Thursday, January 31, 2008

Law of Attraction


“When you want something in life very genuinely, the whole universe conspires to help you achieve it.”
That was Paulo Coelho in Alchemist.

I mention that because the subject of this writing reminds me so much of it.

One of the modern theories gaining popularity of late is the law of attraction. (I do not know if it really is modern. For all you know, it could be one of those reinventions of the wheel.)

The following is the law of attraction in a nutshell.

Our thoughts decide what we are. We are today, whatever we are because of the thoughts we had yesterday. Our thoughts of today determine what we will be tomorrow.

Everyone in this universe can get what they want. All they have to do is want it earnestly. And it will eventually come to them.
That said, one should always think positive.
Think about what you want and be sure that you will get it. And it will come to you.
Think about the situation you want to be in; not as if it were future state but think about it as if it were happening at present. Close your eyes. Savour it. Do this exercise for a few minutes every few days and live all your dreams. They will eventually turn to reality.

If you want to become the CEO of a company, conduct yourself in all situations the way a CEO would conduct himself. If you want to go to Switzerland, put up pictures of Switzerland and the alps on the walls of your room, look at them and imagine you are already there, enjoying the beauty of the place.

“So what’s the catch?” asked Nagaraj, one of my friends. “If it were as simple as that then everyone in this world should have what they want. Why are there so many unhappy, dissatisfied people in this world?”

There are several reasons. Most of the people do not know what they really want. Try asking 10 people (chosen randomly) what they want from life at that present and you will know.
They will either give you generic answers like “I want happiness, peace of mind” or complain about their problems and miseries. They will not be able to tell you what exactly they want because they don’t know what they want.

Most of them will actually tell you what they don’t want.

A few months ago during my stay in California, I was disturbed because of the cold, distant and political behaviour of some unsavoury characters that had come with me from India. A friend who noticed my unhappy state asked me, “Why are you unhappy? What do you want from this assignment and from your stay in the US in general?

I said, “I don’t want these people to behave the way they do”.
“I want this roomie to stop banging the door each time she walks in and out of the house.”
“I want these managers to stop their micromanagement and policing”
“I want these non vegetarians to stop being so insensitive about the sentiments of vegetarians”.

He said” These are things you DO NOT want. WHAT DO YOU WANT??”

After much contemplation I said,
”I want to acquire some domain knowledge from this project”
“I want to travel extensively”
“I want to make friends”

He said, “You will get it”.

That I believe is the key. The moment you know specifically what you want, you will get it (supposedly).

Another catch is this. Most of the people who know what they want are not happy when they get it. How many of us are grateful today for getting what we wanted from life yesterday? How many of us even remember what we wanted yesterday?

Today, I am a software professional. I have enough money. I have the best of food, clothes and accessories. I am independent. I have a mobile phone. I have a 30 GB iPod and a lovely collection of music among other things.
But how often do I think that these were the very stuff my dreams used to be made of once upon a time? How often do I jump in the air and shout “Yeah, my dreams have come true! My wishes have been granted!”? Not very often. Most of us take for granted what we have today.

To say more about the law, I am told it works. How? Vibrations attract like vibrations. Happiness attracts more happiness just as sorrow attracts more sorrow. If you are cheerful and believe that what you want is coming to you very soon, then it will come to you.

If you doubt, it will take a long time to come.
If you hope, then it will come to you, but slowly.
And if you know it will come, then, it will come in no time.

If you crib and complain all the time about your miseries, you will only bring more misery into your life.

While practicing this however, one must concentrate only on the final result, not on the strategy. Think about what you want, not about how it should materialize. The universe will take care of the how.

On our way home from office, my friend asked, “What do you want now?”
I said, “I want people to stop driving one man cars in Bangalore”.
“Why? What do you want to achieve by that?”
“Because of so many vehicles, roads and flyovers are being constructed. To make room for construction, more and more trees are being cut down. I don’t want trees to be cut down”
“So what you WANT is a GREEN BANGALORE!”
“YES”.
The point is, focus on the end result not on intermediate strategy.

And remember, two negatives don’t make a positive.
I stumbled upon this cartoon in which one guy says “I am anti-war, anti-drugs, anti-pollution, anti-commercialism, anti-deforestation”. The other guy says “Hmmm… Quite positive!”
When Mother Teresa was asked to join the anti war rally, she responded by saying “I will not join the anti war rally. But if there is a peace rally, I will surely join it”!

Don’t strive against what you don’t want.
Strive for what you want.
There is a difference. Your mind should not dwell even for a moment on the negative. It should be filled with positive thoughts only.

Whether or not you believe in the law of attraction, it acts upon you all the time. It is like gravity. Even if you don’t believe in gravity, it will still act upon you.

To my rational mind, this theory appears to be in conflict with the theory of Karma somewhat. A person who has done evil deserves doom. If an evil doer knows about the law of attraction and practices it to attain happiness in life, will he succeed in bringing happiness into his life which he does not deserve??

For now, I shall put away all skepticism and try to believe in this law.
One; it does not hurt. Two; there are friends who vouch for the effectiveness of this theory.
And then, all it takes to practice it is incorrigible optimism which is a good thing indeed!

Alice in Wonderland


Ladakh & Kashmir 2010

Ladakh & Kashmir 2010 - Day 1

2011. 16 April - 3 May - Mt.Everest Base Camp & Kala Patthar

Everest Calling - A Melodious Finale
Everest Calling - A Evening of Nepali Culture
Everest Calling - Kathmandu - Pashupatinath temple
Everest Calling - Kathmandu
Everest Calling - Lukla to Kathmandu - Arial Pictures
Everest Calling - Phakding to Lukla
Everest Calling - Namche to Phakding
Everest Calling - A Walk in the Mist
Everest Calling - Tengboche to Namche
Everest Calling - Tengboche
Everest Calling - Periche to Tengboche
Everest Calling - Kala Patthar to Periche
Everest Calling - Careful, Thats the Edge. Of the Mountain & of Politeness
Everest Calling - A Silly Post
Everest Calling - Gorakshep to Kala Patthar
Everest Calling - An Amazing Conspiracy
Everest Calling - Gorak Shep to Everest Base Camp
Everest Calling - The Power of Physical Coordinates
Everest Calling - Lobuche to Gorak Shep
Everest Calling - Dingboche to Lobuche
Everest Calling - Dingboche to Nearby Hilltop to View Mt. Makalu
Everest Calling - Pangboche to Dingboche
Everest Calling - Value & Appearance
Everest Calling - Intensity vs Longevity
Everest Calling - Phortse Tanga to Pangboche
Everest Calling - Coping with High Altitudes
Everest Calling - Machermo to Phortse Tanga
Everest Calling - Dole to Machermo
Everest Calling - Namche to Dole
Everest Calling - Shopping at Namche Bazaar & the Final Preparartion
Everest Calling - Namche- Acclimatization- Everest View Hotel
Everest Calling - The Meaning of Cold
Everest Calling - Phakding To Namche
Everest Calling - Lukla To Phakding
Everest Calling - Crash Landing Into Lukla
Everest Calling - The Smell Of A Home I Have Once Lived In
Everest calling - Kathmandu
Everest Calling - Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai
EC - Flying and Scrambling, Crouching and Racing

Yercaud - Day 2,3 - Lady's Seat, Church, Lakeside, GRT & Return
Yercaud - Day 2 - Rajarajeshwari Temple, Pagoda Point, Brothers' Academy, Sun Dial
Yercaud - Day 2 - Shevaroy Temple, Tripurasundari Mahameru Temple
Yercaud - Day 1 - Surroundings & The Lake
Yercaud - Day 1 - The Journey

Hogenakkal Falls

Ladakh 2009

Ladakh - Day 10 - The Unexpected Turn of Return
Ladakh - Day 9 - Nyamgel Tsemo
Ladakh - Day 9 - Pangong Lake
Ladakh Day 8 - The Grand Finale - Pangong
Ladakh - Day 8 - The lake Before Pangong - Preparation For The Big Surprise
Ladhak - Day 8 - ChangLa Pass - On The Way To Pangong
Ladakh - Day 7 - Basgo & Spitok
Ladakh - Day 7 - Likir
Ladakh - Day 7 - Alchi
Ladakh - Day 7 - Lamayuru
Ladakh - Day 6 - Return From Nubra To Leh
Ladakh - Day 5 - Nubra - Diskit
Ladhak - Day 5 - Nubra - Sumur
Ladakh - Day 5 - Nubra - Sand Dunes
Ladakh - Day 4 - Gompa At Hundar
Ladakh - Day 4 - Nubra valley
Ladakh - Day 4 - After Khardongla, Towards Nubra
Ladakh - Day 4 - Khardungla Pass
Ladakh - Day 3 - Shanti Stupa
Ladakh - Day 3 - Stok
Ladakh - Day 3 - Sindhu
Ladakh - Day 3 - Shey
Ladakh - Day 3 - Thikse
Ladakh - Day 3 - Hemis
Leh(Ladakh) - Day 2 - Leh Palace
Leh(Ladhak) - Day 1

Temple At The Foot Of Nandi Hills

Hosaholalu

Goa, Murudeshwar, Udupi - Oct 2008

Thernamakki
Udupi
A Magical Sunset
Goa
Murudeshwar

Gaganachukki Bharachukki Water Falls

Himayala - May-June 2008

Khirganga - The Grand Finale
Rashol
Kasol
River Rafting On Beas
Manali - Day 2
Manali - Day 1
McLeod Ganj
Rishikesh
Darva Top
Dodital
Bhojbasa and Gaumukh
Gangotri
Rudraprayag
Kedarnath
Badrinath, Mana And Vasudhara

Nandi Hills - March 2008

South Lake Tahoe - 17th Nov 2007
Coorg in December 07
An Autumn
Seattle - Snoqualmie Falls
Seattle Day 2 – Riding the Duck and Downtown
Seattle - Mount Pilchuck
Yosemite and Muir Woods
The Pacific Beckons
San Francisco

I, Solitude and The Jog

Heartfelt Expression


25. Drizzle
24. Moments of Redemption
23. Trembling At The Brim
22. Inspired By Indignation
21. Turning Wheel
20. Smile
19. Perfect Eight
18. Moth Eaten
17. Blow Gently Wind
16. Resurgence
15. Odyssey
14. Where Time Looses All Meaning...
13. Ganga At Gaumukh
12. Metamorphosnow
11. What's In A Face?
10. You opened the floodgates
9. If Not For Clouds...
8. I beg for forgiveness
7. Salvation
6. Tantalization
5. Blossoming
4. Desiderata - Max Ehrmann
3. Dangerous Heights
2. A struggle to conquer destiny
1. Love Understands and Therefore Waits

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Google Story - David Vise



It thrills as you continue to read not so much because of the way it is told but because you know it is reality. Not any reality; but every computer user’s reality. Your reality and my reality.

This is not so much a book review because I don’t have much to say about the author’s work. The turn of events itself has been so interesting, so spectacular for the Google guys Larry and Sergey, right since their student days in Stanford university to their latest innovation “Google your genes”, that anyone doing a cover on their story would not need to make too much effort. Simply narrating facts in chronological order would be enough to get the reader interested.
I would however give the author credit for the efforts made to gather all the facts (there are so many of them) and assemble them to create a single thread.

There is much to be said however about the young founders, their courage, their brilliance and the unshakable faith they had in their own ability.
“Winners don’t do different things. They do things differently”. There could be no better example of this than the Google guys. The way they handled their initial public offering (IPO) giving a damn to Wall street, their “Don’t Be Evil” motto, the university like culture they created in workplace, their perpetual disdain for using ads to generate revenue, their laser like focus on end user…...

I loved this book for two things. One, it endorses my belief in “You don’t have to be shrewd to be a businessman”. Two, it reiterates the importance of “control” which the Google guys firmly held(I love control).

I enjoyed the constant comparisons with Microsoft (showing Microsoft and its custodian Bill Gates in poor light) and vivid illustrations of how the Google guys made Bill Gates bite the dust. Again, I have a strong resentment towards those who are shrewd; people in general and businessmen in particular.

If one begins to consider all those things that empower today’s individual Google looms large before you. It empowers you regardless of your sex, religion, age, geographical location in a way that is indescribable.

But given the fact that Google is eventually going to be the singular source of information and knowledge for future generations, and that libraries are soon going to become a thing of the past, there are serious concerns one cannot overlook.
Google will define the idea that future generations will have of the world. Therefore the questions
“How truthful and unbiased is Google?” and
“Will the United States as a nation and as a political entity try to control this information dissemination? “ are a billion dollars each.

This concern is very well expressed by the head of Bibliotheque Nationale of France who said “I don’t want the French revolution to be retold by books chosen by the United States”.

The book gives a general understanding of how IT business works. Of legal issues arising in the internet world, of how websites that provide free services make money, of their revenue models, of their social impact, of privacy issues…..of how they have changed the world.

Bottomline. This book is a must read for every computer user.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Some more.....of my paintings





The Hand That Holds The Brush....


Did I tell you that I used to paint?

I loved drawing and painting ever since I was a child. Never attended formal school of art but tried patiently to produce a few landscapes and succeeded to an extent. This was a good twelve years ago.

The hand that once held the brush now holds the mouse…..

Leave me a comment if you feel like it…..to let me know if I should ever pick up the brush again or be content with the mouse……





Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Relationships


Not all relationships can withstand the onslaught of time and distance. Some are washed away like footprints on sand by waters of the ocean. Some melt like morning mist when touched by sunshine. Some are eroded like grains of sand by storms of time.

A very few endure like scriptures engraved on the surface of a rock.

It is said that every relationship is for a reason, a season or a life time.

Some people come into your life for a reason. These are people who come into your life when you are in trouble, when you are in need etc. They come; they serve their purpose and leave. Guardian angels!

Some come into your life for a season. They are people who come to you when you are alone and keep you company. They are also your classmates, roommates, college mates and friends who spend some time with you, give you happiness, give you memories and go their way as you go yours.

Some are for a lifetime. Your parents, your siblings; they could also be your best friends. Sometimes, you are introduced to certain people. Within twenty minutes of meeting them you feel you have known them from another life.

People come and people go. Unable to make a distinction, the heart goes through the roller coaster ride time and again. Excitement, togetherness, happiness and suffering. The heart wants to cling to everyone who touches it. It bleeds every time someone goes away. The first time, the pain is excruciating. The second time, it is a familiar pain. One fine day, you become numb. Nothing is felt.

One must learn to let go. “Set it free. If it comes back to you, it is yours to keep. If it does not it was never meant to be”. Not everyone is meant to be there forever. If all of them were to stay, you would need a thousand hands to clasp them all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Love Understands and Therefore Waits


This is one of my first poems.

The poem itself is very ordinary.
What makes it special is the fact that it was written in a different era: an era that was, only 15 years ago, but it was so different.
For, it was an era of a different love, an era of waiting for one’s beloved for a life time, ‘for ever’ was a norm among those in love. To remain loyal to one person all life and the idea of ‘eternal love’ were things that defined how people loved.
Living today, at a time when it is the norm to ‘move on’ in life, relationships lasting only 2 years, 1 year, 6 months, even six weeks, and then people moving on within a week of break up;
a time when people in love sometimes get over each other, after which it is considered practical and pragmatic to ‘move on’, a time when waiting forever seems like foolish romanticizing, and then there are one night stands and wham-bam-thank-you-mam affairs which were unheard of and unthinkable in that era, only 15 years ago, when this poem was written.
I was sixteen, and insanely in love with a classmate; both of us were too egoistic to even talk or look at each other except when stealing glances; but I had had the luxury of one hand shake, that had lasted a few seconds longer than handshakes normally do: one day the classes ended, I moved to a new city, but believing that I would wait for him all my life… and I relived that handshake everyday for I don’t remember how many years…

You may disappear into nothing
And vanish into void
Someday and at some point
Beyond the limit of my vision
The very fact that you existed
May become an illusion

But your memories will linger
In my mind always
My hopeful eyes will
Behold your pictures always
Your deep voice will resound
In my ears always

It’s my little heart unbroken
Full of dreams and fascinations
Its only feelings unspoken
Supporting this anonymous relation
But the fragrance of it
Pervades beyond the horizon
The intensity of it I am sure
Will surpass your imagination

I feel as though I have
Known you for years and years
I nurture and nourish my desires
With pains and tears

I shall still wait for you
Years and years after you’re gone
For the sun descends everyday
With a promise to return the next dawn


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Akbar and Krishna


Prologue

Themis, the goddess of divine justice said, “You may present your defense now”.

And the accused cried out thus.

“So what? Even Krishna had sixteen thousand wives! Arjuna married five women!
The temples walls of Khajuraho are replete with sex and eroticism!”

Objection my Lord!

Objection sustained! Case dismissed! I pronounce you guilty!

Between Prologue and Epilogue

Most of us are probably unaware of the fact that Akbar the great had more than 5000 women in his life. No woman entered his nuptial chamber more than once. The only woman who entered his nuptial chamber twice was Jodhabai. The same Jodhabai, the Rajput princess, whom Akbar married, according to the writers of our history, for the noble cause of promoting religious harmony between the two religions!

No comments.

However, upon hearing me say this, another confused Indian gave out a hollow cry “So what? Even Krishna had sixteen thousand wives! Arjuna married five women!”

I will address the confused Indian in a while. (His only source of knowledge seems to be some mythological serial on television, full of concoctions, totally distorted and as good as an ekta kappoor’s K serials on star plus)

Very often, the sixteen thousand wives of Krishna and the temple walls of Khajuraho are referred to by glamorous models on television, the likes of Bipasha Basu and Mallika Sherawat.
This is not so much because they have anything to do with Indian culture even remotely.
It is simply to defend their naked posters on sleazy magazines.

K & K (Krishna and Khajuraho) are also referred to by youngsters caught in mindless modernisation attempting to defend their animal instincts that take them to theatres for watching porn movies, strip shows, shakeela and mallika sherawat.

These two (K & K) are probably the oldest and most popular weapons known to mankind, used by models, actors, sex symbols, adulterers and fornicators of Indian origin to defend their “boldness”.

This writing is for the multitude of confused Indians who have no inclination whatsoever to read our scriptures or study our literature and understand their intricacies, but are more than eager to find faults with our ancient culture at the first opportunity.
It is for those well read people who are engrossed in reading Mills and Boons and Sidney Sheldon but have never read the Mahabharat.
It is for those smart kids who are very knowledgeable about Spiderman and Harry Potter but don’t care to know who Bhishmacharya was.
It is for all those who know Cindrella but have never read the Panchatantra.
Lastly, it is for the stylish youth who use American slang at the drop of a hat but very proudly say they don’t know their mother tongue.

Krishna

Every time a war was fought, the king who won and his men exploited the women of the defeated kingdom who had lost their men in the wars. These women were either reduced to objects of desire or slaves and were the captives of the king.

When Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura, he found sixteen thousand women in a state of captivity. He liberated all of them and set them free. But the women asked “Where do we go from here?” They had lost their men, their materials and had no where to go. Upon seeing their plight Krishna said “Come to me. I shall embrace you. You shall belong to me now on”. Thus Krishna married sixteen thousand women who otherwise would have been destitute and would have no reason to live.

Whenever we ordinary mortals discuss a man woman relationship, it is as if the relationship were unidimensional. We are simply incapable of thinking beyond a biological relationship. This shows what a shallow thinking ours is.

One must understand that a man woman relationship can be on any one of the several mental planes; the lowest of them being the biological one.

The marriage of Krishna and sixteen thousand gopikas was celestial. It was on a much higher plane. Their union was cosmic.

Arjuna

In ancient times, when earth was divided into kingdoms and empires, when wars and battles were commonplace, no matter who attained victory, hundreds of thousands of men lost their lives in the battle fields. As a consequence of this, the man to woman ratio in the society was less than 1:1. It was very often 1:2, 1:3 or even worse. For every man there were 2 or 3 women in the society. If the society had to practice strict monogamy, many women would have to live without a man.

It was the need of those times therefore to legitimize polygamy, allowing a man to marry more than one woman.

One must understand that as the society evolves, laws change. The acceptable and the unacceptable, the right and the wrong, the good and the bad are not absolutes. They are separated by a fine line. Subject to changing times, changes in environments and circumstances, the entities on one side of the line could crossover to the other side.

Think about this. The kings and their soldiers, the elephants and chariots, the swords flashing in the battlefields all seem to belong to an era of the past, although the palaces and the fortresses, the historians and the museums stand as towering testimonies to their existence barely a hundred years ago.

How radically the society has changed in just a hundred years!

Who would believe that the Bihar of today was once the prosperous Magadha kingdom that housed the Nalanda University, one of the first great universities in recorded history?

That being the case, it is impossible to even have a perspective about a society and it’s ways thousands of years ago, that is accurate in the least.

To use today’s society and its laws as a yard stick for judging another society of another era is ludicrous and preposterous.

[Please note : The ratio of man to woman in this country was never as bad as 1:5000. Those secular Indians trying to explain Akbar’s harem should not use this theory therefore]

Khajuraho

Do you know what is worshipped in the sanctum of a Shiva temple? A phallus. Yes it is the penis that is worshipped. To be more precise, the union of man and woman is worshipped. This worship is the worship of the great generative power, the primal bringer of life. It is a worship of the reproductive function.

When you see a Shivalinga in a temple, do you feel disgusted? Do you think it is vulgar? No.

When you see a mother breastfeeding a child, do you feel it is vulgar? No.

Does that not prove that it is your perspective, your thoughts and intentions that make things appear beautiful or vulgar?

During those times when religion and spiritualism were the opium of the people, the thoughts of people had reached the culminating point of purity in India. The divinity of sex had reached it’s zenith in this country.

The aspect of sex in the Indian society reached such heights of divinity and sacredness, that people carved idols depicting various forms of man woman union and elevated them to the pedestals of temple walls and worshipped them!

Such was the evolution of the society! Such was the superiority of our culture!

In today’s society where entertainment is the opium of people, a magazine selling pictures of naked women using sex as cheap titillation for commerce is not the same as a Khajuraho temple!

How can anyone even think of such a comparison?

Epilogue

Indians seem to have mastered the art of self deprecation.

Self deprecation without a cause.

Abusing our own culture or being completely ignorant of it seems to have become a fashion for all Indians seeking to prove that they are “secular”, that they are “broad minded” and that they are “modern”.

If your confusion has arisen out of all the rhetoric cries against dowry, sati and female infanticide, please be aware that these social evils are all like the impurities that contaminate the Ganges of Indian culture.
The impurities by themselves do not represent the river. But the ignorant passerby, abuses the river upon seeing the polluted water.
The one who seeks the truth travels to the heights of Himalayas where the river originates and drinks from her pure water.

Similarly, if you really seek to understand the true Indian culture, you will have to travel to the treasure house of knowledge and reach for the writings and scriptures of ancient times, the Vedas, the Upanishads, the epics and the works in Sanskrit.

It was not to revive a bundle of blind beliefs and hypocrisies that the Vivekanandas, the Ramanujacharyas and Shankaracharyas dedicated their lives, traveling miles across the country and abroad. It was the five thousand year old wisdom called Indian culture, as enormous as the Ganges and as majestic as the Himalayas.

We may not contribute to the growth or sustenance of this culture but we can at least refrain from disparaging it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

When I Found Out


I see it everyday; men, belonging to various age groups, mostly, the “empowered youth”, spewing clouds of smoke like chimneys. There are some women too. Once upon a time, it used to upset me. Now, I am immune to it.

But when I found out that a dear one smokes, when my suspicion turned to belief, I felt stabbing pain in my heart. I was disturbed the whole day. I could not even sleep well at night.

I feel miserable when I think about how his father will feel when he will find out.
The father is a man born in the 1950’s, in a family that can boast of members who have not touched cigarette or alcohol.

He always believed that a good upbringing could make all the difference. He spent 25 years of his life putting this belief into practice; patiently discussing with his children the importance of simplicity and self control, sometimes quoting from the Subhashitas, sometimes narrating from his own experience. He carefully shielded them not only from bad company but also from television programs that could have a bad influence. He sacrificed a promotion, a higher posting and more money all for the sake of his children who he believed were his most valuable assets.

Today, his worst fears have come true. 25 years of his efforts have been wasted. The fear of cancer will not cause him so much pain as the thought that the singular purpose of his life has been defeated.

How unfair it is that the good intentions of a man and years of his toil to produce a thoughtful, responsible citizen should be defeated in no time by a group of frivolous scoundrels who coaxed the boy to smoke his first cigarette!

Once again I saw the triumph of evil over good.
Style over Substance…
Vogue over Virtue…
Craze over Character…
Madness over Moral…
Insanity over Ideology…
Recklessness over Responsibility...

To the father, it is the triumph of Destiny over Determination.

Why does good accept defeat so easily? Why does virtue break into splinters before the force of vice?

Why does the story of “what you sow, so shall you reap” have a sudden twist at the end?

You sow a seed in a fertile soil. When it starts growing into a plant, you start tending it. You water it, nourish it and give it sunlight and manure. You guard it against cattle that prowl to feed on its tender leaves. You wait for the day when you can rest in its shade and eat its fruit. 25 years pass. The tree bears only one fruit. You cut it open and you see that it is full of worms.

Dear one, May this New Year bring to you plenty of oxygen, lots of fresh air, the resolve to say no to tobacco and the will power to say no to bad company.

Tears…………

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari - Robin Sharma



I just finished reading this book. The first book I completed this new year.

I like this book for one reason for sure. No plagiarism. He gives all credit to the sages of Himalayas who in my opinion deserve credit for any wisdom anywhere on the surface of this earth.

The author presents to the reader several simple techniques and principles which if applied to real life have the potential to change one’s life.

It is the same ancient wisdom that has been passed on from one generation to another in all Indian households but presented in such a way that a reader would buy it.

The discipline of waking up early with sunrise, a satvik vegetarian diet, daily rituals like chanting mantras, the importance of concentration, being kind, serving others, yoga, a life of simplicity, self control etc are not new to us Indians.

Robin Sharma has blended this with the modern day mantras of planning, time management, goal setting, priorities, kaizen(the Japanese concept) etc.

But most of the principles come from the huge pot of ancient Indian wisdom.

I like this book because it endorses my belief in the flawlessness of our traditions and culture, removing the last iota of doubt that hovers over my mind sometimes owing to some “scientific thinking” that was implanted in me during school and college.

The book is replete with quotations and sayings which are worth adding to my collection. The writing is sometimes crisp and brisk, sometimes soggy and slack.
The author in an attempt to reiterate certain points repeats them over and over. After every ten pages, you read something that you have read before. Owing to the fact of this redundancy, the book could have been lesser by10-15 pages.

The style of writing is crisp, simple and straightforward but certain similes and other figures of speech could have been replaced with better ones. Like the line in page 157 “first rays of the sun peeking into the room, pushing away darkness like a child pushes away an unwanted bedcover”. Not very tasteful!

My verdict : This book is worth reading.

Post Script: The author advocates vegetarianism and explains how it can improve one’s life. All the meat eaters out there, even if you don’t care about the way animals are treated, even if you don’t care about religion etc, for your own sake you may want to start thinking…….

Monday, January 07, 2008

Coorg in December 07




21st December 07

We (myself, Murali (my bro), mom and dad left (in our newly acquired Maruti Esteem)to visit my aunt and uncle who live in Virajpet, a small charming town in Coorg district. After some quality time spent with family, we began to tour.

Day 1 - We visited Bhagamandala, Talakaveri and Madikeri. These places are very small but the drive was very pleasant. We were driving through woods and coffee estates almost all the time.

I was convinced that you must enjoy the journey and not wait for the destination.
The Raja Seat at Madikeri was a nice place. It’s a small park situated on an elevated piece of earth with some gardens and stone benches for tourists to rest, overlooking what can be described as a valley. As you recline on one of the benches and look ahead, there are no manmade jungles as far as your eyes can see. In fact, you don’t get a perspective of the distance ahead of you. When you look down, you see forests, lush green fields, meadows and small villages here and there at varying altitudes. When you look ahead, you see one mountain after another after another and then the range of mountains disappears as it dissolves into the horizon far away. We caught sunset in the mountains and reluctantly returned to Virajpet.

Day 2 – This time, my uncle, aunt and their daughter joined us. The more, the merrier! My uncle who is a very interesting man kept us quite entertained with his humorous observations. He said "In the entire country, people drive on the left of the road, but in Virajpet, people drive on what is left of the road!

We visited the temple in Thirunelli, Kerala. We drove to the next destination which was the Kuruva island. The road was flanked on both sides by teakwood forests. These trees have been planted by the government in order to create yielding forests(monoculture forests are not a good idea, but anyway..). We reached the island which was full of bamboo grooves among some other vegetation. We had carried lunch (Bisibelebath and Curd rice) with us. We ate in the woods while my bro stood guard with a bamboo pole in his hand to shoo away all the little monkeys who had gathered from everywhere to watch us eat.

We returned from the island quickly to go on a safari in the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary. 10 of us (plus a guard and a driver) got into a jeep, looking out eagerly for elephants, tigers and other wild animals. At the end of the 45 minute drive through the forest, we had only been successful to the extent of catching fleeting glimpses of wild buffaloes and deers.

These are the first few pictures I took with my new Sony T200 bought in the US :-) Enjoy!



Coorg Dec 07

Sajjan Rao Circle


Bangalore. To half the population (mostly immigrants), Bangalore is synonymous to M G road and Brigade road. Unfortunately (or fortunately) most of the people have not even heard of Jayanagar, Basavanagudi, VV Puram and other places which constitute the true Bangalore.

I was one of the fortunate ones to have savoured the flavour of the real Bangalore before the damage happened. (I will refrain from describing the gory details of the damage. Since I don’t have the stomach for it myself, I don’t want my readers to be reminded of it)

I lived in Bangalore for five years between 92 and 97.
I lived in Basavanagudi (or VV Puram) which was then, the heart of the city.

To be more specific, I lived on the diagonal road which is one of the six or seven roads that converge to make up the Sajjan Rao circle. This circle was a very interesting place. And a very convenient one too.

The circle has at least four temples. All of them are the traditional stone temples, having tall gopuras at the entrance; very unlike the marble floored new age temples in other parts of the city which are merely ornamental and evoke no feelings of devotion at all.

A road (of the circle) or rather a street I must mention, is the Thindipotha street. The word “Thindipotha” in Kannada means a foody person. On both sides of the narrow street are tiny shops that continuously fry mouth watering condiments for the population in that part of the city which is very foody.

At the very beginning of this street is the famous V B Bakery. This was the most famous bakery in Bangalore until recently. It is still the most famous bakery in that part of the city. Needless to say, it is an Iyengar bakery.

Most of the bakeries in South India are owned by Iyengars. Even the rich, famous and shrewd Niligiris bakery does not have the variety and taste that Iyengar bakeries have.

The VB bakery has been there for over 50 years now. The place is bustling with activity and men in clean white veshti scurry about weighing the condiments and packing them in covers. People stand in one of the ten queues to buy cakes and cookies. If you want to know why they say “selling like hot cake”, you should visit this place. :-)

The air in sajjan rao circle is filled with sweet fragrance of freshly baked bread, cake, Halwa and other delicacies.

Adjacent to the temple is “Chandra salties”. A chat shop. It is a small one but a famous one. It is crowded from the time it opens till the time it closes. From the pani puri to the masala puri to dhahi puri, all the chats taste wonderful. No other chat shops can boast of such customer satisfaction. He could also train Infy and wipro on the subject of customer retention.

The fragrance of bread and cake from the bakery mixed with the scent of interesting spices from the chat shop and the aroma of incense in the temples gave the circle a kind of unmistakable identity.

The bakery and the chat shop were my favourite places to eat. Five years of my childhood were thus spent in the vicinity of this place.

In 97, I left Bangalore to go to another place (I will not mention the details and reason here). I came back in 2003 for work. I stay on airport road these days which is said to be very “cosmopolitan”.

Yesterday, I visited Sajjan rao circle after 10 years. Melvit was with me during this visit. Everything looked the same as before. After a long time, I felt I had returned to Bangalore.
There is a saying. “There is nothing like going back to an old place that has not changed to find the ways in which you have changed yourself”.

First I visited the Srinivasa temple. I was both surprised and happy to see that the priest was the same person who used to perform the rituals years ago. Of course, he had grown older and his potbelly had increased slightly in size. He did not recognize me but when I mentioned to him that I was the daughter of so and so and used to live in this area, he recollected to some extent.

I then visited the VB bakery. I immediately recognized one of the men in white veshti who used to work those days. I asked him how long he had worked there and he said “20 years”! I told him excitedly that I used to visit this place. He did not recognize me but I shook hands with him I told him that I was happy to meet him after long. He gave me a warm smile, happy to be remembered.

We(me and mevit) had some of the vegetable puffs I used to have those days. I tasted their new masala bun which has become very famous. The Sunday special dumrot was very much there. The same taste, the same flavour! All this for a mere 26 rupees!

I stood outside the shop eating for a long time and paid at the cash counter after I finished. I realized for the first time that the owners placed so much trust in their customers who must have been equally deserving in that part of the town.
This was so different from commercial establishments in other parts of the city where “you first give money and then take your goods”.
This was new to Melvit and I had to explain to her that people in South Bangalore (the true Kannadigas) are far more innocent than others. I am glad there still are places in Bangalore that have retained this innocence.

I was hurrying to the bus stop to return to airport road but suddenly from the corner of my eye caught a glimpse of Chandra salties. I went to the shop and had a masala puri. I recognized the shopkeeper at once but this time I did not bother to tell him about myself. (given the outcome of my previous attempts to connect)

I returned home satisfied that I had a spent my Sunday very well. I also resolved to visit this place more often.

In these modern times where everybody is talking about “change” and the necessity of “change” in life and how “change” is the only constant in life, I am so happy that certain things never change. :-)