Snakes and Ladders

I am always told that we should not become participants of a rat race. In the same breath I am warned that I should work harder to become someone. The quest is not to do something, it is all about becoming someone.

What I think? I would say it is no sin to go wrong or just living idly for some time. If you did not work hard that is because in subconscious you did not feel the pull for that particular endeavour. That might have resulted in an option forgone. A chance missed, thousands more to come. No big deal!

In the prestigious IITs, one or more students commit suicide every year. Young boys with bright futures ahead. They lived with a constant guilt of time they have wasted and opportunities they lost. They often had less achievements than their peers. They were exhorted to achieve their true potential which was theoretically and rightfully, infinite. So they felt like underachievers. People around them added emphasis on the ‘under’ and ignored the ‘achievers’. As a result someone envied by millions others committed suicide.

What we fail to realize is that life is not a race on tightrope. It is a game of snakes and ladders. If you have a ladder nearby, work to catch it. If you miss, it’s all right, just keep moving. If you get bitten, No problem! go search for a ladder nearby. Just keep rolling the dice!

For every ladder you have climbed, a snake is awaiting just round the corner. For every snake who bit you, life will compensate with a ladder albeit at a distance.

In a perverse paraphrasing of a movie dialogue: bus, train, ladki aur opportunity; ek jaye to doosri aati hai.


A wonderful quote says, “Time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted!” Because the world is not rational, we don’t need to be either.


PS1: Snakes and Ladders was invented in India many centuries ago to teach virtues and vices at different stages of life. Of course the ultimate aim was to attain moksha.

PS2: Mathematically, if the dice is rolled a large number of times, the cumulative probability of finishing the game comes close to 1. (It’s around 175 in a chart on wikipedia. Link here)

Is it a Comma or a Full Stop?

That problem in front of you, is it a comma or a full stop?

Will it halt you in your tracks forever, or will you be able to find a strategy to move past, around or through it?

What about that rejection that you received, is it a comma or a full stop?

Will it give you an excuse to give up, or will you keep trying?

Life isn’t a short, smooth, straight lane.

It’s often a long, winding trail full of obstacles and challenges.

And off to the side of that trail, you will find those who have given up too soon on their dreams.  They’re sitting there wondering what could have been, but refusing to press on.

They ran into one too many challenges and had one too many setbacks.

And they became a full stop, ending their aspirations.

Don’t let that happen to you.

Turn your full stops into commas.

Turn your reasons for stopping into reasons to keep going.

Turn your failures into learning experiences.

Make it a comma, not a full stop.

कोशिश करने वालों की – हरिवंश राय ‘बच्चन’

I first time read this poem while standing in a queue in front of a mess in Kota. I didn’t qualify for the IIT in my first attempt and I was giving it a shot again. It has been over a decade now and the poem has not lost its potency in motivating me. I love it and thank senior Bacchan Ji for it.

लहरों से डर कर नौका पार नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।

नन्हीं चींटी जब दाना लेकर चलती है,
चढ़ती दीवारों पर, सौ बार फिसलती है।
मन का विश्वास रगों में साहस भरता है,
चढ़कर गिरना, गिरकर चढ़ना न अखरता है।
आख़िर उसकी मेहनत बेकार नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।

डुबकियां सिंधु में गोताखोर लगाता है,
जा जा कर खाली हाथ लौटकर आता है।
मिलते नहीं सहज ही मोती गहरे पानी में,
बढ़ता दुगना उत्साह इसी हैरानी में।
मुट्ठी उसकी खाली हर बार नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।

असफलता एक चुनौती है, इसे स्वीकार करो,
क्या कमी रह गई, देखो और सुधार करो।
जब तक न सफल हो, नींद चैन को त्यागो तुम,
संघर्ष का मैदान छोड़ कर मत भागो तुम।
कुछ किये बिना ही जय जय कार नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।

practical guide to “I made my day”

I realised that every few days, I read or watch some inspirational stuff.  My motivation is not long lasting and needs frequent replenishments. While they tell about what all one should do to become the greatest, they remind me of my inability to become great. So I have borrowed from practical life a list of 10 commandments. I am sharing these not to help the readers but their family members (God help my family members also)

# The way you spend your days is the way you will end up spending your life. If you want to improve it, improve the next few hours.

# Contemplate where life is going for 10 minutes every day. Use the time in loo.

# Listen to good music everyday: it is a food for the spirit.

# Don’t take yourself too seriously; no one else does!

# Waste some money every year – on your mother, wife and sisters.

# Make peace with your past.

# Give away extra/ old things in your home. Enjoy the joy of giving. (and then shop yourself afresh)

# Love your body and respect it. No matter how you feel, get up, get dressed well and wear nice looks.

# You made mistakes when you were a child, your parents will make when they are old. Your children make mistakes because they are young, you will make when you get old. So, be at peace!

# Call your family often. You probably won’t have any new news to tell because you are not a media reporter. Still do make the call.