Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Kids and Instructions

I've been waiting to write this post from a long time and finally got some time to do.

Of late I've been observing myself the way I give instructions to my 5 year old son. I give him an ice cream and "son, make sure you don't drop it on yourself". I give him juice in a glass container and "son, hold it tight, else you may drop it down and it will break". I give him X and "check if Y can happen" and so on. All of this happens unconsciously, no effort put.

While I think it is completely normal to caution him, the worst part I've observed is that I do it every time I gave him an ice cream or a glass of juice or ..., unconsciously. It is out of care, out of concern that he should not get messed up for sure, but when I put myself on the receiving end, I felt it is such a boring thing to keep getting instructed. And then, I made an effort to make sure I don't repeat the instructions. And guess what, it actually works. He definitely remembers it, he is cautious, he knows that the ice cream after a while starts dripping and takes enough care to not get messed up. If he can't handle, he seeks help. So, it's actually useless to keep telling him again and again. Of course, it is required if he forgets it, but most of the time he doesn't.

This observation not only made me relax but also helped me realize that he is growing up. He is not just five, he is old enough to do things by his own and I think I need to let him do it on his own terms. He may do it or he may not, but surely I don't need to police him every time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Untold Stories - 4

We all know how Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of a whites only first class coach at South Africa and this incident started a career that culminated in India getting its freedom. I wanted to cover an untold story of why The Mahatma went to South Africa at all, what exactly happened there and how it shaped his life.

Indians first went to South Africa as labourers. They struggled a lot amidst cruel terms of labour, racist atmosphere and poor living conditions. Some returned to India while some stayed back. In 1863, Abubaker Jhavary, with his hard work and business mind was able to prosper well and soon started exporting fish back to India in his own fleet of ships. This set off a new wave of passenger Indians, mostly from Gujarat and Mumbai. They soon started flourishing and established themselves well.

This was concerning to the Parliament members who introduced new acts which took away the rights of people to purchase lands and can also restrict them for purposes of sanitation.

A year after arriving in South Africa, Gandhiji, as a barrister, decided to devote himself to this cause and started writing petitions and memoranda to promote public understanding. Gandhiji and his colleagues were put in prison. Strikers were leaderless. Many people were prisoned, some were beaten and some were even killed. But the strikers remained firm and disciplined. They did not deviate from non-violence. Gandhiji later recalled that the whole community rose like a wave.

After spending 21 years in South Africa, Gandhiji sailed back to India. That time was instrumental in transforming him and giving perspective to his philosophy of life.

Fast forward, at an occasion when APJ Kalam met Nelson Mandela, Mandela told, 'Mr President, you sent us a barrister and we returned you a Mahatma.'

-- Inspired from Transcendence by APJ Kalam.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dasara-2015

This Dasara is a special one for me. Usually on this day, I bought new clothes, visited the pandals, worshiped Devi and came back home. Thanks to my not-so-orthodox family, I never did it the authentic way.

This year, a day before Navratri has even begun, something drew my attention to this page on The Art of Living website. It gave complete details on what Dasara means, what to do, what not to do and why should one do whatever has to be done. With all that knowledge, I decided to do it the proper way this time. Before I get into details of what I exactly did, let me touch upon the significance.

In short, we all know that we celebrate this occasion to mark the victory of Goddess over the demons or put in another way the victory of good over evil. In a subtle context, it also means to get rid of the negative qualities in one's own Self to come out feeling refreshed and elevated. This can be done by
a) Observing Silence as much as possible, not too much chitter-chatter -> to give a break to the mind
b) Going low on food and having light food -> to detoxify and give a break to the body
c) Meditation -> to connect with one's own Self
d) Chanting -> to calm and purify the mind.
All of this has to be done for nine continuous days.

I geared up to do this and there comes a barrier even before I start. The first day of Navratri is our CEO visit to office where usually massive and delicious buffet is served to all. I am now divided, should I go and have the buffet or stick to the Navratri plan and not eat anything but fruits on day 1. Then struck our dear Prime Minister Narendra Modi's act exactly an year back. He was at The White House where a much large scale buffet prepared by World class Chef's was served and he hit headlines by just having lime juice since he was strictly observing Navratri fast. He stood tall and gave me enough inspiration to skip the buffet. Day 1 was very tiring, but I also went low on talking to others, sticking to self by Chanting and Meditation. They all worked so well on me that each passing day made me feel more light and energetic even though I was going low on my diet. Ironic isn't it. But very true. I had very less food, but still remained energetic(rational thinkers .. ehu ehu.. :P).

Even though it was my first attempt, I am proud to say that I successfully finished all the things that I wanted to do on all nine days. This is of course with the support from my wife. She did bear a quiet husband for nine days and prepared upvaas food. It was new for her too :-)

Happy Dasara to all.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

National Anthem

I recently watched a video of a very nice composition of our National Anthem by the children of a school. The children have not only sung it beautifully but also explained the meaning through charts.

My 3 year old son started watching it repeatedly. I am proud to say that he started singing it in few days time. Not just that, he started asking me the meaning of each line. If you are the Parent of a curious child, be prepared. :-) I leaked the question paper for you.

This reminds me of a viewpoint that spread through the minds of many Indians like a virus. The viewpoint is that Tagore had written The Anthem in praise of a British Ruler and not really his Motherland and hence he had received the Noble prize. We Indians blindly sing it without knowing this secret and that Jawahar Lal Nehru had a role in all this. The viewpoint has all the necessary elements to draw the attention of the crowd and the listeners would be in a state of confusion not able to accept it or reject it, for it is the lovable Anthem that they had been singing right from their childhood.

Fortunately, the viewpoint is only a virus. Let me explain. The Anthem opens with lines which mean "Oh, the ruler of all minds, victory to you. You are the dispenser of destiny of India." This beautiful praise can go to no one other than God himself. No British ruler or King or Queen can rule the minds of India. In fact, people that time fighting for Independence did not want a Britisher to rule their mind. So by no means the Praise is attributed to the British. If you are one of the confused, relax and proudly sing the Anthem as usual. If you get to hear the virus, kill it right in the bud by explaining the meaning.

Lastly, here is the translation of The Anthem for your reference:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jana_Gana_Mana

Here is the full version of Jana Gana Mana, consisting of five stanzas:

We usually sing the first stanza as Our National Anthem.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Good ad

Often, the people who don't know how to express are the most sensitive inside. I like this ad very much.

Kids

Incident 1:
Last evening, my 3 year old son was watching a video on laptop while having a cup of corn in the hall. For some reason that I don't remember, I had asked him to go to the bed room with his stuff and continue there. "Vedant, take the laptop and corn and go in to the room." To which, a cute reply comes out. "Asalu naaku three hands unnaayaa... cheppu?" (Trans: do I have three hands... tell me).

While I was amazed at the way a 3 year old expressed his inability to do all the tasks at one go in an indirect manner, a thought struck at the back of my mind -- where did he catch the phrase? The answer was quite simple, it was from his surroundings, may be classmates at school, may be kids at the park, television or may be parents.

I thought it's time, I watch my speech, for he is reproducing what he observes. This is a cute one, but it need not always be.

Incident 2:
An year ago, he was less than 2 then, I came back home after shopping some vegetables. I put the bag down and he ran towards the bag to see what I've got. He takes out a brinjal in his hand, looks at it curiously and shouts it's name with his mouth wide open, "wowwwww, brinjallll." For a second, I did not understand what's so great about a brinjal. It's not an ice cream or a toy or a chocolate for him to be so happy. I didn't exactly understand why?

When I put myself in his shoes, I got the answer. To him, that was the first time ever he saw a brinjal in full apart from seeing it in a picture, may be. To him, there was no big difference between the brinjal or a chocolate or an ice cream yet. They are all new and he is just starting to understand them.

He is born with a clean state of mind(to be a little geeky, with an empty file in his hard disk) and he is storing whatever he sees and reacting based on his storage.


The above two incidents, and many more, clearly proved me one thing. Kids are just empty canvas'es given to parents. It is just the impressions, good or bad, that they gather as they go make them what they are.

After I posted this, someone asked me how about Karma(or the past life impressions). To which I replied, "it is only the background colour of the canvas."

Monday, October 27, 2014

Flight

This Diwali was a quiet one at my native town Visakhapatnam which was badly hit due to Hudhud cyclone. Nevertheless, I had a good time and I got ready to go back to Pune. I reached Airport very early this time and had a lot of time to kill. A lot of things were going in my mind and I thought why not I pen them down. That resulted in this short, crazy, beautiful poem on flights. Here it goes:


Does the flight ever know that it carries a ton of emotions as it departs, as it lands, as it flies? Or is it a mere machine carrying weight between destinations? May be it doesn't know, for if it does, no amount of energy can carry those heavy hearts.

Does it know that it carries pain that a son holds in his heart while leaving his parents to live elsewhere? May be it doesn't, for if it does, it would never fly.

Does it know that it carries joy that parents holds in their heart while eagerly waiting for their son who is waiting for a reunion at the destination? May be it doesn't, for if it does, it would move at speed of light.

Does it know that it is surrounded with so many prayers by sons, daughters, parents who want its journey to be safe? May be it doesn't, for if it does, it would never crash.

May be it better be like a machine and not start feeling the emotions. Else it goes crazy like humans do :-)