Get up and Fight Back

The comic book heroes that have fascinated generations are not the one without weaknesses. They all have their own Kryptonites. They are vulnerable from inside too. The teenage Peter Parker has a festering wound on his soul. Think about it. One moment of negativity and indiscretion indirectly caused his uncle’s death. The boy could have easily gone nuts out of the sheer weight of the guilt. But, he turned it into a white rage, which he directed against the evil around him. This is what makes him a hero. 

Yeah, it looks easy in the world of comic books. Comic books are not comic books, if they do not exaggerate reality. Reality, however, is something that we face everyday and  every moment of our conscious existence, with all of its naked harshness. Guys like you and me who face the stark reality with a straight face are brave too. But, there are few times in life when life gets so tough that we can either wither away in the universe, or take out the heroism that is inside all of us. 

These are the times, when you are down, and almost out; everything looks too hard to handle, and you see no help coming your way. This is when you can transform yourself from a brave soul to a hero. Life has given you one on the chin, and you are on the ropes, listening to the count that would take you out of the game. The game here for you is your life. So, what would you do? Wait for the counting to end? Or, summon the last reserve of your strength, get back on your feet, and give it back?

 Yesss…take the second option. 

You have nothing in life with you, man. So what-? You still have that bitterness, that negative energy, the thought of already losing two rounds out of three. Channelize that bitterness; suck the energy out of the universe, and give it back. 

The game ain’t over until you say so. Giving up is not an option. Keep prowling around till you get the chance to sneak a knockout punch. 

There has been no statistics to prove that perseverance and doggedness makes you a winner. However, we all know that to be true. It’s about fighting the odds. It’s about kicking ass when going gets tougher, and you feel down and out. It is not easy, but it is doable-

1. Take a mental brush and wipe away clean all the gloom and doom off your mind.

2.Think about the challenge ahead and keep thinking till you make a mental map of a path that could still make you a winner, no matter how far fetched it sounds. 

3. Start working with an open mind and flexible approach.

4. Break your tasks into smaller targets. Keep focusing on the smallest piece of work.

5.  There will be set backs. Accept this fact, move on, but do not give up.

6 . Discipline your life.You are the best judge of yourself. You do not have to be honest with anyone else but yourself. If your mind says that you should sleep early every night. Then, do it. If you feel that you should cut down on social media time then you must do it. If you know it in your heart that you are not giving your hundred percent, start right then, and step up your game.

7. Be smart- You should be smart, analytical, pragmatic and a willing learner. Do not run away from learning new skills, trying new technologies, and always be ready to accept a change.

8. Accept the failures, but be ready to make a new beginning.

9. There are always options. Remember that.

This list above is not exhaustive. Only you know the best about yourself. But, no matter what comes your way, keep getting up, and maintain that swagger and that kick ass attitude. The shoulders must not drop; the head must be held high all the time.

Best of Luck. 

Workplace Monsters (2): The Vampire Boss

He survives on the happiness that he sucks out of your life.”

He can not help it, as he has been made that way by the creator. The wiring in his brain asks him to do things which a normal human being wouldn’t even consider- He asks you to work hard, while giving you a tough task in an impossible timeline. Once you have done the hard ( and smart) work, this vampire takes over. Now, he lets the whole world know that it was in fact him who made this impossible thing possible. If he even makes a passing reference abut you, you must feel very lucky. For the vampire, it is all about I, me and myself. Don’t believe me? OK, just count the number of times he says ‘I’ in ten sentences he speaks. 

“He doesn’t exist in the world, the world exists for him.”

He is the Count Dracula- the Master Vampire, so there must be minions around him. The minions have their minds connected with their master, who  commands them. With time, the minions forget completely that their minds can work independently as well. If you are a normal human being and a decent worker, the Vampire will come for you. The minions must be keeping a watch on you.

He is all about controlling. If you are independent minded, he has few tricks up his sleeves.  The easiest thing is to give you tasks without assigning resources for it.

He is an alpha male,  or at least tries to be. The HR people call him a type A personality. So, if you are one handsome popular guy with a straight back, watch out for the blood sucker to make a silent but crippling attack, like an assignment for six months at a God forsaken place. How dare you be popular among the ladies! Huh!

He is a showman. To be honest, he is good in it, a real method actor. He is capable of playing so many roles when facing his own boss, like-

That he is so devoted to work;

That he exists for the organization;

And, how he is trying hard to realize his boss’ vision;

His other performances take place infront of his subordinates, where he would clearly convey –

That he owns you;

That it is because of him, the organization is still standing;

That he has sacrificed so much for the organization.

He is your boss, so it is his right to find out complicated solution, even if you have a simpler alternative. If he accepts your simple solution, it will prove his uselessness to the world, which he understands quite well.

So, if you have a vampire boss, stay safe, and watch your back.

(Disclaimer: This is a piece of fiction. If you find any similarity with the character in question, this is just a coincidence)

Being Positive is not a Cliché

Troubled by the demons in your mind, and the big bad world outside, you look for some concrete help and not some often repeated  and almost non-sincere advice for ‘being positive’. ‘What the hack!’. This is not what you needed. This is just people washing their hands of the responsibility. Being positive is something you have heard so many times that you have grown immune to it. It is just a cliché- a phrase, beaten to death by the small talk talkers.

Yeah, it is a cliche, or it may not be one, depending on what you what you make out of this phrase. But, if you can imbibe the message by erecting a wall in your mind, bigger than the Great wall of China and higher than the ice wall of the North, just to keep out the negative thoughts, then you may realize that the clichéd phrase actually works.

It is easier said than done! True, but it is not improbable either. There are two ways for remaining positive- 

1. By keeping out the negative thoughts, and’

2. By filling up your minds with so many positive things that no negativity can seep in.

But, how to ward off the negative thoughts? Not easy for sure-. Your mind is a tiger that needs to be tamed, but not by chaining it to a stake in the ground. Tame it so that it roams in the high hills of positive thoughts, and not in the swamps of negativity. 

https://bastavar.wordpress.com/2019/07/20/tame-the-tiger/

To fill your mind with positivity, keep your dreams alive. Even after hundreds of failures, you must not stop dreaming. The dreamers have built this world, not the stiff and pragmatic realists. 

https://bastavar.wordpress.com/2019/06/29/the-dreams-we-see/

And lastly, it is about courage. The courage is to get up when you are down and out. The courage is what you need when you are afraid. When asked whether a man can be brave when afraid, the three eyed raven Brandon Stark replied that a man can be brave only when he is afraid. The courage is what makes you ready to kick some ass in the morning even when you slept a defeated and tired man in the night. The courage is to forget yesterday’s failure and strive for winning today’s battle.

https://bastavar.wordpress.com/2019/07/28/stare-back/

Be positive, be brave, and keep dreaming. 

Life, Death, Spirituality and the Ganges in Varanasi

Ignoring the humongous masses in the streets, making way through the maze of narrow and narrower streets, and jostling through the crowd of pushy hawkers, the journey to the Dashashmedh Ghat ( stepped bathing platform on the banks of the Ganges) is tiresome, and you wonder about the purpose of all of this. But then the street opens up to a red sandstone platform that leads to a broad but high stairs leading you down towards the river to another platform, broad enough to accommodate hundreds of chairs, which is the sight for the Ganga Aarti ( the evening prayers to the river Ganges). For a hundred bucks, a broker offers a comfortable seat to watch the spectacle of the evening aarti. You ignore him and take the stairs to the river, while jumping over the minor obstacles, like the ropes that is keeping the boats in place, a puddle of brackish water, or a minor stream of drainage. Finally, you put your steps in a traditional oar boat having a capacity for dozen people. Now you notice that it is, in fact, a makeshift motorboat with a country made five horsepower diesel engine and a locally assembled transmission. The engine does not have a switch to fire it, but it is not an issue, as the middle-aged boatman, using a handle, gives a ferocious rotation to the shaft of the engine. The engine is now firing on all its cylinders, but the noise is loud and hard to bear, drowning the conversation you are trying to have with your fellow passengers. However, you improvise and learn to shout, making yourself audible to others. The real journey begins now.

The boat goes downstream, passing one ghat after another that lie to your right, crossing the boats that were coming from the opposite direction, few had Indians and others had mostly white foreign tourists as their occupants. Now you realize the grandness of the river and the crowded ancient city that exists on its banks. You realize there are more than a hundred ghats and each has grand old buildings standing over them. You also realize that there is no space between these buildings, and all the Ghats, their temples and the inns form a long and continuous skyline of the city. You also find out that though the city and the ghats are ancient, their present structures are mostly late medieval, repaired and reconstructed by the Rajput and Mahratta Kings, and a few by the wealthy merchants. Though it was not a King, but a Queen who had gotten the most construction done, more than anyone else. Queen Ahilya Bai, she was the Queen of Holkar Mahrattas, ruling from Indore in Central India.

download (3) varanasi

India is present on these Ghats with its diversity. There are poor who throng the Ghats for only spiritual reasons and you have the middle classes who have touristy reasons added to the spiritual reasons. And there are the wealthy and powerful who come to placate the three hundred and thirty million Gods and Goddesses who reside in this ancient pious semi-circular city with a circumference of five yojanas ( leagues?). The poor pray for safety and peace, the middle classes for progress, and the who is who of the world just want to maintain the status quo. The city of Shiva has a place for all, even for the burqa-clad, skullcap-wearing Muslims whom you see in another boat that has just crossed yours, making you search for an explanation. But you don’t, as your eyes are now fixed on a heritage building that looks more maintained than the others, with its own private Ghats and balconies, occupied by the rich looking white tourists. “It’s the Taj hotel,” explains the short middle-aged boatman, Pappu. A heritage hotel right on the banks-! The boat is now midstream, the water is cleaner but a fellow passenger couldn’t stop himself from commenting over the pollutants in the water, only to be rebuked by the boatman for his lack of devotion. “It’s not the pollution in the water, but in the heart that matters,” he says. ‘How spiritual!’. You think something sarcastic, but do not dare to speak. But the boatman is still speaking, “Over there, the Manikarnika Ghat-.”

All the Ghats have their legends of the saints, miracles and of the Gods themselves. In fact, every part, every lane of the city boasts of at least one legend of its own, but it is the Manikarnika Ghat that lives the legend, day in and day out, in the form of burning funeral pyres and the rising flames and ash, which has blackened the exterior of the temple standing over the Ghat. The sun is setting in the western sky and yellow floodlights are illuminating the Ghats and the temples. The view is mesmerizing but you are overwhelmed by the sight of death that looks so mundane, so regular, and so ordinary in this vibrant sea of humanity known as Varanasi. The boatman by his experience understands your feelings and the boat slows down to join a group of a dozen or so other rickety boats already parked in front of the Ghat. You notice that the spectator crowd is mostly Western, but there are few Indians with their professional cameras on. The other Ghats sandwiching the Manikarnika Ghat show no effect of the burning pyres. People are moving on the Ghats as if those pyres do not exist. You notice the piles after piles of logs stacked neatly on the Ghat and realize that these pyres will keep on burning till eternity, day and night. It is time to move on.

manikarnika-ghat-from

The journey continues, and it will be. This is the city of holy Ganges which has carried the burden of a whole civilization for thousands of years. This is the city of Lord Shiva who is unassuming and liberal. He is cool when his wife is the center of the world, when she is the mother Goddess, and symbol of his own strength, the Aadi Shakti. Shiva, the God is a Yogi and yet does not hesitate in unleashing the destructive Tandava when his wife is made fun of. He does not desire anything in offering and is easy to please, even with the offering of a little water. The God who celebrates life and does not mind getting little high in celebration. Shiva is a Yogi who goes into a trance as easily as he can slip into meditation that lasts for epochs. This is the city of the God who lives on the margins of civilization, either in Shamshan (the crematorium) or on the snow-capped mountains which are the highest in the world. His followers are not only the marginalized and the misfits of the society, but also from the animal kingdom, the snakes and the bulls, and even those who have no place in any world, the mortal or immortal. Shiva is life and Shiva is death. Varanasi is the city of Shiva.

A Cold and Stark Life: Never Back Down

” Your life stares you in the face; you must stare back at it.”

It is ten in the night. You feel down and out. It has been a bad day, one of the many that you have seen this year. You have had enough of this everyday shit. You never deserved what you have got. Should you give in now as there seems no hope? Yeah sure! Give in to the calmness of the late evening, and the darkness of the universe. Give in to the night. Forget about today, and the day before today, and all the days that you had to endure. Take the tiger in your mind to the highest hill of your consciousness, and let it rest there; let it sleep there. Tomorrow will be a new day.

The night was a retreat, not a loss. The battles, new and old, will commence in the morning. Take out the steel in you man; gather the last ounce of courage in you. Remember so many Davids have won, and so many Goliaths have bitten the dust. 

Show the world that you are alive. Plan and execute. Learn the lessons, and incorporate. It is alright if you are afraid and anxious. Those who have never been afraid, have never lived the life. This is the time when you can show the metal in your nerves. This is life for you- stark and cold, just like the truth you hold close to your heart. This truth will prevail because the universe is based on this truth. If the truth fails, the world will fail.

 Let life bring on the challenge. Let it stare you into your eyes. You stare back at it, and never back down.

Motivation: Going Back to the Fitness Regimen

You were doing so good with your fitness, but came the work pressure, and everything just blew away. Now, you are working till late in the night; getting up early to be on time; feeling tired and down, and just bloody miserable. And naturally, the exercise is the last item in the priority list. The diet schedule has gone to dogs, and even they don’t give a hoot about it. 

On one fine Sunday morning you get up late, and drag yourself to the washroom to see your familiar self in the crystal clear mirror. But what you see gives you a surprise, and not a pleasant one either. Your six-packs are gone. Instead, you see a pudgy thing which is your new achievement. Yes, it is the result of your work pressure, and the depression that was on and off- depending on how the day had gone for you. So, what to do now? 

Yes, I heard you. No more next week. Yes, I can understand that you do not have time or the mental state to hit the gym. But, you can still do a few things. Take the stairs to your tenth floor office; stop taking sugar in your coffee; take your dinner light and early. Avoid junk food and be aware of the calories you are consuming. No, it’s not a big task. Google can give you all the answers. You just need to divert a few minutes away from your Facebook and  LinkedIn account. If you keep checking calories before eating, you’ll be a walking encyclopedia on calorie counts in a fortnight.

Try to work in front of a standing workstation. Just be aware that you are not to sit in the chair a second more than it’s necessary to do so. And when you have to go to another block- jog, don’t walk. And if you have to walk, walk fast.

And of course, you are not supposed to skip a meal. Take your meals on time so that your body doesn’t go in the calorie hoarding mode. 

Let’s hope that you can slowly go back to your old fitness schedule. We rarely get perfect circumstances, so improvisation is so essential. To know more about functional fitness and flexible fitness and weight loss tips, please check my nine part series on this blog. You just need to scroll down and give me a few clicks. And, let me know if I have written anything of use, or it was just self praising crap. For your convenience, I am giving a few links here- https://bastavar.wordpress.com/2019/05/05/health-fitness-and-weight-loss-sustaining-it-journey-to-weight-loss-and-fitness-8/ and here is another to motivate you- https://bastavar.wordpress.com/2018/09/02/my-weight-loss-journey-running-away-to-fitness/ ( These are click baits. But, who knows these few clicks may get you the inspiration you need for the fitness achievement. So, give me few clicks and get the inspiration. It is such a fair deal.)

One more thing- get out of this feeling of gloom and get a handle on your mind which is attracting all this negativity like a magnet. The mind is a tiger which needs to be tamed- https://bastavar.wordpress.com/2019/07/20/tame-the-tiger/ ( yeah, yeah …this is also from one of my posts. Give me more clicks.) You need to feel motivated to get out there and kick some ass, and fight the challenge that is called ‘life’.

Be fit, be tough, and face the day.

Best of Luck!

Give this blog writer some feed backs. The email id is- bastavarzumi@gmail.com.


(Forced by the inevitability of health reasons, the author of this series of blogs lost twenty-eight Kgs of excess body weight in six months, and attained a superior level of fitness. This series is an attempt to share the experience and whatever knowledge he had gained during this process. Please feel free to write in either the comments section or mail at bastavarzumi@gmail.com for any advice on exercises, diet, and daily routine. I will try to share my own experience to the best of my knowledge. Always remember that you feel so much better, physically and psychologically, when your BMI is 23 (my present BMI) than it is 34 (when I was obese). Achieving fitness and weight loss is possible and doable. You just need to make a start. The author plans to write on various diets, exercise regimes, problems of adjusting exercise in the daily routine, modifying diet with minimum change to your dietary habits, various ideas for sticking to the diet, understanding the roles of various micro and macro nutrients for your health, fitness and weight loss, and so on.)

Workplace Monsters(1): The Haunted Spirit

             “ She is herself haunted, yet she will haunt you.”

Animal Sign: Jellyfish

Supernatural Sign: The Maleficent 

The Haunted Spirit at your workplace may not necessarily be a female. A man may equally be haunted and a tormentor. However, for the sake of simplicity, this specimen Spirit here is a ‘she’.

This Spirit is typically in the middle to upper management position in an organization, is hardworking to the extent of being a workaholic, and she is very plain and simple in appearance. She is hardly ever interested in dressing up, and hates parties and socialization. If you dig deeper, you would see a wounded personality, troubled by personal issues in life. There might have been a rocky marriage, disloyal partner, unhappy childhood, or anything which had aggravated her already suspicious nature into a personality disorder. Now she doesn’t trust even her own shadow.

Coming to the point of her behavior towards her colleagues and subordinates at the workplace-. Here are a few things, she would typically do- 

1. As she is trying to be consumed by work, she comes to the workplace before time. She has to leave the sad place called home. Naturally, she also leaves office late in the evening. 

2. She is not into shouting. She will wait for you to make a mistake and will then move for the kill, while conveying you, in a mild manner, how you had left her no choice. She will sound extremely apologetic, but will fix you nevertheless.

3. She has been haunted herself, but does not have the positive DNA to rise above her own miserablity. She feels miserable, and wants others to feel the same as well. To meet this end, she would make very subtle efforts to make your life a living hell. For her, you are a frog in a pot full of water. All she has to do is to light the fire, so you can be boiled ever so slowly. And while you are being boiled, she would tell you how sorry she is that she has to do this to you.

4. If you are a person who has a happy family, and for that reason you want to leave office on time, she will make sure that you can not do so. She will find minuscule mistakes in your work, forcing you to redo it, while she will keep playing a perfectionist.

5. She never takes a stand before her own seniors and bosses, and is always a yes man(woman). If you go to them to complain about her sadistic ways, they will be surprised, as she is this mild mannered, gentle and obedient creature for them.

So, how do you survive the situation, if you are unlucky enough to be in the vicinity of such a haunted Spirit? Well, there are a few tips that may be useful-

1. No dressing up-. No dressing smart in the office as she would take the clue that you are happy, and will start plotting to take out the colour out of your cheeks. Take out your old, faded, oversized trousers and put them on, day after day. Even better, if they are crumbled.

2. When in front of her, your shoulders should be stooping, back should be slouching, and face saddened. You should look miserable overall.

3. Try to be below her radar all the time. If you do not have to face her whole day, it is an ideal situation.

4. Laughing out loud in front of her-? Forget it. The word ‘laughter’ should not be in your dictionary.

5. Never talk about your happy personal life. She will curse you, and will do everything in her power to make sure that your life doesn’t remain happy after that.

6 If you have committed a mistake, keep it to yourself. She is not of the forgiving kind. If you have confessed before her, you are gone. Though she might be looking sad while sacking you, but make no mistake- she must be having orgasmic pleasure deep inside.

If you have the bad luck to be working with such a moving packet of negativity, take the above prescribed small steps. It might help in warding off the haunted Spirit at the workplace.

Best of Luck!

( Coming soon- The Vampire Boss. Stay tuned)

Disclaimer : The above piece of writing is a work of fiction, in the genre of dark humour. Any resemblance, either with the Spirit or those who were possessed and fell victim, is coincidental.

Tame the Tiger

” Your mind is the tiger which runs amok in the jungle of your thoughts.”

This tiger carries you on its back. It’s up to you to guide it to travel the path that takes you to new heights. 

Imagine a landscape where hills and mountains represent the terrain of positive thoughts, while down below lies a valley infested with poisonous creepers living in the dark jungle, which represents the domain of negativity. As long as the tiger is roaming in the green hilly meadows, or climbing up the white snowy mountains of confidence, let it go wild. But, once it starts to take you down in the dense forested valley, it is time to check its pace, and to change its direction. 

Now, hold the tiger by its ears, and show it the hills and the mountains. Tell it that it is up there, where it has to go.

If you are able to do it, you have tamed the tiger. Congratulations!

Now, the next thing is to ride the dragon, but that is for some other day.



Gather Your Karma

“Karma is what comes back to you, in ways you cannot fathom.”

So, why should anyone be concerned about the Karma you are collecting in your Karma Saving Account, which was opened at the time of your birth, in the Central Bank of Time? I really do not know. And, an answer will be greatly appreciated.

However, I know a few things-

1. Doing good things make you feel happier and positive.

2. This is a way of life i.e. to try and help others, which has been saving and sustaining this world from time immemorial.

3. You may feel down and out; you may feel let down by the ruthless selfishness around you, however, if you are a good person, you will keep doing good things irrespective of the situation you are in. Because this is the way you have been groomed and raised.

4. It’s not necessary that the good Karmas which you have gathered will come back to you in the way you expect. However, they will accumulate and come back to you for sure. They may come back when you need them the most.

5. If you believe in good Karma, you may maintain a positive outlook even when all seems lost. And, this may be the difference in surviving or succumbing to the situation.

6. Lastly- keep doing good things as the Buddha had said so. And, he was, after all, an enlightened being.

So, keep gathering good Karma.

The Dreams We See

Time may be tough; you may be feeling bogged down. Still, the dreams are your own. Keep dreaming.

If you stop dreaming, the world will be a poorer place. It is not the tallest building, or the longest bridge, that makes this world great. It is the dreams that common folks like me and you see that give the beauty and energy to the world.

When you dream, you lay the very first brick for your success. When you keep dreaming even when the people around you are trying to pull you down, you, at that moment, are forming the steel that will support the structure of your success.

Look in your heart; judge yourself honestly. And, once you know your strength, back it to the hilt. 

Do not let negative people dissuade you from believing in your own strength, no matter how unconventional it is, and no matter how difficult it is to back it. No one knows your strength better than you do, and no one can see the dreams you have preserved in your heart.

So, keep dreaming, and make them true.