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Showing posts from 2018

CLEAN COMEDY

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Iam an old-fashioned connoisseur when it comes to enjoying comedy acts. Comedy acts have always been there. Much before the TV came in, our only entertainment, back home in our village, used to be some dramas or musical nites. Every drama and every musical nite had sprinkles of comedy. As we went to watch these shows as a family, the comedy always used to be clean and subtle. Very, very, very rarely it was crude. Even in the films, the comedy was an integral part of the family package. We watched it with our heads high.
But, now, in these times of the so-called ‘standup comedy’ or ‘roast’, or whatever that is, people like me have become dinosaurs... Extinct. The young crowd, especially girls, simply can’t control their laughter – or, so they portray. Whenever, by default, I try to watch an act or so, I end up getting a complex… “Hey, don’t I really understand this?” or, “Have I lost my libido?”
The fact is that, if comedy is crude, crass and vulgar, it just puts me off… And, I don’t min…

BEING NICE MERELY TO BE LIKED

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“I'm not always sincere. One can't be in this world, you know.”  ― Greta Garbo

Today is Eid. While sending greetings to some of my Muslim friends, I became aware of the space from where my greetings came. Was I genuinely feeling for my friends or was I doing it mechanically just to be in their good books?
I have no shame to admit this: many times, I wish on festivals, birthdays, anniversaries or some other achievements not because I genuinely feel for the person concerned… but, because, everybody else is doing it and I do not wish to be ‘misunderstood’ or in the ‘bad books’ of the person concerned…
In other words, I just want to ‘please’!
Well, not always though. Sometimes, many times!
So, today, I paused before sending each Eid greetings and asked, “Where is it coming from?” “Am I genuinely feeling for the person?” “Am I rejoicing in his celebration?” “Are there some hidden strings attached to my greetings?”
Seeing from the other end, too, it makes sense. Some greetings we can real…

THE WORLD NEEDS A HEALING TOUCH. NOT MORE OF BURNING DOWN

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“The kind of lies that someone tells us gives us an idea of how stupid, knowledgeable, intelligent, or ignorant they are … or they think we are.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
I was talking to a friend of mine, this morning. The friend is no highly qualified; but, I consider him as one of the most cultured and ‘highly educated’ individuals in life…
Well, that’s my assessment…
As we were talking, I showed him some of the messages I was receive on social media. It was early morning… and, some of so-called ‘highly qualified’ individuals I was acquainted with had started sharing/forwarding posts which were extremely toxic, divisive and cheap. Most of these posts related to their affiliation with one particular religion or political ideology. They had a rigid stand and, viewed from that mirror, everything else and everyone else who opposed that stand was their enemy… It could be you and me. If we did not agree with what they thought was ‘right’, then, we were their enemies!
The day had just started… Im…

GOD AND A PURE HEART

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"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." 
  — Frederick Douglass
Last Sunday (10th June) was the Certification Day of our Personality Development (Summer) programme. We had published two books on this occasion. One of them was titled ‘Little Lady’. Eight-year-oldRicha Ojha had written some 20-plus stories and we had put them together in this book. Some of these stories she had heard from us or her school teachers and parents. Some she had read from the books. And, some, she had written from her own experience. The idea of a book was planted in little Richa’s mind more than two months ago and, she had diligently worked on it. That kind of commitment was missing in rest of the participants, who were much older in age. So, the book was a tribute to this little lady for her exceptional commitment.
I had particularly loved two stories she had shared in this book. Incidentally, both the stories were about our relationship with God…

FACE OF GOD
Jack was a vil…

SMELL THE FLOWERS... FEEL THE BREEZE

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I have heard many saying, that if you do anything consistently for twenty-one days, it becomes our habit. Conversely, it means, that if we wish to uproot a bad habit from us or replace it with a good one, we need to keep attempting it for twenty-one days, with our intent, focus, desire and determination…
Twenty-one days are three weeks…
It’s three weeks since I posted my last Blog…
So, the question is: What was I trying to uproot from me? My habit of blogging daily?
Writing my daily notes has been a very old habit in my case. I was extremely shy and scared boy… afraid to express myself in public. So, writing my tender thoughts – my anxieties, fears, joys and sorrows – in my private dairies gave me immense relief. The habit had begun, as I told, when I was still a teenager… I did not realize, then, that it would become part of my nature, my character and personality…
So, I did not start with Blogging. I started with writing notes in my private journal. Blogging just happened a decade ago. …

THE MOON AND THE ELEPHANT LEAVE THE BARKING DOGS ALONE

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One afternoon, I heard one of our college lecturers blasting at some students in our class: “Let the dogs bark at the Moon; but, the Moon will keep shining.”
A group of students had complained to the Principal against this upright lecturer… The students wanted him to be like other lecturers; they wanted to have their way. But, the Principal, who was extremely proud of this lecturer, would not interfere… He gave a dressing-down to these boys and asked them to mend their ways. So, that afternoon, when this lecturer had come to our class, he looked at the boys point-blank, and blasted, “Let the dogs bark at the Moon; but, the Moon will keep shining.”
As the legend goes, the dogs have some weird affinity with the Moon… On a Full-Moon night, they all come out, look up at the Moon… and they keep barking…
Only the dogs know why they do it and what they want to say!
Maybe, they see the reflection of another dog – the spirit of their ancestors – in the Full Moon… Maybe, they are jealous, scared, c…

THE POWER OF STORY-TELLING

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Every great epic is a simple story, told very, very well. So, from this yardstick, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Iliad, Old and New Testament – are, first and foremost, are well-told stories, And, imagine the kind of shelf-life these stories have had and continue to have!
One reason why I loved the latest Hindi movie ‘Raazi’ is for its brilliant story-telling. It’s a traditional – time-tested – way of story-telling. As I was coming out of the theatre, after watching ’Raazi’, my mind went back to some of my favourite movies, both Hindi and English… ‘Sholay’, ‘Deewar (Yash Chopra), ‘Shakti’, ‘’Munna Bhai’ (Both), ‘3 Idiots’, ‘Lagaan’, ‘Black’, ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Ten Commandments’, ‘Ben Hur’, ‘’Enter the Dragoon’, ‘The Sound of Music’ and many more. I had loved these movies for the way their stories were told. In fact, years later, the stories have lived in my mind…
With ‘Raazi’, young director, Meghna Gulzar, has carved a permanent place for herself in the league of master story-tellers. Yes, ac…

EVEN THE STRONGEST MEN NEED HELP

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“Depression is the inability to construct a future.”
- Rollo May
Many of us were left rattled by the news of Himanshu Roy’s death!
For the uninitiated, Himanshu Roy, 54, was a supercop. He studied in Mumbai St. Xavier's College, completed his Chartered Accountancy (CA), passed IPS exam in 1989… went on to hold many top-cop positions across Maharashtra including that of Additional Commissioner of Police, South Mumbai. He presided over several high-voltage cases… and, as fate would have it, he was sidelined into less significant operations…
Then, Cancer took over Himanshu Roy’s life… There was no way of bouncing back, after that!
Many of us would look at the magnificent personality of Himanshu Roy with envy and admiration, both. His was a rare sight to behold in the police department… He was a fitness freak – strong, tall, bold and handsome… very articulate, too… He loved the limelight. I, always, thought, that he had in him what it took to become the chief of the cops…
But, destiny had …

THE GANGTOK BOY

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I find it very amusing… Some boys and girls, while on stage, find it difficult to go beyond two or three lines… sometimes, even one! It’s a huge challenge for me to help them open up… say more, feel free and at ease. Slowly and steadily, many of them do learn to speak more and speak with ease. Well, some of them simply give up!
On the other end of the spectrum, there are those boys and girls, who find it difficult to end… They can go on and on and on… Hop from one idea to another and then to another and then to another. I have to constantly remind them to keep it short… Filter out their ideas, crystallize them into few main points and convey them well. “What is the point in saying so much when your audience is not able to recall anything from what you have said?” I remind them, “Cut it short… Say a few things, but say it well.”
Yes, slowly and steadily, many from this category, too, learn to edit their long story into a razor-sharp script. Well, some of them simply give up, too!

A twelve…

OUR POLARIZED THINKING MAKES US DUMB AND DANGEROUS

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Am I concerned about the political or social situation in our country? Am I concerned about what happens in Kashmir or on our borders? Am I concerned about what happens to our farmers, women and children?
I do not live in an island… I am a social animal… Of course, I am concerned about everything that happens around me, near and far…
But, as an individual, what can I do about the situation in Syria , North Korea or America? What can I do about the situation in my own country – Delhi, Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka or here in Maharashtra?

Late Dr. Stephen Covey, in his famous book ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, had introduced the first habit - ‘Be Proactive’. In this chapter, he had drawn our attention to two Circles in our lives: the Circle of our Concern and the Circle of our Influence. For most of us, what happens in America, North Korea, Syria, Kashmir, Karnataka, or Uttar Pradesh – yes, all these issues fall in the Circle of our Concern. We are concerned about these i…

LETTING KARMA DO THE DIRTY WORK

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“There are two types of seeds in the mind: those that create anger, fear, frustration, jealousy, hatred and those that create love, compassion, equanimity and joy. Spirituality is germination and sprouting of the second group and transforming the first group.”
― Amit Ray


All angry people do not hate or seek revenge. Hatred and revenge come from extreme insecurity and fear. On this planet, I think, almost all of us experience and express anger in some degree or the other. But, hatred and revenge – yes, only a small segment of mankind has them.
That is a good news!
I look to my immediately surroundings… Look at the messages we receive on social media or the news reports… The stories of hate and revenge are there, but not many compared to stories of love, compassion and goodness.
Why look outside… a look inside me reveals that I have ample of anger… But, traces of hatred and revenge are almost not there. My anger hasn’t made me a cruel human being… Yes, at times, it has made me feel lonely and r…
THE WILD, WAYSIDE FLOWERS
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...