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Showing posts from September, 2015

THE DONKEY-WORK

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Pic.: Pradeep Nanda


“If Jesus were here today, he wouldn't be riding around on a donkey. He'd be taking a plane, he'd be using the media.”
Joel Osteen

Today, I was teaching my twelfth-standard students, in my early morning batch (HSC Board). Unlike the ISC-Board students, the HSC-Board students are not allowed to use calculators. So, today’s kids you see… They are so used to machines and gadgets for quick results; their mind is simply not willing to buy the idea that they have to use it… to become sharp and smart. When I was like them, calculators were seen as a luxury. I rarely saw anyone using them even in offices, leave alone in schools and colleges.
So, we had to use our mind… think in order to add, subtract, multiply and divide. For a Commerce student, it was deemed to be a basic skill which had to be honed. Our teachers taught us various simple and short-cut methods to do complicated arithmetic. For example, if we had to divide between A and B a profit of Rs. 80,040 in …

"DON'T' STRIVE TO MAKE YOUR PRESENCE NOTICED; JUST MAKE YOUR ABSENCE FELT."

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Pic.:  Dilip V    
"Don't Strive To Make Your Presence Noticed, Just Make Your Absence Felt" -Anonymous
Yesterday, Kannan had used this old quote in our Tai Chi class, in a certain context. But, I could immediately grasp its universal applicability… especially in any area of leadership. And yes, in any area of relationship, or, even social work.

It’s tough to be anonymous, faceless and low-key when we are leaders… Asserting our authority and position, expecting recognition from our subordinates comes easily to us. The thought of being a faceless leader or social worker… yes, it sounds scary. In relationships, too, it is quite scary to function without we striving to make our presence noticed…

But, that need to make our presence noticed comes from our insecurity!

WHAT USE IS A LAKE WHICH HAS NO WATER?

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Pic.: Trivikram Iyer
It was late in the night, yesterday. We were three of us: I was the oldest of the three, at 57. My doctor-friend and Professor-friend, both, were around 50. The discussion was about how insecurity had kept us constantly worried and on the edge even at this age of our lives!
“Of late, I was pondering on this issue,” my doctor-friend said, “I have already spent fifty years of my life trying to secure myself and my family. Why should I not spend the rest of my life appreciating what is good in my life… relishing the simple pleasures… maybe more time in devotion?”
The Professor-friend, too, voiced the similar thoughts. “It is insecurity that keeps us on the edge and anxious all the time,” he said, “It is an illusion.”
“The life was taken care of… We were all taken care of even when our parents could handle it no more,” the doctor-friend said, “Still, we presume, that without us Life will not function, without our incessant efforts to secure our families… We assume that we…

THAT BURNING NEED FOR SELF-EXPRESSION

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Pic.: Pradeep Nanda

That burning need to succeed, deep inside each one of us, is nothing but an incessant need for self-expression.!
As a little boy, I was desperately shy. When I became a teenager, the shyness stayed in me like a hard rock…. By now, I was so self-conscious that I stayed away from anything ‘public’… particularly the stage. I was so full of self-doubts that I looked down upon anything ‘good’ in me… I would constantly compare myself with others and suffer inside… It was chronic, killing And yes, it was so lonely!
Much of this changed when I got in me that burning desire to become a fine teacher like my idol, Prof. B.S. Raman. So strong was the desire that I was determined to overcome all my handicaps, including my poor English and stage fright… My handicaps became my greatest blessings in disguise… I started writing my simple notes in my diaries… I started reading books; I started listening to good speakers, seeking help from them… This habit stayed with me all my life… an…

WHY IS IT TAKING ME A LONGER TIME TO REACH THE SHRINE?

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Pic.:Nishtha Narryani
It is almost thirty-five years since I came to live in this great city – Mumbai. But, I haven’t been to Mount Mary church during the weeklong festival time (popularly hailed as ‘the Bandra Fair’). Yes, even once!

So many of my friends, particularly non-Catholics, find it strange. Come cyclone or come tsunami, these faithful will never ever skip a Mount Mary ‘dharshan’… and, I truly feel that’s something remarkable!
Prayer and worship are what they are only when you perform them with all your faith… My friends, including the non-Catholics, find tremendous amount of peace by a visit to the Bandra shrine during the frantic rush… I respect that. In my case, it just works the opposite. I have been to Mount Mary shrine umpteen times… when my soul felt the thirst to be there… I have been there both in my good times and bad times… to thank Mother Mary for her help or to plead Her to have mercy on me, the sinner. But, I have gone there on week days… when there was total calm…

AN EXTRA TEN RUPEES

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Pic.: Chetna Shetty
No matter how inspiring I sound to be in my daily posts, and no matter how much I talk about ‘values’ in my writings… let me tell you this straight: I am no Satya Harishchandra!
Yes, I have in me the same devil who tempts me to sin, cheat, lie and take short-cuts, now and then… here and there… Maybe, I am not a big-time thief, a professional con-man or a chronic liar or whatever that is…
I still lie, still show greed, and still try to be selfish and self-centered…
Well, am I telling all this for effect?
There is no need for me to do it, sir…
I remember I was in third standard. It was one afternoon, back home in Mangalore, my village. I was walking along a road with one of my older cousins when I sighted a wallet on the road. I instantly grabbed it and opened it… Inside, there was a ten-rupee note and some papers. I quickly plucked the note and tucked in one of my pockets and tucked the wallet with rest of the papers in the other pocket. We had barely walked some distance…

"A LIFE WELL-LIVED IS YOUR BEST REVENGE"

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Pic.: Pradeep Nanda

I came across these lines from Sue Monk Kidd, this morning:
“I learned a long time ago that some people would rather die than forgive. It is a strange truth; but forgiveness is a painful and difficult process. It is not something that happens overnight… It’s an evolution of the heart.”
Like the majority around me, I, too, have in my life some people whose very thought makes me angry. When I think of them, my body becomes tense, breathing becomes heavy… and I know it is not a good state to be in… I know I have to make peace, forgive…
But, then, forgiveness is not that easy…  Often, experience of forgiveness seems more painful than the experience of going through the wounds and hurts itself… Yet, that’s the only way to find peace in my soul… There is no other way.
There is good news, there is hope: To forgive someone is my choice. I do not have to wait for the other person’s – my tormentor’s – consent.  And, the good news, also, is: Forgiveness is the greatest service I c…

TO GROW-UP OR TO GIVE-UP

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Pic.: Chetna Shetty
The ore doesn’t become gold unless it is sent through fire. Likewise, the coal doesn’t become diamond unless it is rigorously polished…
And, what about my character?
I have been thinking hard on this issue: How do we become fine human beings? How do we build up our character-strength? How do we become compassionate and giving in life?
The only answer I keep getting is: Through the way we respond to difficult times in our lives… As the Wise say, “It is not what happens ‘to’ you that shapes your character, it is what happens ‘in’ you.”
I have seen, time and time again, that the challenges in my life can bring the best or the worst in me… They can make be better or bitter… grow up or give up. Challenges have, always, made me trust more and more in the goodness of people and life… Even in the thickest of my hard-times, I have refused to believe, that people or situations in life do not change… that, there is no hope. On the contrary, in my most difficult times, I have tr…

THE AWARENESS OF A GOOD-MORNING

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Pic.: Elaine Pereira
Awareness is not something that is cut off from our daily life… and confined to our so-called spiritual practices… like meditation, prayer etc. I have, also, realized this: unless we practice awareness in our very, very routine activities and actions, it is not possible to practice it in true sense, at all!
Let me share with you one such routine activity, where I have learnt to be aware…
Earlier, there were times, I would send a message to a friend, relative or an acquaintance early in the morning, say at 6 or 7 like this:
“Can we reschedule our today’s’ meeting for tomorrow at same time?”  
The answer would be either “Okay”, or “OK” or just “K”… Maybe, “No problem” or “No issues” or “Done”…
But, then, some of them would respond this way: “GMng Gerry/Sir. Okay/Ok/No problem”/ “No issues.”
Now, what would make the difference, here, is that one little-word – “GMng!”
It was, indeed, 6 or 7 in the morning. And, how insensitive – how unaware - I could be to start a conversa…
THE WILD, WAYSIDE FLOWERS
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...