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Showing posts from November, 2008

DO YOU KNOW THE VEDAS?

The arrogant Brahmin had asked this question to the poor, illiterate boatman, who was peacefully rowing the scholar to the other side of the river.

"No sir, I don't," the innocent boatman had replied.

"What? You've wasted your life," the arrogant Brahmim had shouted.

"What about reading and writing; at least you must be able to do them?"

"Sir, I am a poor soul of this village; I have never entered the doors of a school."

"Ayyo Rama, what a waste of life!"

"Can you not speak Sanskrit, at least?

"No sir; I can not."

"It is a criminal waste of life, in deed!"

By now, the boat had reached the deep-middle of the river. A ferocious wind blew, causing a violent storm, and the boat began to go down. The highly learned man was all panic personified, and began to tremble. "Please help me; please save me," he cried for help before the calm and composed boatman.

"Have you learnt swimming, sir?" the illite…

TWENTY-FOUR BY SEVEN

For the last two days, I have been having a very bad cold. My head was heavy and eyes were sleepy. So, after taking a strong doze of medicines, last night, I went into a deep sleep. My son stayed late to study for his board exams; my wife had to leave early this morning, and hence, went off to sleep early, too.

At 11 in the night, the SMSes stared flashing. "There has been firing at several places in Mumbai by the terrorists," our son knocked on our bed-room door to break the news. But, my sleep wasn't broken. After he left, my wife hit the bed again. But then, she struggled to catch sleep after that. At 1.30 am, my mobile phone rang; she picked up. My younger brother from Navi Mumbai spent the next half-an-hour giving her the 'live coverage' of the going-ons. This time, she tried to wake me up. "Listen. It seems, they are showing on TV the live coverage of the terror attack on Mumbai," she somewhat succeeded in breaking her husband's unusual snooze.…

DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF

On another day, I would have worried about using the title I have chosen for this article. For, it is the title of one of my favourite inspirational-books. This little book - a true classic, in my view - contains dozens of small articles which help us calm down whenever we get worked up on our daily, small stuff; yes, whenever we 'sweat our small stuff'. The ideal place to park this book is: the pillow side. So soothing it is!

Richard Carlson, the author of this book, tells us, in the introduction, the story behind the title. He tells, that he had gotten the famous author, Dr. Wayne Dyer, to endorse one of Carlson's earlier books. He had written to Dr. Dyer for a similar endorsement for the next one as well. But, there was no response from the famous author. Meanwhile, the publishers of Mr. Carlson's new book decided to carry Dr. Dyer's previous endorsement on the new cover, too. When Carlson saw the cover of his new book, he immediately slipped into a panic mode! …

MY POT-BELLY

Yes, I don't like my pot-belly.

And, that's the first step to send it in.

No, it is not.

Then, what is?

Loving a lean, flat and healthy belly is.

Yes, the more I remain an anti-pot-belly crusader, the more it bloats. All my resolutions go for a toss as soon as I make them; my efforts remain half-hearted ... and, lo! there it grows: my majestic pot-belly!

So, I decide, instead, to be a pro-flat-belly activist. I fall in love with it; day in and day out, I visualise it. I feel the smoothness, the well-being. My resolutions are motivated by my love for health, and not the hatred for my bloated tummy. My efforts are constantly prompted by my positive life-energy of love ... love for something beautiful - my lean body, my health, my longevity.

Habits get formed, over a long period of time, through our repeated actions and non-actions. What begins as a result of an impulse, when persisted upon, come to stay with us permanently. It becomes a compulsion, a mechanical response, a habitual beh…

THE TOXIC ELEMENTS

The old man had seven children - three sons, and four daughters. And, he died with his boots on. At 80.

This man came from a very humble back round, worked very hard to give a decent education to his seven children. When he died, he left for them a large house that had five bathrooms. The daughters had been married, and they stayed separately. Two of the three sons were married and stayed under the same roof. The youngest of the siblings, the unmarried son, was a spoilt brat. For him, everything had come on a platter. His two elder brothers worked hard to keep up their father's legacy. But, the last one, was born to ruin it.

Troubles began to brew up soon after the old man's demise. The youngest one, who was a college-dropout, would come home, late in the nights, fully drunk. His mornings began only at ten. Then, a towel tied around his waist, he would wile away his time, just because 'his' bath room was occupied by some one else. He would never, ever enter another! Yes,…

THE GLOOMY SKY

The world is not perfect; its principles are.

When you go about your life expecting the world to be perfect, you only end up being cynical. On the other hand, when you keep faith in its rock-steady principles, you become buoyant, zestful.

This morning, I felt a strong urge with in me to pray for this wonderful 'boon': of being zestful, hopeful and buoyant.

I realise that, often, many small irritations, small misunderstandings in my life, make me edgy, pessimistic and give up soon. I tend to lose trust in people, their goodness, their sincerity easily. I see myself making gloomy predictions; and, I remain immobile, unenthusiastic and skeptical about other people's ideas and plans.

A couple of my students remain absent for my class, least bothered to inform me - it is enough to make me conclude: "The times have changed; there is no respect for teachers."

The fact that ninety-eight percent of the students attended the class, bothered to take me into confidence - yes, t…

THE ACID TEST

"Why, what is my mistake?" Rahul, my 11th-standard student yelled back at me in the packed class room. The room could feel the weight of his bloated pride. Unnerved, I went close to him, held him by his arm, and roared with the matching pride, "Your mistake was: you argued with me, your teacher. Go out, I will speak to you after the class."

Rahul collected his books, and went away, with out waiting to meet me.

Now, it was the second 'sin', Rahul committed. Unable to bear this, I went on a marathon speech before the rest of his clan. I was angry, hurt and even frustrated by the 'arrogance' and 'attitude' these little kids threw around their teachers, their total disrespect, their insensitive behaviour, their indifference to advice ... and all that which I stood for, and they didn't. "There are two people in your life... and never, ever argue with them," I shouted. "Your parents and your teachers."

The class listened to me…

GYAN BAATNA CHAYIYE

Whenever I am in a new place, and ask a stranger for direction, the stranger turns out to be one of these two kinds.

The first kind: This stranger seems genuinely happy and proud to help me. He realises that I am a stranger in his locality, that I need his help. So, for him, it is a matter of pride, an achievement, to be of help to some one. In fact, I have seen, some of them going out of their way to to make you comfortable. You feel glad about it; you feel appreciated and respected.

I believe, there is a direct link between this experience and one's self-esteem. My self-esteem goes up, because, I feel appreciated and cared for. The good Samaritan's self-esteem goes up, because, of the feeling he gets within him - that, he is helping somebody, a stranger. When he shares his knowledge, his strength, he has to feel good about it, he has to grow stronger. It is an act of self-empowerment.

Possibly, many of us have seen this when we visit some remote villages. The way these simple f…

WHY DID I CRY TODAY?

It happens, sometimes, when I read about Christ's life. Or about the lives of my other heroes - Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. Either I experience goose pimples, or I simply cry.

I have failed to understand the mystery behind this phenomenon. Why do I get the goosebumps? Why do tears roll down my cheeks?

Maybe because I admire them so much. For the kind of challenges they faced, the goodness they spread, for the leadership they provided. I am incredibly inspired by them. I am overwhelmed by the impact they have left on the mankind. Yes, may be because of these reasons, my hair stands straight, my eyes weep.

A small challenge makes me chicken out, develop cold feet. When faced with discouragement and criticism, I tend to turn cynical, and give up. And, I am talking about small challenges, the ordinary battles of my life. My heroes took upon them tasks of Herculean proportion. The mortals never dare near them. That's why their lives are legends; that's why, the price for thei…

JI SIR

There is heavy leakage out side my office. A crack in one of our building pipes is responsible for this. It is one week now, since I lodged a complaint. Our plumber has come, at least four times, to 'see' the problem - the mess the leakage has caused out side my office ... and, on each of his visit, he has been extremely courteous to me!

"Plumber bhayya, dekho kitna gandha ho gaya hai; please, isko teek koro."

"Ji sir."

After two days: "Plumber, kya hua?"

"Sir, aaj pakka kar ke dhoonga."

"Pakka?"

"Ji sir, bilkul."

" Pakka khabhi?"

"Aaaj gyara bhaje, pakka."

The next day: "Dekh, tumara jabhan ko koyi respect nahin ye kya?"

"Sir, aaj teen bhaje tak, aap ka kaam ho jayega."

"Dekh raja, tum jawan ho. Aisa kaam karoge toh, kaun rakega? Achcha kaam karoge, toh achcha hoga life."

"Ji sir, bilkul sahi kaha aap ne."

Three days are over. The 'jawan raja' is still hell-bent …

THE BEAR HUG

After a very long time - fifteen years, to be precise - I had been to this Colony, last evening. I wanted to visit these two families.

The first one of these two families, was a very small family. When I last saw them, they were three: the husband and wife, who were in their mid fifties, and their young son. Yesterday, when I entered their house, an old, sick woman, supported by a walker, opened the door. She recognised me; I didn't. It was the same woman, who was once so full of energy and so full of hospitality.

"Aunty," I said, " I am very sorry, I couldn't recognise you."

"It's alright. It has happened with many people," she said, asking me to sit.

Her husband, she told me, had passed away about thirteen years ago, in a massive heart attack. Her only son was married to a working girl after five years. Her world began to crumble, she told me, immediately after that. The girl couldn't stand her mother-in-law. From the day one, she started n…

LOST IN OUR OWN WORLDS

This morning, I was standing out side my class and talking to a friend of mine, who is a doctor. While we were talking, a gentleman, whom we both knew very well, was passing by, dragging a nice trolley bag. As he neared our spot, the doctor said, "Hello" and offered his hand to the gentleman. The gentleman said a half-hearted 'hello', and went his way, without responding to the doctor's hand. My smile and hello went completely, unacknowledged.

"Strange," I reacted, immediately to the doctor.

"He seems to be lost in his own world," the doctor empathised with me.

We continued our discussion. Just after two minutes, the gentleman's wife appeared. When she approached us, we both received a broad smile along with a warm 'hello' from this gracious lady. We both said "Hello, how are you ma'am?", together.

"I am fine, thank you," the lady stopped for a while.

"Are you heading for outstation?" the doctor enquir…

THE SETTING

Now and then, these questions pop up in my mind:

What happened to the Bofors kick-backs charges? Mr. Rajiv Gandhi's Congress government had colapsed because of these corruption charges. What happened to the former Central Minister, Mr. Sukh Ram, after he was arrested with crores of rupees cash in his house? What happened to the huge suitcase, which Mr. Ram Jethmalani, late Mr. Harshad Mehta's advocate, had shown us on a TV press conference, alleging that the cash was given to the then PM Mr. Narshimha Rao? What happens to all those IAS and IPS Officers once they are caught in the ACB raids? To those ministers once they are exposed by the TV sting operations?

What happens to the corruption system?

About thirty years ago, for a brief period of three months, I had worked in the Fort area of our city. I was new here, and hadn't travelled by local trains before. On my uncle's advice, one morning, I bought a monthly second-class pass, and pushed myself into the 8.00 a.m. packed…
THE WILD, WAYSIDE FLOWERS
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...