Published date :15th July 2018.
Buy : Amazon
“I got the book as a part of the review program in Outset“
Giggles, laughs, tears and goosebumps is how i would describe the journey of reading this book.
Sriram Ramakrishnan is a software engineer hailing from chennai. This book is a story about his life right from his school to his job till the point of the spiritual awakening in his life, the way different phases of his life is scripted really helped in the flow which otherwise could have easily messed up if not for the proper narration.
The memoir in the author’s own words…
“From a puppy love in 11th standard, to tasting the first betrayal in my life, to a beautiful engineering college world that gave lot of friends, to a hell of a time in my first job, to traveling around the world, doing Masters and living a childhood-Washingtonil-Thirumanam-Jeans US dream, cross country drives in US, going through several ups and downs, travels and spiritual awakenings, life was wonderful.”
I personally liked this book a lot
because someway or other it was related to meditation and centered around spiritual awakening, that too in a memoir. I believe in meditation and try to incorporate it daily.
The author’s writing style was a cherry on the cake in an otherwise stellar real life story. This kind of writing is what makes a reader sit up and take notice. I put so much emphasis on the writing style of an author is because it has the power to ‘Make’ a poor story or ‘break’ a good one. If through the book you feel each and every emotion deeply its because of the way its narrated and its commendable because its rare. I liked the author’s satirical take in some topics.
The fact that a person just backpacked and journeyed through places where there was no other human in sight blindingly was unbelievable, it was courageous. His experiences along his soul searching journey was very scary but very inspiring though probably i won’t try it myself.
A person could go like that backpacking and traveling just in the search of meaning is a topic that deserves to be written in a book as its not always we get to see people following their hearts. Some of his stories gave me goosebumps. each one of us can learn something from the authors life. He raised many valid points, He also showed the reality behind the craze of going abroad and living. According to the author we are not living in the moment and are always chasing this or that our whole life until the day we realise, its too late. He spoke of his regret over the stress he had taken over so many things in life that now he wished he had just lived a little more, had fun a little more because life turns out to be well always irrespective of how much worry or stress you had taken, someone’s regret and guilt sends a strong message to others.
There are many quotes in the book that were catchy.. i have jotted down quite a few of them below……
“The best journey is the one that answers questions, that in the beginning we didn’t even think to ask. And the best memories are those that we didn’t even intend to have.”
“Stop expecting things. Go with the flow. Nature won’t give you something that you can’t handle. And if you still try to run behind and forcefully grab it, it may not stay with you for long”.
“What a waste of time! I threw all self-help books away. No self-help book would help unless the help comes from within.”
“I realized I really needed a reason to be unhappy, but didn’t need any reason to be happy.”
“Those who seek shall find”.
“There is a rhythm in everything in this world. From a small bee to a human being to an elephant to a mountain, there is a rhythm. We see it only when we are still. The heart opens in that stillness. And that’s when the rhythm is felt. This rhythm is maintained beautifully. And it is unique to each one of us, surpassing all artificial barriers like nationality, religion, race, color, and politics. It’s like a painting. It’s there. What we see is how we see it.”
” First lessons as a software engineer. Learn to unlearn.”
Why can’t I just say, “no I can’t do it, sorry”? May be because I was brought up to say “yes” or nod my head. “No” was never an answer or taken as “being rude”. Yes, that was stupid!!.
“Once I wanted to take a “weekend off” to go on “vacation” with my parents. Unfortunately, getting time-off during weekend became a vacation for me.”
“I realized it was the “routine”. When the routine hits, it was time for the mind to give the illusion, “it’s time to find something else, then settle down”. I wondered how people worked 30-40 years in the same company in the previous generation. It was the contentment. They didn’t have the internet or television to shove them with too many choices on their face. And to induce enough greed to keep looking for more and buying more.”
” A Kindergarten seat in a decent school costs 1 lakh rupee. Where would a policeman go for the money? Is corruption the only way? Why are the costs kept so high? How could the price just keep rising, but not the salaries? Is there a way out of this vicious circle at all?”
On studying in USA..
“I didn’t know any of that. I did become happy with their response, “come here, you will get some job and you can manage”. Those were wrong and bad responses. But I thought I would take a max loan of 10 lakhs and would “manage” the rest like how they said.”
“It surprised some people that their bank loans were exhausted in their first semester. They didn’t account for rent, food, books, transport, and “miscellaneous” expenses. They thought they could “manage”.”
On his first Job…
“Maybe I could just hire a crow to peck on the control key every few minutes.”
On his spiritual journey….
“we not only live in physical planes, but also in subtle planes. Regular practice of meditation radiates positive energy on those planes”.
“Friends from Turkey, Russia, China and America were some of my close buddies. They were no different from me, a brown Indian, except may be their skin color. They talk the same, they teased, laughed, cried, yelled, did everything just like me. Why would anyone in this world be inferior or superior to anyone else? Mind creates the rift. Heart is so much the same anywhere in the world. I realized this with my friendship with a Pakistani developer, Abdul.”
If there was one thing I learnt in the US, it was saying “no”. It was learning to refuse, that was never taught in India. During my grade school, I was always taught to give the right answer or keep my mouth shut. And saying ‘no’ or ‘don’t know’ is welcomed with a, “how dare you say no”. So, we eventually became bobble heads, always bobbling the head ambiguously.
On US-India business collaboration…
The US business trying to “squeeze” and the offshore developers in India accepting to be “squeezed”.
I believed a feeling should be seen all the way through marriage. Developing feelings for every pretty girl or guy is like a 5-year old kid running around a toy store during Christmas, every new toy looks attractive. But when the kid plays with a toy for 5 minutes, it gets bored, throws it away and looks for a new toy. Western dating culture sometimes looks that way. And unfortunately, India is slowly beginning to embrace that. 50% of marriages in the West end in divorce, indirectly resulting in lot of teen issues like teen depression, teen pregnancy and teen obesity. It’s a failed system. And embracing a failed system is no more smarter than eating a rotten food.
“Life always flows, no event stays, everything keeps flowing. A flowing water is a river, a stagnant one becomes a drainage.”
“Never get attached to something that you can’t walk away from. If you get attached, you better be sure you would never have to walk away from it. Otherwise it clouds your vision. And if the vision gets clouded, you can forget about seeking and spirituality.”
“Most people just spend their life working and being busy without taking any time off to travel around. It’s like working in Disney Land all your life without enjoying a single ride.”
“Many people used to tell me about Indians being late to meetings, get-togethers and having a general laid-back attitude. I believe that’s who we are. Because we have time for our parents, time for our brothers and sisters, time for our friends, time for eating in a road side stall, time for sleeping, heck, time for even getting stuck in traffic, we have time for everything. “Time is money” is a concept of the West. They “schedule time” to talk to their parents, have “dinner dates” with them. India’s history goes back several thousand years. Generations after generations we grew up with “Time is love” etched on us. Not “time is money”. We don’t “schedule appointments” in our calendar for time with parents, friends or family. It’s just not in our blood to run helter skelter filling every minute in life with money. Many people in India are in poverty not because of our laid-back culture, but because we are beginning to sell our souls to ideas that make us who we are not”.
“Live in the moment. Past and future don’t exist. They are just play of cells in your brain. Nothing more than that. Only present is all that matters”
“Keep your heart and mind in a safe place. And don’t hurt someone else’s heart. With these 2 rules, do WHAT EVER you want in this world. You don’t have to socialize if you don’t want to. You don’t have to marry if you don’t want to. You don’t have to exercise and lose 1000 kilos if you don’t want to. You don’t have to work your rear off if you don’t want to. You don’t have to be filthy rich if you don’t want to. If you want to keep running, just run. If you want to contest in an election, but will lose your deposit, it’s okay, contest in an election. If you want to sleep straight for 2 days, just do it! Sleep until your eyes hurt! If you want to cry, just cry your eyes out! If you want to dance in the middle of the road, just do it! If you want to climb a mountain, climb! If you want to travel all over the world, just do it!”
“I realized life’s depth in those moments. Every happiness gave me breadth, and every sadness gave me depth. Every experience stretched my life broader and deeper. That’s how life expanded. And the nature of life is expansion. The more experience I allowed myself to have, the more alive I was, and the more I expanded. Many dots in my life connected and made sense. And I know many more dots will connect in future.”
” Of course, it was pretty rough going through those tough phases. It did kindle fear about future, fear about stability, fear about jobs, fear about life itself. But all phases passed like clouds. And somewhere deep inside, it left us untouched. Everyone kept moving forward. Because after all life is like a flowing river. If it’s stagnant, it becomes a drainage. That’s not the design, it’s never stagnant, it keeps flowing.”
“The fear about the 10th and 12th standard “board” exams, the fear of university grades, the fear to pass, the fear of securing a job, all of us went through all the fears. I just wish, we could have taken all of it a little lighter, had little more fun than fears, little more learning than competition, little more enthusiasm than exams. I only remember running non-stop throughout, looking to my left, looking to my right, making sure I am ahead, if not, run more… and more. Nobody told me to stop. Parents, teachers and everyone pushed. I kept running, got bruised, got tired, but kept running, never stopped. Run… run… run. They all taught me how to feel anxious during exams instilling insecurity about future, but never taught me how to be happy and peaceful. But I always followed my heart. Whether something ended up the way I wanted or not, I don’t have any regrets. Unknowingly I trusted my intuition at different times in life. As the saint in Rishikesh said, I am alive not because I am breathing, but because I am following my heart. And every time I followed my heart, it almost always steered me in the right direction. And made me happy.”
Final Verdict :
Go for it, there is a hell lot of wisdom and advices from a person who has seen it all especially recommended for people who are thinking of going abroad you need to really read this you may be better equipped to face anything if you read it.
Love-O-Meter : 4.5🌟