail buff or train buff (American English), railway enthusiast or railway buff (Australian/British English), trainspotter or anorak (British English), or foamer (pejorative for American railroaders), is a person interested in a recreational capacity in rail transport. Railfans of many ages can be found worldwide. Railfans often combine their interest with other hobbies, especially photography and videography, radio scanning, model railroading, studying railroad history and participating in train station and rolling stock preservation efforts. Magazines dedicated to railfanning include Trains and Railfan & Railroad.

I am indeed a railfan; I usually don’t have enough time to indulge myself in all the activities but I do love traveling in a train; I also end up capturing a lot of photographs of tracks, trains and the stations as well. If I am the one waiting for the train, I always observe all the other trains coming and going. I always stand on the platform and lean in to see the train approaching, getting ready to board it. I love to watch the train moving towards me, slowing down to stop. I love observing how those heavy metal wheels turn.

I never sleep in trains. I love to sit by the window and observe the scenery outside the window. I always love to click pictures whenever I can. Sometimes when I feel like it, I read a book. I always carry a book with me. After it gets dark and there is nothing to see outside, I read my book till people start switching off the lights to sleep. That’s when I listen to music and enjoy the movements of the train. Funnily enough, despite having motion sickness, the train never ever makes me sick. And I love listening to Robert Miles on the train, his EDM music perfectly matches the movement of the train. Especially his very famous song called, “Children”, which I generally play on a loop.

Many people don’t understand it, I have often been asked why I click pictures of train tracks. My answer does not satisfy their curiosity; they may even think I am off my rockers. But I know why I am so passionate. Very recently, I found out I have quite many friends who are railfans too. It surprised me a bit, but I was happy too; I can share my passion with them. My recent conversations with them prompted me to write about it. We shared our pictures and their pictures were spectacular.

I took these pictures at Ooty. A narrow gauge train runs between the Southern Hill Stations Ooty and Cunnoor via Mettupalayam.

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A narrow gauge train carriage
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A real preserved steam locomotive of a narrow gauge train

 

I took these pictures at Bangalore Cantonment Railway Station in 2011:

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This picture was taken just last week at the Baiyapanahalli metro Station, which is right next to the railway station.

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I am very lucky that I live right next to a railway track and I find it very peaceful to listen to and occasionally watch the trains go by. Again, many people ask us how we never feel disturbed by all the noise and we tell them that for us it’s not noise. It’s music to the ears. The Baiyapannahalli station is just 3 and a half kilometers from my apartment.Even when I was in Nagpur, we used to live just a few kilometers away from a railway station. So on early mornings and late nights, we could hear the train chugging and the horn tooting quite clearly. Though we did not buy our apartment here in Bangalore just for that reason, but it did present itself as an added advantage.

I would have loved the experience of traveling in a train with a steam engine locomotive; my parents have traveled in it in their childhoods and they often talk about it very fondly and how amazing it was. The steam locomotives had a certain charm. Sure they produced a lot of smoke, but the way they were designed, they were more artistic than mechanical.

If the metro line had been completed to the area my workplace is in, I’d have been the happiest person; commuting in a metro is so much more peaceful. In spite of the crowds, there is no traffic, there is no incessant honking and the commute time would have reduced to 30 minutes instead of an hour or more. It would be cheaper too.

Someday I would love to travel Europe via Euro Rail (TGV); its a bucket list item for me. I would love to travel in the bullet trains and monorails as well. I want to experience traveling in all the types of trains.

I always consider the rail transport system as being one of the greatest inventions; it began as a way of trade and it did so much more.  I would love to collect different kinds of models of trains and locomotives; if I find something amazing, I would definitely buy it. I would love to tour around the country in trains; it would make for an excellent series of blogs. Maybe someday when I get tired of the corporate life and I end up saving enough money, I would do just that. Till then, I intend to enjoy every train trip I take and live those moments of pure serenity and passion and of course, click as many pictures as possible.