Becoming, Michelle Obama

I think I had an eye on this one before it’s launch. And you know the plausibility that a book is a best-seller when you see it being omnipresent with all the roadside book-waale-bhaiyas. Hence, I picked it, with no thought.

My early acquaintances with Michelle Obama have been through her ingenious speeches. I remember I was drawn towards one of her witty phrases which worked for the little me, in the late teen years when funnily only heart breaks are so catastrophic to us, (and not the present toughs of turning twenty something, the existential crisis-okay, I’ll not crib about adulting here); it went like: ‘there is no boy at this age that is cute enough or interesting enough to stop you from getting your education’. (One of my closest friends still remembers this).

So, yes, very many reasons, and I knew its going to be one of my most enlightening reads for 2019 already.

Coming to the book, it’s divided into three parts, Becoming Me, Becoming Us, Becoming More

The ‘Becoming Me’ is simple. Simple in a way that it’s too relatable in many ways, where she talks about her growing up years, her school routine, playing in her room all alone with her dolls, feeling sunny when things went by set routines, and Sunday visits to grandpas and grandmas, the vivid memories that stay with you. Her solo aims then, to fit in the approved conventional careers to make a comfortable living, eventually becoming a top shot lawyer from Havard. All the time answering that one question in mind, ‘Am I good enough?’. There are also things we many not directly relate with, growing up with racial discrimination, its impact on the neighborhoods, impact on shaping the personality of a growing teen. The question then sometimes loud, ‘Am I good enough?‘.

The ‘Becoming Us’ brings into picture her initial days with Barack Obama, an exceptionally bright law student, someone you may visualize having a sort of superior intelligence who ‘inhales’ hefty philosophies as beach side reads and with a goal to serve the community, and not just settle into a high-end, posh office. From being a lady who desired to fit into the conventional career, and resisting herself to fall for this man, she eventually does fall for him, and how. Somehow Barack’s drive for working for the larger concerns, something beyond self, ignites in her the drive to come out of the monotony, and do something real that quenches that drive. We know where they land up with that zeal.

‘Becoming More’ part may seem something abstract as one can’t imagine living in the White House, yet through her narration, you live the hardships of being out there, working in the eyes of public scrutiny, being the FLOTUS and POTUS, and also the parents to two young daughters, and embracing the shame and the praise that comes with the work. You learn the power of her story-telling, and the compassionate and path-breaking work through their campaigns for nutrition, youth education, and the need for minorities to raise a voice.

-more than an autobiography, it has a plethora of adages that start making neural connects in your brain, coming from two brilliant beings, that you just wish they make an impact on you. You do wish to emulate them in may be the teeniest weeniest way.

A wonderful read. I was down with the flu and had a long leave from work and this was the perfect savor for those days.

I am no one to give a rating to this, it’s plain phenomenal.

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end”.

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Think & Grow Rich: Book Review 2018

So, this is one of the many self-help, non-fiction books I have had on my shelf. But, this one was a rather old copy which was lying there since many years, with microscopic font and archaic, brown pages (Though I love the books whose pages turn auburn, who doesn’t?). I would want to admit that I started reading this book back in 2015, with the same reason I picked it up now in 2018, to master my laziness (oh ya, the better word- ‘procrastination’). Quite not ironically, I could not push myself till the end, cause lets claim it: it’s hard to be connected with self-help books, and many of them seem to be putting forward the same principles.

Yet, I reached somewhat of a rapprochement with it in the early of 2018, considering my unconditional devotion to the god of ‘procrastination’, and also because my mode of commute is the Delhi Metro for a good 45 minutes every day. (Plus, it is one of the HT-Nielson BookScan Top 10 Non-Fiction Books ).

The title of the book says: Think & Grow Rich; now I wish to explain the meaning of two words of the title. The word ‘Think’ here may be misleading, as it may sound like a book preaching about going to the top of a cliff, and meditating about the richness one wishes to seek in life. (My brother actually mocked at me for reading it). Although a large chunk of the book’s principles do talk about training your thoughts to be focused, and affirmations for your mind, all consequently point towards actually taking the action through persistence. Another word is ‘riches’. Riches not just imply monetary abounds, but satisfaction in work, accomplishment of set goals, and the sane ways to their pursuit.

One of the engaging learnings for me through this was to write down my goals, and be very specific about-the aim, the ways to achieve it, and the exact time I would want to achieve it. And since I picked it up during the month of ‘resolutions’, it helped me keep up with some of them.

I would not say it’s a must read, because many principles are intuitive enough, especially in a time where we have access to umpteen inspiring talk shows and blogs. Nevertheless, it has stories of eminent personalities like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Bill Gates, and each chapter is filled with adages and phrases. Reading them every day somewhat weakened my earlier non-proactive beliefs. And, with pride, I am finally through with the book. I would say it’s a 3/5 for me.

Open for lending the book!

CAGED

I step out in the morning sun,

All dressed up, neatly in my pretty attire for the day,

A bright, starched and ironed yellow kurti, jingling earrings, and clean slippers.

A bag hung on my shoulders, in it are books, a lot of them, diaries, expensive ones.

And as I step out, I see the kid.

Kid, curtailed of all the comforts I just stepped out from. He is the daily trash picker, merely 11 or 12.

As I step in my chaise like big car,

I see him, see him, dragging his cart, which has all sorts of trash.

The sight of him is seismic to me.

It is scathing, remorseful, and heart sinking.

It is also confusing in a way, as I can’t decide who is more CAGED?

Me, with all the luxuries, or him, deprived of all.

CAGED

I sit in a class

And wonder,

How trapped I am

Learning about concepts,

What use are they?

When I can’t go out in the rain.

Why am I mugging up things,

Broadening my horizon,

When I can’t even see the enormousness of the blue sky…

I see the drizzle from the window,

Hear the lightning enclosed in the air-conditioned room.

And look out for the trees,

Freely flowing with the breeze on their will,

And here I am,

With all the knowledge,

Trapped in a room.

Who says Wisdom is Liberating?

Who says humans are evolving?

Humans are neither liberal nor evolved.

They are in a self-made cage,

Where days are spent suffocated in a four cornered cubicle,

And eyes on a four inched screen…

It’s Okay to Be ‘In the Making’

Most of the times our thoughts are focused upon our goals, roles, duties, and dreams. The nucleus of our life is constantly working to strive for our goals, and to become an achiever. But amidst all this struggle of being ambitious, we often loose the sight and essence of the present.

As much as it is important for us to ignite this fire of passion in us to make life more meaningful, it is equally imperative to be still as calm water, and just be in the ‘here-and now’, and let all the anxiety and restlessness of future be at bay.

A Taoist proverb beautifully explains this- “We cannot see our reflection in running water, it is only in still water that we can see”.

It is good to keep an eye on our jumbo dreams, and be persistent in their pursuit. Nevertheless, at times, it is necessary to gift ourselves with the peace we deserve, to be conscious of the moment and cherish the ‘now’.

This peace helps us to explore our true callings clearly, reflect upon our purpose in life, and regain composure to start afresh with newer zest. And, by letting ourselves mindfully be in the present, we boost the process of our “In the Making” project, because we are always in the making-either by learning through our successes or failures, and it is okay to be- ‘In the Making’.

Magic Ingredients To Work On Your Dreams

I am a believer because I believe in my dreams. Working upon some of my dreams, I have learnt that there is a paradigm which is generic for all passions. So, here is a little list you may check to kick-start on your goals:

Firstly, always believe in your natural talents and do not doubt or change them. Our natural talents are the behavioral patterns which are in sync with our personality, a natural inclination and potential. Do not generalize that inner calling just to ‘fit in’.

Secondly, there is NO alternative to hard work. Success demands resisting all the temptations, striving to learn and practice each day through consistency and perseverance.

Lastly, dream big and let go of all your social inhibitions. This phrase might appear as a cliché, but this is really all what it takes to turn dreams into achievable goals: true aspiring and lots of self-belief.

One quote by Walt Disney always works for me: “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them“.

So, keep believing, keep working towards your ambition by taking small steps and immerse yourself with the magical power which then resonates you and creates a cycle of its own for your motivation.