Posts

Showing posts from January, 2010

THE MUD POT

"From where do you get the topics for your blog?" this man asked me. "From my daily life," I told him. "But, the 'daily life' happens to every one. The incidents you touch upon are common; still, how come only you notice them and not me?" he asked.

I was flattered... a bit superior to him. But, the next moment, I realised, the danger of acting from such a feeling. And, I told him about what I was feeling, the mundane human conflict. "I get my subjects from moments like these... Maybe, I am more sensitive and aware to these things... more available," I said.

Just then, my hand reached out to my mobile. The sms had been forwarded to me by my younger brother, Vivek:

"A mud pot having milk
is ranked higher than a golden pot having poison.
It is not our outer glamour but our inner virtues
that make us valuable."

I showed him the message. "Don't we all know this truth?" I asked him. "Need some one remind us about it?"…

DOING MY JOB

Mr. L.K. Advani had visited a local college some days ago. One of the college trustees, a young doctor-friend of mine, had invited me; but, I couldn't attend the function. When I met the doctor the next day, I enquired about the function. He told me about what Mr. Advani had said in his speech.

Mr. Advani was addressing a mixed gathering of teachers, students and others. My doctor-friend told me that, Mr. Advani reminded the audience about the need to take India forward. To achieve this goal, he gave them a very simple mantra: 'Each one of you should do your job well... very well."

I was in the dispensary of this doctor for my check up. As he was treating me, he was describing me about the impact Mr Advani's words had on him the previous day. And, I could feel that!

"Wow!" I thought in my mind. "What a simple, yet powerful mantra that is!"

We do not see the solution that way. We see in terms of revolutions; we want big solutions. Moreover, we look for …

OLD HABITS

Some things, in life, do not change... our old habits, particularly.

I remember a childhood incident. Our eighth-standard academic year had just started. A cousin sister of mine had newly joined a school nearby, for seventh standard. I knew some girls in her new class, and I did not like them. So, I began to act as my sister's protective elder brother. I gave her advice - what to do and what not to do in her new school, who is good and who is bad, whom she should befriend and whom she should shun. "Those three girls are bad; don't become friendly with them... They will spoil you," I counselled her, in good faith. Then, I added those 'famous' words of caution: "But, don't tell that I told you this!"

Exactly after three days, one evening, the three girls with whom I had great allergy, gheraoed me outside my school. "What did you tell your cousin sister about us? We are bad? Not to become friendly with us? We will spoil her?" they screamed …

MERCY

If I had gone to bed, last night, with thoughts of fear concealed in my heart, how could I rise, this morning, feeling confident, courageous? Likewise, if I had ended my night with a hundred complaints tucked under my heart, how could I expect to see a bright Sun outside, this morning?

When I first heard someone making this statement - "The greatest miracle you have witnessed, today, is the fact that you woke up this morning... that, you are alive, now!" , I had, instantly, loved it, felt inspired by it. Just to think, and feel deeply, that I had that privilege, that grace, is, truly, humbling. It is, truly, a spiritual experience. I completely believe, that, if I am capable of going through such a profound experience, I do not need to offer any more prayer. That feeling, that experience, itself is a true prayer. Whether I kneel down or raise my hands unto the heavens, whether I garland my Deity or chant before Him... I think, all this is immaterial. I just need to feel, deep…

THE C.P.T.

Yesterday, at 9.15 in the morning, I was to teach a batch of CPT students. Everyone had come, except Roshan. His friends in the batch tried to get in touch with him. However, there was no response from Roshan either to the calls or sms's. We went ahead with the class. At around 9.30, Roshan's mother called me up. She was terribly disturbed. "Sir, this boy is out of our control," she told me, "I have been trying to wake him up right since 7.30, but he is refusing to be get off the bed."

This was not the first time Roshan's mother was complaining to me about him. Roshan is the only child of his parents. They come from a highly educated and well-off family. Their main complaint about their 17-year-old son has been: He goes to bed late, because he spends hours on the Internet, on his mobile, watching movies on Television or even reading novels. Often, he remains awake the whole night, and the next entire day remains on his bed. The day schedule, including h…

THE GREAT SURVIVORS

Tamilnadu. When I was small, we called this state - Madras. My dad, though hadn't studied much, was a politically-conscious person. I still remember the heated discussions he would engage himself in, too frequently, with anyone and everyone he could. I first heard a name called Karunanidhi from him, amidst such passionate discussions. It is nearly fifty years, since then.

Today, Mr. Karunanidhi, 85, still rules this vast state. His political career spans over 60 years, and he holds the record of winning every election he contested during this long period. From the pitiable, dusty streets to massive express-highways, from the humble bullock carts to supersonic jets, from the silent/B & W movies to Maga-screen-multiplex experience... everything in this colourful state has changed, except this colourful man called Karunanidhi. I, sometimes, wonder: Are the people of this state not tired of him? How can they ignore so many young and dynamic men and women? What makes this man so end…

LORD, TAKE MY HAND

My dad's sister, Aunt Mary, passed away on Saturday night. We attended her funeral service yesterday.

Aunt Mary lived for nearly 75 years. Her children are all well settled in life. She did suffer from diabetes-related problems, and, some days before her death, she had a stroke which affecting her brain and breathing. We knew, looking at her condition in the hospital, that she wouldn't live long. Death, in such situation, however painful for the nearest and dearest ones, is always a peaceful solution.

Yesterday was a Sunday. A large number of people had turned up to bid Aunt Mary the final farewell. When the coffin, slowly, went down, the famous hymn, written by Thomas A. Dorsey, was played on an audio:

"Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, and worn.

Through the storm,
Through the night,
Lead me on to the light,
Take my hand, Precious Lord,
Lead me home." ...

My aunt's death did not come as a shock to her children, grandchildren or a…

CARE AND CONCERN

I am very fond of Byron Katie's book - 'Loving What Is'. She helps us deal with any problems in our lives - however complex they may be - with the help of a simple, 4-questions inquiry. She calls her programme - 'THE WORK'.

One of the things I liked in this book is this. She reminds us, that all of us mind only three kinds of businesses in our lives: Our own, Other's and God's. Stress, she tells us, is experienced when we try to handle the business of others and God. Whose business is it to stop an earthquake or tsunami from striking this planet? Can any of us stop them? It is God's business... Maybe, we can earnestly pray to Him. But, she simply argues, that when we see the truth that we can not do anything about an earthquake or a tsunami... that, it is for God, the Universe, to take a call on it, that we become stress-free, peaceful. Similarly, she prods us to think asking, Whose business is it to stop terrorism or a war, inflation or an economy-meltd…

THE HOLY COWS

Last night, I watched the India-Sri Lanka ODI Finals. I got to watch only the last five overs... and,India losing the match.

Strangely, nothing happened to me! No tension or anxiety, no anger or sadness, no frustration or depression. I just felt normal. But, the gentleman next to me was badly upset, depressed. Another man was angry; he began to hurl abuses on our players. Again, I did not find their reaction strange. I was normal, watching their behaviour, too.

But, just a few years ago, it wasn't so. I would die to watch an India-Pakistan match, and, in the end, if we lost, I would literally die!. Most of the India-Pakistan contests were known for their nail-biting endings. I would sit before the TV, glued, without any motion, sensing my heart racing, unable to breathe fully... my mind clouded, unable to think clearly. I would become sad and depressed, and, sometimes, angry, mad.

Then, why didn't I react at all, last night?

India is 'my' country... This is my belief. My c…

FISH FROM THE 'BIG' MARKET

I remember this couple in our village where we grew up. The lady hated to buy any stuff from the nearby 'small' market. She would always crib about the groceries, vegetables, fish, meat... everything from this market. Everything from there, for her, was either stale or sub-standard. She preferred the main, 'big' market at 'Town'. She would spend money and time to travel all the way out there and buy her 'bazaar', as she would love to call it. Her husband hated this obsession with the 'big' market. "Silly lady," she would tell us, "Even the rotten fish from this 'big' market is gold for her." Often, he would, quietly, buy fish or vegetables from the nearby market, and, at home, he would lie. As long as the stuff was from the 'big' market from the 'Town', the lady would be happy. Nothing should come from the goddamn market nearby.

We would have great fun whenever the man would narrate to us his adventures…

DOG'S TAIL

About ten street dogs - some big ones and some small ones - had surrounded him. They were so happy, so grateful to this man that you could feel it just by watching their tails... Just the way they jumped around him to catch those biscuits as he kept dropping them in their mouths. The show went on for about ten minutes, and the dogs - all satisfied and happy - went their way.

I happened to land at that spot just as the show was about to end. The man, who ran a small shop, had been doing this act for years. Obviously, this batch of the dogs is one of the many he had been serving all along. Today is a Tuesday. This morning, when I met him at that spot, he offered me the 'Prasad' from the famous Siddi Vinayak temple, from where he had just returned. A few yards away from his home, he was feeding the dogs.

"Just look at these animals. They are so grateful, so loyal... They are far better than human beings," I said to the man as I accepted the 'Prasad'.

"No, no,&…

EVERYBODY'S SKY

"Everything, in life, happens at the right time, and for the right reasons." I was talking to a gentleman on some 'troubling' issues in his life.

"Maybe, that is so in your life," this gentleman was quick to react. "In mine, everything happens at the wrong time, and for the wrong reasons."

His life had problems; he felt, life was 'unfair' towards him. And, here was I, a 'philosopher', trying to calm him down with those famous - perhaps, outdated - words, "Everything, in life, happens at the right time and for the right reasons." Apparently, he had become tired and fed up listening to that 'Pop Philosophy'. He wanted to yell at me, "Stop that crap; give me something that works."

I had nothing else to give him, except that crap.

Is Life, in deed, 'unfair' to some like this gentleman? Does everything for them happen at the 'wrong time' and for 'wrong reasons'?

How can I answer these quest…

PARADOX OF LOVING OUR ENEMIES

In my last post, I wrote on the 'Paradox of Money'. In today's post, I wish to write on another Paradox: 'the 'Paradox of loving our enemies'.

Who is an enemy? Does he actually exist? Or, does he just exist in our minds - a creation of our own perception, our distorted thinking?

"Do not tell me to be a Jesus Christ," this middle-aged lady retorted to me some years ago, "I don't wish to be nailed on the cross like Him." I was trying to broker peace between this lady and another one. They had a prolonged history of bitterness, distrust and animosity.

It is less than four years, since that episode. Presently, the two ladies have become best of friends. The equation has changed; both of them have come together... They have new, common enemies. I am one of them!

Life, indeed, is too short. These two ladies are the monumental example! In Politics, nobody is any body's permanent friend or enemy. A year, there, is incredibly a long time! Any ch…

THE PARADOX OF MONEY

The less you hold on to things, the more you own them!

It is, indeed, a great paradox of life.

One reason why we constantly experience lack of money in our life is because, we tend to hold on to it, hoard it, are suspicious about it.

When money comes in, however small in quantity, do we feel grateful for the inflow? When we pay our bills, do we pay with blessings to the payee?

The answer is obvious. When money comes in, we take it for granted; we assume that we are 'entitled ' to it. And, when we pay our bills, we grumble, we resist, we feel robbed by some one... and there is a nagging sadness, sorrow and even anger inside.

So, how can we ever experience prosperity? How can we ever feel content and happy over money?

On 31st of December, a surprise envelope came to me by post. I wasn't expecting at all the IT refund that day. For a moment, I paused and thanked. I could feel the gladness, fulfilment. It had nothing to do with the size of the amount; but, certainly, it had a lot …

GUNS AND ROSES

I ended the year 2009 at IMAX dome theatre, watching "AVATAR" with my wife. And what a way to end an year!

James Cameron must be a great dreamer - a great child dreamer. The movie is sur-real, unbelievably grand, huge and beautiful. Watching on a gigantic screen at IMAX made it even more magical. I still see it in my mind, still dream about it.

"Everything in this world is created twice," it is said, "First, in our minds, and then in the outside world." Every movie, every book, every work of art or architecture, every enterprise or empire... even war, even peace. 'AVATAR', I am told, lived in Cameron's mind for more than fifteen years. When it came into the world, it came so brilliantly. Shah Jahan dreamt of the Taj Mahal, Colombus dreamt of India, the New World...

Yes, every creation begins with a dream, in our minds, in our hearts. It has been always that way... right from the Genesis. God dreamt of this universe, this world... and it came to …
THE WILD, WAYSIDE FLOWERS
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...