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Sunday, February 26, 2017

RIP Manju

Today we lost our beloved friend Manju(a.k.a Manja) , keeper of our flock, a binding force among us all and a close friend to everyone.There is no one in our group who was not touched by his friendship.

He lived his life fully as if it was his last. A child like enthusiasm in everything he does. Be it carefully accessorizing his bullet and showing off to all us friends with a child like glee to going all out to collect money for the school magazine.

He valued friendships like anything. He made it a point to be in touch with everyone of   us not only through social media, but also through in person meetings. He knew the current life situation of all of us and a simple 5 minute talk with him would update one of the happenings in every one of our lives. He made it a point to personally attend of of our friends weddings and other social occasions.

He was so close to everyone that anyone could say anything to him without bothering he would get hurt. Only when someone is close to your heart , that you take them for granted and say whatever you want. There is no end to the pranks he played and the endless messages he shared on our watsap group. Be it posting a photo of a baby and saying that he had adopted it to pulling everyone's leg. People had to say -" Manja please sleep. It's 12:30 in the night". He was the go to person in our gang for everything.

Behind all this child like innocence hid a mature person. He once said to me that he would not marry and would adopt a child and take care of it till the end. He said he has already convinced his mother for the same.On the same day he said, i might not have a family of my own, so friends are everything to me. That's when i realized why he was so in touch with everyone of us. I remember another instance i was talking to him on phone and sharing with him a felling of guilt of having let go of an important opportunity in life. He said a simple sentence - "You have seen the world enough. Let go. Its time to prioritize your family". That said a lot about the kind of person he was and it meant a lot to me at that point.

We will never get a friend like him. What breaks our heart is to know that God decided to take his life when he was distributing his own wedding card. It makes us realize impermanence of things in life and how cruel can God be sometimes.

"Manju . You were a free soul then and you are a free soul now" . May God give his family , especially his mother the strength to go through these difficult times. We will always miss you !!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

How to take the right decision ?

Success, they say is nothing but a series of right decisions taken at the right time. But, how do we know our decisions are right, let alone the time.
Here are a few leads that i have got through my personal experience :
  • Know what do you want from life : You need to be clear in what you want from life. Otherwise you might choose something that is  completely not aligned with your goals and might repent later.
  • Be clear on what you stand for : You must be clear on what are your values, ethics and what you consider right and wrong.This will tremendously help you make the right decisions.
  • Letting things go : You are where you are in life, because of the decisions that you have made in the past. There might be a few situations where you feel , you completely goofed up by making a choice. Do not carry the guilt of having made the decision for a long time. The negative feeling will go away with time. Learn from your mistakes and do not do them again.
  • When you are faced with difficult choices to make : There will be times when it is very hard to make a choice. It seems like you want everything. But you need to understand the hard truth that you cant have it all. You need to decide based on the priorities at that point in your life. You will always miss certain things and feel that your life would have been different , if you had made the other choice. 
  • Do not weigh in the options too much : Too much thinking will spoil your decisions. They must be somewhere between spontaneous and well though out.
  • The spiritual way of taking the right decision : As the famous spiritual thinker Deepak Chopra says in his book "7 Spiritual Laws for Success" : Firstly ask yourself -" Would this decision that i am taking bring happiness and fulfillment to me and my loved ones ?". If the answer is yes go ahead and take that decision. If you are still unclear on what to do, take a pause from your thoughts and ask yourself the question - " How would i feel , if i make this choice ?" and wait from the signals from your heart. It might be the faintest of the feeling , but you know its there. You will know what feels right and what is wrong. You might say the heart is emotional and mushy and does not use logic while making a decision. But , the heart is in direct touch with the cosmic supercomputer, which can make a series of  space time events to get you what you want.
Hope you find this was insightful and will make the right decisions leading to success.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Practicising Total Surrender in Life

“Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. We melt into another world, a realm of power already within us. The world changes when we change. the world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we choose to love the world.” 

Surrender by its literal meaning has a negative connotation. It sounds like you need to give up doing what you are doing, nothing is under your control and you just need to fit into some one else's master plan. But, it's true meaning is the complete opposite of it.

They say in order to get what you want in life, you need to practice complete surrender. The first step in practicing this , is to accept your current life situation as it is. As famous spiritual thinker Eckhart Tolle says -" Accept the isness of the moment". Whether your life situation is good, bad or worse, just accept it as it is without judging it. Acceptance of things as it is stops the constant buzz in your head about your life. Once you pause this constant negative buzz in your head, there will be room for some positive things to come in.

You will be able to analyse your current situation better and start taking action. But, does surrender not mean that i should do nothing ? No. If you are stuck in mud, do you put up your hands and say ok i am stuck. No. you dont do that. Similarly by surrendering you are coming back to the present moment with a clear mind and with actionable insights. If any person is making you unhappy or any situation is irritating you, handle that by being vocal with your thoughts. If you cannot do that, just remove yourself from that place.

Surrender does not mean that you stop going behind your goals/dreams. You do whatever possible to achieve them. But, the only difference is you will stop worrying about things which can go wrong or stop running mental movies about possible future scenarios. Your energy is completely in the now. Like Krishna said -"Karmanye vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana". Just focus on your Karma/work , do not worry about the results.Develop a sense of detachment towards the end result. There is no point in thinking about things which are not under your control. Just do your job and get out. Results will follow.

Develop a sense of optimism in everything you do in life. Just remember Hope is the only thing that keeps us alive.It fills you with positive energy to go about some of the toughest situations in life. This will also add a magical touch to whatever you do, making sure you are ahead of others.

It  also removes the enormous burden you carry in your head, thinking that you are alone and are responsible for every decision you take. Always believe that there is a higher power that  always wants the best things for you in life. If you think you did not get what you wanted, it always means that God has something much better than what  you could have possibly imagined. But, you need to allow this higher power to come into your life.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Religion in 21st century

Religion has slowly started creeping into every tiny little aspect of life recently. Everyone seems to wear religion on their sleeves. Even a person who does not even think about religion on a day to day basis is being forced to do a rethink and take an extreme position. Then there are those people whose very existence in based on taking extreme views on everything-reason religion.

It feels like people are taking extreme position and building walls around themselves. Take the social media for example where people are spewing venom against other religions and spreading the word that only my religion is right and the rest all are wrong.They want to throw muck at every other religion.

So, here are a few things that every religion must do to evolve , stay relevant and most important of all does not see other religions with hatred.

Stop building walls around yourselves in the name of religion : Every religion should follow an open door principle.  Open the doors of your places of worship for anyone and everyone who respects the sanctity of the place. A closed door always gives rise to suspicion that something is being cooked up inside the four walls. The overall mentality of the people should be welcoming and not see people of other religions with suspicion.

Stop thinking only your religion is right :  Respect other religions for god's sake. I have heard preachers who run famous television channels with peace in it's name doing the exact opposite. They are inciting people to think that all the other religions are wrong and only theirs is right. This is making people take a very narrow view of things and attack any other views that are not in alignment with theirs.

Propagate your religion :  Yes . There is nothing wrong in propagating one's religion. Strive to get more and more number of people into your faith. But, do not turn opportunists in the name of god, forcing people to come into your faith using a bait , be it financial assistance, curing a disease,etc

Stop committing crime in the name of God : Looks at what ISIS is doing in the name of God. No god would tolerate what they are doing to their own brothers and sisters. They have brought disgrace to Islam. People have started using the term "Islamic Terrorism" with ease. They have made the whole world look at Muslims with suspicion. They are normal people going about their life like anyone of us. It has given an opportunity for hypocrites like Donald trump to fuel this anti Islamic sentiment by talking rubbish.

Stop Minority appeasement : The majority of the country should take special care of the minorities in their country, so that they feel welcome and safe. But, its always a two way hand shake. Minorities have every right to practice their faith. But that does not mean that a few people in continuation of their appeasement politics can behave as if they are allergic to the majority community and their beliefs. Minority propagating their  faith is secular, but majority asserting their rights is communal. This is not right. Expecting dignity/respect from the majority community is right, but expecting them to lead an apologetic existence is wrong.

Consolidate people within your own religion: We have created divisions and sub divisions within our own religion and are fighting among ourselves. Be it Shias and Sunnis in Iraq, Catholic versus protestants in Ireland. In Hinduism we have a long list of people fighting among themselves, discriminating against one another. It has gone to such an extent that a few politicians are forming groups called -" Ahinda"(meaning not Hindu) among the Hindu community. We have a long history of caste discrimination, so much so that we fail to identify as one religion. This is detrimental to the cause of all people coming together under a religion. This should stop once in for all.

Stop wearing Religion on your sleeves :  It is recent phenomenon that people are bringing religion into everything. Take the Yoga for example , which has been accepted worldwide by millions of people. A few people back home have started seeing it through the prism of religion. Off course, no one can deny its roots to Hinduism. But does it mean that you have to kick it away saying it is an imposition on my faith and beliefs. Why do you have to behave as if you are allergic to other religions ?  Another example of this allergic syndrome is  the famous -" Bharat mata kin jai controversy".  I seriously fail to understand how chanting Bharat would demean one's religion. Thank god , such people did not exist during our freedom struggle. There would be no single country as India.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

WakeUp Sid !!

We have seen CM Siddaramaiah doze off on various occasions like many a inauguration ceremonies and sometimes even in the legislative assembly. It was alright if the CM was found sleeping on some occasions, but the hard truth is the Siddaramaiah Government is  seen sleeping over many issues plaguing the state of Karnataka. Be  it the drought situation in 17 districts, farmer suicides , safety and security of school kids, garbage crisis to name a few. The government is rather reactive than a proactive one. It almost feels like the CM and his government is waiting for something to happen , so that some action could be taken.

This lackadaisical attitude was clearly evident in many companies leaving the State for greener pastures in AP lured by the high tech chief minister ChandraBabu Naidu. Hero Motors pulling out of the state due to lack of response from the state is a case in point. If the govt would have responded proactively, it would have provided job oppurtunities for many youth in the state. Recently, Chief  of Bocsh Dr.Stephen Berns openly chided the Sidaramaih govt for its lazy governance in the presence of top officials and Rural Development minister. He even went to the extent of warning to pull out all the  future investments from the state , if things did not improve. This shows the level of frustration among the industry heads in that state, especially this coming from a company that was one of the earliest to setup factories in the state. The same was the case with Infosys which warned of pulling out from building a Tech Park near Devanahalli. It complained that despite money being deposited with the govt for providing basic infrastructure like road,electricity and water, the govt seem to have done nothing for the past 5 years.

Take the 'Garbage Crisis' in Bengaluru which made global headlines. CM Siddaramaiah took the lead and said a long term solution would be found to the issue. But , look at what has been done till now. Where are the long term solutions that were being discussed ? People surrounding the Garbage processing units still have the bear the overflowing leach-ate, the foul smell and off course  the diseases that come with it.

The general feeling is there is no accountability in the govt. Remember the much criticized junket by the MLAs last year. When the CM was confronted the answer was ''I dont know. Ask some one else". Have you looked at the way the CM talks to the media persons when confronted with questions. There is an overwhelming sense of ego and ''I am not answerable to anyone" tone hidden in it. The issue of his convoy creating huge traffic jams in the city made headlines recently. And what was the answer - "I am the CM and people have to bear with it". These were his exact words.

CM Siddaramaih still believes in old style politics of freebies - Anna Bhagya, Shaadi Bhagya and what not. Off course , no one can deny the benefits of the Anna Bhagya scheme which is feeding lakhs of poor people. No one is criticizing him for the schemes, but he has to rise up to the 'Development politics''. People now expect to hear about his vision for the state of Karnataka, what are his views on the issues plaguing the state and how he plans to face them. He needs to learn the new style politics from his peers in high performing states. Otherwise people will loose faith in the government . This was clearly evident in the recent BBMP elections, where people voted for the incumbent BJP despite the scams and the rampant corruption, as one commentator said - "People voted for the BJP not beacuse they were good, but they voted because the Congress was bad" .

Rise Up. Rise Up. Wake Up Sid !!!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Good Samaritan Ibrahim

Last month i met with a small accident. It was like any other day, i started off from office at 7:30 PM, took the usual route back home on my 2 wheeler. I was passing through a deserted area with absolutely no street lights with no people in sight for kilometers. I was at my normal speed , when a black dog decided that it has to cross the road. It came directly under my front wheels. In panic i applied the front disc brakes and the bike came to a screeching halt, but threw me off to the front and was about to land on the ground head first. As a natural reaction, i extended both my hands to avoid getting hurt. The momentum was such that i slide with my hands still touching the ground for another 10-20 feet.

By the time i realized what had happened, i was in the middle of the road with the bike resting on my stretched left leg. I look at my palms to find that the outer skin had all peeled and the pain was unspeakable. An auto driver just behind me soon stopped the vehicle , lifted my bike ,took me to the side and offered water. I could not even take off my helmet to have a sip and neither could i  hold the bottle in my hands. It was then i realized that i had fractured both my hands. Already a group of 3-4 people had gathered around. Someone took off my helmet and made me drink water. Then a guy came forward , turned around my bike and said -"Sir. Sit down you are bleeding and i will take you to the hospital". I promptly sat down and went ahead. I was given first aid and told that both my hands were fractured. This did not come as a shock, as i already knew that it with the  pulsating pain that was going through my hands.

We came out of the hospital and the guy was ready again. "Sir. Where do you stay ? I will drop you off to your home. You are not in a position to drive". He also added -"Dont make a call home. They will unnecessarily get panicked". I simply nodded and sat down behind him. On the way home i thanked him and asked him his name . "Ibrahim" he said. "What do you do for living" i asked. "I work in a welding shop nearby" came the reply. Finally we reached home and he was hesitant to come inside.On asked further he said - "Sir. Previously i had taken home some one like you after he met with an accident. Soon after reaching home, his family thought that i was the one who had caused the accident and hit me". I was humbled and called him in. You know that emotions and the kind of reaction that you get in such situations. Even my family was very grateful to Ibrahim for his help.

It was finally time to go to the Hospital and get my hands checked from an orthopedic. " Ibrahim. Please share your mobile number with my mom. I will get in touch with you once things are settled"- i said. He simply nodded his head. On the way to the hospital, i reminded my mom who was back home to take down his mobile number, only to realize that he had already left and he declined to share his number. He had his own reasons for doing that.

After things settled down a bit, it was time for introspection. Fate had it that the dog had to cross the road, i had to fall off my bike and Ibrahim had to be passing by that area. If not him, i would be lying there on the side of the road in a deserted area in the dark, without any possibility of me calling up someone. I thanked god for not letting me in that situation, because i remember cases where we see someone who had just met with an accident and we just pass by thinking that some one else could come for help. What would happen if everyone thought the same way ?

Why did God help me then ? Is it because of the decision i had made, that if i see some accident/trouble, i would do everything in capacity to help ? Or is it my good deeds that saved me ? Some say the dog in fact saved me from a bigger trouble by making me fall and sacrificed itself by going under the wheels of a small truck that was coming from the opposite direction. I have no answers for that. All i know is that it takes a Good Human  to help another human in trouble, regardless of the religion, class and all the other distinctions that we make. All i know is a Good guy helped me out. A Good Samaritan Ibrahim.

PS : This is a real incident that happened to me some time back.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Road Safety : Why no one is talking about Bad Driving Habits ?

There has been a lot of talk about Road safety recently, especially after the death of Minister Gopinat Munde in a car crash in Delhi. India is said to be in the number one position when it comes to death on the roads due to accidents. According to some reports, 213000 people are killed every year in road accidents in India and millions of others are seriously injured. Why is it that we have so many accidents in the first place ?

Many factors are attributed for the accidents including poor road design, poor infrastructure, overcrowding, lack of enforcement of traffic laws , poor vehicle design and many more. But, the main factor that not many people are talking of is the Bad Driving behaviour. Bad driving is the root cause of all the accidents.It is an all encompassing reason for everything that happens on the roads.

Every day we see people drive like hell on the roads.They assume that driving on the road is a race that every other driver on the road is a competitor. There is no concern for the fellow driver. The overarching mindset is -” I should reach my destination by any means.Go to hell with others”. People are literally going to hell with this mindset. There is not a single journey on our roads when we do not pass by an accident that has just occurred. Some of them so bizarre, that you wonder how could this even happen.

One of the worst driving behaviour is absent minded driving. The driver is completely engrossed in his thoughts.He does not even realize that there is a huge pile up behind him.He does not even mind to look at the rear view mirror. This makes all the drivers lined up behind him start honking and try overtaking him, risking their own lives and the ones coming in the opposite direction. This idiotic behaviour by one driver causes all the other drivers violate the traffic rules and cause unnecessary stress. The same thing happens when one is busy talking on the mobile or to the co passenger.

Me First..Me First syndrome is another important behaviour that we get to see on the roads. People are not willing to wait for the others to pass. They want to have the right of the way.People do this while taking a turn in a busy intersection. Everyone wants to go first, creating a deadlock situation where none of them can move in any direction causing a huge pileup.

Bigger vehicle trying to intimidate the smaller ones is a common thing on the roads. People think that bigger vehicles always have a priority over the smaller ones.It is almost like an unwritten rule of the driving rule book. The smaller ones are always intimidated by coming way too close to the vehicle making him/her loose balance and composure.This is the resurgence of our animal instincts , i would say. When the roads are empty, people think they have to race at 80 KM even if it is a residential/School area.

Discrimination i.e treating a certain section of people in a bad way is seen on the roads as well. Pedestrians are second class citizens on the road. They have to wait until the “His Highnesses” pass through. They invariably have to hold their life in their hands and cross the roads and thank the god for not coming under the wheels of any vehicle for yet another day. Our treatment of women as being mere objects continues even on the roads. Women drivers are often given long stares in traffic signals. Women 2 wheeler riders are often chased by bastards with unsatisfied sexual cravings.

Basically, our driving behaviour highly reflects the society we are living in and level of civilized or uncivilized behaviour we have. The proposed Road Safety Bill proposes huge fines for traffic violations and bad vehicle design. It also talks of building world class infrastructure and high tech traffic management. But, it does not talk of doing anything about changing the Driving Behaviour/Mentality. There is no point in having a world class infrastructure , if we are exhibit this uncivilized and ghastly driving behaviour. As the old saying goes-”The dog will only shit, even if you make it sit on the throne”.

So, we need to sensitize people of showing courtesy and behave in a civilized way. This should be a part of curriculum while giving Driving Licenses. This skill should also be tested during the driving Tests. Passing a Driving Test should be as difficult as passing a matriculation exam. This is because , even if you fail in your matriculation exams you can take it again. But, you do not get this chance if you fail on the roads. It will either take the life of others or your own. Those not falling in line should be shamed and heavily penalized. At the end of the day people should take driving seriously.Driving is a skill that has to be improved over a period of time and not something that you acquire the skill and act foolish on the roads. Foolishness can cost lives you see and we cant be loosing 213000 people every year due to our foolishness. We will be the biggest bunch of fools in the world then.

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