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Showing posts from November, 2015

SINGING IN THE LIFE BOAT

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Pic.:Aruna Anand



“My soul would have no rainbow,  if my eyes had no tears”
-Aisha Chaudhary - A couple of days ago, Jaypee, my friend, shared with me an amazing video, titled ‘Singing in the Life Boat’… It was an inspiring talk by a 15-year-old by the name Aisha Chaudhary. I hadn’t heard about this girl before. So, impressed by what I now heard and seen in this video, I looked for more information on the young girl… and, let me confess: I was left with goose-bumps!
When Aisha was less than six months old, she was diagnosed with an ailment called Pulmonary Fibrosis, a respiratory disease that leads to scarring of the lungs, thereby making breathing difficult. Her lung capacity was only just under 20 per cent! Aisha then underwent a bone marrow transplant. The doctors had told her parents that the baby would not live for over a year. But, Aisha proved them wrong… and lived her life to the fullest… pursuing her dreams, sharing her gritty story … inspiring people through her talks… Aisha died i…

LIFE OFFERS CHOICES AT EVERY STEP

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Pic.: Sunitha Sujir
Life offers choices at every step along my journey. Right when I open my eyes , every morning, I have this choice to make:  to wear a smile on my face and feel grateful in my heart or to wear a grim look on my face and feel bitter and lost in my heart… There are a dozen things around me, at any given point of time, for which I must wear a smile on my face and feel grateful in my heart… Yes, that choice is offered before me right as I open my eyes, every morning. I am conscious of the thoughts dominating my mind almost all the time… There are thoughts of fear, anxiety, hurt and anger on the one side… and, there are thoughts of faith, confidence, forbearance and peace on the other side. “The world is full of harshness… Don’t trust,” says one side. “The world is full of innocence… Please trust,” says the other side. I am conscious of what happens when I choose to listen to one of these two voices… Like Robert Frost, I, too, see before me two roads diverging in two differ…

THE STREET-FIGHT: TOLERANCE Vs INTOLERANCE

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Pic.: Vivek D'Cunha

“The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. Test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.” - Ralph W. Sockman
If one statement made by a man – in this case, the man happens to be an acclaimed movie star – ‘The’ Amir Khan – yes, if one public statement made by him about the so-called ‘tolerance’ – can make him an overnight villain, an opportunist, a traitor and so on… If his one statement can make so many of us so restless, so intolerant, then, something is seriously wrong about the way we have been brought up…
In what context Amir Khan said what he did, I do not know. I doubt many around me know, too. But, we are so busy debating and fighting over it, that we have chosen to be enemies over someone’s passing, contextual statement… We have chosen to be puppets in the hands of the Media…
The winner, therefore, is the Media…
The loser is you and me… We the dumb-heads!
Need we react to everything we hear around us… see around us?
I admire Modiji and I adm…

WHAT MAKES SHEEP AN ARMY OF LIONS?

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Pic.: Mini Milind

“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” - Alexander the Great
There is a mighty truth packed in Alexander’s statement… the most fundamental truth about how we, as individuals, behave when led by a leader. Led by a strong leader - a lion, we, too, become strong - lions like him. His vision becomes our vision… His courage and strength become ours. On the other hand, led by a meek leader - a sheep, we, too, become meek - sheep. His lack of vision becomes our conditions, too… His meekness becomes our meekness. His fear and suspicion become ours.
We, as a society, community and nation, cannot survive amazingly without the charisma of our leaders. We need them, and need them very, very badly.
My belief has, always, been this: If as an individual, I lead my life well – inspired and vision-driven… take bold personal decisions, remain ready to accept consequences of my decisions… remain extremely focused and committed, p…

WE NEED THE SOUNDING BOARDS

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Pic.: Madhusudan D. Jeurkar

Can others else solve my problems? I don’t think so. But, I think, they can lighten my burden. Yes, they can’t carry my burden; but, they can help me carry it myself
Mukesh, my friend, will be 50 next year. He comes to talk to me quite often, and we both just talk about many of our problems. As I said, neither he can solve my problems nor I can solve his. But, what happens is: when I talk about my problems, Mukesh sincerely listens, shows empathy… becomes my sounding board. Similarly, when Mukesh talks about his problems, I sincerely listen, show empathy… become his sounding board. And, honestly speaking, that much is enough to lighten our respective burdens… That’s enough to find solutions to our ‘big ’problems and give us the strength to carry them.
Yesterday, Mukesh shared with me an interesting thing in this respect. His late dad worked as an ordinary clerk. He hadn’t studied much. But, whenever Mukesh would have some problems about his studies or whatever,…

"NO, YOU WON'T HAVE MY HATRED"

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Pic.: Pradeep Nanda
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Yes, Gandhi lived by this principle, and died for it, too. Inspired by Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. too, led his fellowmen by the same principle. He, too, died for it. Much before him, Abraham Lincoln breathed through a nation, threatened to be torn by hatred, yes, the same principle… He, too, was killed for it. And, long, long before that, hanging there on the cross, stripped and brutally tortured, Jesus Christ prayed to His Father in Heaven, “My Father, please forgive them, for, they do not know what they are doing.” That was seconds before he died on the cross!
Can hatred go from this world? No sir, it can’t. Can it go from my life? Yes, sir, it can.
A while ago, my friend, Ashish, shared with me this open letter by Antoine Leiris, a young man in his early thirties, written to the terrorists. Leiris had just lost his wife in the terrorists’ attack in Paris. I found this letter so moving and so spiritual that I wish to…

FINDING MEANING IN OUR SUFFERING

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Pic.: Chetna Shetty
“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche
Iwas talking to someone on phone just a while ago. I heard him say, “Our character is shaped through the tests we pass through in life.”
The context he was talking to me had nothing to do with the particular tests I was silently going through as I was talking to him. But, then, what he said – and which I knew was so true – seemed as if he was trying to help me deal with my present pain and suffering…
Well, I, unwittingly said ‘pain and suffering’. Yes, like so many people around me, I, too, mixed them up, in my ignorance.
Pain and suffering are different. I have written on it many times before… Pain is inevitable in life… I do not have choice on it. But, to suffer or not to suffer because of pain – yes, I do have a choice on it.
When I resist pain, I suffer. When I ‘consciously’ accept my pain, I am librated of my suffering. Therefore, the key to freedom from suffering is t…

I HOLD MY PLACARD TODAY - 'NOT AFRAID'

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Pic.: Sunitha Sujir

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
- Jack Canfield
One thing I am extremely aware of, in my life, is ‘Fear’. It is very much there in me… constantly making me alert, anxious and, sometimes, even paralyzed.
So, if you ask me, “Is fear bad?”, I am will say, “Yes”.
And, if you ask me “Can fear go from life?”, I , with whatever wisdom I have possessed so far, I will say, “No”.
And, here is the paradox of the reality: Fear is bad when it cripples me. But, I am aware that my life cannot be free from it. So, what is the sensible thing to do?
If fear cannot go, then, the sensible thing to do in life is to befriend it… make it a companion, an ally.
Every day, there are moments in my life when I experience a great deal of fear… For a while, I remain anxious and immobile. But, because I know that’s how it is… before I befriend it, a silence descends on my heart… and I am able to see the bright side of fear: How it helps me to remain alert, agile and alive in li…

THE GUNS AND ROSES

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Pic.: Ritesh D'Cunha
Today is ‘The Children’s Day’ in India. Well, I have a prayer to make: “Lord, please don’t let the child in us die.”
The child is the last hope. Trust me, it is. If the child in us goes, everything goes… We wouldn’t look up in the night and wonder…We wouldn’t stand before the ocean and feel small… We wouldn’t look at our wrinkles and worry or wouldn’t look  at the squirrel and smile… We wouldn’t fight and kiss again… Our lips wouldn’t shiver when they first touch our beloved’s lips… Death would make our hearts stones… Rain would be plain water… Clouds would be nothing but some useless smoke up there… God wouldn’t exist… And, parents… They are done with. Used and thrown!
Hello, because the child is alive in us, we know what a sincere prayer is, how tears feel… Yes, what it means to dream, cry and say sorry… Flowers are flowers because child in me feels so… A song is a song, because the child in me sings so… The grandparents live again because the little-ones come …

LEARNING TO LOVE THE SUNNY-SIDE UP

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Pic.: Shoba N Krishnan


“Happiness is simply a habit of looking on the brighter side of everything.”
Richelle E. Goodrich
The Parsis call an egg ‘eedu. They love it. Like them, I, too, love eedu however it is cooked and served…  Tamota par eedu… Papeta par eedu…Wafer par eedu… Bheeda par eedu. But, for some weird reasons, I don’t’ like when eedu is cooked with its ‘sunny-side up’!
Yes, the sunny-side up! My aunt used to call it ‘bull’s eye’ and my friend used to call it ‘toad in the hole’. It is the easiest and the fasted of all the egg dishes. Even making a boiled egg takes a much longer time, though easy. But, to make a bull’s eye, you just need to break an egg in the pan, with little oil and on a slow flame… that’s all. You don’t even have to turn it over… The moment you turn it over, you lose the bull’s eye… It is no more the sunny-side up…
Never mind, I want the eedu to be fried from both sides!
And, this morning, I saw on my breakfast table my favorite eedu, but it was there the way I…

IS THERE A REWARD FOR OUR GOOD DEEDS?

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Pic.: Aruna Anand
Around 1.30, yesterday, I got a call from a lady from our housing Society. When I saw her name on my mobile screen, I spontaneously said, “Wish you a very happy Diwali, ma’am.”

“Thank-you so much sir, wish you and your family the same,” the lady responded quite enthusiastically.  Then, in a sombre voice, she continued, “Sir, I called you to inform that dad passed away an hour ago. The funeral will be at 4, today!”

For a moment, I found difficult to switch gear, “Really sorry to hear the sad news, ma’am,” I managed to say, “I will arrange to display on our notice board and will be there in a while.”

Being our Society’s Hon. Chairman, I, immediately, swang into action: I put it on our Society’s WhatsApp group as well as on the notice board. I made some calls and sent some personal messages. And, then, I went to the grieving family’s residence and remained with them till the end, that is late in the evening.

“He died on an auspicious day,” was the general consensus, yesterda…
THE WILD, WAYSIDE FLOWERS
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...