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I have always believed that life is what you make it. More than the destiny or the circumstances, it is about how you choose to live that decides your fate. This is about the time when I was in college. I had just met an accident and according to the doctors I had to stay in bed for a month. For the outgoing person like me, not being able to go out for such a long time was no less than a curse. In the beginning it was okay, the medicines made sure I wasn’t in my senses half of the time. But as the dosage was reduced, my mind started playing around. All the time I used to think about what my friends will be doing and how I am missing on so many things. They used to visit me though, and my family made sure that they take the utmost care of me, but none of that seemed to work on the void that my conscious was building.

I tried to distract myself with TV, music and what not, but none of those kept me occupied for more than a few minutes. My mom could see it, just like she always did. She wanted to help but probably she couldn’t find a good answer to this herself. I told myself that it will be over soon, just one-two more weeks to go, I can handle it. But then came another blow; in my routine checkup the doctor realized that I had to undergo another surgery which would mean one more month on bed, and this was probably the final push towards a stage I didn’t want to be in. I almost gave up, I wasn’t afraid of the pain or the surgery, it was the not being able to walk feature of that operation that struck me hard. How could I spend one more month like that! I tried hiding the expressions of the potential depression, but you know mothers, they know you better than you know yourself. This was the time she decided to have a talk about this with me. She came to me after dinner one night and asked me what was going on in my mind. I was honest with her, told her how I felt I was losing something. She asked me to relax for a second and think about all the people who come to meet me every day, who care about me. Then she asked me what I would do if I could go out just like I used to. I told her that I’d probably attend college, have some fun trips with friends, drive, dance and what not. What I didn’t say was that I’ll write, and that was true, once you have enough on your plate, you tend to miss out on a few things and she knew writing was my passion. She asked me why I wasn’t writing now. I couldn’t think of an answer. I used to write a lot but I had almost stopped since the accident. And I had no idea why, it was something I could do in any situation. She realized I had no answer to this. She told me about the thousands of people who suffer way more than me and that I at least had a chance to get back on my feet in some time. She inspired me to write, about my life, about how I felt after the accident and to make sure it became inspirational for others who are suffering from something. It made sense, this seemed like something I could do and would love to do. I could feel a smile trying to make its way on my face. And I could see it reflect on hers.

The next morning, I took my laptop and started writing. One month, 25 articles and 50 pages to what I later converted into a book. I couldn’t believe I made it that far. And I couldn’t thank my family enough for that. And this is life, just a ray of hope is all you need to defeat the darkness and pessimism. It was a time that I spent with someone close to me and it became one of the most memorable ones. It had to, I gave it no other option. And I ask the same from you. Be happy, stay positive.

Thank you Housing.com ( https://housing.com/ ) for the prompt. I’d request the readers to check out their website and look at the amazing work they’re doing 🙂

“Take a fresh start”, “Start a new life” I cannot count how many times I have heard these lines whenever I failed in something. The best part about having encouraging and optimistic people around you is that you become positive about the smallest of things which helps you tackle the biggest of situations. But what if even they feel like giving up some time? What if the encouragement you depended upon is not there when you need it? Will you just give up? For me, the answer to that is simple, I’ll make it a point to succeed and tell myself that I’m my own encouragement.

This is about the time I did my summer project in college. For those of you who are in engineers, there’s no need to mention the significance this single thing has on people’s careers. When I was searching for a good project, I remember going through a thousand ideas and not liking even one. Then one day a friend of mine told me about an automated wheelchair project his friends in another college were working on. It was a great idea, I liked it at the first go, but at the same time it was challenging. We had two months to do it, and we were three people who were confident about their part in the project, so we took it. We started very enthusiastically and made good progress in the very first week. We used to meet daily and work for hours on one or the other problem. Our target was to make a wheelchair that could be controlled by a simple joystick in the lowest cost possible. But as they say, when something has to go wrong, it most certainly does no matter what you do. And that’s what happened. One of my teammates who was handling the whole research part single-handedly (which includes talking to medical practitioners, sellers, shopkeepers and technical people) had to leave town due to a family emergency just to later tell us that he couldn’t make it back till the month was over. To add to the shock, the other friend of mine who used to help me in the programming fell sick of typhoid. For a moment it seemed to me that it was done. There was no way I could take that project from there. It wasn’t the fear of bad grades that got me worried, it was the fact that I was going to see myself fail at something I dearly wanted and there was no one who could help me out in that.

I remember how my parents and my sisters always supported me in everything I did. But at this time even that couldn’t work for me. I knew the situation and every bit of it told me that I couldn’t do it. But isn’t that the kind of challenge that the champions crave for? I asked myself that and even though I was no champion, I prepared myself for the path to become one. Now taking this project single-handedly was not a good idea to pursue in such a short duration. So I did what we do with our computers when we got no other solution, restart. I sketched out a completely different plan with the material in hand and decided to for a more automated thing without worrying too much for the cost. I changed the whole thing and gave it a new start. It wasn’t the kind of project that could fetch me better grades, but it was sure giving me a better exposure to technology. I started contacting the people from the list that we had made earlier and took some help from a senior to modify the initial program we had made. Only I and the 10 people I bothered day and night would know how much hard work it took to reassemble that thing. But when it was finished, I felt like I had given birth to a kid, I mean, you understand… right? The whole project was a very big life experience for me, the one told me never to give up and take a fresh start if needed. It was the kind of thing that will always stay with me no matter what.

And you know what the best part was? I did get the best grade and oh… I also managed to interest a potential investor in the same idea. See, wonders do happen. So here’s what I want to tell everyone who has seen or will ever see a failure in his life. You may feel like giving up and it is completely normal, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking a fresh start and doing it all over again with a new zeal. As the people at https://housing.com/ say, “Change signifies that we’re moving forward, living better, and giving ourselves the chance to be the best we can possibly be”. I could not put it in a better way myself.

Take a look here, get some inspiration for yourself, go, #StartANewLife 🙂

Positivity isn’t just a feeling; it’s a trait, and a rare one at that. Not everyone around us can be positive about the things that happen and stay optimistic. Some people do see this as avoiding the reality but I like to call it appreciative pragmatism, a term that I coined. And what I am about to tell you may make you think the same. It’s a story from an earlier part of my life, I must have been 15 years of age. I remember how my father used to invest in stock markets and my mother used to hate that. My parents had a very straightforward relationship; they always shared everything with each other but never asked each other not to do something if the other person believed it was good. Same thing was about the stock market. My father was confident that he’ll make great returns one day, and my mother, even though skeptical, never stopped him.

I remember one day when my father returned from office. He was an average government employee with a lower than average salary. For him it was never about how much money he made but how content one could be with life. But that day he was different. I could sense something was wrong but I just couldn’t get myself to ask. Unlike everyday when he used to cheerfully enter the room and ask us all about how our day was, he simply went to the bedroom and lay down. My mom immediately went to the room, she had seen the news too, guess she kind of knew what was wrong. “How much?” She asked him. He replied with almost no expression on his face, “Almost everything.”  I heard that. My father had more than half of his savings invested in a mid cap company and that day its stock went down over 30% before they put a circuit on it. He was down and wasn’t able to plan what to do. According to the TV reports it was recommended to take the money out from the stock and invest somewhere else. But for my father more than the money it was about his confidence, all he ever believed in was his ability to invest with risk and today that very thing was shaken. I was sure that this was going to be the time when mom will finally lose her patience and flip out.

I was expecting some loud voices, maybe a dialogue “I told you so!” that my mom usually loved to tell us. But something different happened. She asked me to come inside the room at sit near my father. When I went there she asked me, “What do we do when we fall down?” “Get back up?” I replied, in a manner, asking if this was the answer she wanted. “Right” she said. Then she looked at my father and continued, “We don’t just get back up, we keep walking too. What’s the point of going into the playground if you’re afraid to lose?” “But…” “Let me continue” she interrupted my father, “Let me tell you something, I never believed in this whole investment thing of yours to begin with. But I never asked you to stop, you know why? Because I believed in you. Because I knew that the man I married will do something only when he is sure he knows he’s doing the right thing, and you still are. So what we lost some money! I agree it is a big amount, but that doesn’t mean we lost everything.”

I could see a smile slowly coming to my father’s face. He knew what my mom meant. And probably that’s why he didn’t interrupt this time. He let her continue. “So I say you get back up, take your money out from whatever bad stocks you might have invested into and put it into the good ones. It means a lot to you and no matter what, you’ve got to try.”

It might have been just one small incident, but I knew the big lesson behind it. I always thought my father was the confident and positive one, but this time it was my mother. I realized the importance of positivity in life and how many miracle could just a little bit of hope cause. And for those who are interested, this story of my life had a happy ending, rather continuation too. My father put his money into an IPO later, not just recovering the money he’d lost earlier but making almost twice more. He was more careful and critical with his stocks now. Thanks to him, the day I started earning, I am financially more informed and capable than most of my friends.

Through this story I am not asking any of you to start investing or anything like that, it is totally your call. But I am requesting you to stay positive and be confident about what you do. No matter if you’re an investor or a musician or a sports player, be optimistic about it and you’ll do wonders. Trust me. Also think about it, if the whole world starts thinking this hopeful way, how much positivity will be around us and how much we’ll be able to achieve. You know what? I’m hopeful that’ll happen someday as well.

To know what effect hope and optimism can have, just take a look at this beautiful website once: https://housing.com/lookup

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