Showing posts from November, 2012


“The Cobbler, always, wears the worst shoes!”

This was the phrase I had first heard from our English teacher in tenth-standard. Almost forty years back, that was!

Our teacher had told us - why?

“The cobblers are experts in attending to other people’s shoes; but, when it comes to their own, they are miserable… They are too busy, and too poor, to attend to their own shoes!”

Then, in the Church, I would hear another Biblical phrase. The Father would decipher the same meaning out of these words of Jesus:

“Physician, heal thyself!”

“The physician is so busy treating and healing others that he can hardly notice what is wrong with his own body,” the Father would explain to us. “Often, he neither has the willingness nor the capacity to heal his own sickness!”

Thousands of years have passed since the birth of these phrases… Still, nothing has changed: The Cobblers still wear the worst shoes… and the Physicians still are bad in healing themselves!

And this, too: We all do… We all ARE… The teachers, the…


I come across hundreds of students who are extremely shy to speak in public!
I am not talking about speaking on stage, from a podium. I am talking about just in a class when the teacher is teaching… when she is asking a question. Yes, hundreds of students become tongue-tied, blanked-out… They forget what they want to say… They fumble, make more and more mistakes… And, then, they look around and assume that all others are ‘perfect’… They assume that others are laughing at their ‘mistakes’… They assume that something is wrong with them, only with them. So, they become ‘guilty’… apologetic… even angry with themselves… frustrated or depressed.

I was one such student… Desperately shy… Chronically nervous in class and at every gathering!

Speaking from stage was just unthinkable… Too terrifying even to think… leave alone attempt!

In class, I had the right answers. But, I had a weak heart… too weak to raise my hand… leave alone stand up!

So, whenever the question was thrusted upon me by my teache…


“Sir, may I come in?” 

Nine-year-old Yomie was standing at the door, holding a paper-plate. 

The class was packed, and all our young-students looked towards the door and smiled.

“Oh darling, come in,” I exclaimed, “so sweet of you… What is this?”

“Sir, this is ‘Prasad’ from Gurudwara… for you,” Yomie announced handing over the plate, “today is Guru Nanak Jayanti.”

“Say Good Moring to everyone here,” I twisted Yomie to face the packed classroom.

“Hi Good Morning,” said Yomie, wearing a sunny smile and an equally sunny confidence.

With that, the little fellow disappeared… leaving my heart smiling with lots of happiness.

The room was packed and the class was on… Look at the innocence… Look at the purity of human heart… Look at the natural self-confidence… Look at the power of acceptance… Look at the magic of love…

“All this goes out of your system as you grow older,” I told the college kids, my tongue firmly tucked inside my cheeks, “We just need to be simple and uncomplicated at our hearts.”



9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero, New-York City. Pic.: Ashok Ahuja

Lifeof an individual is no different from life of a nation...
Both need to possess zest for life… and, when crushed under challenges, both need the bounce-back spirit…

Sulking, blaming and brooding are for losers… 

Determination, acceptance and hope are for winners!

On Sunday night, I watched KBC. There was this young girl – Sonali Mukherjee, her face devastated through acid attack of lust-and-hate driven young men. Once, a very beautiful, graceful and energetic young woman now she is reduced to a sight… which is difficult for us to behold. Her survival story – supported by her caring family – is the story of what I have refereed above – Zest for life and bounce-back spirit.

Sonali has not given up on life… on hope… or living with purpose…

She has moved on… resolved to do something constructive for those inflicted with even graver tragedies…

Sonali is a brave girl… an inspiration for all of us!

Yesterday was 26/11. Four years ago,…


Idid not feel like writing the whole day, today… Just let alone my need to express, say something… know what others feel about my Posts… My restlessness… that I ‘miss’ something if I don’t…. Yes, the compulsions!

Everyday, a thousand things cross my mind and another thousand things touch my heart… Yes, they did today, too… The whole day long…

I allowed them to cross my mind… felt their touch in my heart…

But, a question kept haunting me:

“Why is this need in me to pause… capture… and interpret them to the world?”

“Why this restlessness? This desperation?"

I left the passing thoughts...  be;

I left the touching feelings...  be.

Sometimes, the questions seem to provide more solace than their answers…

“Why do I need the world to validate my opinions?”
“Why can’t I seek the beauty in others’?”

"I make a difference"… It is definitely good to know .this

But, it is even better to know that, like me, there are others, too… Yes, all feel in their hearts what I do:

“We all make difference!” 



Ihaven’t worked anywhere, under anyone, except, maybe, for a year-and-a-half. That’s right at the start of my career… and, that’s all my ‘employment experience’… All put together!

I always wanted to be on my own… and, I chose that path, ever since.

I am happy, I did it!

So, when a young-one comes to me for some tips on how to prepare a smart CV or how to face a job interview, I immediately connect them to some of my friends who have gone up smartly on the ‘employment route’. And, let me tell you, my friends do a fantastic job of guiding the young-ones. 

All that I can do, to the young-ones, is a bit of ‘pep’… 

They say, it helps!

Now, here is the irony. Though, during these three-decades-plus, I did not have to seek jobs in my life, hundreds of my students have given my reference as their ‘teacher/professor’. And, their prospective employers have called me/ written to me to check on the ‘credentials’ of the candidates – yes, my students, their prospective employees…

“In what capacity do you …


Itis not easy to believe in the philosophy: 
“In Life, our problems are opportunities in disguise!”

It is easy to believe only when problems hit other people’s lives… 

But, when problems hit our own lives, it is tough to buy that theory… Very tough!

But, then, are problems, really, not opportunities to learn from and grow with?

No matter what our problems are, no matter how crushing they look, how intimidating and frustrating… I, seriously, think that our every problem does possess the seed of opportunity for us to learn from and grow with – become wise, strong and compassionate, in Life.

And, to anchor our hearts on this philosophy, I also think that some things must be in place. Here are they.

There should be zest of life. Or, let’s put it this way: We should love life!

Now, just imagine the power of this mindset… this paradigm! I think, everything else will automatically fall in place the moment our hearts choose to see the brighter side of Life… believe in the light at the end of our dark…
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...