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Showing posts from November, 2009

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…
THE WILD, WAYSIDE FLOWERS
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...