life

July 13, 2012

Dear Mary,

I won’t ask how are you, because I know you would be gleaming with happiness living in your beautiful world. And I wish you to be always the same. I won’t ask you about your whereabouts either, because it will tempt me to follow you no matter how far you are.

Do you remember the first day we met and I had almost evinced that I like you until you told me something that stopped me right there? Since that moment, I never stopped loving you. Day after day after day, it just kept on growing stronger. My love for you is like sleep. It started slowly and I fell all at once. People say there is no magic in this world. They just don’t look for it in the right place.

Days bled into years. There are things in life which are hard to change. Yes, “The fault in our stars” is still my favorite and no matter how many times I watch it, my heart takes control over my brain and I think of nothing but you. I dated many gorgeous girls, yet my heart longs for you. I traveled places to look for someone like you, yet when I see pictures of us, my breathes skip.

While I am composing this, that song is playing in the background and I feel so much connected with it:

So many people all around the world,
Tell me where do I find, someone like you girl,
Take me to your heart, take me to your soul,
Hold my hand before I’m old,

Just wanted to let you know, you are the only love of my life. Hope someday you will understand my feelings and that day would be the second happiest day of my life.
Yours,
Peter

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
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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 the question is, does it help by just following them. Sure, it is motivating. It elevates your desire to do something. It boosts up your will to achieve what you wanted. However, until and unless you do not work freaking hard, improve yourself day by day, that chosen hero remains in pictures. Like we see Hulk in Marvel movies. Remember not all people are blessed with quick learning abilities. We have to keep trying hard to know what works for us best.
I personally had many heroes in my life so far. When I was learning programming, I chose a hero who knew infinity as compared to me. When I was doing photography, I chose a hero whose shots just made me feel wow. When I was playing piano, I chose yet another hero whose fingers seem to turn into bots.
What I observed while following my passion is that even though, I chose my heroes, I made great progress in one while very little in other. What were the things that went bad and I couldn’t do well? Was my execution plan wrong? Was it the lack of motivation? Did I not have enough passion? Well, it was about my devotion and the efforts I needed to put.
To fix this, I made an execution plan. I set an achievable goal. Like, at the end of this summer, I would shoot at least 10 great photos. Or by year end, I would learn to play a song X on piano in melody and arpeggios. And I keep on checking myself every two weeks or so about the progress I make and the areas where I lag. This trick is working great for me so far.

Don’t follow a person. Follow your dreams. Chase your passion. That is going to define who you are. Be your own hero.

Who knows, by doing so, you will become someone so unique that people will start looking up to you. That said, we can’t compare between Beethoven, Mozart and Bach. All of them have made significant contribution in the music realm.

Let me end this writing with a small inspiring video of Matthew McConaughey at the 86th Oscars® in 2014 | Best Actor for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club. Whenever I feel low, watching this speech of him helps me a lot.

In his words, this Oscar goes to my hero, that’s who I chase. Now when I was 15 years old, I have a very important person in my life come to me and say, “Who is your hero?”. And I said I don’t know I gotta think about that, give me a couple of weeks. I come back two weeks later, this person comes up and says “Who’s your hero?” And so I thought about it and I said you know who it is, it’s me in 10 years.

So I turn 25, 10 years later that same person comes to me and goes “so are you a hero?” And I was like, not even close. No, no, no. She said “Why?” I said because my hero is me at 35. So you see every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero is always 10 years away. I’m never going to beat my hero. I’m not going to obtain that, I know I’m not. And that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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There is a part of us which reacts to a situation or the behavior of a person in very specific way. This happens more often when the person happens to be a very good friend or a close one of yours.

There are times when we wish we had a magic wand so that we do some miracle to make the person behave the way we want her to be. More specifically, we want her to be like us. We never think twice that that unique difference defines us.
Irony is we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

A small encounter in my life forced me to rethink and correct my perceptions about the things I visualize, behavior I observe and the way I react.
After a small phone conversation, we decided to meet on dinner as it had been quite long since we talked about the world around us.
It was hard to believe that she was the same girl I met 18 months back, crying over her life, her selfish friends, her bank balance, her big dreams, her having no supporting friend blah blah blah. The problems just never seem to end for her. I always thought that no matter how much good happens in her life, she would always be a crying baby. Each time we talked, ninety percent of our conversation was about her and her problems. There were times when she irritated me like hell.

But today, I met a new girl in her. She was mature, talked so much sense and beamed with confidence. Her life was very happening and full of exciting things. She had big plans for future and she was very positive about them. Her patience level had gone stronger.

But this change didn’t come overnight. It was the result of consistent effort of weeks, months. I remember all the hard work she did to get a better life, a life that people appreciate and want.

But, why am I writing all these things? Well, it was only after meeting her that I realized that I liked the older version of her more when she used to share every single detail of her life. It’s not that I am not happy with what she is today. I always wanted her to be happy. It’s just that she has become independent enough to not need me anymore and this is what hurts.

You realize the value of something only when it’s gone. There are some things which should not change.

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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It’s been 8 years in row when I last laughed on the day of romance. Every year, I had a belief that may be I would be lucky to get a chance to smile again, lucky to meet special someone to share my feelings with again. With years, my thoughts matured as I grew up. I know if someone is meant to be with you, to love you, to smile with you, to go nuts with you, there won’t be a valentine’s day to decide this. A valentine’s day is just another day. People have found extraordinary love on ordinary days.

I now spend the day in peace. It has become more of a habit now. I wake up in the morning, brush my teeth, take a shower, talk to people, like statuses of people falling in love, close my eyes for a while and wonder if anyone special is there out for me, dine and go to sleep. With each passing year, I have grown stronger in matters of love. Now I am careful because I know at the end of the day, it hurts. Breakup is painful. It cripples your brain and breaks down your nervous system. You just can’t think straight. You keep on asking the same question over and over again, “Why me?.

You must be wondering if I am optimistic about this year. Well I am not. It’s not because I am looking for the perfect girl. I am looking for someone I can spend next 50 years of my life with irrespective of all her imperfections. Perfection is a myth. A perfect girl doesn’t exist. I am looking for someone with whom I can talk to for hours without getting bored. A girl who can understand me when noone will. A girl with whom I can share my craziest of thoughts without worrying about her reactions. A girl who is as weird as I am. A girl who has passion, confidence, is willing to take chances and explore the world. I find confidence a terribly sexy quality in girl. When I see her, it feels like fireworks are going off. And and… style. She should really know how to wear a dress. Finding such a girl would take time. A day won’t change a dime. I would prefer to wait than hurry. The secret formula to be happy is to be with someone who makes you feel alive every single time you see her smile. It makes you realize that you are the reason behind her pretty smile and whatever you do, is worth it because moments like this are precious.

So this year also I will pass the day silently pretending that it is just another day. I will wake up in the morning, brush my teeth, blah! blah! blah!, dine and go to sleep.

Happy valentine’s day in advance! If you have got that special person, you are the luckiest 🙂

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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Every evening on the roof top of my hostel in Delhi, I used to see the shining airplanes going off into the thin air and wondered when I would get a chance to fly in one of these with my own capability. While that dream was fulfilled the moment I joined Microsoft, I started wondering to fly to United States in the best of airlines to feel how is it like to be in the most powerful country in the world..You can say that my dreams always get upgraded.

Being at Microsoft has its own benefits

I owned an important piece of project in Microsoft. There was a talk going on to fasten the velocity of work we were doing. Given the complexity of the project, its architecture was written in many layers few of which was coded by team at Redmond. Due to time zone difference and the critical timing, we had to act on it quickly to enhance quality of product. They decided to send me over to interact with people, understand different layers and their communication.

A sudden plan

I hardly remember traveling somewhere in such a big rush. It was 4 O’ clock in the evening when I was checking flight tickets and changing date in the calendar on the online portal to finalize which day to travel. 6 O’ clock, my friends found a flight that was to take off the next morning to Seattle and I spent next hour mentally preparing myself to fly so unprepared. It was just hard to believe that I would be traveling to US, one of my dream destinations without any preparation. My parents were asking me every other day if I bought winter apparels. I usually prefer to plan everything in advance and this time, without have a flight ticket in hand, I didn’t want. With support from my friends at Microsoft, I finally decided to give it a chance. There are few things in world for which you need not to be prepared. After all, traveling somewhere without much thinking has its own share of fun. And this was not somewhere. This was what I dreamed of long enough.

It all started with a joke. I was worried I was not getting any ticket in good airlines next week. I was tired, exhausted not a clue on what to do. “There is a flight next day at 4 in the morning. You can catch that.”

“Holy cow! This would be too early. How on earth would I be able to catch that?”

I knew they were serious when my manager said. “Actually, I think you can go.”

“But I haven’t done any shopping”, my forehead was shining with worry lines.

“It’s alright. What are the things you need? You can borrow them from me.”
My friends helped to prepare an itinerary. I literally got only 2 hours to dine and pack my bags. I usually never take more than 30 minutes to pack, but since this was my first trip to US, I didn’t want to take any chances.

It’s Emirates, baby

The moment I stepped into the flight, I got the answer why it has been coined as the best airlines in the world. The service, the infra and the experience was just amazing. It is very unlikely that you would be left unhappy after an Emirates travel. It was a 22 hours long journey with a 3 hours layover in Dubai. Being a movie buff and their huge collection of movies, I didn’t find it difficult to spend time.

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Hello from Redmond!

The flight was just on time. You might find it funny but the first thing I missed at Seattle airport was no taxi driver asking me where would I want to go. I didn’t have US Sim Card and it was freezing cold to stay for long in the open weather. There are two Marriott hotels in Redmond and I missed to mention which one I wanted to go to the local taxi. Even with a 50% chance of landing at the correct hotel didn’t work for me. Redmond is kinda a developed village. It’s hard to find anyone on the road. It was near difficult to ask someone for navigation. Luckily, the second Marriott was just a few blocks away.

Few of the pictures of the hotel:

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I learned that labor is costly in US. The gorgeous lady at the business center handed me over a map which had directions to follow my room. It’s very unlike in India that you would have to carry luggage to your room on your own in a decent hotel.

My first status update from Facebook on the arrival night.

It’s been only 11:00 PM here and I am done with sleep. It’s quite chilly outside and the roads are empty. A grave silence is there in the winds. Next couple of nights, I am gonna spend as a night crawler. I wonder if the new government would encourage vigilante. All of a sudden, I feel like I have all the time in the world and I have very less to do.
If I was not able to respond to your chats due to my busy schedule, Let’s catch up now

Being a hobby photographer, I found everything very interesting and screaming at me to be clicked.

The view outside my hotel room. As you can see, cars are parked in the open air. In the morning, the car windows are covered with a thick layer of ice.

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Just by the first look, I can say that discipline and patience flow in veins here. I never saw anyone rushing, everyone (well almost) greets you with a wide smile, cute children laughing on pavements and the most important thing – punctuality. People prefer to be on time. They dine by 8, sleep by 11 and woke up at 6.

Good morning Redmond

It is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You don’t realize it until you skip dinner and have a heavy breakfast in Indian style dinner. Good morning Redmond!

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!JetLag

I was under impression that I won’t be getting sleep at usual time because of all the jet lag stories I heard. To my surprise, jet lag did magic to my schedule which I couldn’t follow even after trying for 10 years and many apps claiming to help you do so. I slept at 10, wake up at 6 and rushed to office by 8. It was just an amazing feeling. It was refreshing. I was way more productive. I never knew a good schedule can do miracles in your day to day life.

US Diaries – Part 2

 

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
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A feeling is hidden when someone says “I don’t care”,

A truth is hidden when someone says “I am kidding”,
A pain is hidden when someone says “It’s okay”,
A need is hidden when someone says “Leave me alone”,
A secret is hidden when someone says “I don’t know”.
A lot of emotions are hidden. Few just choose to hide them behind a fake smile. Sometimes, it’s good because not all people who ask how are you would really be interested in listening your story. People are busy and until & unless you are not their priority, they won’t care.

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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I wanna explore the world. I wanna go on a road trip someday with that beautiful girl I love. I wanna capture a lot of pictures, of her, of us, to cherish those happy moments when I will be sad. Listen to my favorite songs in the long drive.
I wanna stop in between just to enjoy the view and to see the cute smile on her face. I wanna get lost with her. Wake up, step out, wander in any direction with her on my arm while enjoying the mesmerizing views, keep walking until we feel so terribly weak on our knees that we are left with no choice but to rush to the nearest cafe, order some exotic food and a glass of wine. And then get back, wake up tomorrow and do it all over again.

I wanna see sunrise. And a lot of sunsets. Listen her all night while lying under starry sky. Sit on the brink of waterfall for hours and feel the charm of water droplets on the face. Run through a lush green forest. Feel the wind rushing in ears. Get lost in gentle breeze filling my nostrils with crazy fragrance of flowers. Pen down the experience while sitting in the colorful garden. Spend hours admiring the beauty of nature. Meet people on the way. Make memories. Purchase memorabilia. I wanna get surprised. I wanna feel alive. I wanna live my life.

Copyright © 2016, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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I hear people shouting outside. I hear bursting firecrackers. I hear them celebrating. Many of my friends already planned this night in advance. But to me, it’s just another year, another night. For the first time in life, I wish to pass this night quietly staying alone, no WhatsApp and phone calls. I don’t feel excited or find any kind of adrenaline rush in my veins. Have I grown too old for celebrations? Or is it a sign of maturity? Is that how mature people feel, life with no excitement? Is it because they have witnessed many of such moments that this is just another old, rugged hour?

2016 was the year of learning and exploring the meaning of life. None of us can make through life without suffering some pain. Having lived my fair share, I can tell you that most difficult to endure is loneliness. We must find someone or something to invest our time into. Last year was all about self-realization and finding peace in myself. It was about discovering that it’s not all about career and love. There is a whole big world out there screaming at you to be explored.
In a nutshell, I can sum up my life in 2016 in three points:
1. Visited 8 Indian states and one foreign land
2. Tried my hands on Photography, Piano and Poetry
3. Witnessed that life is a blessing and every moment is priceless after going through the toughest, darkest phase of my life

Unforgettable moments

There are many unforgettable moments I had in 2016, and mentioning only one would be doing injustice to others:

Adventures

Being inspired from movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (You won’t get life again), I experienced sky diving, scuba diving, para sailing and sea walking. You can have a glimpse here:

Flying like a bird

A moment before scuba diving:

A walk on the sea-bed

Darkest phase

Met an accident and spent 72 days of my life lying in bed devastated, traumatized, broke cursing fate and finding meaning of life. Funny part was I and my dad both lost 8 kgs of weight, I worrying about me and he worrying about me.

Diving into artistic world

Channelized my energy in positive direction and tried my hands in artistic world – Photography, Piano and Poetry

I showcase my work in Fashion and Glamour here – Instaglam | Facebook and Instaglam (@instaglamofficial)

Recognition

Got published my interview on one of the most popular technical site – Geek on the top – Aashish Barnwal | Make a habit of writing clean, readable, flexible and robust code – GeeksforGeeks

It’s time to set doable goals for 2017. Wish you a very happy new year!

Copyright © 2016, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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Life is about trying out new things. How else are you supposed to know what are you good at. You get to live only once. Make sure it’s worth it. At the end of every year, I try to jot down the things I learned, all good and bad ones. While I find few of them worth cherishing, others are equally valuable to teach us lessons of life. 2016 was a wonderful year. Words would fall short to pen it. For the past few years, I had been wondering what my life is meant to be, what are the things out there which will render me with greatest pleasure, what is the secret ingredient of being happy. It was the year when I finally found the core where my happiness lies. While last year was fully devoted to my physical transformation, this year my focus was mainly on building my skills, to become a better version of myself. People often ask me about the trigger point of all these crazy stuffs that I do. Few people even asked me why do I not value money. All I can say is that they haven’t gone through the dark phase of life which I did. I have witnessed that anything can happen in the blink of an eye. We humans are mortals, made of flesh and blood. All it took me was an event to realize the value of life. Waking up each morning and finding yourself in best health is a blessing. 2016 was a year of diving into the artistic world – Poetry, Photography and Piano. Perhaps, someday I will compile another experience about these 3 P’s of my life.

So what was that event that changed me for good? My life was greatly influenced by the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (You won’t get a second life). I literally wanted to live it big while trying out all the crazy adventures, exploring the world and having hands on new things. As of now I have tried Bungee jumping, Sky diving, Scuba diving, Para sailing, Sea walking, Flying fox, 18 kms River rafting. In one of the adventures, I met an accident which took from me precious 72 days of my life. It left me devastated and broke. I had no clue on what to do. You can earn lost money but not the lost moments. They are priceless. I could give anything to get back the old life. What kept me alive, more important than oxygen and blood was hope. I realized what Pandora’s box is all about.

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All this time, I couldn’t stop myself asking same questions over and over again. Did I live my life the way I wanted to? Or was it influenced by how others wanted me to? What if there is no tomorrow? The answers of these questions steered my thoughts about how my life should be in a complete different direction. While I am done with adventures, I realized that there are other domains worth exploring. Toughest phase of life teaches you lessons nothing else can.

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Following are 12 lessons I learned in 2016:

1. Live life as if there is no tomorrow. And if you get a chance to witness tomorrow, do it all over again

2. If you love something, make it a habit: Do it regularly, be it playing piano or photography. It will help you improve your skills and to become a better time manager

3. Don’t procrastinate things that don’t take much time doing: Ever forgot to pay electricity or credit card bills on time and regretted doing it instantly you got the bills? If a piece of work requires less than 5 minutes of your attention, do it immediately instead of postponing it. These small tasks usually pile up and then takes more of your time than it should.

4. Had a breakup? Build up your skills: I won’t lecture much on this topic. Love is the sweetest fruit. But sometimes it doesn’t go according to your wish. If you suffered a broken heart, keeping yourself busy helps a lot. Try to learn something new.

5. Find happiness in whatever you do: Science has proven that you learn something quickly if you enjoy it. Happiness plays a very key role in your success. Look at successful people around you. They are far better than others because they love what they do. Don’t do anything just because everyone else is doing. Do it because your passion drives you

6. Meet new people, they have lots to tell you. Examples are better than precepts. People experience life differently. Sometimes talking to them is no less than watching a fiction.

7. Hope is a good thing. Don’t underestimate it

8. Choose friends wisely. Not everyone you consider friend will understand you when you will be undergoing hardest phase of your life. I learned this the hard way

9. When you feel left out, a lone wolf, write your heart out. Believe me, this is how I started writing and it is fun

10. Your parents love you. They will support you when noone else will. You should always try to find time for them no matter how busy your life is. As a matter of fact, I have noticed that people are not that busy. It’s all about managing time and priorities.

11. Wake up an hour early to feel the power of time. Have you ever woke up early and found yourself binding up a lot of smaller tasks? Were you not amazed by finding out how much your day changed? You plan your day in advance and observe the difference between an adhoc and well managed day. Remember, you don’t need an assistant for that.

12. Every year go somewhere you have never been before. Every month take a day off from social networks

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 2015

Copyright © 2016, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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I very well remember the day I met you. The day I saw you, I talked to you.

As I’m writing this, all those golden moments we spent together are flashing in front of my eyes. Those were some of the best days of my life and you changed me for good. I learned to laugh. I learned to care. I learned to see the world from a different perspective altogether. All I can say is that you have given me memories I will cherish. You had a bad impression on me in a good sense. I am a very careful person. But for some reasons, it was hard to be careful when you were around me. I am the kind of person who prefers to bottle up the feelings to make sure noone gets hurt.

While I always liked you and loved you, you never really cared about my feelings. All those long hours were fake. Somehow, I feel you knew this all along. I waited long, really long. Days, weeks, months.

So it’s enough.

I can’t do this anymore. I can’t let emotions trick me into false believes that we can be together. If we were meant to be together, it would have already happened.

In this dilemma between heart and mind, heart has played me enough. Love was always my weakness. It’s time to let mind take the decisions. It’s time to move on. So here is me, letting you finally go. I wish you all the best. Whatever you do, be happy. Because it was your smile which made me fall for you the very first day.

Copyright © 2016, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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