ख़ामोशी से क़त्ल करना कोई आपसे सीखे,
ये शाम तो यूँ ही बदनाम है,
आपकी आँखों से पिए जाम का नशा उतारे नहीं उतरता,
कम्बख्त ये शराब तो यूँ ही बदनाम है।

Copyright © 2018, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
Read more

I never ceased to marvel at the astounding beauty of the nature. Of all the wonders in the world, night sky intrigues me the most, for it obscures the path I walk on, yet it shows me the reason to do so. That’s life, isn’t it?

Stars and milky way have fascinated me since I gazed the sky the first time. As a child, I always fantasized about far away untouched lands, bright night skies and galaxies millions of light years away. The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart. Night skies, as dark and gloomy as they may sound, reminds me of the pleasing childhood routine to lie down on the roof and gaze the stars, slowly drifting in space at the peak of night until I fell asleep. The time when gadgets were less and skies used to be darker. I must say I found that curious child in me again in these cold dark winter nights.

Continue reading The wonders of night sky – Part 1

Read more

It was a lazy noon in summer, the time of the year when the sun is brightest, throwing its fire and burning every skin its rays fall upon. Good books are great companions. They don’t bore you. They are selfless. They entertain you, enlighten you and in return, they don’t ask for sacrifices. The reader opened a chapter from his favorite book and started reading quietly.

Time doesn’t wait for a person or an event to occur. Few things, fortunately for us, are timeless. Months had bled away since their last meeting. They stumbled upon each other again over coffee, probably for one last time. It was like old times, except something had changed with time. She had blossomed into a prettier and smarter woman. Her exuberance and flamboyance was storming him like hell. The new life had definitely done a remarkable work on her. She was never happier before.

Their deep meaningful talks were always very engrossing. It was an addiction. Once you’re deep inside, it’s hard to get out. But this time, it soon took a different, more interesting turn.

“So, how’s life? Did you get a new girlfriend? When are you getting married?”, she bombarded him with questions.

“Either I’m the most damaged and screwed up soul in the world or I’ve kept my doors tightly closed.”, he chuckled.

“You know it sounds almost impossible to hear statement like this from a person of your stature”, she said in a soft voice.

“Sometimes, I wonder how two persons end up living with one another the whole life without being bored”, he changed the topic swiftly like a traffic signal.

“Why so?”, she asked in wonder.

“You see human psychology is weird and all messed up. People usually get bored of things sooner or later. It is difficult to stick to one thing for long.”

“May be not if you get along with the right person. What kind of girl you’re looking for?”, she leaned forward.

“Well, I haven’t given a deep thought on this yet. But I think I am more inclined towards artistic things. Art fascinates me, for it doesn’t lie. It requires compassion, and patience. As you rightly said, choosing a life partner is the greatest risk one can take in life. It’s a lifelong bond of love, care and respect. I would like to end up with a girl who understands art or at least respects it.

“Well, here is the funny thing. The only such girl I know of is YOU.”, he said and tried to peek into her eyes. Some answers can’t be said in words.

The reader turned the page in haste as if it was a matter of life and death.

There was weird grave silence. She didn’t know what to say. If only god had designed heartbeats to be more throbbing, he could have probably known what was going on.

More than anything, the reader wished to have this exact conversation with the girl he strongly believes to be his potential better half. The only question was, was such a moment gonna happen in his life?

Farewell! Until we meet again.

Copyright © 2018, Aashish Barnwal, All rights reserved.
Read more

It’s been a long time since I penned my last post. Few incidents in life wound you so deep that take lifetime to recover. The pain goes away. But the scar remains. And that’s what hurts the most. You are not YOU. Things aren’t the same. The coffee shop you loved stepping into, become your reason of mood swings overnight. All it takes a moment to tear your precious small world apart.

I travel because it reminds me that nothing in life holds permanence. One who is very close to you today might not be tomorrow. Life is a journey. You meet someone. strike a conversation, drink a peg or two, laugh and fall in love unknowingly. You see, falling in love is very easy. It happens at the speed of lightning. You don’t think much. You know why heart breaks are so painful? Simply because you think you are the luckiest. Thousands of unlucky people you have read about, yet you think your love is for life. And one day, she leaves you, with her wonderful memories.

Travel has enlightened me that I ain’t alone. There are many unlucky souls wandering in the beautiful world with their rusty heart.

I travel because there are memories I don’t wanna live with. I travel in the hope to reset my brain cells which home those memories. Each travel rejuvenates me with new positive energy to help me become a better individual and a more compassionate person. Meeting strangers and acquaintances on the way and listening their stories helps me forget mine.

I travel to feel alive, to see the unseen, to hear the unheard and meet noone whose story holds no value, yet it feels so connected. I travel to stumble upon another me, to share my happy moments, to share my grief, to talk about her. And it all starts with, “About her? Where do I start? I haven’t known a more perfect person in my life. She is crazy. The weather changes and the flowers bloom wherever she goes. She has the power to awaken the deadliest of souls and blow into them a purpose to live. Meeting her would make you realise that you reached the unreachable, achieved the unachievable and fathomed the unfathomable. You feel strong and weak at the same time. You know love to be the deadliest of all weapons, yet you don’t hesitate to put your neck under it. That’s her.”.

Farewell! Until we meet again.

Copyright © 2018, Aashish Barnwal, All rights reserved.
Read more

I knew this was coming. But I wasn’t really prepared for it.

It was a happy jolly day in office. It was then I got to know from you. That’s how life is. When you are at the peak of happy moments, it drags you full down, reminding you that life can’t be pretty all the time.

My productivity dipped to zero. Absolute zero. I couldn’t think of anything. I was submerged in memories of our conversations in the past. Surrounded by Dementors in the broad daylight, I was being sucked of my sane and happiness.

You know since our very first conversation, I have liked only you. I don’t think I talked that many things with anyone else as I talked with you.

You had asked, “BTW, do you have something new to tell? Please say you have something new”.

Well, how could I have. The news you broke had shattered every bit of my sane mind. Things I was planning, suddenly seemed to hold no value at all. The distress was creeping inside me like hell, drowning me into the pool of sadness. I was like a pirate who had lost the most prized possession of his life.

I wished it to be one of those bad dreams, which when you wake up, you thank god that it wasn’t real. But as we know, real is different from the reel. And reality hurts, a lot. In the reel, the hero either gets his angel or steals away the show by hiding his pain under the hood of smile with finesse. I guess I ain’t an expert in either of the two.

I don’t think I would ever meet a girl like you in my life. You weren’t just a pretty face. You had a class, and panache. You were everything I dreamed of in my to-be-partner. To me, you were just perfect.

I will miss you S. Stay happy, wherever you are. You have lots of potential. I think I have already told you this many times, haven’t I?

There are many things I want to say. But my mind has stopped coordinating with the lips. Let those words unsaid. And those stories veiled.


Copyright © 2018, Aashish Barnwal, All rights reserved.
Read more

Success is a subjective term. I believe every step you take towards reaching your goal, is success. Once you reach a goal, you set a bigger goal. That’s the way life is.

Here are few things that work for me:

Starve distractions and Stay focused

Ask any wo/man who has succeeded in life and s/he will tell you that one of the most important ingredient was sharp focus. Distractions are anti-catalysts in the journey of success. Study says that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on track after a distraction. A lot of context switches while you are doing something important , affects productivity. Put your phone on silent and try not to look at phone for notifications. Avoid using social media while you are at work. The best solution is to make a habit of checking notifications or messages twice a day.

Choose a hero to look up to

In the life of every person, there is someone who (s)he looks up to. It is the human psychology. We tend to choose a hero whom we appreciate. Why? The reason is obvious. Sometimes, we love the way our hero lives. Sometimes, it is his popularity. Sometimes, it is just because his dreams were what ours is now. He kept on improving each day, each week until one morning he became what he always wanted. And we start seeing the perfect version of ourselves in him. Each time we come across his story and picture, our inner self echoes, “Yes, this is who I would like to be one day”. But just choosing a hero is sufficient? No. The detailed reason is here: Choose your hero, but…

Set smaller goals

Big goals can sometimes be frustrating and frightening. Break them down into smaller steps and work towards them. Not only it will help you with better planning, it will also change your psychology that it is do-able. For example, instead of setting a goal to reduce 50 pounds in a year, strive for 4 pounds a month. Or better, a pound per week.

Choose your company wisely

Be in company of positive minded people. It has been said that you are the average of five people you spend most time with. To succeed, your mind needs to be full of positive vibes.

Don’t be afraid of failures

After failing thousand times, Thomas Edison said, “I didn’t fail. I know thousand ways in which a bulb can’t be made”.

Success is a journey where you just have to be right once. It’s a long process and it requires patience, perseverance, sharp focus and dedication.

Learn from your mistakes

It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Make a mistake once, and it becomes a lesson. Make the same mistake twice, and it becomes a choice.

Get to know why are you doing this (Passion)

Last night I was watching a movie on the life of dancer. Her mentor asked her, “Tell me, why do you dance?” The answer was important for her success, simply because it defined her passion. She had the passion of a bullet. Passion keeps you going no matter how difficult the path is.

Get great mentors

Being in touch with great mentors helps to streamline your vision and get guidance in right direction. I was fortunate to have mentors like Sandeep (GFG Founder), Venki (GFG moderator) and Narasimha Karumanchi, especially Venki with whom I used to discuss technical problems for hours.

If you like this, you might my other posts in Hack your life Archives

Copyright © 2018, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.


Read more

Future is uncertain. You can’t predict it even with the greatest power.

A small change in the past and Kaboom!  The resulting ripple effects rewrite the whole timeline. Every decision we make results into a different possible future. The detail can be as tiny as answering a phone call or taking a left instead of right while walking on the pavement.

While returning through a door between universes, the ice on the surface broke, drowning Dr Walter and Peter from the alternate universe. September pulled them out of cold water. That day Peter caught a firefly. Well, September couldn’t possibly have predicted the event. It was irrelevant in the course of timeline. When Peter caught the firefly, a girl 3 miles away lost herself into a nearby jungle because she wanted to show her dad how beautiful fireflies were. She didn’t come home on time and her father was worried. He took his truck in the incessant rain looking out for her. At the traffic signal, his truck skidded out on the wet road killing a pedestrian. The world lost one of the best music band that night because the pianist lost the purpose to live after his only son was erased from the face of earth.

How far are you willing to go to save the life of one you love? True power is when you have the power to destroy the entire world and yet you choose to save it.

I just finished watching Fringe and the only thing oscillating in my mind is John Noble, John Noble, John Noble. The brilliance he put in the Walter Bishop character is fascinating and mind blowing. The craziness of losing mind in St. Claire’s Hospital, ruthless scientist doing experiments and playing god, eternal bond between father and a son, his taste buds craving for delicacies of food, his fear of what he was becoming and the length he went to save his son, his score in every mood is just perfect.

Meet the Einstein of our generation:

Love is important because it prevents you from becoming cold and calculative.

Emotion is as important as intelligence. Though Fringe seems to be more about weird events happening all around, I feel, in its very core, it depicts a very emotional relationship between a father and his son. How a father crossed the universe to save a boy who wasn’t his. After all, love conquers all.

Two tech freak scientists, sharing the same lab and experimenting drugs on children to untap hidden potential of mankind, one ends up in a mental hospital. While the other goes on to become the richest person on the planet. In William Bell’s words:

A good TV series is one which is intriguing with tight story keeping you hooked up right from the beginning till it ends. I loved how they showed futuristic people visiting in important time in history in bits and pieces and then in one episode,  they capture everything. Each detail starts to make sense as the series progresses. It is an assorted union of Love, Romance, Sci-fi, Thriller, Strong acting and Lovable characters.

Fringe has reminded me again that Technology can be catastrophic in wrong hands. And even the ones who hold greatest power look for a sign from God. Walter longed for a white tulip, which he believed would be a sign from God that he has forgiven him for breaking the universe and playing God.

Sacrifice is necessary for the greater good.

It was sad to see Walter leave in the future and his prints being erased from the timeline. But as he said, he cheated fate to be with his son and he had to do this for the future of his son and his grand daughter.

While I am writing this, my heart throbs in the hope that somewhere in the alternate universe, Abrams is writing new episodes and a version of me is watching them peacefully eating popcorn.

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
Read more

It was a lazy evening. I had Quora opened on my cellphone, Fringe on my big monitor and an article about Elon Musk on laptop. Something was not right. A cold feeling of void was crawling inside me. With Valentine’s Day shy of less than 2 weeks and seeing happy couples all around, I was thinking all over again. If you are wondering, let me unveil that it wasn’t the first time.

It might sound weird. But I ain’t quite fond of very big changes in life. I very well remember an incident from my childhood. I was at my dad’s clinic in late noon and my eyes fell on an envelope lying on the desk. Out of curiosity, I pulled it quietly and tore open. There was a letter inside, with my name from a school I never heard of. And followed the details of all the facilities and academics which were not of my interest. My eyes grew wide in fear. I didn’t want to leave home. You see, it was a big change for me. And I didn’t like it. Albeit I have grown to be an adult, my fear has not gone away.

I think this is the exact reason why I stayed at Microsoft for this long. Yes, the culture, work life balance, people, familiar faces, all are valid reasons. But for me, it’s that big change I want to avoid.

Arrange marriage scares me to hell. Marriage itself is a big change. But if you get to marry someone you know for relatively longer time, it’s kinda comforting. Afraid to say, I am running out of time set by my mom to find a girl of my choice. And that is worrisome. I always thought that this is not a great deal. I must say, I underestimated it deeply.

Will I ever learn to embrace big change with open arms? Let time be the judge of that. Till then, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
Read more

क्या बताऊँ उसके बारे में,
उसे देखता हूँ तो लगता है जैसे पूरी क़ायनात मुस्कुरा उठी हो,
जैसे ठंडी वसंती फ़िज़ा बहने लगी हो,
जैसी सारी समस्याएं काफूर हो गई हो,
क्या बताऊँ उसके बारे में,
उससे बातें करता हूँ तो वक़्त थम जाता है,
होश खो सा जाता है,
क्या बताऊँ उसके बारे में,
जब वो हसती है तोः खुद को भूल जाता हूँ,
क्या बताऊँ उसके बारे में,
लफ्ज़ कम पड़ जायेंगे,
वक़्त कम पड़ जायेगा

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
Read more

What is it like to live the life of your dreams? A chance to do what you always wanted, without much interference and obstructions. A life worth documenting, for yourself of course. A life that inspires many others to be like you. The world is a rat race. People are not happy with what they have. Happiness! Well, it’s a subjective term. What make you happy might not work for others.

[Frame pause]

One more year has bled away. At the end of every year, I analyze all the good and bad things that occurred over and jot down the points where I lagged and need improvisation. It serves as the perfect documentation of the things to be looked back and the things to look forward to. Akin to the performance review system being done in companies during fiscal time of the year, the only difference is that here I am the person sitting with open mind on both sides of the table.

[Frame resume]

Thousands of desires, each worth dying for,
Many of them I have realized, yet I yearn for more.

In my quest to seek the meaning of life and henceforth happiness, I picked up new things, met people I never saw before, traveled places I had never been. This year, being less incoherent than the last, enlightened me about the things that I can pursue for long, as opposed to my other hobbies that didn’t live long enough to see light of another year.  As I inch towards seeing 5 summers at Microsoft, I finally have the answer to the very question that was itching in mind since quite sometime.

No matter how much my heart wants to pen it all down, I would like to choose another post for this. This is perhaps, the story of another time 🙂

2017 was the year of travel. 2 business trips to Redmond and 3 personal trips totaling 64 days, out of which I spent 49 days outside India, walking on the foreign soil. I traveled to Spiti (Himalayas) and my long time dream destination Iceland.  I learned what is it like to wander in complete wilderness in dark to chase something of value. Traveling has taught me to look life from a different perspective altogether. I now know that happiness does not always scream for money.

As I am aging (unfortunately), I realize that my interests are inclined more towards the artistic aspects of life. Artists are usually socially deprived and I am afraid to not become one.

When I wake up every morning in full health, I feel very fortunate to get a life like this. It’s not easy to forget the dark days of last year. All it takes is just one event to make you realize that how important it is to enjoy every bit of life. I have tried my best to make up for the lost moments. What keeps me alive, more important than oxygen and blood is hope. Hope that everything will be okay. I think I have learned to fake smile well. My face no longer reflects how much broken I am inside. But then, who cares? Now my life is based on one simple mantra from the Hindi movie Kal Ho Na Ho:

Share one more smile today,
Pray one more time today,
Drink one more tear today,
Live one more life today,
See one more dream today,
Who knows, there may be no tomorrow.

This year, I focused on improvising the skills I picked up in 2016 and made good progress in it. I explored fashion and landscapes.  My photography, if not great, has got some recognition and won award. I did photoshoot of a guy who stood second rank in Star Life Mr India 2017 and my work was published in local newspapers.

Picture on the left won national award in reflection category in Photofie.

My Aurora Borealis capture from Iceland has been nominated as Mentor’s choice in Camarena Academy and World Photographic Forum. It is not a big deal, but I am happy because it’s been just 16 months since I started capturing.

While I am writing all this, I ask myself a very basic question. “Would my life be the same if I hadn’t met that accident?”. You might have guessed the correct answer.

Each phase of life is like a gift wrapped beautifully. You don’t know what you are going to find inside. Some of them can render you with packets of joy and happiness. While others can turn into your darkest nightmare. What most people usually don’t pay attention to is that you can always learn something, if not cherish.

12 lessons I learned in 2017:

  1. If you do something, put your heart and soul in it. Make sure the the result is worth the efforts.
  2. Practice whatever you like 20 minutes a day. Consistency is important
  3. You can make best of friends in weirdest of places
  4. Travel with experienced people. You will learn a thing or two
  5. There is nothing like traveling. Believe me, investing in it won’t make you a spendthrift junkie
  6. Don’t waste your time and energy impressing someone. (S)He might not see you couple of years from now. But you certainly will see YOU. Impress yourself
  7. Good things come to you if you work hard
  8. Being single is sometimes a choice
  9. Take some time out of busy schedule and take a uber look at your life. The story of Narcissus has a very deep meaning that compels us to take another look at our lives. Sometimes, we are so busy praising and criticizing ourselves that we lose the opportunity to witness the beautiful world around us. Had the lake invested a fraction of her time into looking at her surroundings , she would have known, what was it about the beauty of Narcissus that took even goddesses to pursue him in forests
  10. Choose friends wisely. It is better having one physical friend than ten virtual ones
  11. Your parents would never stop loving you. You would always be their first priority. Make sure you return the same favor
  12. Job can wait. Travel can’t. If I don’t travel every three months, my soul becomes restless

Each one of us have different ways of narrating story because we live differently, perceive differently and react differently. If you love reading my way of telling the story, you might like other experiences I penned here – My life experiences.

Here is a list of 12 things I learned in 2016

Happy new year!

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
Read more