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Showing posts from October, 2008

SUCCESS STORY

"All our lives, we just do three things: We stand, we sit or we lie down," says Byron Katie. "Rest is all a 'story' we make around it."

'Loving What Is', Mrs. Katie's path-breaking book, is one of my all-time favourites. Each time I am stressed out chasing my goals, each time I become overwhelmed by the perennial anxiety that runs through my search, I open the book and hear her say this:

"Honey, relax ... Give me one stress-free reason to keep, to hold on to, your beliefs about Success, your story."

I find none. And, I am, immediately, relaxed.

Right now, I am 'sitting' and writing this blog piece. I have not premeditated on what I have to write, nor have I fantasised about its success, popularity, money, awards - and all that which Mrs. Katie brands as 'story around the concept of success'. I am just flowing with my heart's yearnings, with no concept whatsoever, no expectations, no strings attached to my pursuit.

It i…

THE SPICE OF LIFE

"Mind your language; what do you mean by 'aarayela hai'," Dr. Dastana, aka. Mamu, warns his ward boy. The ward boy has just tried to please his boss, so sincerely, by breaking the bizarre news: Mamu's nemesis, Munna and his sidekick Circuit have entered the hospital with a king-size bed.

Munna is a man with a mission. He has dropped the desire to get married to Mamu's daughter, Chinky, and now obsessed with the desire to marry Dr. Suman. But, not before making Mamu's life miserable. "Vaat lagayega teri," he had vowed ... Like Chanakya.

Long before the movie ends, the frustrated Dr. Dastana - the upright Dean of the prestigious medical college - vows behind the closed door: "Vaat main lagayega teri!"
The very next moment, he beats with both his hands his melonlike head and bemoans, "What am I saying!" Mamu is unable to believe, that he, too, can succumb to such levels.

From a hardcore Gandhian to a hardcore terrorist, from the kh…

FLY-BY-NIGHT

This is the story of Mr. Ranjan Parthasarathi. The teacher who is still in search of his students.

Albeit, the 'ideal' ones!

Ranjan, taught in a regular college the Marketing subject for nearly ten years. During all those years, his major complaint was, that the students no more respected their professors the way they did in his good-old-days. "I think, I am wasting my talents out here; these 'kids' don't appreciate my worth," he would regret. "I must teach in a proper Management School."

He did. However, just within two years, he was fed up with the 'attitude' of this I-know-all breed. He resigned, and did not work any where for a few months.

A tiger can never change his stripes. Can a teacher?. Ranjan was sure, by now, that his real teaching and training talents would be valued nowhere else other than in a Corporate set up. He, thus, began running around, aggressively pursuing his goal. Before long, he was handling half-a-dozen lucrative a…

MAY THERE BE LIGHT

"I am sick of these messages," he told me. "See this, I am deleting this, even without reading it. You can, then, imagine the kind of strain it has placed on my mind."

He was talking about the Diwali messages on his mobile phone.

I think he wasn't alone in felling so. I had already become sick. So sick, that, this Diwali, I sent just two messages, and then stopped. "What's the point in sending like this, like a herd - with no true feelings - just because every one is sending them to every one around? ... Who reads them, any way?" ... This was how I had already felt, even before this gentleman voiced his own irritation to me.

The Greetings-Card companies have shut their shops. Now, these cell-phone companies are cashing on this fashion. Yes, the only 'happy' people during this 'happy diwali' are they -- the cell-phone people!

If alone a thousand messages like these could make my life happy!

But, who listens? Who understands? As someone t…

THE MELT-DOWN

The early eighties. Mr. Mukesh Ambani, like me, was in his early twenties. His dynamic father, the late, Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani, had set up the Reliance Industries and was relentlessly pursuing his dream of making it the 'Number One' Company in the world.

That was the time, I had just landed up in Bombay, to pursue my own dreams. I do not know about Mr. Mukesh Ambani, but, in those early days of mine here, I was too raw and self-conscious. I was desperately trying for a job to keep myself afloat. I had faced many interviews and failed. My self-confidence had hit the rock bottom. In one interview, the gentleman asked me the question:

"How much salary do you expect?"

I said, "Whatever amount you fix."

Well, in those days, I did not know: that meant 'the end'!

Any way, it was a small firm; and so, the kind soul, informed me that they would offer me a monthly salary of Rs. 300/- . Then, he assured me, that if I worked, with dedication, for a year or two, I cou…

THE SINDHI PEG

He studies in the Second year B.Com, and he is my student. He has been attending my classes for the past five months; and, during all these months, I have seen him wearing the same two shirts and trousers. But, they have always looked neat and clean on him!

I will call this young man Rajeev. Needless to say, he comes from a family where there are financial constraints. I haven't been to Rajeev's house. But, I can imagine the kind of 'care' he must be taking of those two pairs of his clothing's!

Meet Aman, who is in standard ten. He has more than two dozen pairs! Most of those Tees, Jeans, Jackets and Cargoes are branded ones and are from fine boutiques. And, this collection is apart from the normal school uniforms. Enter Aman's room, and you will step on his Tees, Bermudas, Jeans and Cargoes ... Yes, they lie every where on the floor. All his wardrobe isn't enough to teach our Aman what it mean to wear a 'neat and clean' set of clothes!

Perhaps, now, A…

PAYRE PADO BETA

"Payre pado beta," the mother reminded her teenager son, as I entered their palatial house. The son, my student, bent forward to touch my feet. A tall and handsome young man he was; but, his hand barely reached my knee.

"It's alright." Before I could complete my sentence, he was already standing, all erect!

I hardly felt his 'Payre pado'!

But, the mother did, immensely!

Bunty never, ever starts his car unless he does a small religious gesture before. His both hands touch the steering and his heart, automatically. Ditto before he enters his restaurant. His both hands go down to the floor and quickly to his forehead and heart. Never, ever would he talk to any one - even a waiting Income tax Officer - unless he climbs up his chair, lights an agarbatti, says five-minutes silent prayer with closed eyes and folded hands, then again touching with his both hands God's feet , his forehead and his heart. But, as soon as he climbs down, the first thing he does is:…

YOU ARE A MONKEY

Some years ago, I had gone to meet a Builder. I had booked a flat in one of his projects, when the property prices were at their peak. When the market crashed, the Builder began to delay the work, and the buyers began to delay the payment of instalments. In my case, due to other problems involved, I stopped making the payments completely, even though the Builder kept charging interest. I had decided to get out of the project, either by selling the unfinished unit, or by surrendering it back to the Builder. But, because of the slump, none of these was happening. In the mean time, the bill amount kept mounting.

So, against this back drop, one morning, I took my younger brother and went to see this Builder. My objective was to negotiate with him, and find a win-win solution.

However, in the course of our discussion, the Builder went on the offensive. With his loud voice, he began to 'insult' and 'accuse' me in front of my brother and some other customers. I lost my cool, an…

THE DEEP OCEAN

They say, "The calmness of the ocean depends on its depth."

That's why, the ocean is so restless near the shore. It is, always, the periphery, the shallow shore, that is restless, agitated.

This morning, my wife said something, and I flared up. The fume lasted for, almost, an hour... But, now, the ship has moved much away from the shore ... The waters are still here; there is calm.

The READER'S DIGEST has sent me a small book as a gift for renewing my annual subscription. It is titled: "HOW TO WIN ANY ARGUMENT".(Publisher: JAICO BOOKS.) The author, Mr. Robert Mayer, has given the sub-title as: 'Don't raise your voice, lose your cool or come to blows.'

Well, except for the blows, everything else happened, this morning!

So, I thought, I would read the book again. And, Lo! This little phrase stood out:

'THE STILL CENTER'!

Mr. Mayer extensively quotes ancient Masters from the East - the Indian, Japanese and Chinese. One of the quotes is of The Tao …

THE LAW OF ABUNDANCE

This is my third post, today!

I am busy, as usual, with my routine work of teaching. I am also busy thinking, worrying, regretting and so on. The unpaid bills before me still give me jitters, and my dreams still keep dangling. And, look! In spite of all this daily drama, today, the spring in me refuses to cease. I am pleasantly surprised, awe-struck!

Life is full of abundance. I have no doubt about that. Still, whenever I get bogged down by the daily pressures of living, the doubt does raise in me its ugly head, and 'The Law of Abundance' does seem, at those moments, nothing more than a piece of theory.

The birds in the sky have enough to feed themselves, and the fishes in the oceans, too. The sun and the stars give enough help to every one here, and the moon, too. The wind is kind enough, as do the seasons. Every thing that God has made is for every one here. We are inheritors of this wealth.

But, then, all this sounds sweet in essays. When we see ourselves still juggling and str…

THE LAW OF ATTRACTION

Last evening, I was sitting in my friend Sundar's third-floor-house. The hall room, in which we were sitting, had full-size French windows extending into the outside porch, where they had raised a small garden, with several plants. We were chit-chatting , sitting there, till eight in the night. I asked Sundar, all of a sudden:

"Sundar, you have kept your windows full open like this. There are so many plants there just outside, and there aren't any protective nets ... How come there isn't a single mosquito, here?"

"I don't know," Sundar told me, casually, "It has been, always, like this, here. We love to keep our door and windows all open."

"Don't tell me. At our place, we have to keep the windows closed before it gets dark. Even then, and even after spraying and switching on the repellents in every room, the mosquitoes harass us," I told him.

He laughed, "The repellents are supposed to repel; but, what an irony! They attract…

THE OUTSIDER

"I did not realise that I was a Jew,
till Hitler made me feel I was one."

Every time I think about these famous words, I get goose pimples, all over my body!

I do not watch T.V. But, I do read the morning news paper. And, what could you expect on the front page - rather the entire news paper - today?

India had won, comprehensively, the Mohali Test match against the formidable Australia. My idol, Sachin, would be doubly delighted as he had scaled his own zenith. But, instead of reading about and basking in the glory of this beautiful moment, we stared at the dark news - the carnage and bloodbath - and sulked. At least, I did.

Did Sachin, my idol, achieve his 12,000-run-pinnacle in Mohali, Punjab? Or, did he, a Maharashtrian, achieve it on an 'outside' land?

My maid servant is a Maharashtrian. She does her daily rounds in four houses: Ours - the Mangloreans; our two neighbours' - one Keralite and the other a Bengali; the fourth house is that of a Bihari. This Maharashtri…

A DOG'S DEATH

I was meeting Arjun, one of my friends, after twelve long years, yesterday. We spoke about several things - family, friends, business, movies, the volatile markets, and, of course, Life. We were already together for about an hour. And, suddenly, I asked Arjun:

"How is Mr. Nath?"

Arjun looked at me, blank.

"Arjun, I said, how is Mr. Nath doing?" I repeated.

"You really do not know about him?" Arjun asked me.

"Really, I lost touch with him, completely," I informed him.

"He passed away about eight years ago." Arjun did not look comfortable talking about this man.

"What? He was not even fifty! What happened to him?" I wanted to know.

"A tragedy. What else can I say? He died a 'dog's death'!" Arjun was in pain to convey this. Still, he did.

I was acquainted with Mr. Nath for a very brief period. He was a highly qualified and brilliantly talented Corporate Trainer ... A thorough gentleman. When he spoke, people simply …

THE GANGRENE

Both of us stayed in the same Housing colony; but, we belonged to two different 'camps'.

He belonged to the camp that raised the issue about 'corruption' by our Managing Committee. They circulated dozens of letters among the members accusing the Committee of 'swindling' of funds. And, we thought there wasn't any substance in theirs allegations, that they were only keen to 'throw' the Managing Committee out ... Therefore, we came together - after our every effort to reason out with them failed - to 'expose' them. The things came to a 'dead end', and , eventually, the Administrator came in to run our Society.

We stepped out; the members of the 'terminated' Committee, too, stepped out. But, our 'whistle blowers' are still after the ousted committee's blood. They want to come into the Society so that they can 'recover' the 'lakhs' of rupees of of funds 'swindled by the committee. They are waiting f…

THE BUFFALO'S BACK

'Bewda Louis', the whole village called him. At six in the morning, when the villagers just completed their daily routine of milking their buffaloes, our Louis completed his: he just returned from 'aunty's desi' joint. Unless Louis serviced himself with his early-morning quota, his pump wouldn't start; the tremor in his body would stop only after his pre-dawn trip to 'aunty's joint.

"Louis, why do you drink like this?" many would ask him, concerned about his health.

"Drink? Who drinks?" This was a typical reaction from Louis.

"Okay baba, you don't drink; we do," they would give up, at the end of the day.

Yesterday morning, I yelled at my teenager son, once again:

"Tuck your shirt inside properly; you are going to the school, and not to a cinema hall."

It was the typical morning 'hot' temperature. And, it was the typical dominating father.

"What tuck? This is perfect," yelled back my son.

"They w…

THE TOMORROW'S SUN

I remember my friend, Joe, today. He used his 'funny bone' well to his advantage in his selling career. I had never seen him dull or dejected, ever, for all those twenty years - running around the cities and villages - selling detergents. Yes, the Eskimos bought ice from him, believing that Joe's was the better ice!

And, naturally, when someone from his own 'tribe' ventured to sell his ice to this Eskimo - my friend, Joe - he would have fun dealing with him.

One day, a smart sales guy from a new company came to sell fans to him. "Sir, we give a life-time warranty," the young man tried to impress upon Joe.

"Is it?" my friend exclaimed his delight.

"Hundred percent right sir," the novice felt he was moving in.

"But, tell me, my friend: whose life-time? ... Mine or Fan's or your Company's?"

Within two years, the Company folded up!

Not long ago, almost all the credit card companies started 'gifting' us 'Life-time-fre…

ON THE OHTER SIDE OF THE FENCE

"The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence."

A very old one?

But, whoever coined this line first, he must have been the 'original Guru'!

For me, the old is, truly, gold.

These days, writing my daily notes - the articles for my blog - gives me a tremendous amount of 'high'. Probably, I must have been, sub-consciously, dreaming about it ... It is, certainly, in alignment with my deepest passion: to share my insights with my fellow beings. The blog is just a natural extension, and I have embraced it, happily.

Yesterday, while I was so much charged and busy typing, my student Sameer, called me up:

"Sir, tomorrow is my exam; I have some doubts ... Can I come to you, now?"

I had finished their portion, with a good revision, and asked them to be on their own for at at least ten days before the exam - 'for better or worse' - as I always tell my students. Normally, they understand what I mean by 'for better or worse'. But, some, lik…

THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE

POLITICS.

For many years, I kept guessing: "Why do they call it - 'the art of the possible'?"

About four years ago, in the AGM of our Society, I was unanimously appointed as the 'Returning Officer' for the forthcoming Society elections. Frankly, that's the day I first realised that such a term existed, and it meant: the 'Election Officer'!

Even though I felt highly honoured, I honestly revealed them about my 'ignorance' in all aspects relating to the Society matters. "Don't worry, we are all there to guide you," almost every one assured me. I became the Returning Officer.

And, what an experience that was! What an education!

There were two groups in our Society, and they were at loggerheads ever since the formation of our Society. They accused and abused each other, they fought like sworn enemies ... and, it seemed to all of us, that they were interested only in settling their personal scores. When two elephants fought, grass alwa…

WILL IT RUN?

"It is looting," Nikhil screamed, showing to me the 'vadapav' he had just bought from a vendor outside my office. "Sir, look at the 'vada' -- it's smaller than a 'rosgula', and see inside this ... there is hardly any 'batata' there; eight rupees they charged for this ... It's looting."

"Why did you buy from them? There are so many vendors around," I consoled Nikhil.

"Sir, I was so hungry; and, I did not know all this," he said, "Any way, this is my first and last visit to that goddamn joint."

No doubt about it. Why Nikhil, nobody would pay a second visit there.

Who are they?

Jitesh, 30, is a graduate but unemployed for quite some time. Lata, his elder sister,35, is a divorcee having a 12-year-old son. Some time back, both approached me and said, "Sir, we have this shop here; we have not been using it. For so many years, we have been paying the Society maintenance and minimum electricity charges .…

WHEREVER WE GO ...

Yes, wherever we go, we carry ourselves!

About thirty years ago, I came to this tinsel town, Mumbai, hoping to do away with my nagging inferiority complex. I thought, "In a new and vast place like this, nobody would 'recognise the poor me', my past; nobody would know how 'bad' I am ... So, it would be easy for me to make a fresh start, with a new confidence."

But, it did not happen so. I brought with me my mind. And, my nagging inferiority complex was nicely wrapped inside it!

It took not just a change of place, but a lot more than that to shake off my mindset. One of those things -- and the most important one -- was the understanding that - "Wherever we go, we carry ourselves."

The place had nothing to do with my complex, my misery. My mind, my unexamined thinking, my ignorance had.

It took a hard look at myself to change that mindset. I asked,"Is living the life I long for absolutely important to me?" "Will blaming, endlessly, my circum…

THE EMPTY ENVELOPE

"Look at these people; they are shameless, cunning," the middle-aged man remarked to me referring to a family which was busy relishing the 'maha prasad'(a grand dinner)sponsored by a big-hearted man in our Society.

"Why?" I asked.

"We have held three functions in our family during the last two years; they haven't attended a single," he told me.

"So? They must've had some genuine reasons for not attending. Don't you think so?" I reasoned.

"Yes, I know that reason," he reacted, visibly annoyed.

"What's that reason?" I pushed.

"Look, I know these 'characters' pretty well by now. The only reason is: money. This is free, you see; whereas for our functions, they had to put something in the envelope," his face showed the disgust. "They are not alone; there are thousands of people around, with such 'mentality'. You announce a 'free lunch', they are the first ones to show up.&qu…

NINE NIGHTS

The 'nine nights' -- 'the Navratri' -- just concluded yesterday. And, today is the tenth day -- 'Dassera'.

Like the Ganpati festival, in Mumbai, the Navratri festival has become a huge affair, and it keeps becoming bigger, grander, and more and more deafening.

My own Society had programmes lined up on all th nine nights, which included the mandatory 'Mata-di-chowki' and 'mahaprasad' - which means a grand dinner sponsored by some generous soul.

Just below our nose, live the MHADA residents. They are new-comers in this area and had just begun their Navratri celebrations last year. The Shiv Sena is their sponsor. This year, the size and scale of their operations would put any event manager into shame! That huge it was ... at least the sizes and the sound of their speakers and equipment. What a crowd-involvement - men and women, the children, young and adults,Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians ... Wow, what an exuberance, what a unity ... what a…

THE OPTIONS

I am at it again. Talking about the tough times: the collapse of financial system, world over, and, its bloody aftermath.

Just yesterday, I had posted my article -- "Who Insured AIG?" -- touching upon this subject. Yes, the subject of 'security' in life. And, today, when I read the report of bloodbath at Los Angeles, I thought I must delve into the subject, once again.

Who knows, what may trigger off my tomorrow's post?

Karthik Rajaram. How familiar the name sounds! And, how familiar his reaction to his tough times!

An extreme reaction?

Perhaps, yes. For, there were other options for him.

Perhaps, no. For, that's the only option, his mind - completely overtaken by fear - could see. At that point of time.

Karthik chose to shoot dead his wife, his mother-in-law and all three of his children, and ,finally, himself.

At, one go, his entire family perished ... His tough times ended!

In his suicide notes, Karthik talks about the two options he had before him: either to kill …

Who Insured AIG?

I asked myself this question -- when AIG, the world's largest insurance and financial company, began to sink, lately.

Its losses were so colossal in size, it took the government of the 'wealthiest' nation in the world to 'bail' it out ... Yes, 'bail' it out through billions of dollars worth 'soft' loans.

But, could any 'power' on this earth 'insure' AIG? Could any one foresee its doom? Could any one 'protect' it from such a disaster, or save it from plunging into such an abyss?

Yesterday's newspapers report about Mr. Lakshmi Mittal's monstrous 'wipe out' of wealth due to collapse of Stock Market. It is close to twenty-billion pounds! Yes, only so much ... and, that too, till that report was printed!

Today, the Stock-market report was even more shocking and scary. I just asked to myself: "What about Mr. Mittal?"

"He is 'Super rich' ... so rich that, these things wouldn't make a lot of dif…

THE GULF-RETURNED

This is an interesting story -- with some strange co-incidents -- and, they had to unfold, mysteriously, on the same day.

The day was today.

I said 'mysteriously'-- because, *Salim and *Pravin (*not the real names), both my ex-students, had come to see me today. Consider this:

-- Both graduated from my institute about five years ago;
-- Both had finacial difficulties at home.

-- Salim was not comfortable with any fee-concession or a waiver; he was very
dignified, had high self-esteem. Thus, he would meet me privately, those days,
explain to me his home-situation, take a few weeks or months more to clear off
his dues. But, clear off he would, like a gentleman. Moreover, he would express
his gratitude, profusely, and do it quite often. After he passed out, he
kept referring my institute to his friends and, also, would speak very highly
about me to them. That was his way of repaying his debt to his teacher.

-- On the other hand, Pravin and his parents, would meet me…
THE WILD, WAYSIDE FLOWERS
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...