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Showing posts from 2009

I JUST WANT TO SAY...

Last evening, Girish called me up and said, "Sir, tomorrow is 31st December. I want you to post something to motivate us."

Something to motivate others? Girish thinks my posts can motivate not only him but also others. Well, it feels good when I think about it. Someone looks up to me... Someone waits for my posts on the blog... The thought does boost my confidence; does motivate me to keep up to their expectations.

I want to write about this very issue: How does our confidence go up?

This morning, I taught Jinal, a new student for an hour. She was joining my class when others have almost done with their portion. I was apprehensive and had expressed my concern to her yesterday. Still, I took a chance and had called her today for a session. She was picking things fast and I felt a lot relieved and glad. While she was leaving, I sincerely complimented her. "Jinal," I said, "You pick things fast. I am very happy."

I saw Jinal's face all lit up on my comment. …

MITESH AND ROHIT

They are in 12th standard. They have been studying under me, in the same batch, for almost a year. I will rename them, for the purpose of this post - Mitesh and Rohit.

I had taught Mitesh's dad more than twenty years ago. Those days, I had been struggling, to rise from the ashes of my just collapsed venture. I had learnt from my mistakes and I was determined to make a come back. I had come from my village, and there was no one here, in Mumbai, to support me financially. It was tough; but, the desire and resolve to rise from the ashes was so strong that I had no room in my mind to think otherwise.

Mitesh's father, was studying under me, then, for his final year. They were three brothers. Their father had set up a textile business from the scratch, and over the years bought some properties. But, their bad phase was on when I was teaching Mitesh's dad. It took just a couple of years for them to fold up their business, sell their properties, one by one. In the years that follow…

THE BULL RUN

"Have you ever seen a bullock cart taking reverse?" Vikram asked me.

Well, I had grown up in a village in Mangalore where bullock carts were a common sight... We had them everywhere in our village. While returning from school, so often, we children would get a joy ride in Thaburanna's famous bullock cart. But, never did I bother to observe whether his bullock cart ever took a reverse!

Last night, when Vikram asked me that question, I began to think about it, for the first time.

"The bull doesn't look up; it takes the load, looks down... and moves. That is called the 'Bull Run'," Vikram continued. "Your neck may bleed, back may hurt... but you move, with your head down."

But, need I be docile, submissive? Need I be a bullock carrying others' load? Why should my neck bleed? Why should my back hurt? Why should I suffer?

"Because, the need to take load comes with your decision to take charge," Vikram added. "You have to accept t…

A NEW RESOLVE

Yesterday, I received, by post, a beautiful table calender. For each month of 2010, a fresh painting... and each of them was a amazing work. And, each of them was by a 'foot and mouth artist'!

My immediate impulse was to take it home and place it prominently on our table. I wanted my young son to see it. He, too, is fond of drawing, sketching and painting. He too has plans to pursue an art-related field. I wanted him to see these paintings by those physically challenged artists. Not to have hands to draw and paint, still, they have created such brilliant work using their feet and mouth! It was remarkable, inspiring... humbling.

The artists are faceless. I do not know their background. But, I am very certain, that all those gifted men or women must be financially challenged, too. I wanted my son to contemplate on these realities, and feel inspired.

We want our son to realise his talents. We want him to put efforts, and we have promised him our full support. Our son has his hands t…

A LIFE SENTENCE

Last week, we had been for the wedding reception of a cousin of my wife. It was in a swanky banquet hall and the ambiance was familiar: that of a traditional Catholic-wedding.

In a Catholic wedding, the programme, from the start to the end, is all well-set; it is predictable... You know what comes next, what the Master of Ceremony is going to tell next. And, for most of us, the one liners, the teasers and the jokes that the M.C. uses, are, often, too familiar. On this particular evening, the M.C. cracked the familiar teaser, while the bridal couple waited nervously before the lovely cake, about to hold the knife.

"Marriage is not just a 'word'," he reminded the newly-weds, "It is a 'sentence' - a 'life sentence'."

"Nice one," I softly said.

"What is nice in that?" reacted my wife.

Now, I knew that question was not asked to seek an answer, but to express a faithful wife's displeasure. It meant: "You old man, shut up.&…

THE HOUSE OF TO-MORROW

Many a times, when some parents share with me their fears and frustrations over their children, I find myself empathising with them. I am able to understand their problems because I 'stand outside' and view those problems. I, too, have a teenager son. Most of their struggle is mine, too... most of their fears and frustrations... most of their dilemmas. So, empathy comes naturally to me whenever I counsel other parents. At times, I find myself quoting my favourite author, Kahlil Gibran:

"Your children are not your children...
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself;
They come through you, but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they do not belong to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of to-morrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like yo…

DO YOU REMEMBER?

"Do you remember this point...? I have explained it in the class many times." Sameer's face drew a blank when I asked him that question. His two friends looked towards him and began to laugh, poking fun at his ignorance. Sameer retaliated with some nasty comments... and some girls started giggling loudly... Looking at the funny girls, half-a-dozen boys got restless...

And, while all this was unfolding in my class like a fast-paced movie, I lost my head completely. Then, for the next fifteen minutes, I went on a rampage - 'the emotional atyachar'. I did it with such strong words and with such intense feelings... that the mutiny had to die down. By the time it did, it, almost, killed me. I was left with no energy... but, with a hell lot of turmoil within.

That was at 11.30 in the morning, while teaching the 12th standard students.

At 2.00 in the afternoon, I was teaching the T.Y. B.Com students. The class was packed, and I was in full flow. "Do you remember this …

THE TEACHER APPEARS...

I teach my students how to solve accounting problems. As a teacher, we say so many things, so mechanically... that unless someone brings to our notice, we don't even realise them. Sometimes, we come to know about them when, in a healthy spirit, some students come forward to mimic us.

Last evening, I met a professional accountant. We had invited him to handle the accounts of our housing society. "We need you to set right all the mess, here. We want you to put our house in order," we told him referring to the accounting problems we were facing in our society.

"Sir, every problem has to be solved twice," the man told us, looking smilingly at me. "Once, here (He pointed at his head), and, once again, here (He pointed at the accounts books on the table)." Before we could react, he continued, "Sir, about fifteen years ago, you told this to us in the class when you taught us how to solve problems... Do you remember me? I was one of your students."

I …

SOMEONE... SOMEWHERE

"Someone is waiting for you, somewhere," this man tells me. "He needs your goodness... your helping hand... your healing touch."

Well, I know my fallible human state. I know how selfish I can be, at times. I know the kind of thoughts that dominate my mind... I know, how impatient and how harsh I act with my nearest and dearest ones, sometimes... In fact, most of the times.

And still, here is this man - a man I look up to in my life - telling me that I am good... and someone out there - somewhere - is waiting for my goodness, my helping hand, my healing touch!

Without an iota of arrogance, I did feel he was being sincere... that he was not trying to flatter me, give me a 'high'. My self-doubts did surface... I did feel for a while that I did not deserve such a fine compliment. But, within a few fleeting seconds, I was there savouring the power of this gentleman's words: "Someone is waiting for you, somewhere."

Why am I writing these blog articles? …

THE RAT RACE

Competition. Still, Lata Mangeshkar has survived for more than sixty years in the make-believe world of glamour. In the same world, Amithab Bachchan has lasted for more than forty years. And, in an fiercely competitive world of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar is still going strong even after twenty years!

All these legends have survived in their fields, the fields notoriously known for man-eat-man kind of competition. They have seen the ups and downs; they have faced ridicule and destructive campaign against them. The critics and cynics have written them off several times... and, still, these 'heroes' have stretched their necks out... and gloriously!

On Saturday evening, I accompanied my son, along with my wife, for the induction programme of his NID preparation course. The National Institute of Designing, which my son wants to get into - we are told by the coaching institute - is extremely competitive. There are only 90 seats on all India level, for which thousands of aspirants are …

THE DHARMA AND THE KARMA

At 10.30, this morning, when I reached our Colony gate, there was only one auto waiting. I quickly boarded it. Just then, I heard one of our watchmen blowing his whistle. When I peeped out towards him, I realised that a young lady with bags in both her hands was approaching towards the gate. She wanted the watchman to fetch an auto for her. So, without realising that I had already boarded the only auto that was available, he had blown his whistle, so that she could board it. When I saw this lady with heavy bags in both her hands, and realising the fact that she would not be able to get another auto for quite a while, my immediate reaction was: I asked the autowala to make an about turn towards this lady.

"Ma'am, there are no auto's there out side; would you like me to drop you somewhere?" I said, in the most sincere and spontaneous manner.

"No," she brushed me aside in an equally blunt and thankless manner, continuing to walk.

My face fell for a while; my eg…

WHEN LOST IN THE TUNNEL

Often, I wonder: What it takes to keep faith in life, while things around us - our very life - seem crumbling?

It is tough to be hopeful, tough to be optimistic when we are faced with terrible personal crisis. Bitterness and cynicism seem to be natural... We tend to give up.

Almost a year has passed since the terror attack in Mumbai. The life in Mumbai is the classic example for the 'bounce-back spirit' needed to survive, and move on. It is the collective voice of humanity: "Let nothing bog us down; nothing!"

Mr. Kanga, the General Manager of The Taj Hotels and Towers, was 40 when the terror strike took away from him his wife and two little sons... his entire family, that was. On the one side, you see your innocent family being destroyed; on the other hand, you , as the Captain of the ship, have to save others on board... What a dilemma! ... And just thinking about it, sends chills through my spine! That is the true call of duty... That is true faith in life... That is…

THE PANIC WISDOM

"What is going to happen, WILL happen."

But, I do not know, what is going to happen. I want only 'pleasant things' to happen... I do my best to avert the 'unpleasant things' from happening.

Well, I used the words - 'do my best' - almost mechanically!

In my case - and, I believe there are many to provide me company here - I go all the way to avert, to block the 'enemy'. And, when I find myself unable to block the invasion, I panic.

Some people are super cool... so cool, that, even if the bombs start falling before them, they won't run! They are on the extreme end of one side of the spectrum. On the extreme end of the other side, are those who panic even when they ‘imagine’ the word ‘BOMB’… leave alone ‘hear’ the word!

Where do I fit in? I really do not know. But, I do like to be there with any of these ‘extremists’. Both are equally dangerous. I have an extra level of anxiety, which I know is not good for my health, both physical and mental. I d…

IGNORANCE?

"Pain comes from fear. Fear comes from ignorance." I heard someone saying this.

Am I 'ignorant'?

Oh, yes... in so many areas of my life. And, I believe, each and everyone has his own areas. Each and every one has problems handling those areas... the areas of anxiety and fear... and, thus, of pain.

Just this morning, a solicitor I know spent at least half-an-hour talking to me. His teenager-son is in twelfth-standard science. He has been enrolled in one of the best coaching classes, with the hope that he would pursue engineering. Now, it is November. The young man has failed in five subjects. Both, the college and the coaching class, have asked the parents to see them about the son. Another thirty thousand is paid to a new tutor just to bail the son out in maths! Still, the things are going down the hill, with no hope whatsoever... The father is worried, frustrated and angry.

"Can you please talk to him, in your own way. I hope, he would listen to you," he plead…

THE RAAVANA

"I am a fighter," he declared with tremendous amount of pride. I could feel the arrogance, the self-righteousness. "I like to fight with the system, and I don't give up."

The 'system'. What is that?

The Establishment, the Government, the Administration, the Family hierarchy... Our man likes to fight with all of them... and doesn't like to give up.

I said, "That's great. Some people are born to fight... You are one of them."

"The system is corrupt; there is no transparency... no accountability," he argued. "If you do not raise your voice, 'they' can and will do anything."

"True," I agreed. "Somebody has to stand up; and you do."

"I don't leave anybody... whoever it may be," he thundered. "I fight ... and I like it."

"All the best," I wished him.

Let him fight all his life; he likes it. It is his mission, his religion... He gets a 'high' form it. So, let hi…

THE END OF THE WORLD

It seems, our world is going to end in 2012!

I thought I should bring about at least one change in me before the doom comes. Yes, at least one.

Now, which one is that?

For fifty-one long years, I have worried about all sorts of things. Nothing of those things - the things I had feared - have come to pass... I have survived! Now, they say the doom is really approaching... just three years away from our doorsteps! I thought, if every thing is going to go in tsunami, inferno or tremor - whatever that is - why should I worry at all? At least, three years are left to enjoy this life. Yes, THREE LONG YEARS! Let me bring about, at least, one change in me before I go... we all go.

Suddenly, it hits me, again, that to enjoy life, I must learn to take things a little lightly. I must learn to laugh a little more... laugh at myself... not to take things - events, situations, comments, arguments and everything else too seriously. I must learn to let go my need to control, the need to be appreciated, a…

THE BEAT OF A LEGACY

Passion is contagious.

On Saturday night, I went with my wife and son to watch "This Is It." I had been a huge fan of Michael Jackson - the star, the performer and the enigmatic genius. But, I had never been fond of his songs. Except for the famous 'We are the World', I have registered nothing in my mind!

Well, this admission may reveal my ignorance. I may sound stupid, even. But, honestly, I admired the man - the larger-than-life persona -- but, not his songs, his music. And, that is it!

But, let me tell you, the two-hour-long film left me breathless. In fact, it is not a film; just a documentary - compiled from the footage of the rehearsals Michael did with his musicians, dancers, technicians and production and direction team. Mind you, it was the 'practice session', the rehearsal... not the actual show. If I was left breathless, and crying, watching this footage-show, what would have been my experience watching the real one!

The man was, in deed, a genius! He…

ME AND MY TAIL

The area where I have to grow most, and fast, is: my emotional maturity.

I am extremely sensitive. I have a heart which is golden. Trusting others, helping them... going the extra mile, doing things without being told... yes, all these things come naturally to me. I can live with the bare minimum... starve, if required... walk for miles, if required... and, yet, when it comes to my emotions, I often feel the discomfort... whenever they take the better of me, whenever I express my sadness, pain, anguish, anger, my fears and even my ignorance. I express my emotions with the hope that the world is good, sensitive, and empathetic.

Maybe, I am right - or, down right stupid - in thinking that the world is good, sensitive and empathetic. I, often, suffer because the world doesn't respond to my emotions the way I believe the world to. Often there is only a cold indifference, and often there is that remorseless bluntness. I feel let down, betrayed... and angry.

Some years ago, in a workshop …

OUT FROM MY HIDING

I just thought, today, that I should come out of my hiding. Almost six months... and not a single piece I have posted!

Many ask me - 'Why? What happened?"

I just tell them - 'Nothing. I 'consciously' chose not to write for some time... and allow myself to go through some new experiences.

They say, "A writer has to write; a singer has to sing; and teacher has to teach... and so it goes." I ask myself this question: "Am I a writer?"

I feel extremely happy, in fact, blissful and fulfilled, whenever I settle down to write. So, from that yardstick, I must say, that I am a writer... Whether I chose to write or not to write... inside my being there is this deep longing to write, express. Days, weeks, months - and even years - may go by... the soul of a writer would never dry out.

I have so much to say, so much to share... it can only become profound, and vast.

So, may the writer write... may the soul sing... may the happiness spread.

I am out of my hiding. I…

WHY DON'T WE TELL?

Raman, 40, will be celebrating the 'Silver Jubilee', this month. Twenty-five years ago, when he was 15, he had a showdown with his father. The communication between the father and son broke down that day. Staying under the same roof, they haven't spoken a word with each other, since then. So many have tried to broker peace, but in vain. The deadlock continues; the 'wall' still stands.

The best time to knock down this wall is even before its foundation is being laid. The decision to embark on an ego-trip is akin to the decision to ride on a tiger's back. Once you mount, you had better know that you are at the man-eater's mercy. Even though you don't like it, you continue to ride. To get off his back is to offer yourself for his lunch!

Ego-trip is a dangerous path. It is a path of 'no return'. No one has ever made it on this path... Never, ever. The best way to make it is never to venture into it in the first place. Leave the beast alone.

How importa…

THE TEAM

He shines there like the pole star - dramatically distinct. He commands that place, because, no one else in the world has scored so many Test and ODI centuries ... No one else has scored that many runs. And, runs and centuries are still coming. The game is far from over. He is live and kicking... and, it seems, his best is yet to come!

This incredibly prolific run-machine, this enduring cricket legacy... Yes, he is what he is because he is an excellent 'team player'. He is Sachin - Sachin Tendulkar.

Yes, Sachin Tendulkar should not keep wickets, should not bowl too often, should not lead the Indian team. He should do what he can - and does - best: batting.

The best batsman may not necessarily be the best captain. Sachin couldn't prove himself to be a fine captain, when he had lead the Indian team. He has been, on and off, a successful bowler. But, the Team India can not count on him as the key bowler. The genius of Sachin lies in what he does exclusively his way: the batting.

THE LOTUS

I just said, "Lotus," and, he reacted, "I know, I know."

I was surprised. I asked him, "You know, you know ... what?"

He replied, "Lotus is one of the most beautiful flowers, considered to be, even, sacred ... But, it is born and it lives in the muck, the ugliness."

He was right. I was about to say that. But, so old the analogy is, that he seemed, terribly bored and annoyed with it. "I know, I know," was his way of protesting any more 'bombardment'.

"Tell me, what you want to tell me about the Lotus," he had dropped his resistance, almost making me puzzled.

He was a wealthy young man. He had begun his pursuit of wealth when he was just a teen. "I want to become really rich, really very, very big." That was the resolve, that saw him to the other side of the sea. Now, in his mid-forties, the man has a dozen questions to ask. He asks them to people like me. Sometimes, our answers satisfy him. But, most of the times,…

JUST A HUG AWAY

Ashish, my friend, had posted a comment on my yesterday’s bolg – ‘I SEE NO ENEMY’. He had agreed with my views, and written: “Friendship is just a hug away …”

How true!

At the same time, how difficult!

Our egoes make it so difficult. The hug remains a complicated, a calculated ‘move’ … rather than just a spontaneous response of our hearts, a celebration. It is just like the first rain. It, almost always, pours out unannounced, spontaneously, making all of us so glad, so excited. Our response to it, too, is unannounced and spontaneous ... a simple outpouring of our hearts, a celebration. For that hear-felt moment, we all become little children, innocent. We come out and enjoy, get drenched so completely – never even for a while worrying about the consequences of doing so. We all celebrate the new rain.

Joy is as simple as this. As uncomplicated.

Spontaneity begets spontaneity. Love begets love. Hate begets hate.

Our hearts are heavy with the weight of our egoes. They are hardened. So, how ca…

THE GAUNTLET

Some things in life come to us naturally. One of them is blinking; blaming is another.

Today, just before leaving home, I had an intense argument with my wife. We were blaming each other, never letting the other person walk away with the great ‘blame’ trophy.

Any way, I had to walk out of the house, as I was getting late for work. By the time I reached here, the intensity had substantially come down... It had, almost, transcended into something sublime, something spiritual.

I thought, I should blink, I should laugh … and, I did.

When we were growing up, one of our favourite games was: 'Who will blink first?'. I had never won in this game. Never. Within seconds, I would blush, giggle and surrender. Henry, a neighborhood kid, was always a champion. I do not know, where he is today … Whether he is still a champion when it comes to a 'game' with his wife!

I am just curious.

Blaming is a psychological defense mechanism, which we build to protect ourselves from the ‘perceived’ at…

'I SEE NO ENEMY"

"Hatred is its own punishment."

When I heard this statement first, many years ago - to be precise, when the Punjab terrorism was in the thick of things - I was not able to comprehend its meaning fully.

"How can hatred be its own punishment?" I still remember, asking.

The terrorists have struck, once again, in Pakistan. Yes, the victims are the innocent Sri Lankan players. And, the victor?

Why do I hate some people?

Because, some of them have hurt me, done injustice to me ... and, I do not approve that. Some of them are persistently doing that to me, and I am angry; I want to get back at them, take revenge... and this thought consumes me all the time ... makes me stressful, burdened... I am imprisoned, all the time, by my own mind, my own thinking. Before my hatred can get back at my enemy, my tormentor, before I can punish him, I am punished by my own thoughts of hatred. I am consumed by it. Tormented.

And, very often, there seems to be no genuine reason to hate any on…

THE PASSION

The period of forty days before the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is referred to as the Lent. To me, this is a very important time. It is the time to get inspired in life.

Christ barely lived for thirty-three years. But, what an incredible life that had been! He lived with such passion, that the end of His life is termed as 'the passion of the Christ'.

Swami Vivekananda, another hero of mine, too, died in his thirties. But, what a life that had been! What a legacy! Rarely, in history, a religious monk - a young monk - has evoked such respect, and such awe. Like Jesus Christ, Swamiji lived with passion, with completeness.

Here is my third hero - the remarkable Martin Luther King Jr. This American Civil Rights leader, too, died in his thirties. But, not before leaving behind such imprints, that wouldn't disappear for generations to come. This King was a Negro, condemned and humiliated as a 'nigger'. But, by the time his life ended, he had inspired millions, the world ove…

THE GODSEND

It is widely believed - and, even proven - that, a teacher can not teach his or her own child. I have been a teacher for nearly three decades. And, with all my modesty, I believe, I have been a very efficient one in that.

Still, when it came to my own son - who is about to face his tenth standard ICSE Board exam in a few days - I found myself helpless. Nor could my wife break this resistance. It was evident, that the prophecy about a teacher's son was all set to be fulfilled!

Our son is multi-talented. He is a gifted child. We are extremely proud of him. He is good in sports; he plays guitar, and has a great taste for music; he is a genius when it comes to art; he reads a lot and loves to argue his points to the logical end; he has a remarkable hold on his language and he can express amazingly well in his writings ... His Principal and teachers praise him; his friends' parents, too.

As parents, what more could we ask for?

I think, both, my wife and I, had only one demand. We wante…

GOODNESS SPREADS

When we stand close to some people, we feel repelled. When they open their mouths, it sucks! So toxic they are. In every body's life, there are at least a few such people.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are some people, in whose presence, we feel extremely good. They don't even have to open their mouths. Their mere presence is enough. It wears an aura of goodness ... and, it just spreads. Needless to say, in life, all of us have at least a handful of such souls.

Today, I felt like asking myself: Where do I belong in other people's life? Am I repulsive and toxic? Or, am I gentle and good?

The feeling is a very strong one. The question haunts me.

I just felt like sharing this feeling.


GERALD D'CUNHA

THE AWARDS

A man is given an award - the Oscar, the Nobel or whatever - only by another man. Maybe, by a group of men. But, certainly, not by God!

I am a great fan of A.R. Rehman. When he received so many international awards, particularly the Oscars, for his music for the movie - "SLUM DOG MILLIONAIRE', I was hugely thrilled. The movie won, in all, eight Oscars. Yes, like every Indian, I, too, shouted in joy - "Jay Ho!"

But, then, I know it is not such a great music or a film that it is hyped up to be. The Oscar committee is, certainly, unaware of the incredible work of A.R. Rehman. It also doesn't know about the fine movies India comes out with time to time. I liked the movie 'SDM'. But, I did not come out of the theatre the way I came out after watching 'Lagaan', 'TZP' or the 'Munnabai' movies. I seriously feel these movies deserved recognition from international body.

However, an award is only an award - some people's opinion. It only …

THE FLOW OF THE RIVER

"Why has the flow of the river suddenly stopped?"

I posted my last blog on 2nd Feb. It is almost a month now. My friends ask me the question: "Why has the flow of the river suddenly stopped?"

Life is like a river. Its job is to flow; no one can stop it from doing so. And, if any one attempts to do so, it finds a new way to flow, a new direction. But, the essential thing is the 'source'. A river always has a source; it flows 'out' of it. It is only when the source itself dries up, that the river stops flowing.

I am still connected to my source; I am still flowing.

During these 'dry days', I was busy producing a small book for our Housing Society. I had titled it as: 'THE CHOICE... WITH A HEALING TOUCH'. It is a book of about twenty-eight pages. I poured my soul into it. Yes, the river did flow ... only in a different direction, for a while.

The book opens with this passage:

"What applies to an individual,
Also applies to a Society;
What…

THE PING-PONG-BALL EXPERIMENT

You might have heard about this experiment, this story. I hadn't.

Last night, while having our dinner at a restaurant, a friend of mine narrated it to me. And, I was not only fascinated, but also felt unburdened. Inspired.

It seems, some laid-back fellow, or a restless kindergarten kid, one day, just decided to try this experiment. No one exactly knows, who it really was. Well, that's immaterial. What is worth noting, is the way this lazy, crazy idea caught on the imagination of the world ... For a whole two months, till the experiment concluded. This was how it was carried out.

This laid-back scientist, or the kid, would throw a tiny, frail Ping Pong ball into the Lake Victoria, the birthplace of river Nile - the longest river in the world. The quest is to find out whether this tiny, delicate stuff could survive the cruelest test: of making it to the other end, the capital city of Egypt, Cairo - about four-thousand miles down on the North. And, if it could, how long it would tak…

WELL, WE ALL HAVE TO ...

Ramesh has many Gods ... I am one of them!

For some of his problems, he prays to me.

Last night, when I saw his name, on my cell-phone screen, I knew, he wanted my 'Divine powers' to solve his new problem.

"Yes, Ramesh, tell me - what's up?" I came to the point.

"Nothing is up sir, everything is down," he complained.

"What is that? Tell me," I encouraged him gently.

"I need to talk to you in person," he informed, with a slight hesitation.

"Al right, how about tomorrow, at six in the evening?" I asked.

"That's fine," he agreed. Then, as I was about to keep the receiver down, he couldn't wait for another day to ask this:

"Sir, I become very angry these days? What to do?"

"Simple," I told him, "Just wait till six in the evening tomorrow."

He got the message, and managed to transmit a nervous laughter.

Imagine my plight. When he had called me, I was consumed by a very disturbing rage within m…

WHEN THE BLAME-GAME ENDS

He claims: "Something is wrong with her."

She claims: "Something is wrong with him."

They both want some one to 'fix' their partner.

"Why do you want me for that?" their counselor yells at them. "A carpenter can do it for you."

Today, Suchitra spent at least an hour in my office talking about her 'problem': Her husband.

He smokes. He drinks. He spends a lot of time with his friends, and less with her. He hardly talks with her. He listens more to his mother and sisters and hardly to her. He doesn't want her to talk much to her own parents. He doesn't bring her gifts. He doesn't take her out. He gives only Rs. 500 every month as pocket money. Their first baby girl is born, and she thinks he will be irresponsible.

And, obviously, Suchitra doesn't like any of them. She has kept telling him about that, and he doesn't listen.

She has gone crazy, mad.

"I can't live with that guy, unless he changes," Suchitra an…

THE GOUND BENEATH YOUR FEET

A chill passed through my bones, early this morning. I read the terrible report on the newspaper: A man in California had shot his young wife, five little children and finally himself. The reason: He and his wife, both, had been fired by their employer!

The ground beneath their feet had, suddenly, opened ... and, he did not know how to save his family. By killing all of them, he saved themselves from the situation.

Or, that's what he thought he was doing, when fear took over his mind.

I met Mohit, a smart young man, on my way to work. Dressed in an impeccably fine attire, this fresh MBA graduate was on his way to his office. It was his first day!
We spoke about several issues in our brief encounter, including the tragic episode in the US. Mohit, too, had read it before he had left home.

"The problem with the American society is that they live on credit line ... Their lifestyle depends on it," Mohit told me. "In India, we have a conservative lifestyle, a good saving cult…

TO VIEW FROM A NEW WINDOW

That is difficult.

I am so used to viewing everything - viewing the world around me - from the windows I am already used to, the windows opened for me by 'others' ...

So, to open a new window, means I am 'aware' ... That, to genuinely appreciate anything in life, or any one for that matter, I need to view them with my new eyes, I need to open a new window ... Re write the whole programme on a fresh, blank CD.

Last night, I watched 'Slumdog Millionaire' with my family, and loved it immensely.

For almost a fortnight, we heard the heated debate so much, that it was very difficult to see the movie with new eyes. The mind had been influenced by the critics, film makers, actors respected journalists - yes, from a tycoon to a slum dog, every body had tried to 'comment' about the movie.

"Just forget about the debate - 'us' Vs. 'them', and simply enjoy the pure cinematic experience ..." a critic had written. "Don't watch 'Slum…

THE WET HENS

When they were sitting here before me, I thought I was watching the latest SRK movie - 'Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi'.

They were parents, and they had come to my office with their 17-year-old daughter for her admission. He seemed to have hailed from Mars - was desperately shy and avoided eye contact as he spoke. In fact, he hardly spoke. She seemed to be a direct descendant of Venus - out going and out spoken. That tells as to why she did all the talking.

The daughter was cast in her papa's mould. She sat there just like a wet hen.

After the admission formalities got over, we started talking about other things. The mother seemed very concerned about her young daughter's shy and withdrawn nature. "She should talk; should mix up," the mother told me looking at her quiet daughter.

It was our first meeting, and I did not know them well. "She is fine ... a bright girl," I responded looking warmly towards our young girl.

"She is smart in every respect, sir; but,…

THE DEAF AND DUMB

It is the fifth day today. And, she has still not turned up to her shop.

Five days ago, at nine in the night, I heard a huge commotion just out side my office. At the heart of the commotion stood two ladies, in their early thirties. They were yelling and accusing each other. A dozen small children watched the battle from the ringside.

The cause of the war:

The more sophisticated lady, a mother of two preteens, had accused - and whacked - the teenager son of the less-sophisticated other lady, the lady who ran a shop with her brother. Now, the second lady and her brother were up-in-arm against the other lady. "How dare you accuse my son?" this lady shouted. "It is the third time you have man-handled my son."

"Yes, I have. Because, he is a liar, a bully. He did his mischief for the third time, today," yelled back the other lady, the sophisticated one.

By now, a couple of her friends had come down to join the sophisticated lady.

"Did you see my son doing the …
THE WILD, WAYSIDE FLOWERS
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...