Monthly Archives: Dec 2013


(My room – back in 1989 (after a 36-hour stint on duty!)

And What Happens Over Time

I was seated on the windowsill, gazing at my room.

For almost 25 years, this has been my lair. Starting from the time I was finishing medical school. 


What You Believe…

What You Believe Is Your Truth

What You Believe Is Your Truth


The Futility Of Planning…

And Why You Should Embrace The Wonder Of Randomness

What Matters - What's Worthy, And What's a Waste
Google Map image showing our oasis of greenery in a desert of concrete!

I’ve lived in the same house for over 25 years.

In the 1980’s, when we first moved in, this was a calm, quiet residential neighborhood. Today, with over 10,000 vehicles passing by our front gate every day, it’s among the noisiest, busiest and dustiest in the city.

Real estate value has skyrocketed. Individual homes are being fast replaced by multi-storey flats. Gardens are now but fond memories. Trees lining the shaded avenues, that we enjoyed for years on an evening stroll, have been ruthlessly chopped down to offer greater visibility to billboards and store-fronts.

A part of the phenomenal growth of the area was planned.

Most of it was accidental or random.

It just happened.

My favorite place to think is on the terrace.

This morning, I was walking around, thinking. As I basked in the gentle rays of the rising sun, with little Muffin running around sniffing and exploring, I thought back over the years.

Across 25 years, in more than 25 hundred similar ‘planning walks’, I must have made 25 thousand plans for my future – if not more!

A few of them were carried out. Most weren’t.

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]

– From Robert Burns’ poem To a Mouse, 1786

Life went on, unfolding in its magical uniqueness. Throwing serendipitous surprises across my path. Some were pleasant. Others, not so much.

Most of it was random. It could have happened differently. Or not at all.

With more hours than I can imagine invested (wasted?!) into planning things out, I must admit that it has been, by and large, an unfruitful exercise.

Measured purely in “return on investment” terms, my dividend from planning has been pathetic.

The biggest lesson from a quarter century of planning may well be this:

Life is random. Enjoy every moment of it.

Let things evolve as they will.

Prepare and adapt to the way it does.

Guide it, if you like, without dreaming about controlling or directing where it leads you.

Because unbridled growth and development may end up being worse than where you began… and the journey is always more fun than where you end up.


If I Had Only 5 Minutes…

To Tell My Daughter The Secret of Success

What Matters - What's Worthy, And What's a Waste

If I had just five minutes to tell my daughter what I believe to be the secret of living happily, this is what it would be…

Have a dream. It may be lofty or small – but it should be yours. And it must do two things. It should make you happy. And it should be of value to others.

Live your dream with passion. Passion is the energy that fires the spark of your desire, fans it into a glorious flame, and shows off your radiant brilliance.

Pursue your dream with determination. Believe with all your heart that it will come true, no matter how remote or difficult or impossible it may seem at the moment.

Dare to be different. Throw off the shackles of what is ‘regular’ or ‘conventional’ or ‘accepted’ – and follow your heart. Yes, it is often scary, unnerving and terrifying to give up the familiar and the secure to follow your dreams. It takes a lot of courage. Find it.

Feel gratitude. Wake up every morning feeling thankful for all the things you have – even the ones that, until now, you’ve taken for granted. Think about those who do not have those things.

Also, be a little crazy. Have a little fun. Let that little child within you come out and enjoy itself every now and then.

Have a personal philosophy that directs all that you do. Mine is a simple four-word mantra…

Be Kind. Help Others.

And in the end, have no regrets. We are all human, and therefore imperfect. We will always make mistakes. And that’s ok. Yes, things could have been better. But they also could have been worse.

The only question you must ask yourself is this: “Did I do my best?”

I hope your answer will be: “Yes, I did.”

That’s all that matters.

(This was first published on, a fantastic collection of stories, anecdotes and quotes by my dear friend Gail Lynn Goodwin – check it out here)


What Really Matters

Lessons From The Death Of A Year – And The Birth Of A New One

What Matters - What's Worthy, And What's a Waste

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
– Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech

It’s December.

A time of the year when my thoughts turn to death.

Maybe it’s because the year’s dying. Or because it reminds me of when my father died. Or something else.

It’s also a time when I ponder that uncomfortable reality of my own death – and what I’ll leave behind when I’m gone.

My legacy (if you like words that sound pompous and self-important!)

I read a post by my friend Derek Sivers. This one. It’s another stark reminder of how frail our existence really is. About how limited is our time on earth. About what’s worthy and what’s a waste.

Shouldn’t we use what little time is ours to DO something – instead of frivolously frittering it away?

Last night, I watched “UP”. A story where our hero, Mr.Fredricksen, puts off his childhood dream for “later” – and almost misses going after it… forever. He finally dares to try.

I face the same dilemma. With so many things to do, work on, complete, enjoy – which one(s) should take priority?

These December musings always help re-focus on the right things.

This year (as the last), my writing takes top spot – after heart surgery for kids, of course.

There’s a book I started writing TEN YEARS ago. That matters. So I’ve almost finished it this year, and will shortly be ready to publish it.

There’s a blog I first published 8 years back. That matters. So I’ve revived it, seeded it from my archived posts, and will grow it with new content.

There’s a project I began working on recently. That matters. It will help raise funds for my non-profit heart kids project. It gets my attention.

And for the dozen other “important” things, I’ll find some time – after the ones that really matter are done.

The hundreds of “urgent, though not important” ones will just have to wait. For a “later” that may never come.

That’s ok. Because if my time runs out any day, I’ll have been doing what truly mattersnot obsessing over trivia.

Another year is almost dead.

But a new one will soon be born.

Like life itself, every new year offers an opportunity.

An opportunity to change, be better, different.

To focus again on what’s really important.

On what matters.

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