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Thank you for shopping with us!

The opportunity to spend the long weekends of Dasara and Diwali with my parents, brothers and their family excited me. My mind was pre-occupied with the ways to surprise my family with gifts and celebrate with gusto. I did not have much time to shop as I had to finish my assignments before I left for my break. I decided to do all my shopping online. The offers on the net made me beam with pride. India has progressed a lot! Online shopping, net banking, cellphone coverage, high-speed internet, and online train and bus ticket booking facilities. What more could I have asked for?

The home pages of these shopping portals are seductive. Limited stock cookware, 1 rupee pen drives, phones and TVs on incredible exchange offers. Shopping in the malls is a great exercise for the Indian middle class which is slowly turning obese and diabetic. Online shopping ruined it all by confining the middle class to the comfy couches. But now one can buy an exercising belt online which will vibrate, when tied around your abdomen or thigh, to keep our muscles in shape. That belt is the best innovation of the century.

To surprise my family, I spent several hours at office on the internet finding the best online deals.  I could not spend much time with my wife or child for next two days. I was shopping at office and working at home. But I was glad that I could find some fantastic deals and meet my project deadline. My family packed for the Diwali holidays with all the enthusiasm it could muster. When we reached the train station, it was clear that whole of India was going home to celebrate Diwali.

We reached Bangalore on Thursday morning. With four full days to go, we were giddy with the options of movies we could watch, food we could cook, and stories we could share. While everyone was catching up with one another, I was standing at the gate expecting the arrival of the courier guy. The website had assured me that I would receive my delivery before noon that day. It was already 11:55. I was growing impatient. The courier guy arrived at 12:20, full twenty minutes late. I yelled at him for not being punctual. I told him I would complain to the company about the delay. He apologized profusely. When I collected my big and heavy package with a stern warning, he wished me a happy Diwali, probably to lighten my mood up. I smiled and wished him back.

“How far is your house?” I asked.

“4 kilometers”

“That’s not far. You can go home to have special lunch today. Right?”

“I live alone. My wife and parents live in Bijapur”

“Oh? You should have applied for a two-day leave and spent all four days with your family.”

” We are not allowed to take any time off during the festival season as many people shop on our website and we have to deliver all the gifts by the assured date and time during the festival season. ”

He looked at his watch and said, “I am getting late for my next delivery. Happy Diwali. Thank you for shopping with us. ”

The big and heavy package in my hands seemed empty.

How am I fighting winter at Berkeley?

Winter in Berkeley for me has always been dreadful – I get to see the Sun for less than 8 hours (50% less than the usual 12 hours of sunlight I am used to India.) and there is no warmth in the light. This pushes me to hibernate. I wake up late, I am drowsy the whole day and I go to bed early. October to February is a disaster. I don’t know what I would have done had I accepted my admission to SNRE at University of Michigan or Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

My PhD qualifying exam is 40 days away and I have a lot of reading to do. So I want to wake up early to get some quality reading time. I find mornings very productive. But I have to fight cold and drowsiness. I never had this problem when I spent summer in Kathmandu. There, the chirping of the birds woke me up at 5:00am. A cup of chai and some breakfast got me going. Here, in Berkeley, nothing is helping – Coffee or Tea has random effect on me. Sometimes, Caffeine keeps me awake and alert but most of the times I go to sleep within 15 minutes of having a cup of black tea. So I came up with a plan.

I went cold turkey with Caffeine. I stopped my caffeine consumption completely. First three days, I suffered severe headaches. Next three days – lethargy, body pain, nausea, lack of appetite. It slowly started getting better after a week. Within 12 days, I was feeling better. In two weeks, caffeine was out of my system. After this exercise, I don’t get any headaches when I miss my afternoon tea or coffee. I am now very sensitive to caffeine. If I have caffeine after 2pm, I cannot go to sleep before midnight. Caffeine now has a very predictable effect on me. My goal is to stop consuming it fully by January 2014 (soon after my quals).

If I can get out of bed early in the morning, there is caffeine to keep me awake. But the challenge is to get out of the bed. To combat cold and to feel comfortable when I am out of bed, I now go to sleep with a pair a socks, beanie, and thermal wear next to me. When the alarm goes off in the morning, I wake up, put on all the layers and then get out of bed. I don’t feel any cold. I am active as soon as I get out of the bed 🙂 It has been almost a month. The practice has been quite effective

I have realized that sitting and reading on bed puts me to sleep (what was I expecting?). I now read either at my desk or in the kitchen. I walk around and read out loud when I feel sleepy. I have to print dense readings as I easily lose track when I read on my computer or tablet.

I am finding qualifying exam as a great opportunity to push myself to confront some of my chronic habits – waking up late, consuming too much caffeine, exercising and meditating infrequently, spending too much time on the internet, not allocating time daily to read and write. My hope is to pass my qualifying exam while fighting these bad habits.

Manipulative Banking – The new norm

I now and then miss my payment due date. Yes, the bank will be fast enough to slap a fee on me. I usually call them and they reverse it for me as they can see from my history that I am good with payments and mistakes happen. But I just realized how out of control credit cards and other loans can get in the era of technology and fine prints.

In the era of technology, people who are not comfortable with online banking, people who don’t have any alerts (phone or email) set up for “fee slapping” will miss out on the action and their credit report will start reflecting this fee even before these people know that there was a missed payment. This is also the era of lack of self-control from the end of customer and the era of art of manipulation from the end of the banks. Every bank wants to give you a credit card so that you lose track of your shopping habits and payment deadlines. The sooner and more often this happens, better it is for the bank, as they can start preying on us. A legislation should protect people from being manipulated. Even the constitution should be amended to say that “bankers will not manipulate people”. Manipulative banking is violence.

I have eight credit cards. I am going to bring them down to four by this month end – one Visa, one Master, one Discover and one American Express. I am extremely good at keeping track of payments and even then I miss deadlines once in a year or two as I get busy with other things in life. I am now thinking of what old people, people who are not good with technology endure in this era of predation. has been extremely helpful in tracking my expenditures and incomes. I strongly recommend using mint.

I have realized that the best way to cut down on debt is to keep all my cards locked away. I carry one card with me. I use mint and go through my transactions everyday to keep myself aware of my transactions. This has considerably reduced my expenditures.

Is it the distance?

I claim myself to be a considerable, sensitive and rational person. But that claim seems dubious when I realize that I don’t really care as deeply as I should about some of the important issues that are affecting the larger society. I have thought about this contradiction and here is my hypothesis – I think it is my distance from these issues that makes me think about them less deeply. There seems to be a armour of impersonality that chokes the flow of emotions between two creatures.

I don’t fret about large dams.  I am fine with over consumption and unsustainable management of resources. I continue to consume water and electricity harnessed at a far away place without really thinking about any local solutions such as rainwater harvesting or solar power. The reason for my insensitivity could be that I don’t have to personally go and push people away from their villages to submerge their lands. I am emotionally involved in the issue as I have recruited the Government to be my agent! I am not seeing any immediate harm. I have vested my government with all the powers to commit the necessary crime and coercion, induce the misery on my behalf!

I no longer get singled out for the crimes I am committing on nature and hence on the people and animals who are dependent on it. Now there is a system in place, supported by corporate and media, which worships and encourages reckless consumption. The abstractness of “class” makes it difficult to pinpoint the victim. There is strength in numbers. I want others to drive less and consume less. I am upset with everyone else except myself. When I scorn at this ugly world, I forget that I too am part of that world and most of the times that scorn should be directed inwards as I have played an important role in bringing this world to this point!

Only when interactions get personal can I learn to think and feel about the world deeper than I do now. People ask me, why is it that some Indians worship cow and don’t eat it? For the same reason that you don’t treat your dog as food! Admittedly, dog meat may not be as tasty as beef, but it is not a practice for people to kill their dogs! Why? Because dogs are part of the family. They are closer to your heart. Cows have supported families in India by providing them with milk and dung. Milk provided the necessary calories and nutrients in the form of food while dung was a source of fuel.  It is easy for people to be emotional and spiritual when it comes to cows because that is the kind of interaction they have had with cows all these years. The relationship with livestock is not purely economic. Now a days, there is a distance between our life and the consequences of our lifestyle! I no longer have to worry about the cows or any other animals. I have outsourced these interactions and hence in a way has fuelled all the cruelty.

My interaction with nature these days is completely impersonal! Hence I have no real connection with people, animal, trees, insects and other natural beings around us! This lack of connection is hollowing me out making me all shallow and self-centred! I am distant from the activities that are needed to make me feel connected to the world. I don’t grow my own food own – hence rains piss me off! I don’t build things these days! I just buy stuff. Hence there is no attachment to save it or make it work! I have no idea of what goes into resource mining and where all the waste ends up! A world without emotions is purely mechanical, metallic, toxic! Now a days, I wonder how many of us really enjoy the basics of life – food, friendship, and love, when the media is constantly reconditioning us how to live, love, buy, and be unhappy all the time! At the risk of sounding like a hippy, I want so say that world’s problems can be solved only if we re-establish the connection with the natural world! And yes, that does not mean camping in Yellowstone or backpacking in Yosemite!

Remembering Ajji!

I am reading William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well” for last two days. In chapter 24 – Writing family history and memoir, Zinsser talks about the value of documenting family memories. As he says, writers are the custodians of memory. Their responsibility is to hunt those stray memories and bind them to the books with the help of words. The book has made me nostalgic.

Ajji – The master storyteller!

Today I am thinking a lot about my maternal grandmother I lost three years ago. She was the only grandparent who was alive to tell me the enchanting stories from Indian mythology all through the night, place rice morsels in my hands while I sat under the moonlight in the courtyard, give me money to buy those tiny toys and toffee which my parents refused to buy for me!  I don’t remember my grandmother hurting anyone in any way. She radiated warmth and personified tenderness.

In the age of television, the art of storytelling is lost to the blaring media! I was fortunate to have a grandmother who has left me with a part of herself through the stories she conjured for her grandchildren! I know that she is not up there in the skies, residing in the heavens, watching over me because she is right here in my heart, in my memories, and in my name. Yes, her name was Sharada.

If your grandparents are alive, run to them…! Ask them to narrate their struggles, their joys, their hopes! Take pictures of your grandparents, record their voice, if you can. My friends, memories are tricky! Freeze them before they flow out of your lives and vapourize!

I want to sitdown with all my maternal aunts, hear their journey. I want to go back to that house in Tumkur where my mother grew up and see what remains of the place!

Why should roads be wide and linear?

If you travel by foot on the streets of any of the old cities of India, say Varanasi or Old Delhi, you might feel claustrophobic because of the narrow roads, with houses standing tall on either side as if they are people watching your every movement. If you look a little further along the road, you might see those houses closing in on you. You might feel flabbergasted and to some extent frustrated by the twists, turns, and abrupt endings of the roads. Roads in these places are not named or  paved, sidewalks, if they exist, end into surprise potholes,  neighbourhoods are not clearly marked, and there is no logic behind the house numbers.

Postal addresses usually consist of the name of the addresses, care of (C/O) some prominent person in the household (who has lived there for such a long time that the postal worker or neighbours can easily recognize the name), house number, name of the house (yes, houses in India usually have names), cross and main (if it exists), a landmark close to the house (mostly in the same lane), a temple, mosque, church or other landmark in the neighbourhood, name of the neighbour hood, Stage / Phase or Block number, name of the city, state, and a PIN. Some addresses may need two envelopes to write them fully 🙂 In few cases, number of words in the “from” and “to” addresses written on the envelope might exceed the words the in letter the envelope is carrying!

Asian cities have survived because of the long-standing co-operation among its people. The human interactions built these cities and now these cities are in turn facilitating those interactions further. The lifestyle is built upon the personal connections between people – the grocer, the milk man, the vegetable vendor, the rickshawwallah, the neighbours… I remember the days when we shared newspapers and magazines, we used our neighbours fridge to make ice-creams, watched Ramayan and other mega tele-serials with everyone on our street on one and the only colour television in the street, learnt to ride a bicycle and motorcycle from our uncles, borrowed bicycles from not so well acquainted people!

I like the way my friend Ayan Ghosh puts it:

I think the reason I love old cities is they have more crosswords. Each crossroad asks questions, makes you stop, take a decision and stick by it. In every lane we discover new things and think what did I miss on the other lanes? I must come back. I must give more time. This is why I have never enjoyed planned cities. They are too linear, too defined. You just walk from one end to the other and you have seen it all. But life is more like an old city than a highway.

In 2008 I travelled around  India for 12,000 miles on a motorcycle without a GPS, just a road atlas. I had to stop at major intersections, talk to people, watch out for diversions. It made me develop a deeper temporal and spatial awareness. In US I travelled with my parents for 9,000 miles without asking for any directions, without speaking to a single human. I never had to bother about the surrounding. Technology disconnected me from my surroundings. Of course, nobody forced me to use the GPS, but sadly there will not be any human soul around to give me directions if I get lost! Today’s technology can easily isolate people if we don’t know how to wield it properly and fall head over heels in the name of individuality. We like the pictures and status updates of our friends instead of having a chat with our family members who are right next to us. The age is of video games and not of the games that teach us to interact with real humans and build sportmanship!

Roads don’t have to be wide if all can walk to our workplace, to our schools, and to the market. Roads don’t have to be linear,if the towns are small enough! Roads don’t have to connect every place on earth if we don’t develop the greed to over consume – everything needs to be big – airports, roads, hospitals, schools, and office spaces, when we lose track of life and indulge in a lifestyle that focuses on money and exotic and extravagant consumption! We have fallen for the definition of development which epitomized – concrete roads. Concrete or asphalt roads don’t have character – one doesn’t see the colour of the earth beneath, smell the soil when it rains, feel how slushy the road gets when it absorbs water, experience the crumbly nature of the road when it dries up! Paved roads, when badly designed, which they usually are, reduce water percolation and thereby deplete groundwater reserves. Wide roads are for a society where a huge SUV is occupied by just one person, linear roads are for people who are not interested in talking to other people in the society, door numbers is for a society where people don’t want to spare time for each other! Wide roads are for people who are in a hurry to reach the workplaces where they don’t want to be, to do the work they don’t like to buy the stuff they don’t need!

Small is beautiful!

A Walk in Kathmandu

EveryTrail – Find trail maps for California and beyond

My first visit to Nepal

Nepal, though one the neighbouring countries, is never an immediate travel destination for most of the Indians. May be the skin colour of the people is not as exotic as the people of the West.  I decided to go there this summer to study the businesses that support fecal sludge reuse (the human waste that comes out of septic tanks of households) in agriculture. But Why Nepal? Nepal is closer to India but is not like India – it is marred by a different level of poverty and administration. Unlike India, it is landlocked and is in a geographically challenging terrain. Though Nepali is the main language, I can get by with my Hindi, unlike in Sri Lanka.

There is no direct flight to Kathmandu from Bangalore, though Bangalore is one of the preferred education destinations for most Nepalese. My flight was via New Delhi. The Air India staff denied the “through check-in” facility for my baggage. So I had to go through the hassle of claiming my baggage and checking it in Delhi – I lost one hour of my time and I was not too worried. But the lady next to me was really exacerbated by the situation she was put into. According to me, these are the challenges we should willingly accept. Situations like these build character!

I went through the security check only to find that I was carrying an exacto knife and a Victorinox multi-tool in my carry on. Somehow the Bangalore security had missed it. I had to forego those knives though I had an established record of not using them to threaten any passengers during the flight from Bangalore to Delhi!

I had reserved a window seat to enjoy the beautiful views of the mountains of Nepal as the flight entered Kathmandu. But my c0-passenger wanted his aid to sit next to him and hence requested to me to sit in 31E instead of 10A. I agreed, thinking of my old parents and the people who had agreed to give up seats to allow me to sit with my parents during the long flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco. As soon as the plane took of, we hit an air pocket and the flight seemed more like a bumpy ride in a jalopy.

The flight lasted for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The beautiful green mountains surrounding a huge plain came into view when the flight descended to 4000 ft. The landing was smooth but the braking was hard. It could be because of the shorter runway. We taxied to a concrete patch. Weather outside was 29 C.  A red decrepit Air India non-AC bus picked us up and dropped us to the entrance of the building which was just 200  meters away. The red bricked building had narrow passages connected like a maze. Blue pennants announcing Nepal glory welcomed us – Nepal – The country with the second largest water source, the country with the largest number of world heritage sites, the country which was never under any foreign rule ! The emigration officer just looked at my passport and let me in without any stamp on my passport. Indians do not need any VISA to visit Nepal.

Going down to the baggage claim, I realized that Nepal airport is not a fancy place with air conditioning. It had fans running everywhere. It took a long time for the bags to arrive while I made some small talk with a lady from Bangalore on her Manasa Sarovar pilgrimage. She insisted that I visit Manasa Sarovar during my stay here in Kathmandu as it would save me a lot of money (INR 1,25,000 to be precise). I am not sure whether I will be able to find any free time even to do any short hikes, if not a grand hike to Annapurna circuit or Manasa Sarovar.

At the exit of the airport, the currency exchange centre had put out a board listing the conversion rates – 87 nepali rupees per dollar, 1.55 per INR. I went to the prepaid taxi booth and asked for a ride to Jhamsikhel.  775 NPR. I had only USD and some INR on me. Paid 520 INR instead of 10 USD I was asked for.

I got out of the airport to get into a rickety white taxi. The driver asked me to hold the lid of the boot while he loaded my bags.  I sat in the front only to realise that there is no way to clamp my seatbelt. The car rode into the town with jerky movements  through the haze of the dust and smoke raised by the vehicles in the front.  A few people were walking or riding motorcycles wearing masks over their nose and mouth to prevent the ill-effects of pollution. Soon, a  rally led by about 40 motorcycles with red pennants blocked the traffic. The taxi driver honked, veered through the oncoming traffic and finally made it to PulChowk.

Kathmandu valley comprises of three cities – Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. My accommodation was located in Jhamsikhel region of Bhaktapur. The roads in Kathmandu region are narrow and are being widened at places. I heard that many buildings will be razed to make way for asphalt. Addresses in Nepal are as abstract as they are in India. The driver had to call the guest house twice to get the directions to reach the place. The directions were all landmark based! It reminded me of my friend Ayan Ghosh’s statement:

I think the reason I love old cities is they have more crosswords. Each crossroad asks questions, makes you stop, take a decision and stick by it. In every lane we discover new things and think what did I miss on the other lanes? I must come back. I must give more time. This is why I have never enjoyed planned cities. They are too linear, too defined. You just walk from one end to the other and you have seen it all. But life is more like an old city than a highway.

I finally reached my guest house located in a narrow alley.  It is a residence converted into a guest house. The adjacent houses are so close to one another that I could  hear the sound of dish washing, TV, children playing, and my neighbours gossiping. It’s a shame that I don’t understand Nepali 🙂

Photos related to my stay in Nepal can be found here on Flickr

My life’s default plan!

Here’s what I have to say about my default plan:

  1. Get my PhD by May 2016
  2. Work as an independent researcher till 2027
  3. Travel around the world on a bicycle from May 2037 till May 2047
  4. Start farming in a rural area near the mountains of Western Ghats or the Himalayas. Teach children when I am not farming. Read when I am not farming or teaching. Write, when I am not farming, teaching or reading 
  5. Hope for a peaceful life and a not so painful death!

What is it that I would miss?

When I go back to India for good, what is it that I will miss the most? It is the public library system. I am very attached to Berkeley Public Library(BPL). I go there at least once a week, sometimes just to ogle at the stacks of books! It is nothing compared to the Gardner Main Stacks at UC Berkeley library, but BPL is still a great public library. I can check out up to 50 items. Through Link+, I have access to all California public library books. I choose the book online and it is delivered to BPL for pick up  I can now borrow audio books and ebooks too. With a valid California ID, one can walk into any public library, become a member instantly, and borrow books that moment.

This reminds me of my childhood days back in Chitradurga, my visits to the public library named as (Sri Krishna Rajendra Library). The library was attached to my preschool – Rotary Bal Bhavan. On Saturdays we were allowed to play in the shared compound. I was not too curious about the library then. When I was in 7th grade, I became more observant of the reading habits of my cousins from Bangalore. During their visit, I went to my public library where they borrowed books under my father’s name. I also decided to try out a book. If I remember correctly, it must have been some Hardy Boys book. I looked at the last page, some 223 pages in all, 14 days borrowing period. That means I had to read 223/14 = 16 pages everyday!

Reading English books was a torture. My medium of instruction was English but that did not help me much with my spoken English or the ease of reading English books. I was good with basic grammar (we were taught eight parts of speech, and few tenses, nothing more). But my vocabulary sucked and I was not familiar with the writing style of English novels. Each page took me close to 15 minutes. I forgot the names of the characters. Names confused me as the author would use first or last name depending upon the situation. It was hard for me to relate the names with gender. I wrote down all the names of the character, the mutual relationships on a paper and frequently referred to them. I never finished a single book till I reached college.

When I was in Bangalore for my 11th and 12th grade education, I visited Shankar Circulation Library, a private library near 8th cross, Malleswaram, with my cousins. My first English book I read end to end was some Tintin comic book. I don’t remember  its name. I was 16 and I did not understand that comic fully. My classmate VIkas Raykar was a great inspiration. He had many but different books at his place and no television. I was very surprised to find someone who liked books more than television.

It’s been 12 years since I stopped watching television. I commuted for two years on my bicycle to Arghyam listening to podcasts and audio books everyday! Daniel Bachhuber introduced me to Radiolab and Google Reader! I soon got hooked to podcasts and RSS feeds! My life is filled with books and podcasts now. I read when I have free time. I read to procrastinate my research. My reading interest has now expanded to  fiction, non fiction, humour, history, and comics! Ever since I have discovered audio books, my life is filled with more joy! BTW the book “How to read a book” has been amazingly helpful!

As you can see, I have a lot of catching up to do! If you started reading at a very early age, you are fortunate. But I don’t envy you. There are many people in my country who will die without reading even a word their entire life! (30% of Indian population is still illiterate). I now have friends on campus and outside who keep inspiring me with their reading zeal. I find goodreads more interesting than facebook for that reason.

I am in love with Beyondpod and Poweramp apps on my android. Beyondpod allows me to download all my podcast subscriptions (link my podcast subscription here). Poweramp provides me with a great interface to play my audio books and audio files. Coolreader is my favourite ebook reading app on my android tablet.

There is one other important aspect of my current life in Berkeley which I will miss a lot, may be the most. It is the conversations I get to have with people here.  I am almost afraid to go back to India for this reason. What if I don’t find similar set of people back in India? May be that is what life is all about! Trying to find familiar things in unfamiliar places! Even if I decide to stay in USA, my social circle will dissolve soon after grad school! I should learn to cope with change!

Any Human Heart – A great book about the realities of life!

I was weeping yesterday while biking to campus listening to “Any Human Heart“. I finished reading the book today. I must admit that this is one of the amazing books I have read in my life. I was moved by almost every situation of the life of Logan Mountstuart (LMS), the protagonist of the novel. I empathized with LMS. The writing style of William Boyd brings out a very true self of LMS which is more or less a reflection of most human beings.

I want to mention two things from his journal. First, the scene when he looks at the pictures of Stella and Freya, LMS’ dead daughter and wife, and thinks about all the happy moments of his past. He is happy that his life was filled with such joy and happiness. At the same time he feels he will never be that happy again in future. It made me wonder, what is it like to reach a point in life where future is just a constant decline of everything – health, wealth, love, happiness, and friendship! I am living my life with a huge hope of a better tomorrow. I am not sure what it is to live a life of utter hopelessness!

Second, LMS talks about his vision of future – had he imagined his old age to be this way? I am now thinking about my vision of my own future. What do I see? May be I should give it some serious thought and see whether I can align my actions to reach the place where I want to me. Sending email to myself or creating time capsules is a good way to link my past and future. I will soon start working on that!

In any case, the book was melancholic! I felt privileged to have access to someone’s intimate thoughts, thoughts that are very similar to mine. I wish I had the courage to write them all down with the rawness the author has done! Love, friendship, betrayal, conceit, deceit – the main ingredients of life, are usually tempered by opportunity, kindness, and empathy to form a life story worth telling! Death of LMS seemed like the death of a close friend, the death of my inner self!

If I consider the average life expectancy of an Indian, I am through 40% of my life. My 33rd birthday is not faraway! May be it is time to take stock of my blessings, my goals, and start acting on them! It is amazing how a book, a story can inspire us all. I will be more committed to my journal writing. I will try to keep my blog posted with my thoughts about life and my struggle to fix myself! I don’t want to look back at life and repent. Yes, I may not be able to take right decisions at every point in my life. But I want the sum of my good and bad decisions to be positive towards the end. But as we all know, Life has a will of its own!

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi