Jai Sri Hari Hemanya

Wishing you an absolutely joyful and fabulous birthday, dear baccha. I have seen you grow as a writer and as a person in this community, and the outpouring of love that has been showered on you today just shows how much you mean to everyone. Since I cannot meet you and give you a gift, I am giving you the gift that elders hand our liberally – the gift of advice. I wish to share a few things I wish someone had told me when I was your age. I am sure, given your maturity, you will make much better use of it than me even if I received such advice.

  1. You are only limited by your ambition –  I did not have any exposure to the outside world till after passing out of college. The first time I visited the Harvard campus during a work trip, I almost wept. It was so serene and beautiful that I regretted never having explored the different options available to me. You are talented and unique in your ability to share your thoughts beautifully. Don’t be afraid of having big dreams and pursuing them wholeheartedly. I kid you not; the universe will bend over to accommodate you.
  2. Love is a wonderful experience – Falling in love is a wonderful experience. During the initial phase, you live in an unpenetrable bubble. However, the most crucial realization is that love is an experience that happens inside you. The object of your love (Friend, boyfriend, spouse) can change, but you are creating that experience. Once you realize that, no one can hold you hostage just because you care for them.
  3. It’s OK to have doubts: I was a traditional believer, a complete atheist, and deeply spiritual again. Becoming an atheist allowed me to ask questions, and discovering answers to them got me back to spirituality. The bond was much stronger the second time. Trust your own intelligence and don’t accept things that feel wrong to you. You will find your own path. Life is all about finding your individual truth.
  4. Always stay in touch with your passion: Your work and your passion may be different. I write for a living, but reading is my passion. I experience different places by reading there. I read on the great wall of china, in the middle of a stream, in a first-class on an airplane, and every other imaginable place. It keeps me sane and sorted. Your passion could be dance, poetry, or writing. Just stay in touch with it.


Enough gyan for you my dear child. I hope you remember some snippets of this when you are living a joyous and wonderful life. May Swami bless you with all the peace and contentment you deserve. Go, fly, and find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.