Madhur's Blog

Inspired by a friend who did the same, I decided to write a post sharing some of my lessons from the year 2019. When I got to it, I felt like it was a nice chance to not just reflect on lessons of the year but from the decade. So here are some lessons I have learned over the past ten years.

Honoring Intuition

Having gone through an identity crisis during my late twenties, I ended up spending most of the past two years, peeling away layers and layers of false identity. This (building identity) felt like the first logical step towards gradually living the kind of life I wanted to.

That said, building an identity is only half the battle. Once we have established a deeper sense of identity that is rooted in our authentic self, we must honor it by letting our intuition guide us.

This is one of the major lessons that I have learned and actioned in the past decade. My decision-making process now not only includes weighing trade-offs and exploring possible outcomes but also includes an added filter of accessing and honoring my intuition. My experience has repeatedly affirmed that honoring my intuition yields outcomes that align better with my identity.

Practicing Acceptance

Decision making rooted in honoring our intuition after careful deliberation of pros and cons will not guarantee outcomes that will be easy to navigate around. To the contrary, because we have chosen to honor what our intuition is saying over the narrative of the external world, I have often found that decision making that is rooted in honoring our intuition over external factors, often demands walking a harder and longer path.

So what tool can a mindfulness practitioner use to navigate around the temporary struggles that honoring our intuition can often beget? We must practice acceptance rooted in fearlessness and equanimity, that helps us sit with the decision we’ve made and its outcome. As part of our acceptance, we must tap into the wisdom that as long as honoring our intuition has resulted in more joy, fulfillment, and peace — it was the right decision for us, even if it is making things difficult in the short run.

Accessing Resilience

Accepting outcomes gives us the ability to not be powerless in front of them. It gives us the belief that if we keep pushing, we will cross the chasm. Acceptance means we can move forward. Acceptance means we can access our inner resilience. And resilience is the fuel hope burns on.

Thank you for reading. Writing this blog is what I do for a living. If you have enjoyed reading this article, consider supporting my writing by becoming a member via Patreon.

#mindfulness #minimalism #mindfulliving #consciousliving #slowliving

2019 has definitely been a year to remember for me. If the previous year was about building identity, this year has been about fearlessly embracing it and building a life that celebrates it. With the year coming to an end, I wanted to briefly reflect on the year that has been and all the progress I’ve made.

Quitting My Job & Self Employment

The year started with a deep desire. A desire that had been circling me for a long time and one that was promising to take over. As the year progressed, take over it did. So what was this desire? Well, it was fairly simple – ’to live my life doing the things I love, surrounded by the people I love.’

Much of the year has felt like failed attempts at taking the plunge to quit corporate to fulfil this desire. Back in April, I came close. I resigned at my day job as a strategist at a market research firm. But for one reason or the other, I ended up reconsidering and decided to stay for a bit longer. On October 3rd, the day after Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday, the desire finally took over me completely and I sent my resignation to my bosses for the second time and I’m glad to share that I have been self-employed since mid-November.

Getting here hasn’t been easy and I was very aware that it would only get more difficult, as I walked away from a steady source of income. The truth is, embracing the unknown is never easy and demands fearlessness and a strong belief in your vision. It isn’t like an on or off switch, but more like a muscle that needs to be built by showing up, and the more you show up, the better you get at dealing with it.

Buying Less, Choosing Better

As some of you might recall, after spending the entire of 2018 on a no-spend pledge, I decided to limit myself to 12 new pieces this year. The intent was to continue building a deeper understanding of my wardrobe while prioritising thrifting and swapping over buying new. When I did buy new, I wanted to make sure I only purchased well researched and high-quality pieces from brands who share my values.

When I came up with this goal, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to meet it. Surprisingly, I ended up buying only 4 new pieces this year. I did write about my first purchase – a shacket from Doodlage. The other three purchases I made for myself were a kurta from Nicobar, as well as a card case and a key case from Arture.

With more time on my hand, I am looking forward to documenting more of my fashion journey, both in terms of what I already own as well as new additions to my wardrobe. I am also particularly looking forward to revealing my entire wardrobe online in 2020, inspired by my friends Zach and Alisa who did the same in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Solving The Puzzle Of Slow Travel

As you might have read on my blog, I avoided air-travel for a whole year between June 2018 and July 2019. Taking this break helped me get in touch with what motivated me to travel and solve the puzzle of how I would go about exploring and travelling without damaging the planet.

Having finally put the pieces together to this puzzle, I am excited to share my slow travels with you all in 2020. The vision is to prioritise slow & local travel over rail + road. When on road, I will be using a motorbike instead of an automotive. Of-course, as much as I would like to exclusively travel by road or rail; there will be some times when taking a flight would be unavoidable. As a way to keep my emissions in check, I will be limiting my flight based travels to two flights a year. One domestic and one international and I will be carbon-offsetting both.

Transitioning To A Dominantly Plant-Based Diet

Sticking to a dominantly plant-based diet was one of my major goals for this year. I’ve been fairly successful at sticking to this goal. Other than the B12 deficiency I developed mid-way through the year, this transition has gone fairly smoothly.

One of the consequences of adopting a plant-based diet has been that I am eating more wholesome food and rarely feel the need to eat processed or packaged food. I’ve also grown to appreciate the diversity of plant-based food. I used to be a picky eater when I was a kid and would gravitate away from fruits and vegetables. As they often do, these preferences of mine bled through to my adult life. Adopting a vegan diet forced me to question these preferences and try everything, leading to the awareness that there was no good reason why I didn’t prefer eating certain kinds of food.

Looking Ahead

All in all, I am feeling immense gratitude to be finally living my life how I want to and to be able to devote more time to things I love doing. I am also feeling proud of all the progress I’ve made with trying to live my life in the most sustainable and mindful manner.

Lastly, it is important to acknowledge the fact that I don’t think these shifts in my life would have taken place if it wasn’t for our community. I have learnt so much from each one of you that I have interacted with over the years. Our conversations are a constant source of inspiration and strength and I can’t wait to share all that I have been working on with you in 2020.

See you on the flip side!

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#mindfulness #mensfashion #ethicalfashion #lifestyle #slowliving

I had initially thought of taking a break from my blog through this month. The intent was to prioritize making some life decisions and grounding myself after my transition out of my day job. But with all that is happening here in India, I kept thinking of these words by Tess Guinery -

“there’s no point in resting if momentum is circling you like a hurricane”
– Tess Guinery

I am going to give in to the hurricane circling within me and speak what is in my heart.

As a voice from India, I felt it important to talk about what is happening here and why so many of us are protesting against it. As someone who’s been in the ethical fashion space, I further felt it important to point out how this impacts garment workers and why the ethical fashion industry and the world at large should be paying closer attention.

Why Are Indian’s Protesting Against The Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens?

The government here recently passed an act called “The Citizenship Amendment Act” (CAA). The act is supposed to protect migrants living and working in India who have fled from neighboring countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, with the sinister exception of Muslims. The act gains relevance with the execution of another law in the state of Assam called NRC (National Register of Citizens), which aims at the deportation of all illegal immigrants who cannot furnish arbitrary documents to qualify as citizens. Since most migrants in Assam and neighboring states are from Bangladesh, their religious background skews towards being Muslim, thereby requiring their deportation instead of protection under the CAA. What makes things worse, is the fact that NRC is now proposed to be applied nation-wide, which means that many Muslims across the country will need to present documents required to qualify a migrant as a citizen under NRC or risk being deported under CAA.

How Does This Impact Garment Workers?

This impacts the entire nation and all those who live here, so it isn’t hard to imagine that it will also end up impacting many garment workers living here. This would discriminate against any garment worker who has moved to India from one of the three countries mentioned earlier (such as Bangladesh) and happens to be Muslim. It would also discriminate against any Muslim garment worker who has lived in India but cannot furnish the documents required to qualify as a citizen.

What Can You Do?

The reality is that only the people of India uniting can stop this. But the ethical fashion industry and the world at large need to keep a close eye on this issue and support Indian voices resisting this law. Please be an ally. Use your voice, so all are aware of what is at stake here in India and why we need better laws and regulations to protect our citizens.

#Thoughtleadership, #SustainableFashion #EthicalFashion


Today, I complete two years on this journey trying to live my life in a more mindful and sustainable manner. As some of you might remember, this journey began with me announcing a shift to a sustainable and ethical wardrobe, followed by a year of not buying any new clothes. In the months leading up to this day, I have spent considerable time taking a deeper look at my life and how I want to live it. One of the aspirations I set for myself as part of this exploration was to dedicate more time to do things I love. Writing (this blog and beyond) is one of those things.

After months of working hard on it, I am excited to unveil the new home for my blog and share my vision for it.

An Immersive Text Focused Design & Content Fluidity

One of the things I wanted to do is not be limited to a topic or a format. This realization came to me when I moved away from a planned and rigid way of managing my content on Instagram to a more fluid one. Pretty soon after making this change on Instagram, I found myself wanting to apply this approach to my blog as well. I wanted the freedom to write long-form essays on some days while super bite-sized ones on others. I realized that some ideas need more words to be explained, while others don't. Some ideas need visuals while others may not. The new minimalist, text-focused, and immersive design enables me to do just that – to write long-form when I want to or not when I don't. To use images when they make sense or not when they don't.

Beyond the format, I also wanted to apply fluidity to what I chose to write about. I wanted to have a varying and diverse set of topics and in the coming weeks, you will be presented with thought-leadership around not just minimalism, mindfulness, or sustainability but anything that I am deeply passionate about. This includes technology, business, and so much more.

Moving Away from a Broken Revenue Model

I have been blogging for almost a decade now. It all began with me starting a blog about Apple when I was still in college (back in 2012). The blog itself was extremely popular, receiving close to half a million views each month. Despite this readership, our revenue model, which comprised running ads coupled with an affiliate marketing set-up with both Apple and Amazon, was not enough to pay an industry-standard wage to all the writers and manage the server costs. Eventually, we decided to shut shop.

My experience has made me wary of the dominantly ad-based revenue model that is prevalent not just within blogging, but the larger publishing and media industry. But it isn't just me or other smaller indie publishers finding it extremely difficult to survive. Some of the largest and most successful digital publishers have struggled to turn a profit. This year saw two giants BuzzFeed and Vice media lay-off hundreds of employees. In fact, according to this report by The Cut, 2,100 media workers were laid-off in the US.

What is interesting is that each of these companies has a huge readership of several hundred million. For instance, BuzzFeed which boasts a readership of 650 million, only generated $300 million in revenue. On the surface, $300 million might not seem bad, but when looked at while taking into consideration their readership, it translates into a revenue of a mere 50 cents per reader annually. And, here lies the problem. Imagine any other industry, where your customer only brought in 50 cents a year?

If a digital media company with hundreds of millions of readers, can only manage to bring in 50 cents per reader, you can imagine what things are like for an indie blogger. The traditional model simply doesn't work unless you scale it aggressively, and even when you have scale on your side, it makes little business sense on its own, as illustrated above. This is why some of the best digital media publishers, have been moving towards a subscription-based model. The New York Times, which is one of the publishers I subscribe to, reported a revenue of $709 million from its 3.3 million subscribers in 2018. This translates into a revenue of $214 per customer vs the 50 cents that BuzzFeed is generating through its dominantly ad-based model.

Beyond the broken revenue-model, my experience in this space has made me realize that an indirect approach to generating revenue also ends up diluting the reader's experience. Instead of the writing being the product, the model eventually results in the reader becoming one. This manifests in ways small and big. It ends up impacting design – with ads eating up prominent real-estate that often ends up distracting the reader. It also ends up impacting content strategy – demanding that content is updated at an unrelenting pace.

My vision with the blog is to form a more direct relationship between my readers and my work. One where my writing is the product, and not my reader's eyeballs.

The Next Two Months

The second anniversary and consequent relaunch of my blog coincide with me transitioning out of my day job. The transition should complete by the start of December 2019. I hope to be more prolific with my writing here, post that. The goal is to not just bump up the frequency of posts but to also come up with new segments, including one where I regularly interview other thought leaders in the spaces of sustainability, mindfulness, technology, and business. Once my transition is complete, I also intend to finally concentrate on writing two books. Members on my website get free and full access to eBooks for these.

Stay tuned for more, in the coming weeks.

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As many of you might know, my journey with sustainability began as a consequence of applying minimalism into my life. The application of both minimalism and sustainability in my life, was initially focused on my clothing and building a deeper understanding of my wardrobe. As I gradually made progress with my wardrobe, this focus began shifting to other areas of life, such as what I was eating and how I looked at travel.

Leading up to June 2018, my exploration of the impact of travel on the environment began gaining serious momentum as I braced myself for a weekend getaway that involved air-travel. While researching about the impact of air-travel on the planet, I learnt that my upcoming flight (return) would result in 0.44 metric tonnes of carbon emissions (CO2e). This was a troubling realisation, considering the fact that most experts agree on the importance of limiting our individual carbon emissions to under 2 metric tonnes a year, as one of the strongest ways to combat the possibility of crossing a global rise in temperature of beyond 1.5°C by 2050.

During the last few days before this trip, I spent my energy reading about how other people from the sustainable community were combating this. Looking back, it is clear that paying a service that offset the carbon footprint of my flight would have been the most impactful way to tackle it (which I will be retrospectively). Having returned from the trip and had the chance to reflect on it, I felt an increasing unease about traveling by air and felt a strong urge to avoid air-travel and take a deeper look at my motivations behind travel to begin with. This exploration has lasted more than a year and here are some things I have learnt during this time and what my vision for travel looks like going forward.

A Deeper Understanding of My Desire to Travel and Explore

A pause can be transformative. As a practicing minimalist, I know this truth far too well. When I took a pause from buying clothes, it gave me something much more than ecological and economical savings alone. It enabled a deeper understanding of the clothes that I already owned and reset the motivation behind buying new clothes.

Taking a pause from air-travel has had a similar impact on me. It gave me the space to ask some fundamental questions about travel, such as-

  1. Why do I like to explore or travel?
  2. Is the motivation external to me or internal?
  3. How much do I align with what modern travel has become?

As I've gradually explored these questions, it has resulted in an understanding of travel, that transcends how it is looked at in the modern world. As part of this exploration, I have been able to really get to the root of what motivates me to explore and travel. I realised that this innate desire to travel and explore, in its most raw form, has as much to do with our collective history of migration as a way to survive and grow, as it has to do with the modern consumption focused approach we have towards travel. Travel in its modern consumption exclusive manifestation, has some of the same pitfalls, that most modern consumption focused human activity does. When looked at taking into consideration the historically rich migratory perspective, I do feel that travel rooted exclusively in the consumption focused approach, is a privilege for humanity and the planet at large. Of-course, as is true with any form of consumption, there is often a positive and transformative consequence to it, which enables us to grow and to thrive. This is why, most of us return from travel feeling like a new person, our perspectives completely reshaped. This in mind, I would not want to make a sweeping statement that the consumption aspect in travel is bad or that it should be avoided. My vision is focused more on merging the two attributes, prioritising the migratory roots, which I sincerely feel is a pragmatic and holistic way to go about it.

The Vision Ahead

Since my understanding of travel is now so deeply rooted in the concept of migration, I want it to be as close to what our ancestors did. From this perspective, travel is no longer exploration for the sake of exploration for me. It is a deep desire to migrate to a space that naturally aligns with what my body, soul, and mind needs. My aim is for it to be strategic and less frequent. As for distance, some of it will be near-by, some of it might require me to go far-away. But all of it, will be rooted in this deep notion that I am moving, not for the sake of moving, but to be exactly where I need to be, to survive and thrive.

From an environmental perspective, the vision for the coming year is to prioritise travel and exploration that has the least amount of damage on the planet. Reducing the frequency and being strategic about it, partly enables this intent. Beyond this, I will also be prioritising domestic travel, done over a combination of road and rail to ensure that my exploration doesn't have a damaging impact on the planet. While taking the road, I will be using a motorbike, which will help me to curb my emissions in comparison to a car.

Of-course, as much as I would like to exclusively travel by road or rail; there will be some times when taking a flight would be unavoidable. As a way to keep my emissions in check, I will be limiting my flight based travels to two flights a year. One domestic and one international and I will be carbon-offsetting both.

As some of you might already be aware, I spent the entire 2018 on a no-spend pledge. This period enabled me to build a deeper understanding of my wardrobe. I was able to uncover what worked for me and what didn’t. It also proved useful in helping me reconnect with the stories behind the clothes I owned; something I realised fast-fashion encouraged a neglect of.

In 2019, I decided to build upon this momentum by committing to adding no more than 12 new pieces through the entire year. The idea was to prioritise sustainable ways of adding variety to my wardrobe such as borrowing, thrifting, swapping, mending, and making. I aimed to buy only 12 select, high quality, well researched new pieces from sustainable + ethical brands. I wanted to be mindful of my consumption, as I felt there would be nothing sustainable about going on a shopping spree with sustainable + ethical brands.

I remember being told about Doodlage in a conversation with someone I met at a spiritual retreat. This was before I had begun my journey with sustainable + ethical fashion and I was extremely impressed by their aesthetic and for incorporating sustainable practices into their operations. Before I could buy something from them, I ended up committing to a no-spend pledge and although I never intended for it to last a year, it did. This meant I had to wait a long time to buy something from Doodle (1.4 years to be precise).

When I got around exploring their website, I found myself gravitating towards a piece from the women’s section (a tunic that I hoped to wear like a Kurta – a traditional gender neutral Indian garb). Unfortunately, it sold out by the time I could make the purchase. Luckily I stumbled upon a navy pin-striped shacket in the mens section that I adored just as much and was lucky to find an off-the-shelf size that I was fairly confident would fit me without any need for customisation.

It felt great to have chosen a piece from Doodle to end my no-spend pledge. The brand has been a pioneer (at-least here in India) when it comes to the use of sustainable practices such as upcyling and zero-waste production. All of their garments are made out of cotton waste collected from various suppliers around the city. The garments are sampled in their unit and are produced at a larger level with ethical production units, NGOs, and for profit social businesses. I was also impressed to learn about mindful ways in which they deal with waste. Post cutting waste is repurposed to make smaller accessories; while post stitching waste is recycled to make paper (used in their stationary). This commitment extends to packaging that incorporates plastic free packaging. The first (inner) layer is made out of starch to keep the pieces dry. The outer layer is a fabric bag up-cycled out of waste fabric. They also ensure healthy working conditions and pay their employees fair wage and are aiming to transition into paying living wage in the future.

All in all, my goal of ensuring that my first purchase after the no-spend pledge was special and meaningful, has been met. There is an elevated satisfaction of buying from a brand that shares my commitment towards protecting the environment and the very people making our clothes.

#sustainablefashion #outfits

It has been a little over a year and a half since I began my journey towards living a more sustainable and conscious life. In this time, I have learnt numerous lessons and have tried to incorporate them into the way I live my life. One such lesson has been to acknowledge and celebrate “varying pace.” as part of this practice, I try and recognize that each one of us is on their own unique journey and path. This practice has been a guiding force in my life as I try to live my life in a more sustainable and conscious manner. In-fact it has been one of the most transformative shifts that I’ve made in recent times. I have been able to make this shift using two rather simple practices – watching and accepting varying pace manifest in my own life and doing the same with others.

Watching varying pace manifest in my own life

As someone who believes strongly in the words “be the change you wish to see in the world,” I decided to start by looking at my own behaviour and being more mindful of it. I began by watching how accepting I was of varying pace manifesting in my own life. I would frequently have to pause and remind myself to respect my own pace and to make choices that “worked for me.” I reminded myself not to put unnecessary pressure on myself to do “all the things all the time.” I constantly needed to remind myself not to be hard on myself when I could not commit to certain shifts and focus more on the ones I was able to.

Sustainable and conscious living looks different for different people and as we navigate through these shifts it is easy for us to forget that we cannot possibly tick all the boxes that everybody else does. For instance, in my own journey, I have done extremely well with some choices (like shifting to a vegan diet) and not so well with others (like composting at home.) Acceptance of varying pace does not necessarily mean that we keep making or encouraging poor or harmful choices. It translates into allowing ourselves to make choices at a pace that “works for us.” to stop beating ourselves up over something we have not been able to do; and focus more on what we have been able to.

Celebrating varying pace in a more expansive way

I feel that this acceptance of our own varying pace; is a great initial step that eventually enables us to extend the same acceptance to others that we have taught to treat ourselves with. In-fact, once aware, it is only natural to extend this notion to everyone.

In most situations and interactions, I remind myself not to focus on what someone “isn't doing” but be more curious about what “they are doing.” I remind myself that just like me, they too might struggle in some aspects of living a sustainable and conscious life; and just like me, even if they might be struggling with this one aspect, they are probably making strides in other areas. Instead of bringing attention to what they aren't doing, I try and ask questions that can help me get in touch with the other unique and ingenious ways in which they are able to live in a more sustainable and conscious manner.

The idea is to recognize and accept these differences is situations, ability, means, and intent and instead of beating ourselves up over something we haven't done, to acknowledge and celebrate what we have. I find that this approach of respecting our own pace and that of others creates a magical and safe space. It creates a space where we can all learn, make mistakes, grow, but most importantly – it creates a space where we all can do it in a way that celebrates our own authenticity and ingenuity.

#mindfulness #minimalism

In these early days of 2019, I am reminding myself to be patient. I am reminding myself not to feel burdened by unrealistic expectations. Whether these are my own or endowed by others. Whether they are to be fulfilled by myself or someone else. I am reminding myself that not everything comes to us at the pace we desire or in the form we expect. Many-a-times, it will come at another time, in another form, if at all. And that is okay.

I feel that in in the modern lives we live, our understanding of “expectations” has muddled. At times we tend to confuse ourselves between certainty and expectations. When things do not go as expected, we exhibit some of the same emotions or reactions that we would when faced by an undesirable certainty. The start of the year is a particularly tricky time when it comes to this. Most of us tend to set goals that give rise to expectations. As we strive towards materializing these goals, it is inevitable that some of these goals may not pan out as “expected.” we tend to equate “things not going as expected” with “failure or our sense of self-worth.”

For instance, one of the goals that I had expected myself to achieve by now was to start a podcast. For multiple reasons, this has not panned out exactly how I wanted and there is a delay. Having had the opportunity to pause and reflect on how this impacted me and my reactions to it, I realized that I was feeling extremely disheartened by this, almost as if I had permanently failed. I then realized that this was happening more often than I realized, in situations small and large.

Gradually, I have learnt to check myself and be more mindful of this reality. Whenever I feel burdened, I try to pause and reflect on the situation and I ask myself two questions -

  1. Can this improve if I revise my expectation?

  2. Can this improve if I am more patient?

What I have been amazed to discover, is that in most cases, the answer is a resounding “yes.” In most cases, revising my expectation and being patient worked. In-fact, in many cases, the reason behind why things didn't work out exactly how I wanted them to, was revealed with time. It reminds me of something jobs once famously said – “you cannot connect the dots looking forward.”

What I have learned and what I am practicing early on in this year is to be mindful of expectations. To have an open mind and the humility to not treat an expectation as if it was certainty. To not give it that power. To simply notice the deviation and make adjustments by asking the two questions I shared earlier. As we navigate through the new year, I hope these two simple questions help you to ease some of the burden you might be feeling through expectations.

#mindfulness #minimalism


Last year, I announced a shift to a sustainable + ethical wardrobe on my blog. Even during the very earliest stages of this journey, I distinctly remember being clear on the fact that there would be nothing sustainable about abandoning my fast fashion clothes for sustainable + ethical options. I realized that the only true way to offset the damage of a piece of clothing I owned that wasn’t manufactured in a sustainable + ethical manner, was to consume it like that.

With this realization, I decided to not go on a shopping spree with ethical + sustainable brands. Instead, I decided to commit to a no-spend pledge for the first six months of 2018. The intent was to go through all the items in my wardrobe in the hope of building a better and deeper understanding of what I enjoyed wearing and what I didn’t.

Minimizing my Wardrobe

When I began the process, I remember feeling absolutely overwhelmed with the number of pieces in my wardrobe. I remember looking at my wardrobe and feeling completely uninspired. I had heaps of clothes. Quite a few of these I had owned for several years but many were new additions. Old or new, I was surprised to find so many pieces that I simply hadn't been wearing frequently enough. I distinctly remember opening my wardrobe and feeling what I eventually heard people online describe as “decision fatigue.”

Gradually, I was able to overcome this state by simply dividing my clothes into frequently worn vs non-frequently worn items. This was a great starting point because it helped me clearly identify the problem areas. Once this division was made, I decided to give the clothes I hadn’t been wearing frequently a fair chance. I decided to wear them a few more times to see if I had a valid reason for not wearing these items frequently enough.

When I did this, especially with some of the old clothes, I was so surprised to find that I totally enjoyed wearing these items and there was no logical reason behind why I wasn’t wearing them. Most of them still fit me. Most of them were still intact. I realized that how they looked mattered very little to me. I realized that what mattered more was the story behind them (in terms of the memories I had created while wearing them.) As I’ve said several times before, the clothes that we wear all have a story behind them. This story can be about how they were made or how they were worn. Fast-fashion encourages neglect of both. It systematically creates a disconnect between the people who made our clothes and us. This disconnect is further intensified because of the sheer number of clothes we own. Personally, when I got in touch with the story behind most of my clothes, I felt inspired to wear them, making new and creative pairings. That said, there were some clothes that simply didn’t fit me or even after giving a fair chance, I didn’t feel compelled to wear. Most of these were all let go in mindful and responsible ways (more on that in a future post.)

Six Months

As you might remember from the start of this post, I only intended to commit to a six month no-spend pledge. That said, when I completed six months, I felt a strong motivation to continue through the remainder of the year. This was mainly influenced by a strong urge to keep building on this deeper understanding of what I owned. I felt like I had only begun on this path and enjoyed the whole process of gradually getting in touch with pieces I my wardrobe and getting creative with them.

As much progress as I had made, there were still many pieces in my wardrobe that I hadn't worn in novel and creative ways. There were also many pieces in my wardrobe, that I hadn't invested time into, to go through the stories behind how they were made and the memories I had created while wearing them. Both these processes had felt cathartic and transformative and I felt a strong yearning to keep going.


Post the six-month mark, I did make two exceptions. The first one was a second-hand Levi’s 501 that I stumbled across for less than $5 while traveling. I have a thing for vintage Levi’s and since there aren’t many second-hand stores in India that I am aware of, I decided to indulge myself.

The second exception was in the form of the clothes that I purchased for one of my closest friend’s wedding. This was unavoidable mainly because at that time none of my existing wedding wear fit me and since this was a once in a lifetime event, I felt I could make the exception.

The Road Ahead

With the new year around the corner, I have given a considerable amount of thought on how I want to progress having completed a whole year of no-spend. One of the things I realized, is that I grew to enjoy not buying anything new. Having gotten a chance to both thrift and swap, I find myself primarily inclining towards these two methods of acquiring clothes in 2019.

The challenge remains that both these methods aren't as mainstream as I'd wish them to be. Additionally, both the methods do not guarantee that I will find exactly what I might be looking for. So, although I will resume buying new clothes again in 2019, there’s going to be a slight twist. I have decided to put a limit or cap on the number of new clothes I can buy, so that the whole activity does not go overboard. I have settled on a number and in 2019 I will only be buying 12 new pieces. You read that right, 12 pieces for the entire year. One for each month (though I will allow myself to buy more than one in a single month, so long as I am on track for 12 for the entire year.)

As I look at 2019, I want “buying new” clothes to be my last resort. I will first attempt to get creative with what I already own. If that doesn’t work I will wait till I have an opportunity to visit a second-hand store. If I don’t get that opportunity, I will wait till there’s a swap happening. If I am failed by all of these, I will make a note of what I desire, the specific colour, the fit, everything. And then do a thorough research and buy from a brand that meets these needs and is also ethical + sustainable. I am hoping that this approach enables me to consume fashion in the most strategic and mindful manner in 2019.

#sustainablefashion #minimalism #outfits

Identity Crisis and Identity Asset

I began 2018 with a sudden realisation of the identity crisis that had been brewing latently for most of my early and mid-twenties. I realised, that was disillusioned about my day-job. That I was unsure about which of my passions I should pursue. I owned so many things but kept yearning for more, and most importantly, I realised that my strongest relationships were a constant source of negativity.

Luckily, as the months have passed, I have been able to use minimalism to navigate through this identity crisis. Minimizing my circle enabled me to have a deeper understanding of what I seek from relationships and work on manifesting these attributes in them. Minimizing my finances and what I owned made me realize how privileged I am. It enabled me to squeeze out every ounce of value and beauty from what I already owned rather than feeding this notion that I needed anything more. These efforts created space, space that I was able to channelize towards the work I do. I narrowed my focus to tasks I enjoyed doing at my day-job and slowly distanced myself from what I didn't. I set clear boundaries at my day job so that I would have more time to dedicate to passions I had lost touch with, like blogging and making music. If I could summarize these changes in a few words, I'd say “I had been chipping away, transforming my identity crisis into identity asset.”

Deeper Exploration of Identity

After months of persistent chipping away transforming my identity crisis into identity asset, I found myself in a conversation with someone that led to an epiphany. At some point during the conversation, I was thrown the proverbial “there is no you” idiom. This was very conflicting for me to hear, after having spent most of the year working excruciatingly hard build an understanding and consequently nurturing my individual identity. After our call ended, as I sat in my living room staring at one of my houseplants, ruminating and questioning the conversation I had just had, I had a sudden epiphany. I frantically reached out for a piece of paper and wrote the following down -

“The leaves on this plant behind me aren't separate from the plant itself. A leaf might see another and think it’s separate or that it’s higher or lower. In rudimentary states of consciousness, the leaf identifies with itself. It perceives its position as on top or bottom and this stems from its belief of being separate from the rest. This isn’t unreal. This isn’t unauthentic. It is reality perceived in separateness. It is finite identity.

In infinite consciousness, the leaf knows that it isn’t just the leaf but the whole damn plant. And the position it perceives is no longer perceived out of separation but rather from wholeness. It identifies not with itself but as the sum of all that is. And in an instant, nothing turns to everything. Finite identity turns into infinite identity in the blink of an eye.”

Individual Identity Begets Collective Identity

Individual identity begets collective identity. Any identification with the collective cannot come without a prior identification with the individual. Have spent the past few weeks drowning in gratitude and amazement at the progress I've been able to make at with my individual identity.

#mindfulness #thoughtleadership