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A mint new year with mint new mantras- The New Indian Express

It’s something I have struggled with for years. Working the minimum into my luggage as I hop to destinations, with my portable spring balance groaning, protesting under the weight of those extra boots, or spa elixirs that I pile on along the way. That was in the past.

I have schooled myself into packing light henceforth, pruning the excess in keeping with the dictums I have dished out to others on how to pack smart, and right, and yet stay equipped to tackle all situational demands.

Of course, the halo hasn’t settled around my brown crown overnight. There have been innumerable squirm-incidents of smuggling shopping bonanzas and Alphonsos, making my kilos masquerade as check-in for compassionate co-passengers, lie silently in friends’ suitcases, stashed in strollers that looked bulbous and chubby thereafter, even testing the resilience of my laptop bag as I have lugged last-minute airport add-ons in gander-sized books and those gobble-worthy galoutis, smiling breathlessly at the crew and into the aircraft. The weight allowance sliver by economy carriers honed this mental agility, magically.

This realisation beautifully executes itself in real life as I sieve the friends from acquaintances and amiable work contacts. Like slow travel, slow digestion, slow-mo reels, the slow truth arrives quietly and quirkily. Doesn’t it? Think about it. There is no emotional mafia involved here, just timely enlightenment. When you look at some of the faces around, you wish you could get a full refund of all the time that you have invested in them.

These are dead-duck equations that make you wonder why you didn’t bother looking into the logical premise a bit deeply earlier. Never mind, even Gautam Buddha gained enlightenment at 35. As we wing into another new year, it is time to disable the depletion, and disengage from those who double-dip into your emotional bounty. Time to create a distance and move on, lighter.

Self-talk is a rewarding exercise I developed within the secret confines of the pandemic-induced mask. Conversing with your own self does make you sleuth and sift out a comfortable rhythm, an objective recap, a reformat of the emotional thermostat that you use for determining equal, respectful ground for yourself.

It also knits you to that all-important Japanese concept of ouibatori, the art of simply being yourself and never comparing yourself with others. That’s the karmic crucible. Spending time on yourself and your unique growth. While all the excess talk about positivity makes me feel queasy, trimming the excess baggage comes easy. As a logical personal evolution. Are you with me?  

Shilpi Madan

Mumbai-based journalist and editor

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