Monday, August 20, 2007

While You Are Waiting

“My mother always told me I wouldn't amount to anything because I procrastinate. I said 'Just wait.'”~ Judy Tenuta

Idea of this post is based on a simple premise that In Life we may not get what we want in the first time or may be not in the second or third time around. Job, Friends, ideology, Business Partners, deciding on a holiday destination, choosing a restaurant, ordering a dish, playing stock market , going out on DATE, deciding what to study , choosing a Book at Airport , you name it. It's true for all aspects of life .chances are that you will screw up for the first few time .

First case is rarely the Best Case .No one get it right in the first time .We have to kiss a lot of frogs, before we find our prince. So what we do while its not the right time yet, while we are stuck in less than perfect situation. Sometime its as easy as to move out of it. If you don't like a Movie you can move out of Multiplex, if you don't like a Dish, you are not forced to eat it. But in some cases it becomes a little more complicated. If its your JOB, House, Friends, college, Neighborhood, Business Associate, It's somewhat difficult to move out just like that. So what we do in that condition .We wait.

My Question is

"What do you do while you are waiting ?"

"कह के गये हैं ख्वाब में आयेंगे रात को, खुशी के मारे नीद ना आये तो क्या करु "
[She has promised me that She will come in my dreams, I am so happy that no sleep is possible to me tonight ]

“All good things arrive unto them that wait - and don't die in the meantime” ~ Mark Twain

I don't know if it happens to you, but many a time I have seen people giving up while waiting. Often we think that the fact that Fire in us died means it was not strong enough in the first place or our fuel is spent. We try to convince our self that perhaps this was not what we actually wanted; we thought we wanted it but in reality it was just a passing dream. Maybe it was meant to die like this.

I disagree. I think intensity of Fire is not the issue here. Every fire start with a spark, a tiny spark . This spark turns in to flame and flame turns to Fire. This fire can destroy the forest. Problem is that if it's raining dirt around you than it's somewhat difficult for ANY fire to survive. You need to FAN the spark till it turns in to FLAME; Fan the Flame till it becomes Fire.

So here is my Answer to the Question "What do you do while you are waiting? " .Answer is " While you are waiting You should FAN the Spark and Protect it".You may ask How Do I Do That ?

Well I don't know , Answer is different for every one . What I can do is to tell you a personal experience so that you can draw your own parable from it .

Manali Trip .

Last month I went to Manali for a trekking and camping holiday. I started preparing for the trip two week in advance. . it was Saturday evening and I was standing at ISBT . My room mate Jitu had dropped me there. All my life I never went on a trip alone. The moment I long cherished was right in front of me . But you know what? I developed cold feet. I felt like the HERO who waited for his Heroine all his life and when finally She was right in front of him somehow he was not able to run and give her a Big hug.

Why? Well I didn't had Ticket for Volvo Coach to Manali & Person on the window told me that all seats are already booked . I bribed the guy to adjust me. I got a good seat and I learned my first lesson

Lesson #1: Buy your Ticket to Game while you are waiting

Now, Ticket can be different for different scenarios, if you want to do a startup learn the skill, or work on your strength and hone them . If you want to work for a particular Company find out the technology they use and master them, if you want to check out a specific restaurant find out if they are open on the day of visit, if you are dreaming about dating a particular female in your neighborhood, try to find out if she is seeing someone else , if you want to do a certain type of project at work [say redesigning company's website ] tell your Boss about it, so that if some work of that sort come his way he doesn't outsource it to some vendor or worse hire someone else to do it .

This seems to be so obvious, but time and again I see folks [me included ] who doesn't "Buy the Ticket" . why?? I am not sure why. May be the reason is our [flawed] tendency to start waiting for Bus /Opportunity right after buying the ticket. This tendency of getting frustrated and expecting spot result stops us from buying ticket.

By the way in my case bus was late by 3 hours :)

No one in my family has been to Manila. I was a bit afraid. I didn't knew much about the place when I started planning for it .I googled for the Manali Travel Plans and come across a post by Ritesh Nadhani. That was exactly what I wanted.

My friend EKTA asked me to join Lonely Planet Discussion group. I followed her advice and it was far more beneficial than I could have imagined. Member of Lonely planet gave me tips about Food , Room Rent, Timing of Trip ,Links to Pics and right time for photography , Precautions, Price range of stuff at Kasol Market ,Protocol for interacting with Israeli Tourist etc.

I learned my Lesson #2 Talk To people.

Talk to people who have been there done that. You will be surprised to see how much these guys are willing to share and help. This is something I have discovered on more than one occasion. Go see Yahoo Answer, Email list, Discussion forums, Open source Software, Counseling sites, Look at the behavior of people and notice there co ordination in the hour of crisis. It indicates that most of the folks are Nice and want to help.

But I have noticed that most of the times my friends shy away from seeking help. They fear rejection, they fear being judged and hell of other self made, self validated assumption about the way the world works.

It's the biggest frustrating bullshit I have seen. People ask me why this guy would help you. What in it for him? Till recently I had no answer to this point, but one day during my trip to Manali I was thinking about this. About why those unknown guys at Lonely Planet were so eager to help me? What was there for them? No I am not going to tell you that they are altruistic sage. They are Vanity users. Helping someone also help themselves. It boosts their vanity and makes them happy that their learning, experience and wisdom is being used and someone is being benefited from it. Whether it's good or bad is a different debate.

My point here is that even if you stumble upon some rude responses one or two times , still if you look at over all "Potential" gain you will find that its a risk worth taking . Lack of initiative is bad. “A shy failure is not nobler than a failed attempt”.

Finally I reached Manali and I was in my 3rd day of trip. I bought a Tourist map on the day one and I was visiting all the spots mentioned in it. It was good but something was missing. than one day when I was on my way to pula via manikaran. I decided to take a road less traveled [literally].

I went down in woods in a deep pit, down from a Hill top, I crossed 10 KM by walk, reached a road side tea stall near a village which was not in map. A small settlement with 20 houses. my destination PULGA was approx 6 Km away , it was 4:00 PM in eve , I was late by 3 hours , I had already walked 5 Km extra ,there was no bus after 5:30 . Nearest bus stop was 4 KM in opposite direction to pulga. It was very tempting to walk back to Bus stop and go back to kasol. But I decided otherwise, I begin to walk toward Pulga. I said to my self that at the worst what will happen? I will have to ask for shelter in village somewhere, or sleep on rock near road. Big Deal! I have sleeping bag and a bottle of water , there is an apple tree everywhere . And if I keep walking I will reach somewhere. I will not die for sure. So I kept walking. 7:30 PM I was dead tired and I was sipping hot tea at Pulga . 8:00PM I got a room.

It was hell of fun. I was feeling victorious as if I have conquered Mount Everest. but truth is I had just covered a road stretch of 6 KM , where I was having population around me and I was connected to whole world by my Cell phone [ I use Airtel ] .

You may ask what's the big fuss is about? Well, let me tell you what the big deal about it? Even though I didn't conquered Everest, I conquered something else. I conquered [albeit temporarily] my fear of uncertainty. Today I am more confident to take risk and I know I will not die of risk .I can take plunge, get in to trouble and come out of it. I don't think it would have been possible if I would have followed tourist guide. I learned my Lesson #3

Lesson #3 : Buy a Map but throw it away after a while,

All our answer lies inside us .Our most important journeys are always inward and no one can chart a course for it. We have to discover and create our path .if you want to find your own unique solution and answers to your questions then it's a must that you stop confirming and take risk, mild risk.

Trust me even if this approach fails to give you all the answers. It will give you a faith to believe that there is an answer and someday you will find it. if you find it a little cryptic than I suggest you should go on a wild Adventure trip or do an easier thing, go from Noida to Gurgaon and come back after staying there for whole day with only Rs.50 in your pocket . You will probably understand what I am talking about .

After a week of living in jungle like a hippy and walking 10-20KM-per-Day in mountain I came back to Noida. Next day it was usual routine. Cab came to pick me up at 9:30 AM .I was ready and eager to tell my colleagues about my trip and show them photos.

One of my colleague asked "How was the trip sir ? " I said "Too Cool, I was at ...."

He interrupted me and asked "How much does it cost you ?" . I was shocked. Because I didn't counted that and I was surprised why he is more interested in Expense and less in my experience of trip.

Truth is that this guy makes approx 2 times more than me .His wife is also in a decent job . Still he is more interested in financials of trip. Whatever is the number I am sure it was not outside of his reach . At that moment i realized that he is looking for reasons to believe that its not a good idea. So that he can justify or glorify his boring life and his inertia and his inability ot take risk and explore .

If I would have talked to him a little more he would have blamed it on House Loan EMI, Wife, Tax Planning, Global Warming, Food price, etc. But I didn't i stopped the discussion and I didn't shared the pics with most of my colleague. I learned my fourth and last lesson

Lesson #4 : When you are surrounded by Bozos ,don't explain your vision to them , just hibernate and protect your ignorance .

I may sound idiot saying this but trust me my friend that your ignorance of all the worldly wisdom is your biggest strength. People will give you all the solution to problem with which they are still struggling themselves. You don't have take them as final word. Follow your heart. Remember those who danced were considered to be fool by those who were not able to hear the music.

Thanks for reading a long post . I hope you will benefit from my experience and will be able to protect and fan your flame. Good luck and Godspeed .

Image Courtesy : JCuerva

You can see Photos from my Manali-kasol Trip here.


Ramjee said...

I guess we are some kind of alter egos!
i have been on a similar trip to dehra, mussorie,hrishikesh, hardwar and i tell you, it's a wonderful experience and lots of unlearning ;).

check my snaps at

The way you write, it's as if I am reading what's on my mind.
The experience with your colleagues, mine was not very different!!

You should probably write a self help boo ;)

Were you there at MoMo delhi? how was it? your take on it?

Beji said...

Very nice post and very true.

Loved reading it!


Thanks for our compliements, i will write a self help book if all my analysis and theories workout well for me . right now its all "work in Progress" :)

I was at MoMo Delhi 4 .it was good, a lot of entrepreneurs were there . had some great discussions and heated debates .i enjoyed it a lot .

Thanks for your kind word . how are you doing ?

Mohit said...


nice post


Thanks Mohit :)

Beji said...

Hi Prashant!I am doing great. Your posts have become so infrequent. Wonder how you are!! Sense a restlessness!!
Take care!


ya Beji , I am very restless these days , being rest less is kinda steady state for me now a days . :)

Rashmi said...

Yet another nice post... like Ramjee said... I can related to almost everything you've said in this post..
I too had been to dehra, mussorie,hrishikesh, hardwar but along with my friend... It was so much fun just the 2 girls from south India roaming around all these places on their own. My most memorable 7 days of my life. walking bear foot on the Simla roads was such a different experience. Oh yeah.. you are more than 100% right about your colleague's behaviour. its nothing much different out here. I go for treks around the western ghats almost once a month and my friends ask what do you do by climbing up and down and spending so much on it!!!
Wondering why comments so late.. well I just stumbled upon to your blog thru a blogroll and have been reading nonstop since morning....


Hi Rashmi.
Thanks for your affirmation. i hope you had a good time reading my post .

the who said...

I'm reading your post and every single line of it makes me wanna shout aloud " I know!!"..about how talking to people can pour in surprises (i've heard so many of those "but what is in it for him" and more often than not have been helped by people for no vested interests), how you can "buy your ticket while you wait so the fire doesn't die"...
and that final bit - about not trying to explain your vision to bozos- i wish i had read the post much earlier :)


@The Who
Thanks , I know you will feel that way . I guess you are one of those are few souls amongst us who has bought a Ticket , may be a one way ticket or may be you don't need a ticket .....because wanderers have no destinations.
good luck for your journey . Hope its fun . :)