All Hands: Project Nepal in Kathmandu

This is so touching for me. Thank you all involved with the All Hands project! I’m sorry, I didn’t know sooner about you! But we can’t thank you enough for your hard work and selfless service in our time of need!

Moving Mindful

Since our last post, about our experience delivering school supplies to students in Saurpani, Gorkha, Ben and I decided to return to Kathmandu.

The monsoon season had started and sadly, based on our experience driving to and from Saurpani, we could see the roads were already deteriorating. Landslides would soon become the norm and some roads were expected to wash out completely. For the next three months these remote villages would now be even further cut off from the aid they desperately needed. We decided we would continue supporting relief projects in these areas, but would do so based out of Kathmandu.

We have been living in Kathmandu for the past month and have loved our experience here. We’ve spent our time volunteering 6 days a week with an organization called All Hands. They are an American NGO that has international volunteers on the ground, working in various communities in…

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War

 

 

 

 

 

When all this is done
and the dust settles
I’ll find you on the other side

I’ll stare down your empty eyes
And you will look up
To see only mercy in mine

But it shall be too late then
For the only cure left
Would be a bullet through your head

I promise, painless you shall die
And if it gives you any pleasure
Know that the agony would be all mine

Over and over
I’ll live your death
Until the end of my days

And as I lay dying
In the cradle of final darkness
Maybe I’ll see you there

One last time
You and I
We’ll make our stand

Won’t be much to say then
Just one solemn question:
Was it even worth it?

We won’t remember much of who won
But smiling sadly at one another
We will at least know who lost

To the pain and suffering of every brave War Hero… whoever, wherever…

Book Review: A New Earth (Non-fiction)

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose

 

 

 

 

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When you read a book such as A New Earth, there can only be two things happening to you: You either like the book (and it therefore changes you forever)… Or, you realize that you are not yet ready for this.

Thankfully, the former happened to me.

From the man himself!

From the man himself!

Eckhart Tolle’s vision of a new Earth is one where human consciousness has finally defeated its longtime enemy — the Ego. In the book, he explains at length about different kinds of Ego, its formation and, ultimately, its dissolution. He speaks further about the ceaseless human habit of thinking and not “being”. It means we tend to always live in the past or the future (things that are real only in our mind), rather than being conscious of the present and whatever life throws at us “Now”.

Tolle answers us all these questions that we (at least I) didn’t even knew to ask.

But why? Why does that happen? Why does Ego prevent us from enjoying the present moment? Tolle answers us all these questions that we (at least I) didn’t even knew to ask. He also explains about the Inner purpose and Outer purpose of human beings — linking all these back to Ego. He, then, shows us how the Ego prevents us from seeing the true Inner Purpose of spiritual awakening (no he’s not asking you to become a Sage!) and keeps us over-focused on the Outer Purpose of extrinsic “fulfillment”.

Eckhart Tolle

As I said earlier, this book is not for everyone. Even I am yet to fully understand the true depths of Tolle’s every words. And it will be a while before I do it. But it, at least, taught me the meaning of being Conscious. Although, I won’t immediately master my Ego (or emotions and desires and sufferings) after finishing this book, I can now, at least, be aware of the things that come into play when these emotions take hold of me. I would know what exactly happened when I felt like screaming at someone, saying something bad, dwelling on the past, or even feeling frustrated…

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Eventually, someday, I hope I will find the Consciousness that Tolle speaks of. Until then, I shall be coming back to this book again and again and will keep taking the wisdom from it.

I recommend this book to everyone. Even if you don’t agree to it… just keep an open mind and finish it. One day… some day, this will come to you in a enlightening wave of consciousness.

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A (BIASED) TAKE ON: Laziness and Shortcuts

BLOG POST IN A NUTSHELL: Intro into how I love shortcuts – the dual attitude toward it – something that Bill Gates said (completely distorted for my self-fulfilling purpose) – and a (biased) conclusion on why we need Shortcuts. 

True story.

True story.

So my Dad asks me to switch on a particular button on this extension-cord the other day. It takes me a quick scan of the floor, twice, to pinpoint the location of this Extension. I stood directly above it.

Turning it on meant I had to stoop over.

Bam! Without even thinking, I use the toe of my feet.

But there were too many plugs already inserted and hitting the right button meant I had to successfully guide my toe in between two thick power plugs. It was impossible.

So being the creative boy I was, I used my second-most strong finger — the index of the feet.

Click. The switch glows red. I smile. El victorioso!

I turned around to find my father staring at me with such a disgust, you might as well have thought I’d smacked a baby in the face.

I paused. “What?”

“It’s not that low, and you, for sure, are not that tall. I don’t think it’s that hard to bend down a little, is it?”

I consider that a moment. And decide he is wrong. I am tall.

Relatively.

And it isn’t about how difficult or easy it is to bend my body. It is about, Isn’t there a quicker way to do it?

But I end up giving lame excuses about how creative my mind is, and some lousy metaphor regarding why go to the pizza store when you can dial the number and order it home. However, I fail to deliver it with any conviction, so end up getting a disapproving shake of my father’s head and a notable disappointment.

But all this only leaves me thinking. Man, on a better day, I could have just gotten away with the same thing by coming off as smart.

Like, what if we were caught up by bandits, hands tied, and our only survival depended upon pressing that one red button on the power cable full of too many plugs? That’s… a… possibility. Right?

Anyway. This brings me to think about this dual attitude toward “Shortcuts.” On one side, they are the sure-short sign of the lazy. While on the other, they are the super-tool of the smart.

So, combining the above two, can’t we safely deduce that “shortcuts” are smart works of the lazy minds?

Hmmm

Hmmm

Now you maybe smart but if you aren’t a tad bit lazy, you won’t go for the shortcuts. Similarly, if you’re just lazy and not smart, you’d ignore the task altogether than search for the easiest way out.

Here’s the wisdom of ages, folks… striking that sweet balance is important.

Mr. Bill Gates… invariantly said, “I choose a lazy person to do the hard job… they always find the easiest way to do it.”

There are many propagators of “Shortcuts”. But the most popular one (and the only one I can remember) has to be our very own, the champion of the geeks, Mr. Bill Gates, who invariantly said, I choose a lazy person to do the hard job… they always find the easiest way to do it.”

Find the easiest way to do a difficult job!

I don’t know about you, but that’s just plain creativity for me.

So if that’s the case, wouldn’t it suggest that being lazy gives you an opportunity to be creative. I won’t daresay that it confirms creativity. But it opens a window. It hints that your brain might have been designed to come up with beautiful shortcuts to adapt to the laid-back nature of your body. It’s basic survival tactics, friends. Like humans dropping their tails over the years as it turned increasingly useless.

Not much differently, lazy people develop creativity because their lazy body demands it.

So it’s not totally bad to be lazy. In fact, we need the lazy. We need more people coming up with shortcuts. Things get invented when people start thinking of shortcuts. Things like calculators.

See… all I’m really trying to say is… well, if you really want to eat that pizza… just dial the number, man.

Laziness Level: 100

Laziness Level: 100

Book Review: A Dance with Dragons (ASOIAF #5)

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yet another book, and yet another series of plots and politics, murders and masquerades, honor and hidden intentions, duty and death.

Lords, Ladies, and Free-folks! A Dance With Dragons and George R.R. Martin do not fail to deliver on the promises of the past.

It is just as riveting as any of its predecessor, with strong characters, intriguing plot lines, simple language, and just the right touch of reality. The only major disadvantage of this book should be its size. I mean, yes, every fan wants his favorite book to never end. But… see, he doesn’t actually want it to never end. Duh.

But there was nothing the author could have done about it (at least, not in the fifth book). After weaving an epic tale that covers such a large set of characters, geography, political boundaries, Houses, and even Religion… there was no way this was going to be short.

Anyway, instead of following up on the events of the fourth book, “A Dance…” picks up from where the third book left us (and takes us a little forward from the fourth book). Only this time, the story is told from the viewpoint of a different set of characters. It tells of the epic saga of Quentyn Martell, the cunning journey of Tyrion Lannister, the struggle of Queen Daenerys, the conquest of Euron Grejoy, of the land-beyond-the-wall, and of forgotten tales of half-heroes, and the half-tales of forgotten heroes!

There still are many gaps… incomplete stories… for the author to fill in, and fast. The book is not without flaws. Some things, and a very minor ones at that — like the overuse of the expression “Words are winds” (and important people dying up like roaches!) — really irk me.

Many long-held questions still go unanswered. But many other plots finally fall into place and has now begun to take shape. You can almost form a vague and dim outline of the end that is soon to follow.

But who are we kidding? This is A Song of Ice and Fire. Even the most unimaginable of things may happen. And that is the only absolute certainty.

On to the HBO Series now!

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