Today is the last day of the year 2022. Wow! What a fantastic journey it was. Now, when I look back on 2022, I am astonished. Like everyone, I embarked on my 2022 journey with many resolutions. Some, I aced; in some, I failed. I can undoubtedly tell everyone that I have cherished every day this year. There is nothing for which I should repent. I passed the litmus test of life in 2022. Allow me to take you on my unforgettable journey of the year.
I was tense about how fruitful this year will turn out for me. But, at the same time, the spirits were high. In the second week of January, my academic advisor, Denis Blackmore, took a leave from the college due to some health reasons.
I was constantly in touch with him, and he told me he was doing fine. But, my anxiousness was growing exponentially. I used to walk near the park near my house to find solace. I am a self-claimed photographer and take pictures whenever I see a good view. I took a picture of the first snowfall of the year. Here it is:
The month of February started with Denis’s email saying: My medical problem is more complicated than I thought, and I’m undergoing a series of tests today. After a few days, I received another email from him saying: My medical problem is much more severe than I thought. He added, you have been outstanding students even for the short time we’ve been together, and I wish you all the best. Now, I was concerned. Four days later, I received another email from him saying: I am so happy to have you as my student, but I can not advise you because I need to get an operation, which will follow by two months of bed rest. He added you have never disappointed me as a student, and you will not if you choose a new advisor. After this email, I tried to reach out to him, but all efforts were in vain. I was in shock. Though I am not religious, I visited the temple for the well-being of my advisor. The picture of the temple I visited in New Jersey:
In March, the weather is pleasant to do all the outdoor activities. I play cricket when I am stressed, and yes, this time, I was worried because of things that happened in the last couple of months. While playing cricket, I broke my right leg right before spring break. But, my pain never took over my spirit. I was going to school for my teaching duties. While I was home, I cooked for myself. I cleaned the whole apartment alone- nobody helped me. My body’s inner strength healed me, both mentally and physically. Also, we all got a response to the card we sent to Denis for his speedy recovery. He said; the card brought tears to his eyes, and he misses all of us. In the midst, I found a moment to astray my thoughts. My school’s Indian association for students gave me a chance to celebrate an Indian festival called Holi. Holi is the Festival of colors. Here is a picture from the celebration:
By the month’s end, I realized I was on my own now, and nothing could shake me.
I decided to switch to a new advisor after three years in my Ph.D. program. I was starting my Ph.D. from scratch. I was worried, but not as much as I was concerned about Denis. Now, I started working on a completely different project. But, my new advisor, Professor Roy Goodman, made everything easy. He is the mentor I was looking for in this challenging time. Everything was going smoothly; I was improving in every way. I was becoming more informed about things. Then on April 28th, I heard the news that Denis had passed away. I was devastated. I didn’t know how I should react. But, again, Roy rescued me from this time. Most of the month went into wrapping up the semester. One time I got a chance to visit a café (called Intrinsic Café) near my school for the very first time in three years. Here is the picture:
Spring had turned into Summer. But it was a Fall season for me, Dark and Gloomy. Now, I was recovering from two things: Denis’s death and my broken leg. Meanwhile, in India, things were not good with my family. Everything seemed to be falling apart. I wanted to leave everything behind and wanted to go back to India. But my parents and the family I have made here in the US eased everything for me. My friends, Nick and David, used to come every day to check on me to see if I was doing fine, and I will always be indebted to their friendship. In the department of mathematics at my school, we organize an Annual Conference on Frontiers in Applied and Computational Mathematics (FACM’22). I was one of the volunteers for the conference. I made a lot of good friends from different universities. On the last day of the meeting, we all celebrated our success. Here is the picture:
I had a balanced month in May 2022.
I had recovered physically, but mentally. I was feeling better. The process of healing teaches you everything. The best way to deal with any situation is to face it. I was facing everything that was in my way and was gaining more and more strength. The world can not exist without dualities. We can only define what is wrong with right already existing and vice-versa. And so, the power I was gaining was for some reason. Something was coming where I needed to use that strength. On June 25th, I lost my dog. I won’t express how I felt; the readers know the feeling. The last picture of my dog that I took back in India:
On the 4th of July, I went out with my friends to celebrate the USA independence day and see the fireworks. Here is the picture I took:
On July 15th, I joined a summer teaching program at my school to keep myself diverted from the things that had already happened in my life. I feel relaxed when I teach. I was feeling happy because of the interaction with different kinds of students. But, the thing is, I can’t keep myself out of trouble. I broke the same leg again- this time, with four hair-line fractures. The doctor put me in a gigantic boot. I was in an ever-ending loop of troubles again.
As I was in bed again, I got into the hobby of reading. I read a total of five books this month. Here is the list of the books I read: Total Freedom by J.Krishnamurti Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche The Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
As soon as I got the strength to stand on my feet again, I went out with my friends. The place is called Greenroom, located in Harrison, New Jersey. This place can make a corpse alive, all credit to the amiable bartenders. Here is a picture of my friends (David and Nick) and me with a few staff members (Jules and Sam ) of the Greenroom.
On September 5th, I started my final semester of the year. I knew that I was lagging behind in my Ph.D. My friends, who started with me in 2019, had already defended their Ph.D. thesis proposal. And here I was, starting everything fresh. My advisor is a gem. He helped me with everything. I started learning about new things I hadn’t seen before; that’s how research works. The best thing about my advisor is that he genuinely wants the person to understand. I had started getting my pace back. Meanwhile, I actively started participating in UCAN (United Council of Academics @NJIT), which works for the rights of research students and adjuncts at my school. At a UCAN event, I clicked a picture with Brian (President, UCAN). Here is the picture: Brian (left) and me (right).
In general, the month of September was full of positivity.
The month is full of festivals. Diwali is the biggest festival in India, followed by Halloween. Diwali is the festival of lights. In 2022, India celebrated Diwali on October 24th. I went with my friends to an Indian street in Jersey City to celebrate Diwali. Here is the picture from the Diwali celebration:
On October 31st, I celebrated Halloween with my friends. Here is the picture of me (pumpkin)with my friend (Nick):
October was full of celebrating and reviving something lost in me.
November is a month full of birthdays. On November 3rd, one of my cousins celebrated his birthday in India. On November 5th, my other cousin celebrated her birthday in India. On November 7th, my aunt celebrated her birthday. On November 10th, my sister celebrated her birthday. On November 14th, my uncles (14 years of age difference) celebrated their birthdays. On November 22nd, I celebrated my 28th birthday. On my birthday, I started my day by announcing that I would offer everyone free mathematics (undergraduate/graduate) tutoring for my birthday. Later, I went with my friends to an Indian restaurant to celebrate the occasion. The day was absolute pandemonium. Here is the picture from my birthday celebration:
The month of December started poorly. On December 2nd, I received a phone from my father telling me about the passing away of my maternal grandfather. It was a significant loss in my life. A void was created in my life again. I was on phone calls for hours with my parents to know how are they doing. I wanted to visit India and see my parents. But, I had a few deadlines for my Ph.D. that hindered me from going. I am glad they have healed from their loss, and I have successfully submitted my Ph.D. thesis proposal, which I will defend on January 11th, 2023. I am excited about it.
On December 14th, Jules, at the Greenroom, sketched my fat version, which I love. I am overeating to look like this. Look at the picture below:
On December 25th, I celebrated Christmas in China Town in New York; while walking on the streets, I clicked on a beautiful picture. Here is the picture:
I took another picture while walking on the streets of New York City.
I learned much from the year 2022. Though it was a year of losses; but, I have no complaints. I plan to cultivate the art of freudenfreude in 2023. I hope you all enjoyed reading my article. Thank you for patiently reading my article. I wish you all a Happy New Year 2023. Let’s keep the past in the past and start living in the present.
On November 22, 2022: I am turning twenty-eight.My birthday has no importance without quoting a Sanskrit Shloka,
सर्वतीर्थमयी माता सर्वदेवमयः पिता |
मातरं पितरं तस्मात् सर्वयत्नेन पूजयेत् ||
The gist of the Shloka is:
To a person, his mother is an object of veneration, andhis father is like all the Gods combined. Therefore, his sacred duty is to revere and serve both ofthem with utmost care and attention.
I have had a sinusoidal year so far, with many ups and downs. This is a rarefied world. Like the outside world, personal identity is far away. I was crestfallen, and I was losing my identity. But my friends helped me sail my drowning lifeboat to reach its shore, and I will always be in their debt for the rest of my life.
Life is unsettling enough, but it is only the beginning. "Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think“.
I was born a tabula rasa, but my life experiences have helped me become the person I am today.
The life-changing quote in my life this year was by the great Chinese philosopher: Lao Tzu. The quote is:
“If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
Indeed, today I am at peace. I am only reminiscing the evanescence of life. I have petered out my pompousness. With my exquisite tenderness of mental awareness, I vow to open a door of ecstasy to everyone. I bow down in reverence to everyone and wish them the best year ahead. Thank you all for being part of my life.
My journey began with a personal experience that I’d like to share – my journey from rock bottom to the peak of success. Just a few months ago, I was in a state of despair. It wasn’t due to the COVID pandemic, but rather a result of the tough times that life threw at me. Those moments when everything seems to fall apart before your eyes, when your world crumbles beneath your feet, and you realize that your safe haven is being demolished. I’m sure we’ve all experienced these moments, the ones where we ask the question, “Why me?”
Initially, I sought out immediate solutions to my problems. I wanted to take medicine to cure my ailments, but I wasn’t ready to give up my bad habits. I went to doctors with the hope that they could fix me, but every attempt ended in failure. Eventually, I became overwhelmed and decided to avoid my problems altogether. That was when I discovered Ekam Vada – a solution that I believed could help me get rid of all my problems.
In Sanskrit, Ekam means only one, and Vada means please tell. I wandered around aimlessly for a few weeks until I stumbled upon the Bhagavad Gita. Reading it transformed the way I thought, spoke, and lived my life. How, you ask? Let me explain.
Kurukshetra War in Mahabharata
Arjuna, the great warrior, asked Lord Krishna to drive his chariot between the two armies so he could see who desired to fight with him. As he stood between the armies, he saw his fathers and grandfathers, teachers, uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, in-laws, and friends – all of whom he would have to face in battle. Overcome with confusion and despair, Arjuna told Krishna that his body trembled with fear, and he did not wish to fight the war. He felt it was a great sin to kill his own relatives for the sake of a kingdom’s pleasures. Arjuna even went as far as to suggest that it would be better if his relatives killed him unarmed and unresisting. In this moment, Arjuna wanted to run away from his problems instead of facing them head-on. Don’t we all feel the same way during a crisis? I know I have wanted to run away from my problems in the past.
Mighty Lord Krishna Speaks
Krishna teaches that one should never engage in action solely for the sake of rewards, nor should one long for inaction. Those who break away from the ego-cage of ‘I,’ ‘me,’ and ‘mine’ to unite with the Lord of Love are forever free. He advises Arjuna to work without self-attachments and to stay steady in success and failure. The wise, who unify their consciousness and abandon the attachment to the fruits of action that bind a person to rebirth, attain a state beyond all evil.
Krishna warns that when a person has lost the capacity to learn from the past and exercise sound judgment, their life is a waste. Such a person will bring misery upon themselves and those around them and leave this life as a burden instead of a contributor to others’ welfare.
In this teaching, Krishna urges us to give up the doer, not the karma. He instructs Arjuna to fulfill all his duties, acting selflessly, and with devotion to selfless work, which is devotion to God. The senses have been conditioned by attraction to the pleasant and aversion to the unpleasant, but one should not be ruled by them as they are obstacles in one’s path. Our selfish desires and anger keep us away from eternal bliss.
Connections and Conclusions
Arjuna’s situation reflects our own experiences in times of difficulty. Often, our first inclination is to give up and retreat from action, seeing the problem as a personal issue of “I, me, and mine.” However, if we view the problem as a collective issue, it becomes a small part of the whole. This is where Krishna’s message comes in: we must relinquish the doer and focus on selfless action.
When we act as the doer, our ego creates expectations and blames others for any mistakes. But by acting selflessly, we eliminate the divide between the doer and the karma. We must renounce attachment to the fruits of our actions and see good and bad, success and failure, beauty and ugliness, and sorrow and happiness as equal.
Life is constantly changing, and we must adapt to these changes rather than seek comfort in inaction. Only through acting selflessly can we find peace and contentment in our actions, and avoid the trap of being ruled by our selfish desires and expectations.
Act in a way that benefits society but not just you.
When you realize that letting go is better than holding, Love Resurrects.
When you realize that presence is not important to be part of something, Love Resurrects.
When you realize that you are being unconditionally attached, Love Resurrects.
When you realize that you have no longings for yourself, Love Resurrects.
When you realize learning from life is fathomless, Love Resurrects.
When you realize that you are commemorating your enemy's success, Love Resurrects.
When you realize that you have started accepting rather than expecting, Love Resurrects.
When you realize that you are mortal and today is the only day to live, Love Resurrects.
When you realize that nothing remains constant in life, Love Resurrects.
Shut down all the possible ways by which people can communicate with you.
Your true supporters and lovers will definitely come, to find you out, and rest will leave it to fortune.
This will help you to scrutinize your own people.
A person who leads from the front is not a true leader.
A genuine leader is someone who always stands behind the ideas of his followers, without promoting his own ideas.
A person who thinks, as if he is the only one who owes this world, just multiply his attitude with a zero of reality.
Resultant will be a big zero.
It should be done at right time.
It all begins with you, and it all ends with you too.
You are the only one responsible for all your happenings. So, stop blaming others, and start analyzing yourself.
Never open up your success until it reaches to its destination.
Always compare yourself on the basis of your present day situation not on the basis of present date, as date on the calendar is same for all but the standings of life are always different.
If you are communicating wrongly with your subconscious mind, then it is very important to correct them on time else it will automatically start happening.