We cannot compare the benefits of travelling solo and in group, especially with friends. They have their own inclinations to get along with you, and at times, you love both. Generally, as we know, it has be interplay of both, external as well as internal factors.

But, ultimately, if we go by our inner call, then any such decision is a mix of factors acting in coordination that finally decide with which way we will go.

The first factor is the weaving of your thought process.

If you are a person who enjoys your own company, you would love to go for a solo trip where you can croon, dance, sit and talk, all coming from and going inside you.

The best thing about having such intense one-on-one with you that you easily follow your own path even if you are in a group of friends. Yes, the nature of your interaction with self changes accordingly.

Trips that are exploratory in nature have their best chances when they find someone like this on the journey. They find their ways, be among people or walking alone. They are the truth-seekers. They are the knowledge-seekers. They are the wisdom-seekers. And journeys seek them.

The second factor is your mood.

Irrespective of the proclivity of your conscious (and subconscious mind), it is your mood that first decides whether you would go a for trip at all and if it says yes, then what contours it will take – whether your mood is pushing for you to take a solitary break away from the world around you to look for some moments in your own company – or it is seeking to share what is inside you with your friends and a group trip along the highway or in the valleys or on the hills or anywhere you like is the perfect occasion for it.

The third factor is obviously the occasion.

It is again interplay of different factors. If you are a party goer, you will seek to turn every group occasion into a good party time. You, will, in fact, go to every extent possible to have those evenings or nights or days again and again.

If you are a normal guy or girl next door, you will go where the party goes. And even if you are a reluctant, self-contained soul, you will not hesitate to become part of the show because you know it is going to be just those hours.

Mind you folks, these are about normal existences. We are not taking about exceptions and exclusivities here. We are talking about life journeys here.



One of the greatest scientists, nature’s laws and human civilization have ever seen, Albert Einstein, had once said that ‘God does not play dice’. Einstein was not a religious person and his observation was about the laws of nature.

One of the best minds of our times, Stephen Hawking, wrote an elaborate piece titled ‘Does God Play Dice?’ on similar lines.

Both of them were opining about scientific determinism, about how laws of nature play out in the universe, and how chaos is a certain part of it.

Mathematician Ian Stewart wrote a book ‘Does God Play Dice? The New Mathematics of Chaos’ that was published in 1989. The book is about chaos theory, about a pattern in randomness that no one sees or senses, that science cannot explain. But simple to complex, events happen. What seems unrelated may very well effect a change where it was never expected. Things are governed by chaos and chaos is governed by quantum mechanics. But what quantum mechanics is governed by?

By uncertainty? By scientific determinism of chaos? By a pattern in uncertainty and chaos that no one can see?

Or in the words of Stephen Hawking, who writes in his ageless classic, that “God doesn’t intervene, to break the laws of Science”.

That is about the philosophy of science. But even the philosophy of life, or your existence here, follows a similar path.

That “God doesn’t intervene, to break the laws of life”.

‘Does God play dice’ is a question that we all come across in our lives. When we ask such questions and when we look for answers, we tend to move to the philosophical realms, questioning our existence, questioning the way life has been, and sometimes questioning even God.

The philosophy of life which every life develops to deal with chaos in his or her life!

Here I am not talking about philosophy as a discourse or discipline but it has more to do with the philosophical underpinnings of existence and identity where philosophy becomes an ironical necessity, a necessity as we interpret and we become so habituated with it – to the extent that it becomes an inherent part of us – motivating us, or propelling us, or forcing us to move ahead or along with life.

If we turn to the ‘philosophy of Puritanism, the ‘dicing’ proposition loses its relevance. If we turn to the philosophy incarnation of the day as preached by the so-called intellectuals and self-made God-reincarnations or even by the academicians, it becomes misleading enough to veer us to the brink of a conscience crisis.

When we are asked to ‘accept everything as it comes’ and ‘whatever that happens is for good’ and when we start believing in such propositions, not debating what good it brings to us and if there was any good at all in whatever that happened, we start losing our individuality, slipping into the conscience crisis. We don’t realize it or we are forced not to realize it – in the name of being practical. Chaos starts dismantling us.

We all follow some values in life which we justify anyhow and we are right in doing so but to go beyond, we need to turn to pragmatism of conscience and that only can lead us to a fine blend of ‘the ways we go across to deal with the ‘prompts and hurdles’ of life’ and the ‘optimized scale of conscience, the philosophical element’, so as to fix the ‘dice’ in a poise on the scale of thinking in a way that can achieve a swing state tending to get back to the root of one’s existence whenever it gets disturbed.

And this balance, this ‘philosophy of necessity’ cannot be defined, cannot be measured, and cannot be practiced uniformly. It is subjective and can only be attained and attuned by individual life preferences and circumstances, if one tends to balance the moments in the line of practical and philosophical inputs and practical outcomes.

If philosophy is essentially a way to look back at and understand life gone so far, the ‘philosophy of necessity’ leads us to question us and take decisions that not only support the material-self of our present day lives, our daily lives, destabilized by chaos, but also gives us the much needed spiritual base. Chaos tries to set a pattern in our lives and tries to make us accustomed to that.

We all have this spiritual base, to deal with chaos, but we lack the practicality of getting along with it, limiting us to mostly rituals and temples and shrine visits, and so excluding it out of our daily lives. If spirituality is akin to exploring the deeper of ‘you’, connecting you to your ‘self’ and hence to the ‘light’, it has to be a part of your everyday moments.

We need to realize the ‘necessity of philosophy’ to base our decisions on pragmatism and conscience. And no one can teach it. We are the teachers and we are the learners and so either we make it or we don’t. We are in life’s playground. We are in chaos’ playground. Balancing ‘philosophy’ and ‘necessity’ is a difficult proposition. But it does happen.

And how? No one knows. Laws of life play along. Laws of science play along. Where Gods don’t need to play dice.



For the love of writing
With the thrill of ride
For the joy of thinking
With a canvas so wide

To nature’s hallways
To its rhythmic slopes
To nature’s galleries
Through its sky ropes

For the love of writing
In the mood of romantics
For the pull of reflecting
In the league of semantics

My story in 366 days
My stories of 366 days
A life rejoiced every day
A thought lived on its way

Writing it all on my days
Crooning them in my bays
Riding through doorways
Its spread all over it says

That is what is to be
It is what sets me free
A life in own company
A thought in its harmony a year comes
Writing on as its Day beckons
So far, the trip has been fine
And the pleasure is all mine..



WELCOME 2017. ADIEU 2016.


Why do we celebrate events like a ‘new year day’ – in every calendar – when it doesn’t bring any qualitative change in life in practical terms?

After all, if we don’t count exceptions, nothing much changes on a ‘tomorrow’ than what it is on a ‘today’.

It’s symbolic and therefore it is important – to live and relive life – to live and relive its premises – and its promises that it makes and it doesn’t.

It is always between ‘what is going to change from one calendar day to the next’ and ‘every day is a new day, a new hope, a new opportunity’.

Naturally, it is always better to go with the later one – every day is a new day and every day is a new ‘you’.

Perspectives are what make or break a life – the classical half-filled or half-empty proposition!

Welcome 2017. Adieu 2016.

Reflect on. Retrospect. Introspect.

Look back to look ahead.

To reflect on the days waiting for you. To recharge yourself. With the symbolic milestone of a New Year.

A symbolic milestone that comes every year.

It is for you to look at it – so why won’t we do it in a positive, uplifting mode?

Yes, life is very unpredictable – and so are its difficulties – with moments that let you down – with letdowns that lock you in an inertia.

But life tells to always look ahead – at the point beyond that letdown. It is only you who can break the run of inertia in your life.

Life’s experiences should tell us that there is no substitute, no alternative of the zeal to fight back – especially when life is dragging you down.

Kill those jinxes that work to darken your path.

The rules of the game that life is point in just one direction – stay along and against the odds you face while trying to live life the way you seek.

Days like January 1 or December 31 are important milestones to take stock of how the time has gone by so far – and how you need to look ahead – to measure your life so far – with an element of periodicity.

Adieu 2016. Welcome 2017.



Transition of moments
And symbolism of a day
To look back on
To feel the days gone by

To rehash your milestones
To recap your pains
To read them yet again
To write them plain

Rendition of moments
In a day’s life with the past
To think on your present
And possibly that future

To make its tomorrow
To live its new today
To renew the pledge
With same conviction

To read the life, obviously
With a newness in you

The symbolism
Of a day’s transition
Happening everyday
Rejuvenates your identity

The symbolism
Of a day’s transition
From a year to the next
Is for to reflect on life

A year comes for the day
To add new elements
To its identity
With everyday newness

A day comes
To come everyday
To open up new vistas
For you to achieve more
For you to be more of you

A year comes
For every tomorrow
To make your today
For every day
To make your day



It is always between ‘what changes from one calendar day to the next’ and ‘every day is a new day, a reservoir of hopes, a new opportunity to do, undo or redo things’.

And it is always better to go with the later one – every day is a new day and every day is a new ‘you’.

Welcome 2017. Adieu 2016.

Reflect on. Retrospect. Introspect.

To reflect on the days ahead. To recharge yourself. With this symbolic milestone.

A symbolic milestone that comes every year.

It is for you to look at it – so why won’t we do it in a positive, uplifting mode?

Yes, life is very unpredictable – and so are its difficulties – with moments that let you down – with letdowns that lock you in an inertia.

But pragmatism tells to always look ahead – at the point beyond that letdown. It is only you who can break the run of inertia in your life – it is only you who can win over the psychological entrapments that you have built around yourself.

Life’s experiences should tell us that there is no substitute, no alternative, but to fight back – when life is dragging you down. Kill those jinxes that work to darken your path.

After all, apart from the people who really care for you and mind you, that includes a few handful (obviously including your family), who else stands with you emotionally (or even pratically)? Everyone else either has a fleeting attention to the problems your are facing or a ‘knack’ to exploit you more in your hours of crisis.

Anyway, that was about migrating from one year to the next – here in this case, from December 31, 2016 to January 1, 2017.

So..what has been my account of the year?

Diversified. Challenging. With my share of highs and lows. With my problems and with my triumphs.

Like it happens in every life.

Like it happened the previous year.

The many things that I had thought to do this year – some of them I could do – some of them are works in progress – and some of them are in advanced stages of ideation – and some of them are in still pipeline – something that always happens – in every life – and I have learnt to enjoy it this way.

I continued the work to improve my personal website – which I treat as my web journal – and so far, I have been engaged with it looks and progress. I had taken the domain name in 2014 and the development with a professional touch, that began last year, continued this year unabated – and it was in sync with what I had thought when I was beginning 2016. Also, I started reworking on my other major website – BanarasCalling – and I hope to complete the first target in 2017. ToonJunction is another work in progress. Besides, there are some more ‘upcomings’.

While reflecting back on 2015 on December 31 last year, I had decided that I would devote more time to my books and would limit my online publishing activity to once a day. But this is one area where I need to push myself deeply now because the 2016 has been same on this front as 2015 was.

Apart from that, it looks fine. Now that when I am reflecting back on 2016, on a December 31 exactly one year later, I am already more than a post a day – so far 431 posts this year in 365 days with this December 31 yet to go. So it will be like 2015 – with 432 posts.

2016 was the fifth consecutive year for my writing and publishing pledge where I could maintain the discipline of writing or creating something daily – something that I had begun on October 15, 2011 – though with a random thought – with no long terms goals – but with ‘every day’ convictions.

I still have no goals. My driver is the sense of satisfaction that I draw after creating something from discipline of doing it daily, doing it regularly.

Yes, I regret that I could not work that much on my books as I had thought (there were similar thoughts on December 31, 2015), but what is relieving is that I know that why I could not do so and that I would do something concrete with them in the days to come (this is something I can lift from my last year’s assessment).

Like I have been doing with my writing and with my creativity, I could do all that I needed to – with diversity as the leitmotif – in articles, in essays, in poetry, in images, in quotes, in fiction.

And yes, this year, I began on my unplanned travel plans and I can say, to my sense of peace, that they have contributed to my work.

All that I have been through in 2016 I cannot write here and I should not write here, but while moving on to the next year with the symbolic importance of January 1 – of ‘newness and hope’ – I have no bad feeling about how 2016 passed – but good reasons to look ahead – and positive energy to work further.




I broke the Literature Nobel to Bob Dylan news at my place and soon it got the traction that was expected.

The Nobel Prize ‏@NobelPrize Oct 13 – Stockholm, Sweden
BREAKING 2016 #NobelPrize in Literature to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”

Santosh Chaubey ‏@SantoshChaubeyy Oct 13
Santosh Chaubey added,
The Nobel Prize @NobelPrize
BREAKING 2016 #NobelPrize in Literature to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”

And it was a decision that sounded perfect – and it, indeed, was perfect – because Bob Dylan is a cultural doyen, a counterculture icon and a living legend not just in the US – but across the world. (We will happily forget those criticisms based on grudges and nudges of some who thought what Bob Dylan was creating could not be seen as literature). So the first reaction that came was:

As is natural to me, I wrote some pieces on Dylan, focusing on his India connect and the Literature Nobel for what he is. Being an Indian, I have had interest in knowing ‘why and how’ of the India connect of everyone who visits India more or less for similar reason – its spiritual treasure and the solace of nature it provides to such souls (like Sorensen, Leary, Jobs, Dylan or even Zuckerberg).


A Nobel to him again pushed me to know more about his India visit and connect, but despite best of my efforts, I could not get much – as would happen every time. What was different this time was the approach that I took. In an age of social media, I thought to get in touch with Dylan directly to see if I could some first-hand help from the person who was centre of my efforts. So I tweeted:

Santosh Chaubey ‏@SantoshChaubeyy Oct 15
@bobdylan Nobel 2u is a big respite.Ws tryng2find ur Kasar Devi visit India views.A 78 RollingStone i/v gives sm insight. Cn thr b mor luck?

But the luck didn’t smile. Anyway I had expected it. Maybe he or his team didn’t see it. Maybe he or his team was not interested in talking about it. Maybe he or his team just ignored it.

And then there is another angle to it. Though I know it is not even remotely related, I would like to feel so, because gives you a direction (even if it may be non-existent) :).

Bob Dylan has not acknowledged his Literature Nobel yet. The Nobel Prize committee after five days of consistent efforts abandoned its exercise but Dylan remained incommunicado (for them). While he held concerts and events where others lauded for him for his Nobel (but he looked like he didn’t notice it). He also unveiled his ‘permanent work of art for a public space’ according to a Daily Mail report.

As if he never cared for a Nobel. (Now may be different reasons for it that a reticent Dylan would never speak about.)



Reproducing an article written in 2014..

Mother Teresa – August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997

“I never forget an opportunity I had in visiting a home where they had all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them in an institution and forgotten maybe. And I went there, and I saw in that home they had everything, beautiful things, but everybody was looking towards the door. And I did not see a single one with their smile on their face. And I turned to the Sister and I asked: How is that? How is it that the people they have everything here, why are they all looking towards the door, why are they not smiling? I am so used to see the smile on our people, even the dying one smile, and she said: This is nearly every day, they are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten, and see – this is where love comes. That poverty comes right there in our own home, even neglect to love.”

From the Mother’s Nobel Lecture – December 11, 1979

There is this place that I visit regularly and the Mother’s these words echo on what I feel there during each of my trip.

This one is a paid home for the senior citizens, the old-age people who are forced to live there (and in every such home, paid or charitable).

Yes I can use the word ‘forced’ because no one wants to live away from his or her family when he or she needs it the most, in old-age, when they become dependent on others, financially, medically and emotionally and this dependence increases as the age advances.

Here in this particular old-age home, financial constraint is not an issue except one or two members because most are well-to-do traders or pensioners with good financial background, but overall, each of them are poor emotionally, as the Mother’s words say, as the practical needs of an old-age demand, the emotional attachment and attentions, they need people to spend time with them, to listen to them, to care for them, and that is universally true, at least in the context of the Indian tradition where the whole family still grows together, where the parents forget their own comforts, comfortably and happily, to give a comfortable life to their children.

And such old-age homes reiterate the concerns on the value-erosion that is breaking people away from the joint-family tradition where even fathers and mothers become unwanted entities.

Here in this old-age home, even if the situation is like other worldly when we compare it with similar government run institutions or many charitable ones, this poverty transcends. It begins with the families. The poverty there pushes them to throw their elderly parents away to such institutions, the eternally emotionally poor places.

And it can be read on their faces.
Yes, the grandpas and grandmas here are fully aware of their situation and the lifelong learning and bad experiences from their own children make them tolerant enough to pass the days in their solitude.

Still, they expect. Still, they pray for their sons and daughters. Still, their financial planning of whatever they have revolves around their sons who don’t even call them or the daughters who don’t even visit them even if they stay in the same city.

It is always an unacceptable point that a son (daughters are not privileged to take such decisions in Indian societies) cannot accommodate his parents or his father or his mother in ‘his family life’.

Peace always evades them and their sons and daughters live in a world of fallacy, of a caricaturized peace, earned on the sobs and tears of their parents.

Some of them had come here together. They saw here one departing. And they are now alone. Relatives including the immediate family members, including the sons and the daughters (if some of them turn up) come for the last rites and then it is even more solitary and haunting a life where the only person with whom he or she could share the emotional needs, is no more.

And the institution here, the old-age home, with good infrastructure and material facilities, is no help either. There is no emotional connect. The basic requirement of such an institution, catering to the emotional needs of the humiliated hearts, is totally absent. The staff there treats them as paid inhabitants who don’t give tips.

Most of the charitable institutions (and yes, this old-age home is one from the lot) don’t even know what charity should be, where should it begin and that there is no end to it, as the Mother’s life and words teach us to follow.

The value-erosion is deepening as evident by such institutions proliferating across the country. And there is no defined solution to address it.

The major reason behind such ‘extremely nuclear’ families is an increasingly selfish and self-centered work culture shaped by an education system that forces students to become too individualistic in competing and succeeding.

The value-based education system has been replaced by a system that focuses only on examinations. It tells students to compete and succeed at all costs. It tells them there is no life beyond it if they fail. The students are bullied by life and by the society.

They live under consistent pressure and after a point of time, they start treating genuine concerns and advices of their parents as bullying and selfish acts. They stop seeing the fine print of their parents’ intentions. They justify the family assistance as their right, something that their parents enjoyed as well when they were youngsters.

Not all sons and daughters become like that. But the increasing number of old-age homes tells us the problem is widening and the society needs to address it.

A logical way to address it is introducing value based content focusing on parents and caring for them in the teaching curriculum right from the elementary level and continue the flow year after year till the undergraduate level. It is not a wild thought to opinionate that a separate course should be developed on family values in Indian societies. If there is a need of value-indoctrination in the Indian tradition, it is here, on this and similar issues.

Due to certain reasons, my visits to this old-age homes has become more frequent these days and thoughts on these lines naturally came to me today, after watching prime minister Nadrendra Modi’s address and interaction with the students from across the country emphasizing on the ‘value of values’ on the Teachers’ Day, a day to observe the birth anniversary of the greatest academician India has ever had, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the former President of the nation and a former vice-chancellor of my alma mater, Banaras Hindu University.

‘Who we are is not decided by our lineage’ but by our deeds and when we fail to perform on our primary responsibilities, that is to our parents, to care for them, to be with them on their every call, we fail in life, even if we amass great material wealth.

Dr. Radhakrishnan had said: “We are Braahmin not on account of birth or the performance of rites, not by study or family, but on account of our behavior”.

Growing up is basically about the values that we imbibe and how the values reflect in our acts. The sons and daughters who don’t learn to appreciate and imbibe the values that make the connect with their parents a natural bond remain poor throughout their lives – as the Mother’s words say, as the life says, as echoed in Dr. Radhakrishnan’s words – “Their joy is in the fulfilment of family obligations of marriage and parenthood, and other personal relationships.”

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan – September 5, 1888 – April 17, 1975

Mother Teresa - Dr. Radhakrishnan

Mother Teresa – Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
(Images sourced from the Internet)