Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Pic.: Pradeep Nanda

“So, what’s your big plan for 31st night?”

Either some have, already, asked you this question; or, you have, already, asked this to some…

‘Big plan’, here, invariably, means a ‘big party’… Yes, the New-year party!

Well, though many around me still ask me this question, I have, somehow, stopped asking this to others…

There is hardly any sense in it… hardly any meaning.

I have given my students a holiday on 31st and 1st. They are very, very happy. “Happy New-year to all of you,” I wished them, when they left, this morning.

“Happy New-year sir,” the response was resounding!

“Sir, what is the big plan for 31st?” some asked me…

“Go, enjoy yourself; have fun,” I smiled without answering their question.

Now, I will be meeting them, directly, on 3rd January… that is, in the ‘new year’…

What difference will I see in my students, and what difference will they see in me?

I am shaking my head... and smiling!

I will be 57 in the new-year. So, I will be witnessing this so-called new-year passage for the 56th time!

Yes, as these young-kids do, today, I have done it all, once… Attended the mid-night mass, after that, partied hard, nightlong… I have burnt the ‘old-man’ and danced to the music… I have spent time, in the romantic cold-night, with my special-one… I have sent messages and cards; I have received scores and scores of them. I have called my dear ones and they have called me to say, “Happy New-year.”

Yes, over all these years – fifty-six long years – I have done it all. But, I have failed to understand, of all the things about this ‘Happy New-year business, this:

“What is ‘happy’ about the happy-new-year?”

Unless we approach the new-year consciously, unless we get in touch with some of our old-habits which we do not wish to continue in the new-year, unless we make conscious choices about the new-habits to be imbibed in the new-year… yes, unless we are awake and alive to this passage in time – the Passover – the so-called the ‘Happy New-year’ is just one more ritual in our already-loaded long-list of rituals… something we follow like herd… blindly, mechanically…

"Wherever you go, you carry yourself!"

So, what is your ‘big plan’ for the 31st night?

I won’t ask you this…

Hope, you won’t ask me this either…

But, if someone does, let’s just smile!


Monday, December 29, 2014


Pic.: Pradeep Nanda

“In Life, if we can turn our hobbies into our professions,” the famous line reminds us, “we do not have to ‘work’ at all!”

 But, many of us may not be so lucky. We do have our hobbies; but, they aren't our professions…

So, I, always, tell my friends and students this: “Never ever give up your most intimate hobbies… They will help you enjoy your work; they will help you do away with your stress; they will keep you, always, childlike with curiosity and zest… they will keep you, forever, young and spiritual… Yes, they will give you a good reason to live, hope, work and love.”

A hobby is the only thing that we do with our total heart… Our passion, enthusiasm and dedication go into it completely… No one needs to coax us to do it, let alone force… Money and reward are not at all the concerns; there is nothing to prove to anyone, anything… Out hearts prompt us to do it, and we just do it… Yes, often, without being worried about our hunger and time… Without being worried about the grades and validations…

In a hobby, the heart meditates… the Life is centered!

In today’s world, with all the power of technology and connectivity, if a person like me who wants to write as a hobby, or my friend, Pradeep Nanda - who lives in far away America - and who loves to captures lovely images through his camera just as a hobby... or my friend, Sudha, who loves to draw and create artifacts, or my friend Mavoureen who loves to cook and bake – yes, if any of us gives excuses for not being able to pursue our hobbies, in today’s world, we are simply some lazy idiots!

We should never let our hobbies die. The day our hobbies die, the reason to work, hope, live and love, all of these,too, will begin to die… That's for sure.

This morning, I just wrote this to Pradeep Nanda, after going through this Travel Photography…

“Hi Pradeep, honestly, I had missed out on all this... In deed, it is a visual feast, so captivating! You have been blessed with this sensitive eye and a golden heart; else, it would not have been possible. Please don't give up capturing magic through your lenses... Keep doing it just for the joy of it, just for the love of it... It is a reward in itself... It will keep you, always, happy... always childlike, filled with wonder... It will, also, keep you incredibly spiritual, connected to the great Creator...

I am really impressed by your work... May God bless you, dear Pradeep.

I will be blogging on this subject today, using some of your travel pics...  May it inspire many, many more to do such good work...

With loads of wishes and love.”

Photography is not the bread-and-butter for Pradeep in the US. He is forty-plus and doing well in a large corporation out there. But, for so many years, and even after going so far in life, if he still keeps the child in him alive… there has got be a reason for it. In the introduction on his Photography Page, Pradeep has written:

“I love traveling and I've developed an interest in photography the last few years. I take photographs to define my experiences, to capture these moments and share the earth's most extraordinary places with my friends and family. Time is the most precious commodity we own. Enjoy every moment of it and live your dreams.”

So, as promised to Pradeep, I bring you, here, some of the images from his travelogue… May it inspire you to keep your own hobbies alive…

NOTE: I have randomly picked, here, some of Pradeep's travel pics. I strongly urge you to visit his FB Page - 'PRADEEP NANDA TRAVEL GALLERY'.


Sunday, December 28, 2014


Pic.: Bhupen Kalyani

Last evening, Vikas, one of the participants of our on-going Public-speaking course, told us a beautiful story.

Once, in a forest, there lived a crow. He had no worries or complaints and was fully content in life. “I am the happiest bird in this forest,” he kept reminding himself.

And, then, one day, the crow saw a swan. “She is so white and beautiful; and I am so black and ugly,” the crow was now lamenting. With his saddened heart, he said to the swan, “You have been blessed with such whiteness, beauty and grace, that you must be the happiest bird in this forest.”

“My friend, that’s how I would think for a long time;” the swan responded, “Then, one day, I saw a beautiful parrot, and everything changed inside me. The parrot had two colors; he was gifted to speak; humans loved to take him home and raise him like one of their own… So, I think, it is not me, but the parrot who is the happiest bird in this forest.”

The crow, thus, went to meet the parrot. “O beautiful parrot, how blessed you are; God has dressed you with two colors; He has given you the gift of speech, too. You are the darling of humans,” the crow kept praising the parrot. He added, “So, you must be the happiest bird in our forest.”

“You think so, my friend? The parrot was quick to comment.  “Now listen,” he continued, “I, always, thought I was the happiest bird in the forest until, one day, I saw the peacock. He was adorned with so many colors; he was gifted with the talent to dance and enchant his beholders… So, I, now, think that I am not the happiest bird in our forest; the peacock is!”

Finally, the crow decided to meet the peacock in the nearby zoo. Scores of people had gathered around the peacock’s cage to behold his beauty and get enchanted by his glorious dance. Once everyone had left the place, the crow expressed his feelings, “O peacock, how adorned you are… You can seduce scores of admirers with your charm and dance… So, you must be the happiest bird in this forest!”

“Not at all, my dear crow, not at all,” the peacock had his explanation, “I would, always, be very proud of my charm. But, this very charm turned out to be my biggest curse… Because of my great beauty, they have entrapped me in this cage, robbed me of my freedom… I feel like a slave.”  Then, he concluded, “My friend, look around, here, in this zoo. They have enslaved each and every bird in a cage… except a crow. Crow is the only bird blessed with complete freedom. Hence, trust me, you are the happiest bird in our forest.” 

Comparison is man’s biggest curse, too. Just as the crow needed a swan, a parrot and a peacock to convey him this truth, we humans need a crow to convey it to us.


Saturday, December 27, 2014


Pic.: Pradeep Nanda

“I call a spade a spade.” Whenever someone uses this phrase, I quietly say a prayer for him: “O Lord, have mercy on my friend; please save him!”

Save him from what?

Till someone doesn't tell this man the same thing, with the same bluntness and arrogance, he will never realize why, many a times in life, it is not sensible to call a spade a spade…

I have noticed this: the guy who makes a big deal about calling a spade a spade, is most touchy about someone treating him with the same medicine!

A gentleman I know has just started a food business. He sent me some complimentary dishes to taste which were reasonably good. The other day, I gave him a substantially-large order. Some of the dishes turned out to be very good, while some, really bad. Now, he was not my thick friend, nor he was a total stranger. I knew him fairly well and he sincerely wanted me to give him my feedback, too.  Though, for a moment, I felt annoyed and I wanted to let him know my feelings point-blank, I simply held back my feelings for a day or two. When we met - when the man was really in a receiving frame of mind - I let him know how I had felt about the good dishes and the bad dishes… Obviously, I complemented him for the good ones first; and, then, I touched upon the ones he had to improve, and do so immediately.

It worked perfectly for both… The man took my advice very humbly and sportingly. After all, he had just entered into the new venture and wanted to do well in it… He was sincere; he wanted my feedback for improvement…

The feedback doesn't mean ‘put it bluntly’… Even though spade is a spade and we need to call a spade a spade, the way we say it does matter a lot in human relationships…

If someone calls my product lousy, face ugly, and speech spice-less – yes, point blank, with a I-don’t-care-a-damn attitude – it will help neither him, nor me. It is not the kind of feedback I would use to improve myself; it will dampen my spirit… and, worse, alienate the person from me…

So, in life, why we want to call a spade a spade, when and how we do it… yes, it is more important than calling a spade a spade itself…

Yes, sometimes, it is very enriching, very beautiful when we spare the spade… And, we, certainly, know when that ‘sometimes’ is!