Shared Thoughts

The Comb

I was in my late thirties- not old enough to retire, but definitely old enough not to fall into infatuations. I was visiting a small hill station, not for holiday, but on work- with a team of serious minded executives who probably thought of balance sheets when one talked about "figures". The mood in the van was somber and the conversation, if any, would be on matters purely economical and commercial. Barring myself, no one seemed to even notice, leave alone enjoy, the beautiful landscapes that unfolded before us at every turn of the vehicle on the climb up.

Maybe it was the sense of loneliness in a crowd, or maybe the caving of young mind that had already begun to look for a deeper meaning beyond balance sheets- I was uneasy, Every time a city bound bus crossed our path, I had this strong temptation to flag it down, get in and go back home. But of course I resisted. I was a responsible professional, I was on work, and I had to abide by my duty.

I was the one who suggested that we stop foe a cup of tea. The restaurant, if you could call it one, was nondescript and run down, but the panoramic view was breathtaking. One could see the hot brew boiling in a huge kettle kept over firewood. All the others in the van were impatient, wanting instant gratification, as successful executives usually do. I was feasting my eyes on the bounties of nature, when something even more fascinating caught my eye.

She was selling combs. The first thing I noticed was her thick crop of white hair, luxuriously combed into a simple bun. She looked towards me and held my attention- her eyes were mesmerizing. Her face broke put into a grin, partly toothless, with the remaining teeth showing obvious signs of decay. But the face held a fascination that I could not take my eyes away from. There was an attraction that I had not felt for a decade or more towards the opposite sex. There was something erotic in her approach. I could not believe that I was getting attracted to a village woman old enough to be my mother. But looking back over the years, there is no doubt about it- it was love at first sight.

She sold me a comb for three rupees, which was probably double the going price. I would have paid her ten times more if she had asked for it. Years have gone by. I never went back to that village. The comb is losing its teeth one by one, at about the same pace that I am losing my hair. But I have not thrown it away, I cannot. It blinds me to that love affair that lasted all of two minutes.

- Ali


Aab is fascinated with authority.

He watches with fascination how human beings don the garb of their individuality. He marvels at creation that has made humans so equal that even the King and the Dictator have to visit the toilet as often as the commoner, that even golden plates and spoons cannot take away hunger but for a specific period.

At times he wonders whether he is jealous of those who command awe and respectful fear from others. But he could not be, because he spurned every effort to acquire status, whenever it came his way. And it did come his way many a times. Aab has been nothing more than Aab. He never held a title, never moved in the regalia of the powerful. But he has rubbed shoulders with them, and has smelt them from close range. The odour is intoxicating, far more powerful than the best of wine.

He has often visualized the high and mighty in their utterly naked form- shorn of their finery and ornaments. He has seen many of them being lowered into their graves, leaving behind everything that they owned, powerless to even prevent people from mixing them with dust, from lofty thrones all the way down six feet into the earth.

Aab has also seen, in many decades of his existence, how the meek rise up to become mighty and forget their meekness; he has seen the mighty bite the dust and yet not learn a lesson from it. Aab often looks at dust and looks at man, and fails to notice any difference between them, except in their deeds.

One of the topics in Biology for the 10th Std. is photosynthesis. The topic deals with the internal structure of a green leaf, the basic steps of food manufacture in green leaves and the factors that control the process. Children also learn that plants use simple substances like water and carbon dioxide to make their 'energy currency', for their survival.

  • There are quite a few life lessons to be learnt from the humble green leaf.
  • The leaf is a primary producer. All of us including animals, birds, etc. depend on it for food and for our very breath, since it gives out a lot of oxygen.
  • It uses very little of what it prepares and gives the rest to all living creatures.
  • It spends its "energy currency" wisely and well never in excess and for maximum benefit for all.
  • It does not store excess-it does not hoard its "currency", nothing is wasted.
  • An excellent lesson is "waste put to use". It takes in the waste we produce (carbon dioxide) to give out life saving oxygen.

One of the students asked me if the leaf would prepare more food if supplied with more light, energy and carbon dioxide. Yet another lesson for us!
- The leaf prepares only the necessary amount of food even though plenty of raw materials are available.

Questions kept popping up in my head. How much money does one need to make? How many properties does one need to have? How much jewelery? How much material? Why does one have to 'shop till you drop? Is there no end to excessive consumerism?

I'm reminded of Sophocles, a Greek philosopher who was seen staring at all the wares in the busy market place. When a passer by asked him if he was trying to make up his mind as to what to buy, Sophocles replied, "I'm amazed to see the number of things that I do not need."

- Shobha Rani

Bangalore has lost its old lustre, giving place to clutter- a garden city turning into a garbage city - chocking with problems, which normally go with a megapolis. Once a pensioner's paradise, is sounding the death-knell. I remember coming to Bangalore in 1957 as a young bride- it was a peaceful and clean town then. We used to cycle from Sydney Road (Kasturba Road now) to my grand father's house in Shankarapuram. I was hailed with shouts of "Hudugi nodu" as in those days there were few women cyclists.

It was a wonderful town then with open spaces, lush green meadows, boulevards and avenues of shady and majestic trees, paved side walks asphalted and motorable roads with pedestrians crossings. There were no traffic jams and snarls and not a trace of pollution. Kempegowda towers had set the outer limits to the city's growth. Today it has grown far beyond the limits set by our founder. He must be turning in his grave seeing the sad plight of once beautiful Bangalore with its numerous multi-storeyed buildings and commercial complexes. Widening of roads has led to uprooting of trees during severe rains.

The potholes and storm drains are claiming innocent lives all over Bangalore and pollution has reached alarming levels. Traffic jams during peak hours are resulting in public ire and the cop's dilemma.
It is high time that the "Silicon Valley" woke up to the clarion call of its unhappy citizens and set about improving its infrastructure and relieving them of their innumerable woes.

- Vishalakshi Guha

The Younger Sibling of Meditation

A very powerful technique is called motivation
It is the younger sibling of meditation
It helps strengthen the organization
And brings about loyalty for the nation

To motivate helps employees to activate
And makes work in office automate
Workers will avoid coming late
Laziness and gossip they will certainly hate.

Quality productivity become the trait
Other companies will slip into the bait.

Meditation helps bring down your tension
While motivation peps ups your action.

Both are essential minimizing strife
You can lead a happy, peaceful and blessed life.

- Nagaraj Ananth

I know I am dyslexic
Not all that alphabetic
I feel so pathetic
I really do try my best
Never to achieve above the rest
I slowly turn the pages of a book
I peep, I look
I feel terror creeping up on me
The words like to play a game of their own
They can hear me moan
They confuse me, they abuse me
Until I lay the book down
They see me frown
It's not easy being dyslexic
I guess I just have to accept it

- Daren Walker

My niece recently got a seat in IIT. She missed it last year but got a very good rank this year. We all know that getting a seat in IIT is not a joke. Her success inspired me to write this article.........

I would like to share this with all the CHILDREN so that they can make a difference to themselves and their parents..........

How was she different from her friends?

  • She STUDIED sincerely and thoroughly while her friends STUDIED superficially.
  • She WORKED HARD day and night while her friends were PLANNING for PARTIES.
  • She PREPARED from scratch while her friends were DAY DREAMING about their new boyfriends in college.
  • She UNDERSTOOD every difficult problem while her friends IGNORED the tough ones.
  • She PERSISTED while her friends QUITED when they missed the seat the first time.
  • She BELIEVED in herself 100% while her friends DOUBTED their capacity.
  • She SMILED with RIGHT ATTITUDE while her friends FROWNED AND FAILED.
  • She LISTENED carefully in the tutorials while her friends were busy TALKING.
  • She SUCCEEDED in getting into IIT while her friends joined an ordinary DEGREE College
  • And most of all she made her PARENTS FEEL PROUD OF THEMSELVES.

- Sudha Lakshmi

The question mark has been the pole star of human civilization in its march towards progress. Men asked questions about the forces of nature and about their own environment. Scientists and inventors must have made discoveries and inventions by asking questions. The word question has come from the Latin root quaerere, which means "to ask". It is interesting to see the word quest which means to seek or search. We use the mark'?' to indicate a question. One wonders how this particular mark was chosen to signify a question. Has it anything to do with the way we hold our fist while asking a question?

Socrates the Greek philosopher who was the master of Plato and Aristotle was well known for his inquisitive spirit. The question was a method of gaining knowledge and encouraging people to think why they believed in certain things or practised certain things. Rene Descrates, the French philosopher is another person who encouraged the spirit of enquiry. He said that Human beings should doubt their sense experience and ask questions. If a person doubts then it means that he exists. Descartes expressed his philosophy in his famous phrase, 'Cogito, egro sum' (I think therefore I am)

Churchill said,"Don't judge the intelligence of a man by the answers he gives; judge him by the questions he asks. You can tell a lot about him from the questions he asks."

Children ask many questions. Some children ask too many questions to be answered conveniently by the older persons. But it is definitely a great sign that a child should be asking many questions and it would be advisable for the parents and others to answer the questions patiently.

Rudyard Kipling wrote,
I keep six honest men,
They taught me all knew;
Their names are What and Why and When,
And How and Where and Who.

In public speaking and presentations the audience is usually given time for asking questions to the speakers. When the question is tough and difficult to answer the speaker usually precedes his answer by saying something like, "You have asked a very good question..." On a certain occasion the comedian Johnny Walker was being interviewed. Someone who wanted to pull his legs asked, "They say that whenever you perform donkeys gather to watch. Is it true?" "But hoe is it that you were never seen in the group?" asked the great comedian.

People often approach soothsayers and astrologers with their questions about their future. Will I be rich? Will I be able to get a good partner in life and so on and so forth. A young man asked an astrologer what his future was likely to be. The astrologer said," You will be in much difficulty till your fortieth year." Hoping that after that he was going to be happy the man said, "After that, sir?" "After that you will get used to your difficulties." was the answer.

I want to narrate another interesting anecdote about a lawyer who used to charge Rs.20,000/- for answering queries. A curious client called and asked, "Sir, is it true that you are charging Rs.20,000 for just two question?" "Yes" said the advocate and added, "Please ask your second question."

When we discuss questions we always think of asking questions to other persons. But coming to think of it, the most important person to whom I should ask questions is myself. Who am I? Where do I come from? Where will I go? What is the purpose and meaning of my life? What can I do to make myself and other people around me happy?

-Clifford Martis

While reading the article (in Banjara Life) about making praise a habit, I was thinking it is not only that praising someone else is difficult or not a natural habit, but also the fact that accepting praise too does not come easily to many of us. How many of us accept a compliment with grace? How many of us acknowledge the sentiments of the other person when he gives us a genuine compliment? How many times we need effort to believe the praise that we get? Like a whole lot of other beliefs this too goes back to the time when we were programmed to be humble and were told: 'Don't be proud', 'don't praise yourself. These are the beliefs that have been fed to us and many of us may still be in the process of de-constructing or re-constructing them. We do need certain beliefs but if they become self-defending or are sabotaging our growth. I think we need to look deeper and understand things in a wider perspective.

In my professional experience also I come across people who do not want to recognize their own efforts or appreciate their qualities because 'it is bad to brag'. This attitude sometimes is passed on from generation to generation and unknowingly we pass on the value to children also. This becomes a hurdle while building their self esteem because in order to build self esteem in children it is important to teach self-praise or self-worth. Teaching children to praise themselves does not mean that you are teaching the child  to brag. Bragging puts other people down, "I am the fastest kid in my class" may be bragging but, " I can run a lot faster this year than last year" is self praise.

So, in my opinion it is healthy to acknowledge your own strengths and allow yourself to be proud of yourself. Teach the children to discover their talents and indulge in self praise. If we can inculcate the habit of acknowledging their own efforts they may be less dependent on others and may need lesser approval of others for their self-worth.

Are you alone
...Exchanging notes with no one?

What kind of a problem have you gotten into,
When there's no one you can turn to.
You feel sorrow and want to mourn too.

All the while I am alone
I sing in a sad tone
With nobody to phone
Whenever I am alone.

I cry at my bad luck
Of which I want to write and make a quick buck
Its heartbreaking when there is no friend
Now I want everyone to be friend
You suffer when you are all alone
Your feelings you have to atone.
C'mon now make a friend
For that's the happy trend.

- Krupa

In the wake of major man made disasters like the one  that destroyed the world Trade Centre, one comes across a plethora of articles expressing concern about security at airport, security of high-rise building, electronic surveillance, danger of chemical and biological weapons falling in the wrong hands, nuclear pile-up by nations, etc. We see so much of efforts being directed at the detection and combating of terrorism and crimes. But where are the efforts to remedy the root cause and what is THE root cause? Why is such negative behaviour by human being directed against his fellow man? Is man basically violent and sadist? Some of the modern psychoanalysts appear to think so.

If we have a look at the teachings from various religious faiths, one common idea appears to be enshrined in them. Basically man wants to live in peace and harmony with others. But the negative emotions like fear, anxiety, greed, and jealousy drive him to harmful and violent actions against others. And then, this starts a chain reaction. Because fear will beget fear, jealousy will lead to jealousy and so on. Then when is the solution?

Man is only a unit of society. Unless he is at peace with himself, he cannot contribute to the peace and harmony of the society. Therefore, the efforts have to be directed at the man as an individual. It is hare that we can envisage a greater role for educational institutions, social and religious organizations, for making efforts to create awareness in the individuals. Such efforts cannot be forced upon some one. An individual needs to be helped to take this initiative. There are a large number of such organizations that claim to heal the spiritual side of human beings and people are increasingly taking part in them. In a way, this is an indication of the trend that more and more members of the public are turning towards solace through such groups. It appears that there is greater awareness about the futility of materialistic gains beyond a point. Man is realizing that for lasting happiness and peace, he should rise above petty worldly worries and concerns and seek mental and spiritual peace.

A  universal society, free of all conflicts and fictions and living in perfect harmony may be a utopian concept. But whatever minuscule efforts could be made to reach a step closer to this distant goal should be welcome by one and all.

- Nagaraj Rao.

"Life is a beautiful thing.....
As long as I hold the string,
I'd be a silly so and so.......
If I should ever let it go......"

Life is a continuing series  of experiences- its always changing- every day, every moment of every day. It represents something new, which has never existed before, and which can be used in uncountable new ways if you decide to view it that way. In all these experiences have you thought for a second- have you tolerated or have you accepted?

Much of what is expressed here pertains to my own personal development.Every person's life is unique, different from every other life in the real experiential sense. No one else can live your life, feel what you feel, and experience what you experienced. Virtually, there are many factors that we have to tolerate in life- Have we a choice???

Is this due to domination of others- or are we victimized??? The main institution is-yes-our Family! Where values and attitudes are taught and is an immensely rewarding part of our life. Family is also the institution in which the greatest hostility, stress, anxiety, tolerance, is learned and expressed. Virtually all of us have difficulty dealing with various members of our family, the persons close to us, the persons we love. We do get affected by their bad behavior, try to influence or convince them. It is not always possible- Tolerate? But why? How long? Does'love' for that person trap us in this tricky tolerance? Or is it the self-victimization role we have chosen to play? But surely this type of tolerance , we have termed it as love, is rather tricky and tough and somewhere blows up one fine day. Tolerance is surely a set of ethical beliefs which we continue to abide by.

But my friends, lets begin by being a non-victim of tolerance. Let's start to think and understand. Being realistic about the behavior of the person whom we love, will surely prevent us from a lot of heartbreak. Your own self-image can contribute to your being. Being very nice, you can explain your dissatisfaction in terms of your emotions. Be assertive and let the person know that you disapproved. By being patient you can put forth constructive steps.

"A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed"

And of course! The mantra since ages; 'Unconditional Love and Support'

-Lalitha .V. (Lalli)

When I joined IIT Bombay _it had not yet morphed into Mumbai) way back in 1969, my grandfather had recently retired as a civil engineer. He called me over and nostalgically handed over two large T-squares to be used for my engineering drawings classes. For those born after Bill Gates made these things obsolete, T-squares are four feet and two feet long wooden pieces joined to form a T; and these contraptions slide up and down an equally archaic wooden "drawing board". Coupled with set-squares, protractors etc, they are used to draw the most complicated and intricate drawings.

Only when classes started did I realize the value of these massive Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) of students time and mental peace. And then I realized how my value in the friendship market had gone my value in the friendship market had gone up because I had not one but two of these status symbols of engineering. My spare T-square circulated among friends for the first few weeks, and finally went to stay put with my classmate Winston. Since I had no need for more than one T-square (given a chance I would give away that one also) I was perfectly happy that Winston was making the best use of it.

Winston was a very sincere student and highly sensitive too. My happy-go-lucky ways often offended him and he would warn me every now and the. Then one day he apparently could not stand my antics any more. There was a loud knock on my hostel room door and then I opened. I saw Winston holding out my T-square the way a soldier presents arms. "Take your T-square back" he announced grimly "I don't want you as my friend anymore."  

I was taken aback but before I could collect myself he had thrust it in my hands and marched off. The cold was lasted all of the six days- till we had a test in drawing. Sheepishly Winston came and borrowed my T-square and needless to say we were friends once more. This story repeated itself the next month, next semester and the next year. It became so repetitive that often I was confused whether Winston was my friend or not. I used to look at the corner where I kept my T-square (s) and if I found only one there, I would happily go looking for this company! In the last semester life was very hectic. Finally the day I was emptying out mu hostel room, I realized that I was going back with only one T-square. I was happy, because it meant that I was leaving behind a good friend with the symbol of our friendship. Winston, we haven't met for thirty years but my T-square is not the only thing I left behind. A part of my heart is also with you in salutation of a sincere and genuine friendship.

As the winter approaches, you will see the days getting shorter. You will not be able to get back home in daylight. The mornings will be serene and dark for longer hours. On one such cold morning, step out of your house even before the sun is up. Walk into the open and experience the lightening of the sky, the breaking of the dawn, and then watch the slanting rays of the sun as they hit your body, caress you through your clothes, and warm up your whole being. As the sunlight battles and defeats the chill that was making you uncomfortable, savour the warm hug it gives you.

And remember.....remember the months you spent cursing the sun. The days you would have to go out on a summer afternoon, and would protest loudly about the heat. Recollect how you would want the sun to just disappear over the horizon and give you relief. Ask yourself..... is the sun your enemy or your friend? Does it scorch you with its heat, or does it caress you with a warm hug?

Then try to recollect the long monsoon we had this year. When every morning was wet and damp with the overnight rain. Think of the number of times you have cursed the rain when you got caught in it outdoors. And yet, without this rain, today there would be no water flowing through your taps to have a luxurious hot water bath.

The same is true of all our friends. They give us bouquets and brickbats. They make us angry and sad. We should learn to accept both as we learn to accept the day with the night, the summer with the winter, and life with death. Variety, indeed, is the spice of life.

- Ali

If I care for you
I shall listen to you willingly;
I shall listen not only with my ears
But also with my heart

I shall listen not only to your words
or your thoughts
but also your feelings
and experiences;
Our level of communication will be very deep
If I care for you,
my conversation with you
will no more be an exchange of words
or dry formality
or verbal ping-pong
It will be a deep sharing or ourselves.

In this way
you release my energies
and I release yours;
we become more creative in our listening
enriching both
the one who speaks
and the one who speaks

This planet of ours where we live with high hopes and aspirations,and also at times with low feeling and dejection- has many other creatures, big and small. One can point out at the physical aspect of the size but can any one of us rate their value? Every plant, tree, animal, insect etc has its own value of existence on this earth. Then why do humans label the value of other human beings? Each person has his own values, status, aspirations, hopes and feelings.

What mad me think the above thoughts was :-

A few days back the young lady who works in my house and later in a showroom, was harshly hit on the face by her alcoholic husband.As every day that day also she cam early in the morning but her cheerful greeting, "Aunty Good Morning" was missing. Well, I thought maybe she is in a hurry. Silently she was doing her job when I called her for coffee. She turned and Gosh! her face had swollen, closing one eye, and her cheeks and chin had turned black-blue in color. Shocked, I asked what the matter was and she confessed that her husband hit her. I had no words to console her- she told me she'll take two days holiday from her work and stay inside the house till the swelling subsides. The reason was- her colleagues will come to know about it and it would make her personal life get exposed.

She showed such anger and hatred towards him and for her own self felt her self-respect being stampeded. One beautiful thing she said was "I too could have hit him back but hoe does it make any sense to fall as low as the other? Then hoe would there be any difference in his action and mine (silence)!!

After a few days me and a few friends of mine were chatting away and as usual it was the topic of husband and wife. We wives most of the time have problems with the so called non-understanding husband- and me, the dear wife, is so much harassed by "him". In due course when I told about the lady who was so badly hit and was about to talk about her feelings, these women in a chorus gave back saying "Jyothi do not talk about those lower class people. Both men and women are immoral, unethical" Not to talk of them I shut my mouth but ever since I am wondering why are they labeled as such.

Has anyone gone and loved with them in their surroundings? Again if such people are of "lower class" compared to our middle class, then again this middle class is lower in the eyes of the upper class. And the upper class is lower in the eyes of the higher class- and this will go on.

Then why do we talk about status and class? Such things like hitting the wife (spouse) might happen even in the house of a multimillionaire or a highly educated and qualified highly (so called) designed officer's house. Then with that authority does one condemn the abused victim? Please think about it and if one arrives at an answer let me know.

- Jyothi S.Rao

Traditional Capitalism:
You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two cow.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
You are surprised when the cow drops dead.

You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.

You have two cows.
You design them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create clever cow cartoon images called Cowkimon and market them World-wide

You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You break for lunch

You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 12 cows.
You stop counting and open another bottle of Vodka

You have 5000 cows, none of which belong to you.
You charge others for storing them

You have two cows.
You worship them

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking
You claim full employment , high bovine productivity,
and arrest the newsman who reported the numbers.

So, there are these two Jewish cows, right?
They open a milk factory, an ice cream store,
and then sell the movie rights.
They send their calves to Harvard to become doctors.
So, who needs peoples?

Do you want your child to be tomorrow's leaders or champions?

If your answer is YES.... make sure BOTH the parents have a major work to do right now.... read on....

Both the parents need to CHANGE first so that they can see a major CHANGE in their children. Children will not change until we change.

  1. BOTH the parents have to do your best in their own field so that you can guide your children how to focus and set their priorities straight.
  2. BOTH the parents have to be self-disciplined so that you can build discipline and confidence in your children.
  3. BOTH the parents have to be organised, understand one another, not complain and blame one other, not argue, not fight but use kind words, be polite, encourage each other so that children can be more understanding, mature, loving, caring and learn to be responsible for their actions.
  4. BOTH the parents have to be fit physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually so that the children will be more active , alert, aware and will be able to handle their emotions very well.
  5. BOTH the parents have to spend time reading the right books, watching the right movies, having right company so that the children can do the right things at the right time in life.
  6. BOTH the parents have to be good listeners, shoe empathy, share, care, help the poor and needy so that the children can follow their parents without any doubt or questioning.
  7. BOTH the parents have to think in other's point of view, not judge, not criticize, not gossip, appreciate others, forgive, not hold grudges, love unconditionally, feel optimistic, joyful, enthusiastic-,out of all understand that life is a movie and everyone has a role to play so that children can learn to be OPEN FOR ALL AND ATTACHED TO NONE in life.
  8. BOTH the parents have to install unconditional love and unconditional acceptance so that children learn to respect others for who they are.

I 100% believe that a child's future depends upon influence of their parents. If parents become the role models they can see a remarkable change in their children's life.

Sudha Lakshmi

My friend Aab:

Once upon a time Aab used to live in the biggest city of the country.... and the busiest. He used to work hard, but not too hard. Towards the end of the day, he would sit quietly at a roadside corner (space on corners is also limited in big cities- you have to pay for it) and watch everyone rushing by. He would see people getting angry when traffic comes to a standstill, he would see human beings literally bumping into each other and pushing their way through. "They are all in a hurry" he would muse, "obviously they have greater purpose of life than I do" For Aab hardly ever seems to be in a hurry. He would always adjust to time, but would never expect time to adjust to him.

Aab loves all creatures, because he believes there is something inherently nice about each and every living being. He has a soft corner for human beings, partly because he is one (though many a time he still doubts whether he genuinely is, for he never seems to fit into the mold others expect him to). Yet sadly (or happily) he has never loved human beings so much that he could get pulled down by their behaviour, nor can he feel the ecstasy of being loved and adored. For deep down he has learnt the hard way that humans don't really love other humans- they love the desire to love, they love the fulfillment of being in love, and they love possessing (even mentally) the object of their love.

The clock tells Aab that it is time to get up from the corner and move on. His body knows where to go, but his heart does not.    

There is no security on this earth . There is only opportunity

We need to learn to love and to enjoy love. Yes!! Love (the feeling) is a fruit of Love (the verb). I have read a lot more, heard much more and experienced and felt it too, this extraordinary feeling of love. An undefined misunderstood emotion, what so, but it sure is unborn or imbibed in me, or rather I have inherited from my parents, especially my mother. She is the sense of warmth of love- the learning to love. She's made me know that putting out as much love as you can, you must allow yourself to receive it, as we deserve it.

Let me and you, and all of us salute this love for it can bind and bond the 2 most unlikely human beings. This world can never end, while the eternal flame of love lives on in us all, the very essence of human kind, the ethereal heavenly rainbow, a universal equalizer.

- Lalitha.V

On the one side we are all interconnected to each other and to the universe. On the other hand we are so individual and so individual and so egoistic that we are not happy with others' progress or happiness (unless they are OUR loved ones, in which case their success automatically becomes our success). There is always a desire to seek more in comparison with others. Blessed is the person who can stop comparing himself with others and can live life to its fullest within the parameters of what he has received.

On the other hand many of us spend a lot of time and energy trying to seek power over others, and thus trying to prove that we are superior or better than them. We want to control, we want others to behave the way we would have done in their place. We want them to be nice to us, regardless of whether we deserve it or not. We got to great efforts to convert others to out way of thinking, as though we can even control their minds.

We rarely succeed. And then we sit and lament on our failure. In this drama we forget that we can succeed 100% in gaining control of one human- and that is our own self! How much time and effort do we put in gaining power over our own self? Can I be calm when someone criticizes me? Can I accept someone's rejection? Can I be my own friend? Do I have enough power to make myself happy when others are making me unhappy?

I cannot truthfully answer "yes" to the above questions. Can you?

- Clifford Martis

All things - persons,animals, plants, roads, buildings have names. In the case of human beings, however, names assume special importance. Knowing people's names, addressing them by their names, remembering their names these are all very important matters which facilitate social communication. "May I know name please? is a question which is asked more than ant other question in any kind of social intercourse. In Hindi we have a fine way of asking, 'apka shubnam?' Though an English translation is not quite appropriate people do use the term 'Your good name please?'

Dale Carnegie wrote many years ago in his immortal book, 'How to win friends and influence people' that a person's name is the sweetest music to his ears. People are proud of their names. Parents take great care while naming their newborn, often selecting names of gods or saints or names of great men. In fact a great majority of our names are the names of gods either directly or some variation or the other. Some people select names which reflect their own innermost aspirations as in the case of a person who is in search of peace deciding to call his child Shanthi. How proud people are of their names can be seen by the way some person throw challenges saying, "If such and such a thing is not done I'll change my name" or "If I don't teach you a lesson my name is not so and so." Making a name or earning a name, tarnishing one's name, calling names etc.

Even in the most intimate of relationships viz. that of husband and wife, most women don not address their husbands by name. In a few anglicized and modernized households women may call their husbands by name. But in a vast majority of the households such a thing is unimaginable. They use all kinds of funny words or phrases like enoondre (Kannada), ennago (Tamil) and suniye or suno-jee (Hindi). Not only do women avoid calling their husbands by name but also don't pronounce their name under any circumstances. While talking to third persons a woman may refer to her husband as 'evaru' even in his absence.

A step further. Even husbands do not address their wives by name. In North India we have the well known address like 'Ramu ki maa' but in SOuth India some words or at times even mere grunt may be used. In Tamil a may say enna (what's that?) Even educated men may use funny terms while talking to their spouses. My former boss used to call his wife Kutty and Kutty used to respond saying, "What Kanna?" Once I went to see Mr.Sumbramanyam a friend of mine in a public sector organization. Insisting that I go to his house for lunch he telephoned his wife Saroja and said, "Nanthan Pesurein" It means 'I am myself speaking' But what magic his words had! Sarojadevi understood that nanthan was none other than the father of her children!

What makes some people good at remembering names while many find it a very difficult thing to do? Memory training books and courses speak of a method called association. You're supposed to associate the new person with something which should help you remember this name. I'm not sure how far this method really helps us. I feel that the simple secret of remembering names lies in the interest we have in this matter. If we evince sufficient interest in knowing and remembering the names of persons we come across we are sure to meet with the fair amount of success. It is not necessary that we should try to get into the Guinness book by remembering all the names. But the names of our colleagues, our friends and their family members, names of the people who are in touch with us day in and day out like the milk man, the news paper boys, the dhobi- these names we can certainly learn and remember if only we take some interest.

Names, names, names,.It is a fascinating world of names. A very simple thing, but it touches the strings of our heart. So the simple way of getting to know people, boosting their ego and making them happy, is to know their names and use them as often as possible. As we saw there is one and only method of learning and remembering names. Taking genuine interest, we will have learnt the sa re ga ma of the music of personal communication.

Unless you are reading this in the middle of the night, you will have noticed that today has dawned. A new day has begun.
You may enjoy today's weather, you may curse it if it doesn't suit you.
You may have had sumptuous food, or you may have indigestion that doesn't allow you to enjoy your meals.
You may have energy to bounce all over, or you may be so tired that you had to drag yourself out of the bed.
You may be deeply in love and your love may be reciprocated twice as much- or you may find there is no one who you can even talk to today.
Either way, you exist. You will continue to exist this day, about tomorrow no one knows.

You have a choice- you can survive, or you can live.
Can I humbly request you to take the second choice?

Every few days we are watching some drama unfold in the name of religion, Terrorism, suspicion and hatred raise their ugly head with irritating regularity. I am reminded of the proverb "we have enough religion in us to hate, but not enough to love."

Religion is a means of establishing out link with the warmth of knowing that we are loved and cared for. Yet we find the tussle of "my religion vs yours" everywhere. It amazes me to see how God is being used as a weapon to threaten, destroy and scare people.

As concerned adults, let us do our little bit to create harmony. I have found many people benefiting immensely from reinforcement of their faith - and believe me, I have found no difference whether the faith was in Parmeshwar, Christ, Allah, Ahura Mazda or Vahe-guru. We know that humans can at times be very callous and insensitive. To one who thinks he is rejected by all around him, his last friend confidante and support is the Almighty he gets unconditional love and acceptance from. As they say in Hindi "jiska koi nahin, uska to khuda hai, yaro". It makes a bit of effort to love someone who is not like you, who is not only different but perhaps difficult too. But then , loving someone who is not lovable is true love.

Let us use this strong tool to build better relationships and a more harmonious little world around us. We cannot change others, but we can set an example and see how our influence can make others introspect.

- Ali

Should I Tolerate Unacceptable Behaviour Of My Son?

Q: My son, who has just finished school and entered college, has suddenly changed into a arrogant insensitive and obnoxious boy. He threatens and abuses, misuses his time, money and relationships, and has a final answer to any argument "It is MY life!" Should I tolerate this as a passing phase of adolescence? If not, what can I do, because I think I am incapable of disciplining him.

A: It is not true that you are incapable of disciplining him. It just needs tactful handling and not force. While many adolescents do go through this phase, your son seems to have exceeds his limits and it will be nice if you could firmly and slowly bring about a change in him.

  • At the outset do understand and accept that though the bad behavior may have suddenly started now, it was simmering in him, and coming into adolescence and college has helped him give an outlet. The remedy will also take a great deal of time and patience.
  • Lay down certain norms on totally unacceptable behavior, and be firm in those areas even if he threatens, gets violent, or wants to walk out.Tell him the norms in advance.
  • Be very nice to him whenever he is polite or obedient even for a short while. In fact, reward him there and then, more by intangible things like praise, a hug, public appreciation, a warm gesture etc.
  • Ignore when he throws tantrums. Do not get into arguments with him. Be assertive , let him know what you disapprove, and then allow him to do what he wants in minor issues without trying to physically stop him or creating a scene. Later again gently remind him that you were upset about what he did.
  • Explain your dissatisfaction in terms of emotions, such as "I felt very hurt and dejected when you used the abusive word---and walked out yesterday"
  • Keep control over finances, family routine etc, and do not allow him to blackmail you into getting what you feel he does not deserve
  • Keep repeating to him that you love him unconditionally, but his behavior is causing you a lot of pain. Give him responsibilities and share general emotional issues with him.
  • Be patient, and do not expect immediate change.

See Dr. Ali Khwaja's Thought on
How To Communicate With A Teenager

Related Thoughts on Teenagers
Living With Adolescents
Teenage Memories
My Son is Refusing to go to School

See Report on
Teaching Life Skills To Adolescents

See Book on
Understanding Teenagers

Yesterday, a few of my well-meaning neighbours dragged me to a music show, claiming that I was fast turning into an unhealthy workaholic. The evening looked promising a renowned singer of old Hindi film songs and ghazals from Mumbai was to perform auditorium close by. We reached eagerly hungry, for original, authentic Hindi music rendition and grabbed packets of popcorn to satiate our hunger for food!

The show started with some junior artistes rendering bhajans with a cheerful MC livening up the proceedings. We relaxed, satisfied with the audio arrangements, the AC in the hall and the popcorn in our hands. The only eye sore was the hall being only one third full. Considering it be an advertising disaster, we waited for the main performer to arrive.

Before he actually did, the organizers not wanting to disappoint him perhaps, urged the spectators in the upper floor seats (lower rate of tickets) to come and occupy the hall down stairs. Suddenly, a huge surge of humanity descended on us from all directions. They were pleased and ran to get as close to the stage as possible.

I observed them keenly (counselor-counselor!!!) I noticed that nearly all of them were male. They were not dressed as grandly as some of us and obviously were people from poorer economic strata. We, watched, a little awry, only to discover that they averted their gazes if our eyes met their. Wow--- they respected women! We relaxed.

And then unfolded the magic of music married to fine words the singer had arrived!

Our fellow spectators were thrilled and unabashedly complicated the singer. Their enthusiasm was infectious as we let down our guards and joined in.

For the next 4 hours we all sang, clapped and complimented the singer and his orchestra troop, We did it all together for getting that while some of us wore jewels, some of us had clothes on the were not so clean. It was a wonderful feeling as barrier od class, creed and caste broke down an d the common thread ran through us was in the fore front.

We had songs on our lips, songs in our hearts , and there was joy all round. Music prevaded the air and probably, the memories of the 60s and 70s came alive in the minds of most of us. I had never experienced such openness of expressions before where I did'nt have to be scared or embarrassed about enjoying openly, something as universal as music. These always used to be a shyness, uptightness, as I privately mulled over melodies and gloated over Urdu poetry.

Those anonymous people gave me a gift that made my evening. When the show wound up, they went their separate ways and I returned to my cozy home. Not one face do I remember-- what I remember is the chorus of "wah wahs" and the genuine involvement of one and all. Music indeed unites.....

- By Monica Bakre

Do not postpone just do it

Such a disciplinarian he was immaculately clad in a white full-sleeved shirt and dark trousers. His explanation of the basics of physics was lucid, pithy and clear. Mr. Krishnan was my class teacher in the X standard. Even after 35 years I can remember how scared I was if ever I forgot to do my homework or get my diary for his signature.

Soon after we finished school I learnt that he had changed his profession and that he had joined some private company. Just one year ago about 16 of us from the batch of 1971 got together all of a sudden and you can guess what the conversation was all about. We reminisced about out teachers and wondered about Krishnan Sir. It was a memorable evening.

I made enquires and finally learnt that our Sir was back in School after all! I was thrilled and visited him at school. I also called him up a few times. We both invited each other home, but neither did I visit him nor did he come home. Of course, having been his student, I ought to have visited him, and formally invited him to my house. I did neither.

This summer vacation I spent time visiting friends and relatives, especially those my mother wanted to see, Since my holidays were coming to an end I thought I must pay Mr.Krishnan a visit and went to school. My mother too came along with me.

As I entered the gate the security person told me that Mr.Krishnan was on leave as he had his wife a fortnight ago. How shocked I was! I deeply regretted not having visited him earlier. Subsequently I called him up and also visited him to pay my condolences. As I was about to take leave of him, he said, "You haven't seen my wife, have you?" He went into his room and brought out a picture of his wife his closest and dearest companion for I don't know how many years.

This incident has left a deep mark in my mind. I now realize what a deadly sin procrastination is, especially since I am a teacher myself and I know the happiness of one of my students visiting me. How could I have been so self centered lost in my own world?

I will now of course visit him sometimes and also call him over to my house, but I will carry my guilt for a long time. The Hindi proverb that is my mother's favorite will have great significance for me---"Jo kal kare so aaj kar, jo aaj kare so ab" That which you intend to do tomorrow, do today; that which you intend to do today, do now.

Time Is:

Too slow for those who wait.
Too swift for those who fear.
Too long for those who grieve.
Too short for those who rejoice.
But for those who love,
Time is not.

Next time, on a hot day, if you happen to stop under the shade of a big tree, just look up and see: does the tree enjoy its own shade? The sun is blazing down mercilessly on the tree, which is absorbing the heat and giving us shade. Does it charge us parking fee for standing under it? Does it ask for sympathy or help when the summer makes shed its leaves? Does it get angry with the world when white ants eat away its inner core, or pollution covers it with layers of dust?

The tree has life. It is just that we do not understand it, ignorance is not excuse. The same way, ignorance of the feelings of people around us is no excuse. There are many humans who give us shade, shall we thank them in some small way?

My happiness is me
Not you
Not only because you may be temporary
But also because you want me to be
What I am not.

I cannot be happy when ! change
Merely to satisfy your selfishness,
Nor can I feel Content
When you criticize me
for not thinking
Your thoughts, for not
seeing like you.

You call me a rebel
Yet for each time I
have rejected your

You have rebelled
against mine.
I do not try to mold
Your mind
I know you are trying
hard enough to be
just you
And I cannot allow
you to tell me what to be
For I am concentrating on being me.

You said I was transparent
And easily forgotten
But why then did you try to use me lifetime
To prove to yourself what you are?

Page 4 of 7

Authors Of Shared Thoughts

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Leading Banjara Academy's online email counselling team of volunteer-counsellors, I realize it is not an easy task reaching out to a person one has never met, never seen, without the added advantage of gestures, eye contact, a gentle reassuring touch, tone of voice and yet providing empathy, positive strokes, making the person feel heard and understood.

With the aid of only written words, it is quite a task building trust, making people open up and share and helping them cope and feel better. So when in many instances they write back saying thank you and that they feel so much better, the feeling one gets is priceless and incomparable - knowing one has done something right, something good!

Hats off to all the volunteeer-counsellors of Banjara Academy who have been carrying on this work silently, anonymously for the last couple of years. Truly commendable! - Ali Khwaja

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