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Showing posts from January, 2015

EVERYONE WANTS SHIVAJI TO BE BORN... BUT, IN SOMEONE-ELSE'S HOME!

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Afriend of mine has a favorite line, and he recites it in his chaste Marathi. I wish, I could reproduce it here with the same effect. Nevertheless, what he wants to convey through it is:
”Everyone wants Shivaji to be born… but, in someone-else’s home!”

Most of us are cribbers of the first order. We complain about everything and everyone, and we do it everywhere and everytime… Why something or someone is wrong, we are first to point out. Why can’t it be done this way or that way… Why can’t he do it this or do that… Yes, cribbing and complaining comes to us, so effortlessly!
My friend puts these guys – the habitual cribbers – to a simple test… He asks them to come forward… take up the responsibility to lead and manage. If they are genuinely interested in the progress of the place – organization or community – if they are sincere, if their intentions are good, then, they will surely take it up. If not, they will give a hundred reasons why they can’t take up the responsibility…
And, there go…

IF ALONE THE FISH KNEW IT WAS A BAIT!

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Pic.: Usha Prasad

Not a single moment passes by without an urge in me to react: say something strongly to someone… That someone can be my own spouse, son, student, relative, friend, an associate, a neighbor, or, even, a stranger… There is this urge in me to say something strongly…
An urge is a craving of my mind… a compulsion… an addiction… an instinctive habit… It is my weakness. Whenever I consciously abstain from saying what I want to say mechanically, instinctively… yes, whenever I use my discretion, better judgment, I can sense the feeling of self-confidence in my heart… I feel the power and strength… I feel I am in charge… 

Yes, if just holding back a few strong comments, here and there, can give me that sense of well-being… Then, imagine, if I can keep abstaining from reacting more and more and more!
Like everyone else, I, too, know that all my thoughts and feelings need not be – and should not be – expressed. Similarly, all my opinions need not be – and should not be -  expressed…

YOU SAID IT, LAXMAN SIR, BETTER THAN ANYBODY ELSE DID

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Pic.: Pradeep Nanda
All through his professional life – for over six decades, that is – R.K. Laxman did only one thing: draw cartoons… He made that - otherwise ignored and uncared - common man speak through his silence, each day… and made him, literally, immortal. He made even that – otherwise most irritating and shooed bird - crow, immortal!
Imagine, a simple soul like you and me – a total common man – becoming a legend called R.K.Laxman… just by drawing his cartoons, every day! That, too, without formally learning to draw them from any school or teacher… Instead learning to do them on his own…
Yes, imagine, R.K. Laxman without his cartooning prowess!
It is just like imagining Amitabh Bachchan without his acting prowess… and Sachin Tendulkar without his batting prowess!
Amitabh did not go to any acting school and Sachin, though had learnt a few subtle things from his coach, Achrekar, I believe, had learnt on his own almost all his colossal batting-skills…
Ditto for Lata Mangeshkar, Milk…

AT THE END OF OBAMA'S HARD, LONG DAY...

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Pic.: Rajiv Sharma

Iwas watching on TV, last night, the special programmes on President Obama’s visit to India. I have long admired the way he communicates with such depth, confidence and √©lan, all at the same time, and all extempore… Yes, no matter how long he speaks. I follow him - of all the other things I admire him for – for this strength of his: the power of public-speaking.
“How does he do it?” my wife was spellbound, last night, “THAT is public-speaking!”
“You are right, darling,” I expressed my agreement, “THAT is why we are glued to him, like this!”
But, this Post is not about President Obama’s phenomenal ability to move people with his gift of gab. By now, no one on this earth would need me to point it to him or her… I, myself, have blogged many times about it, in the past… There are so many of his great speeches – particularly relating to his two-time Presidential-elections… Just a click on YouTube, you have them, right before you…
So, this Post is about a young-lady’s question…

THE SMASHAN VAIRAGYA

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Pic.: Vinod Krishnan

Balloons go up only when you fill them with air… the hot-air. So, if they have to remain up there, if they have to keep soaring high – then, you need to ensure that the hot- air lasts in them for a long, long time…
But, do you see balloons floating long enough in the air?
Well, let me talk about another kind of balloons, now.
As I had promised to my friend, Harish, I held, yesterday, a four-hour programme for his wonderful staff in a hotel. Harish was very clear in his objective: he wanted his young boys and girls to ‘aspire’ for a better life… a productive and contributing life. For that, he wanted them to be ‘inspired’… So, rightly, he had coined the theme for the programme: ‘Inspire and Aspire’.
Well, I gave my best… and, I could make out that they were all ‘inspired’… Yes, pumped-up with that hot-air. At the end of the session, almost all young boys and girls came up to me to tell that they were charged-up, now… That, they were, now, ready to aspire for a more prod…

YES, TIMES HAVE CHANGED... BUT, READING HASN'T

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Pic.: Chetna Shetty


We are the children of a technological age. We have found streamlined ways of doing much of our routine work. Printing is no longer the only way of reproducing books. Reading them, however, has not changed."

Lawrence Clark Powell

Reading hasn't become extinct, yet. People still read… Only question is: Whether they prefer reading online or offline… Whether the traditional book – the hard-copy or the trendy, convinient soft-copy…
I have just returned from the THE DAWN CLUB Certification function held in the local gymkhana today. During the course, one of the many things I had kept reminding them to do was: to read, read, and read…
Yes, read anything…
Read anything that helped them broaden their outlook towards life… “Reading helps you develop your world-view,” I would, often, tell them…
Read anything that helped them enhance their subject-knowledge… “Reading helps you in constantly enhancing your field-knowledge long after you have done with your college,” I wou…

A WALKING STICK OR A CRUTCH?

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Pic.: Ashok Ahuja

One of the scenes I loved the most in the Hindi movie – ‘Black’ was this: Mr. Sahai (Amitabh Bachchan) has, already, brought his deaf, dumb and blind student, Michelle, (Rani Mukherjee), this far… But, he can see her helplessness without him, her dependence on him… He knows, that she cannot, and should not, cling to him lifelong… that, he can’t be there around, always… So, he has brought something that can do away this clinging, this helplessness… It is a walking stick. When Michelle senses, by touching it, that her dear teacher wants her to walk with the help of a stick, she bursts out, angrily -  “No!”
Mr. Sahai is kind, yet, firm. “This will make you independent,” he tells sternly to Michelle, “and not dependent.”
There is so much depth in that scene, that, I keep talking about it to my students and their parents, whenever I feel, I should…
I did it today, once again…
Nupur* was my dear student some twenty-five years ago. She would, always, tell me, that she had been …

ENERGY FROM THE WHEELCHAIR

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Pic.: Asha D'Souza

Two days ago, my mother-in-law underwent an angioplasty at Jaslok hospital. Yesterday, when I had been there, I saw something very heart-warming. In fact, inspiring!
It was the patient on the next bed, who was all set to be discharged… Her 60-year-old son and his wife were around. What must be the mother’s age? I wondered. Someone told me, it was 85!
What was so endearing was the way this elderly woman carried herself… Nobody would guess that she had just undergone an angioplasty… Her intellect was razor-sharp… Her eyes were as clear as a summer sky… Her ears were as sensitive as a BOSE microphone… Her smile could disarm an entire army…And, her zest could put anyone of us to shame!
My mother-in-law already had a couple of stories to tell me about the elderly lady. “The daughter-in-law tells that she has learnt everything from her mother-in-law,” my own mother-in-law told me, “She can see, hear and speak like a teenager.”
Yes, she could…
Right from the ward boys, ayas …

THERE ARE ONLY TWO KINDS OF TROUBLES IN MY LIFE

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Pic.: Chetna Shetty


There are only two kinds of troubles in my life: the troubles, which come without my invitation… and the troubles which I self-invite. The more I look closer at my troubles, the clearer it becomes to me, that, there are no troubles in my life of a third kind!
Troubles, which come in my life without my invitation, are the ones I have no control on… Like the bus or taxi I travel by get knocked off by some drunk-motorist; my house is destroyed in a fire, earthquake or flood;  a major illness of my own or my dearest ones; someone burgles into my house and cleans-up my  treasury; my bank goes bust… or, my children get into some major problems…
Now, though the above troubles might come into my life without my invitation and are beyond my control, I still have a choice over how I react when they come… What I am unable to change or control, I must learn to accept… and, that quiet dignity, that silent grace is the key for my inner peace…
Yes, like everyone else’s life, my life…

RUNNING OUR FULL MARATHONS

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Pic.: Pradeep Nanda So, the long-awaited - and  a lot-hyped-up - Mumbai Marathon, finally, got over, yesterday. “More than 40,000 took part,” today’s TOI headlines say, proudly…  Well, some ran full, some ran half, some quarter… and, some a little at least… Yes, there was a lot of buzz around it, a lot of life… The preparation for it, itself, was a huge thing… The participants, their families and friends were proud… 
as if, it was something extra-ordinary - like a great sacrifice or martyrdom… that deserved 21-gun-salutes from the rest of us, the bystanders… yes, those who did not or could not run…

Someone from our Society had been practicing for it along with his little girl for some time. He completed half, it seems. I did not know this. “We should honor them during the flag-hoisting ceremony in our colony,” a lady suggested to me, last evening, very excitedly. I am the Hon. Chairman of our Society, you see… I smiled… On the same day, that is on the Republic Day, a friend of mine has o…

IT IS LAWFUL TO DO GOOD ON THE SABBATH

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Allow me to use one more leaf from the movie PK… It is the very end of the movie… After one year’… you read on the screen… “We are about to land in a while,” PK announces, obviously, he is back with many more PKs from his gola… But, now he knows some wired truths on this gola called ‘Earth’… so, he shares them with his fellow-beings…. Some funny truths, some dos and donts. I loved one of them particularly. “If you hear anyone say ‘I love chicken’ or ‘I love fish’, remember, it does not mean they have great love for chicken and fish… It only means, they love to eat them!"
Like everyone else did, I, too, left the movie hall with a chuckle in my heart… Only one more thing, I wished, PK had told his fellow-creatures… “Look guys, here, on this gola called ‘Earth’, if any one tries to tell you too much about rules and regulations, just remember this: He is a plain hypocrite… suffering from a disease called, ‘Crab Mentality’!”
These guys will neither do good nor will allow anyone else to…

BE TRUE TO YOUR OWN FAITH

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Pic.: Chetna Shetty
On this Sunday morning, my wife and I had been to the Global Vipasana Centre (Pagoda) at Gorai. For a long time, I have been longing to visit this magnificent piece of architecture. I love anything and everything inspiring… great work of architecture… be it commercial or residential towers or be it cathedrals, temples, mosques or gurudwaras… or even bridges and flyovers… I feel inspired by the thought that loads of passion goes into building them…
Another reason why I wanted to visit Pagoda was this: I have been, always, influenced by the teachings of Gautama Buddha, who, in my view, did not teach mankind any religion… In fact, everywhere around the Vipasana centres, you get to read this truth: Vipasana, the meditation taught by the Buddha himself, doesn't belong to any sect or religion…
But, then, somewhere down the line, the essence and the truth get polluted by us – the followers, the interpreters, the mortals, the gullible… We, invariably, end up making a reli…
THE WILD, WAYSIDE FLOWERS
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...