Bhelpuri for the Soul - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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Bhelpuri for the Soul

Jun 09, 2015


I frequent a bhelwala close to my home. Bhel from that particular source is my favourite food for the soul. I could come out of a hospital or back from a long vacation or win a lottery, and I'd probably head straight to the same bhelwala to satisfy my taste buds. Just biting into that spicy crunchy treat opens up my senses and my soul once again.

Several years ago, at this very bhelwala, I saw two of India's top business scions, getting out of their car, leaning on it, eating bhel together and probably going over the day's incidents or sharing plans for the future of their company. Do you know who these two were? Brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani!

I was thrilled to see them... I had only read about them in the papers so far. It was great to spot celebrities so close to home, and it was heartwarming to see them do regular things that regular people do. In my eyes, it made them more real.

But today I wonder - look at how things have changed for the two? Would they ever revisit that scene of their lives again? Would they go back together and eat bhel from that same guy, chatting casually, unafraid of the media or people who would comment on this real act of theirs?

Success definitely comes with its own set of perils. The biggest casualties being - alienation from the things we love to do... and sometimes, alienation from our true selves.

As we keep busy, day after day, building careers, creating empires and trying to become immortal in the annals of history, we lose a little bit of ourselves each day. We get so caught up in getting to the top that we forget from where it all began.

And I ask myself, in this chase for success, fame and money, how do you stay real, stay grounded, continue to be who you are, and thwart the growth of that very dangerous small word called "ego"?

Here are some solutions I could come up with...

Don't assume you have forever to live your true life

Recently I heard filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra say on a TV show that he thinks of death every morning and while resting in the shavasana pose he comes closer to experiencing impermanence. Acceptance of death makes him ensure he lives each day to the fullest. When we know we have limited time, our pursuit of success too seems transient; we begin to focus instead on the small joys of everyday life.

The late Steve Jobs echoed something similar in his video - "If today were the last day of my life":

Focus on things that make you happy, not just successful

It's the everyday rituals that bring more peace and calm rather than that one big prize-winning moment. If you can find satisfaction even in regular mundane tasks, then you will definitely not depend on that one moment of success to make you happy. You will ultimately focus on living each day more mindfully than fretting about some remote idea of success.

Don't only chase fame, become the best in your field

The downside of success is that we often begin to ignore the reason for our being and instead focus on the frivolous aspects. Take for instance, marketing and image-building, they begin to assume greater proportions than the work itself. Don't we often question the social media antics of politicians or industrialists, and wish they would just focus on their work instead? If you simply concentrate on mastering your work, instead of talking about it, you may leave a greater legacy behind.

Let success give you the independence to make decisions

Most of us work not only for the fame, success and money but for the freedom that we get as a by-product of the work that we do. This could be the freedom to take our own financial decisions, lifestyle decisions or even social decisions. So, if success further traps you instead of freeing you, you probably need to revisit your reasons for pursuing it.

No one can take away what is yours

I had read this interesting quote in my early years to the effect that, "You cannot take away the fragrance from a rose." You may face immense competition on the road to success - It may unsettle you, disturb you, discourage you and it may even make you doubt yourself. You may believe people are not recognizing or appreciating you, but that's far from the truth. The important part is to remember that no one can diminish your fragrance and you will take it with you wherever you go.

Get out of the race, first win in your mind

Many get consumed by the number game, with the result that they only think themselves worthy if they are on the top. A slight shift in the numbers and down goes their self-esteem. Forget numbers, inflated designations, being the world's richest man etc., you have truly won the game if you have first won over your mind. When all these numbers no longer bother you and you only work for the sake of work, that's when you will make a mark and be at peace with yourself.

Find more love in what you do, than who you want to be

Singapore's youngest millionaire Adam Khoo once wrote in a blog: "What makes me happy is when I see my companies and trainers reaching more and more people every year in so many more countries. What makes me really happy is when I read all the emails about how my books and seminars have touched and inspired someone's life..." Through Adam's words you see the mind of a man who is getting enriched himself as he is enriching the lives of others. When work becomes more about the doing than the becoming, you can truly impact your own life and that of others.

Acknowledge the struggles of those around you

In our quest for success, we sometimes get insensitive, we choose to ignore the struggles and insecurities of those around us... our lives become insulated. But what if we help someone grow along with us? What if we take on the onerous task of mentoring someone, of aiding someone else's career or education? Success is never a solo effort, many have helped you move up the ladder, it becomes your turn next to help those who are starting out.

Don't let society dictate your definition of success

Have you ever seen images of successful people coming out of hatchbacks or getting into trains or buses? Success as the media projects it or as society would have us believe it, is about living a good life and about spending tons of money on expensive gadgets, mansions or yachts. But what if success for you meant working a few hours a day, enough to take care of your basic needs and spend the rest of your time pursuing a hobby? You are at complete liberty to create your own definition of success, don't let the world fool you into believing otherwise.

The biggest responsibility of success is to be who you are

For me personally, if I can't walk down the road to my favourite bhelwala and eat something I like, success is pretty much of no use... it hasn't touched my soul, hasn't brought me closer to the real me, it has, in fact, taken away one of life's greatest pleasures. Because true success will only bring you closer to yourself...

Paulo Coelho sums it up well: "What is success? It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace."


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35 Responses to "Bhelpuri for the Soul"


27 Sep, 2019

Loved it. it echoed my subconscious thoughts that struggle to surface every day

Jayesh Shah

23 Aug, 2016

Sometimes life surrounds you by circumstances. Sometimes life burdens with you responsibilities. Sometimes Life leaves you battered. These are the everyday common man who are unable to come out of the rut of life. I take them as the real heroes of Life. Take the case of your Bhelpuriwala and sit down with him and ask him his story you will be astonished. But even if a fraction of our society adhere to what you have mentioned, their lives would have undergone a see change. You will like Robin Sharma's "Monk who sold his Ferrari." . I say even if we can get one individual to smile in a day or helped someone unknown each day you have lived your day. Well done for taking the initiative!!!

Usha Naur

22 Aug, 2016

Such an influencing article. This relates to many people in my life. Thank you so much for this lovely article.

Amit Abrol

04 Aug, 2016

Brilliant article. One I can SO relate to. I spent 26 years of my life doing what I erstwhile thought I wanted to. A lifetime later & 3 years ago, I gave up my hard work of the 26 years to pursue my current dream. I not only believe in it but I BREATHE & SLEEP & BELIEVE it, day & night! I keep saying it over & over to myself, that I WILL DO IT! Negativity has no space in my life & I banish negative thoughts by thinking about only what I want to think. Keep yourself open to change never short changing your DREAMS is what I believe. I KNOW I am on the way & success is right around the corner but I do not let the negative influence my thought process. I am 50 now & that is the NEW 30!

Like (2)

Noori Kapadia

26 Jul, 2016

Respected Writer, Fantastic article. Keep inspiring us. Open the unseen blockages in our mind. Feeling happy and relaxed. GOD bless You.

Like (3)

Jamsheed Mehta

21 Jul, 2016

Very well written and widely applicable in today's world. Keep up the good work!

Like (1)

Sunil G

22 Oct, 2015

Most people go along with the notion of Success which is acquired along the way from the society at large....never giving thought to 'what Success means to them'! Thought provoking article.

Sunil G

22 Oct, 2015

Most people go along with the notion of Success which is acquired along the way from the society at large....never giving thought to 'what Success means to them'! Thought provoking article.


19 Jun, 2015

Very nice Article !


17 Jun, 2015

To put it succinctly "Success is what success does...transforms/ internalise.. to do better..for good or worse ...depends on your choice/motives.

Like (1)

Anil B Kapadia

15 Jun, 2015

Ritika rocks! A story of most people entrapped in the business of making life go on ...Some force it upon themselves, some are forced by circumstances to live a very different life than they would like to. However, with a few adjustments & sacrifices, one can always pursue the activities that give the real joy, just like the street vendors' Bhel- Puri. each locality will have their special and celebrity Bhel vendors in Mumbai. Keep up the inspiring stories.

Like (1)


14 Jun, 2015

Very true and thoughtful

vk kaushika

14 Jun, 2015

Excellent article, convincing argument/fact,very thought provoking and excellent reading. Keep-it-up.

Like (1)

Mahalakshmi Reddy

12 Jun, 2015

A realistic approach for leading a healthy and contended living.

Like (1)

narender kapoor

11 Jun, 2015

very inspiring


11 Jun, 2015

Good article. The essence of this , has been beautifully said in Bhagavat Gita , by Lord Krishna. If we practise Karma Yoga, we need not bother about how the world looks at us. Let us dowhatever we do , with the best attitude , not affected by the outcome and dedicate the results to the Lord and also ensure that we do not in any way affect soceity by our actions. Then we don't need any external things to make us happy.

Like (1)


11 Jun, 2015

Madam Ritika, good article and very helpful too.

Like (1)

Sarat Palat

11 Jun, 2015

Nice article. Good message, simple language. Keep up the good work.

Like (1)


11 Jun, 2015

Beautiful put ..a well meaningful article

bhavna trivedi

10 Jun, 2015

Very well written very motivational to live your life fullest and being true to one's own self. Congrats to author

Ameet M D

10 Jun, 2015

Beautiful article, very much worth reading n a lot to take from most of us don't do what we love, we rather love what others do cos we want to be successful...your this article will really help such people

Like (1)

Pradip Shah

10 Jun, 2015

Brilliant piece of article with the theme " Don't assume you have forever to live your true life " . Extremely inspiring to make you think differently. All the anecdotes are life touching . Must compliment Ms. Ritika Bajaj !


10 Jun, 2015

it is v .nice to eat of your choice without any desparity BHELPURI is common eatable in mumbai but the particular BHELWALA is unique those served Ambani brothers earlier thanks for liking taste with your own choice.

Yohan thomas

10 Jun, 2015

A very meaningful article like a compass to find your way in life. A mature and balanced view that only those who have positively handled the struggles in life comprehend. The title though flippant casts some idea of the author's simple indulgences!

Like (1)

Shyamal Dey Biswas

10 Jun, 2015

An excellent article on " Bhelpuri for the Soul" presented by Ms. Ritika Bajaj. This article contains very useful tips to march forward to the arena of Success gradually.This reminds me one small conversation of an aged Sardarjee who was rendering services as one of the Contractors for the 4 M.T. Expansion Program at Bhilai Steel Plant in 1976 stating that my Success depends on a peaceful sleep on Charpai on each night. Rgds..

Like (1)


10 Jun, 2015

Really Commendable efforts....

Lokesh Mansukhani

10 Jun, 2015

Excellent piece...albeit all of us do comprehend the question addressed but are hesitant to this answer will surely lead to illumination for many.

Like (1)


10 Jun, 2015

good one.useful tip to lead LIFE successfully


10 Jun, 2015

Great Advice....Keep it up...

Jayanthi prasad

10 Jun, 2015

Absolutely fantastic I am making a lot of effort to practice what I hve just read. Many tks God Bless

Nikhil Karnik

10 Jun, 2015

I loved the paragraph "Don't let society dictate your definition of success", which resonates so much with what I have done personally recently. I quit my 20-year old Corporate Life recently and relocated back to my hometown of Baroda to do what I want to do in life. I have coined a principle for myself - "6-8-10", which expanded reads as "6 hours of solid work, 8 hours of rest and 10 hours of Hobbies and Passions" every day!!! This paragraph therefore resonated so much with my thoughts!!! Thanks for this lovely article, it just reinforces my decisions.

Like (2)

Shankar HN

09 Jun, 2015

Very nicely drafted. I liked it. It is soulful. It made my day.

Nidige Kumar

09 Jun, 2015

Just Splendid! I feel so good and enlightened as this reinforces my current life-style to a greater extent. Many Thanks.

Like (1)

aren kumar pani

09 Jun, 2015

It is very nice.


09 Jun, 2015

An excellent piece of advice but rather difficult to follow. Maybe introspection of the day before we go to bed each night will help. Even if I achieve 30% I will give myself pass mark.

Like (1)

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