Small is big. Slow is fast.


There’s an adda of auto-drivers outside the apartment where I reside. And every time I go out, they huddle in droves.

One day, it so happened,

Auto driver: Kya, Madam! Aap mujhe pehchante nahi ho kya! Mein aapko kitne baar Gachibowli ko drop kiya tha.

Me: Arrey nai! Aapko toh mein achi tarah se pehchanti hoon.

Auto driver: To phir aap kyun hamesha doosre ke auto pe chale jaate ho?

All this feeling of apnapan happens only in India! It happens not just with auto-drivers, but even among students that I taught briefly. Emotionalism is a quintessential Indian trait. Still. And it’s what makes the country so warm, endearing and home.

Anyway, over the years, some auto-drivers have become familiar. I know their names, their past, their current life, and more.

I’ve always loved traveling the regular way mainly for its anonymity and cheap thrills. So train rides over expensive flights. Auto rides over cars. Rickshaw rides now extinct over auto rides — the slower the pace, the sweeter the pleasure.

Much to the displeasure of my daughter sometimes. She stands a foot far when I eat on the street. Gorging on pani-puris and some random street fare.

“Don’t you care about your reputation? What people will think?” she asked me one day.

“Not over this!” I said while slurping on another pani-puri. “Bhaiyya! Ek aur please!”

To my daughter’s defense, she’s been brought up most of her life so far in the US. Coming back to India was a massive culture shock for her. But she’s adjusted with time and is happy here now. However, the American influence remains — also, the peer pressure of what her friends might think seeing her mother eat on the street-side.

Anyway, today morning was just like any other. As ordinary and lovely as can be. So, Sayed, the auto-driver tells me,

“Madam, aap bahut achi tarah se baat karti ho!”


“Matlab doosre log auto-walon ko auto-walon ki tarah baat karte hain. Aap friend ki tarah baat karte hon.”

I gleamed. Best compliment ever.

Anyway, life is in the little things. The little moments. The little people.

Small is big. Slow is fast.

For life cannot be both extensive and intensive. The faster you spend it, the shorter it will be.

Over time and experience, I’ve learned that achievement is highly overrated. There’s beauty in still time. Like the still waters! There’s strength in being who you are unapologetically. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone, including yourself.

Of course, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t show your light to the world or multiply your talents. Of course, you should! What a shame that would be to whisk through life without honing our talents and being useful to the world.

But there’s no end to success and achievement. Really. It can soon become a vicious trap. Especially in the digital world that we live today. Without external validation, some of us lose our sense of identity and worth. What if we don’t need validation in the first place? The thought itself is liberating in itself.

What if we did our own thing and remain detached to life’s ups and downs? What if we had time to stop, stare, and sniff the roses? How liberating again!

Adopt slow and steady to simmer and savor life.


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Tina Sequeira
Articles: 230

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  1. Wow! A much needed advice for me right now!

    Validations are indeed overrated.. The more we rely on them, the self-confidence goes down the stream..

    A beautiful post!

    PS. I don’t understand Hindi and had skipped the conversation, yet it sounded very meaningful.. But would be glad to understand the crux of it, if it’s not much trouble to you..

  2. The warmth exists only in India… n joy of small things is unbeatable. it is these little joys that makes life worthwhile and memorable. 🙂

    • Hi Tina. I’ve seen you around on womens web and momspresso but never got a chance to read your blog. This is my first time here and the title of this one really fascinated me. We both share the philosophy of your write up and there are some wonderful takeaway lines in your piece. Enjoyed it!

  3. The warmth exists only in India… n joy of small things is unbeatable. it is these little joys that makes life worthwhile and memorable. 🙂

  4. Hi Tina, nice write up. Frantically seeking “more” and “big” is what creates “frenziness” and which does more harm than good. graudally, we are realising that happiness and satisfaction lies in the “small” and “slow”. It’s time to slow down the pace and start living.

  5. That is an extremely revealing piece of writing about life’s vicissitudes. My daughter is usually embarrassed about my appearance and does not want to introduce me to her friends. You see I am pot bellied and she rightfully wants me to trim down. But I know how much she loves me by the fact that she will never eat a snack (read samosas and potato wedges) in between meals without making sure there is some left for me to eat when I come back from office. And the philosophy of life you have outlined makes me think of buddhism. No craving for more. Staying put and watching life flow by gently is a very exhilarating experience. All of us need to do that once in a while.

  6. Gratitude is the word and kindness is the key, that is what I have learned with time… your article is So positive and so refreshing …

  7. Enjoyed your post. Completely concur with the vicious trap of success and achievement. Probably the reason why success is often lonely.

    “What if we don’t need validation in the first place?” Exactly.

  8. Reminded me of the lovely banter and antakshari we played with our cabbie on our 4 day trip as we roamed in Rajasthan last week. I don’t get much of such an opportunity these days as I travel by car to work and I prefer flights. Also I don’t usually talk to cab drivers and that’s more due to fear of anything untoward happening in case I got Feiendly. But I hear you! These things may slowly diminish over time as we lose human touch. But it is indeed enriching to stop and stare and don’t let go of this Tina!

  9. Good one Tina. I think a lot of people especially those in the digital space would relate to this. I agree with you and of late have even deliberately made efforts to detach myself from this trap. Success is hugely relative.

  10. This is a conversation we often have as 29-almost-30 year olds. The pace at which we are living, the fears and worries and if any of that is worth it. Slowing down sometimes feels necessary, at other times not so much. But I think we have reached a stage where we know to listen to ourselves.

  11. I loved reading this post. Once a taxi driver had told me the exact same thing about speaking nicely and so I can exactly understand the warm feeling you are talking about! External validations are reqd to some extent but I feel internal satisfaction is the goal we should aim for.

  12. Hi I could resonate with your post as I myself believe in practice these two things “Slow is Fast” and “Be More, in Less” Great post thank you so much for writing and sharing this 🙂

  13. That’s such a nice and positive post, we often forget what we actually want. Life is actually being happy inside and understand the meaning behind fast is slow and more is less.

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