Advaita philosophy and concept of Aham Brahmasmi – I am God

Before I go to the post, I would like to do the Tag given to me by Su. He has given me 5 words : Song, Infinity, Angel, Peace, God and I am supposed to draw something on Paint/GIMP related to each word and put it here. So, here goes.

musictagangelinfinity1peace1god2

In the above picture that I have made on ‘God’, notice one thing – It is made of so many rectangles arranged together in a pattern. We can either look at it as the rectangles arranged in pattern or look at it as the word ‘God’. Depending on how we look at it, it becomes that – either a combination of rectangles or the word.

There is one saying in Tamil – “Kalla kanda Naaya Kanom; Naaya kanda Kalla Kanom” (Though it has been over used literally as a comic phrase and hence popularized in the movies) meaning – “If we see the stone, we don’t see the dog. If we see the dog, we don’t see the stone”. That is, if there is a stone stature carved in the shape of a dog, we can either look at it as a stone or as a dog. (We can also look at it as a stone and a dog, but this discussion is on a more basic level).

Kamal Hassan came close to using this concept in the first song of Dasavatharam (Tamil version) – “Kallai mattum kandal, Kadavul theriyathu. Kadavul mattum kandal, kalladi theriyathu” (Meaning, if you look at it as a Stone, you don’t see God. If you look at it as God, you don’t feel the pain of even stone-pelting).

Same goes with the Gold bangle. You can see it as Gold or you can see it as a bangle, on the basic level. Depending upon how you see it, it is. I would like to quote one dialogue from the movie Matrix (Part I) which came very close to interpretation of this concept:

“What is Real? How do you define Real? If you are talking about your Senses, what you feel, taste, smell or see, then all you are talking about are electrical signals interpreted by your brain” – Morpheus in Matrix

Anyways, that is about the interpretation. (One of the interpretations of this philosophy is that the world is an illusion). But how is the concept in itself defined? I will have to quote from Wikipedia on that:

“Advaita refers to the identity of Self (Atman) and the Whole (Brahman – Don’t confuse this with the Hindu upper caste). Advaita is about realizing the Self (Atman) as the Whole (Brahman) itself which is apparently manifested eternally and simultaneously into animate or inanimate”

“Brahma Satyam Jagat mithya,

Jivo brahmaiva naparah”

“Brahman (Whole) is the only truth, the world is an illusion, and there is ultimately no difference between the Brahman and individual self (Atman)”

Advaita is not about any worship of any kind of deity; not even a singular all powerful supreme being/Ishwara/God. Brahman is at best, described as that infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent, incorporeal, impersonal, transcendent reality that is the divine ground of all beings.

George Feuerstein summarizes the Advaita philosophy as follows : The manifold universe is, in truth, a single reality. There is only one great being, which the sages call Brahman, in which all the countless forms of existence reside. That great being is utter consciousness, and it is the very essence, or Self (Atman) of all beings.

In short, there is only one Brahman – Supreme being and everything else (You, me, stone, world, universe etc) is a form of this supreme being.

“Aham Brahmasmi” meaning “I am God” is the result of realization of this concept. The movie – Naan Kadavul (Tamil) treats this concept in the literal sense. There is much more to being a God than just possessing the power to destroy for a cause.

In fact, power doesn’t really matter to a person when realizes that he is the Brahman (Whole) and hence he is already infinitely powerful!

I will end this article by two quotes. One from the renowned Scientist Albert Einstein and the other from Vedas.

“The fact that a man produces a concept ‘I’ besides the totality of this mental and emotional experiences or perceptions, does not prove that there must be any specific existence (Reality) behind such a concept” – Albert Einstien.

Om purnam adah, purnam idam, purnat purnam udacyate,

Purnasya purnam adaya, purnam evavasisyate.

That is full; this is full; This fullness has been projected from that fullness. When this fullness merges in that fullness, fullness is all that remains (Rough translation)

“Such deep understanding of the nature and such is the brevity and beauty of the expression that one almost misses the subtlety of the logic. One has to understand all the structural and functional aspects of the universe to be able to write these four lines” is what Sunil Thakur, who has done a scientific analysis of the concept of “Aham Brahmasmi” has to say. You can read his full analysis in this link:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/10075060/Aham-Brahmasmi-I-am-the-God

(It takes around half an hour to read, but worth your time).

I will also give you the link to a song from the Tamil movie (‘Naan Kadavul’) which sets in with the theme of this article (This is a full length Sanskrit song with excellent music from Illayaraja). I don’t understand what is being said in that song, but listen to it for the music.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwlW0GxSw_A&hl=en&fs=1]

Source:  http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/avhp/

And http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advaita_Vedanta

Destination Infinity

PS: This post is not about religion. It is about philosophy.

Slow Melodious and Soulful Songs

Many years back, I happened to hear this song from the movie Geetanjali (Telugu) – Aamani Paadave Koyilaa. I liked it so much. So, I decided to buy a cassette. But I didn’t get the Telugu version and ended up buying the Tamil version of the same movie -Idhayathai Thirudathe. For some reason, the magic that was there in the Telugu version was not there in the dubbed Tamil version, even though the songs were great, no doubt! At that time getting the songs we like was quite difficult. But now, anything and everything is just a click away from us. Even though technology has brought so much within our reach, most of the time, we are lost in this big net of WWW.

Secondly, we are plain lucky to be from India, which has a regional language and a regional culture every 1000 Kilometers. That means that there are also regional songs. I have heard some wonderful Malayalam, Oriya and Bengali songs but have no idea about the album or the song so that I could buy it or listen to it online.

Thirdly, I know Tamil, Hindi and Telugu. But there are lot of Tamil people who do not have an exposure to Hindi songs and vice versa. Even I do not have knowledge about Telugu movies and songs.

So, for all the above reasons I want to create a Tag where some collaboration between the music loving Bloggers is required. My favorite songs are the slow, melodious and soulful (Hence the title). Hence I tag my fellow Bloggers and all the people who happen to read this post to let us know your favorite songs in your regional language/ Hindi / English. You can either do it as a post in your blog and intimate me in the comments section (I will link that post from here). Or, you could just do this tag in the comments section of this post itself (Even if you don’t have a website, just type www.nothing.com if a website name is asked in any column while commenting).

I am doing this tag first (Minimum 10 Songs, in two different languages please):

Click the songs below to listen to them (You could open the link in a separate page)

Tamil:

Name of movie/Album – Song

Mouna Raagam – Nilave Vaa….

7G Rainbow Colony – Ninaithu Ninaithu parthen….

Kadhal Virus – Sonnalum Ketpadhillai….

Krishna Gaanam – Ayarpaadi Maligaiyil Thai madiyil kanrinai pol…. , Pullanguzhal kodutha mungilgale….

Dhalapathi – Yamunai Aatrile Eera Kaatrile….

Kaadalar Dhilam – Roja….

12 B – Poove Vaai peesum poodhu….

Indira – Nila Kaaigirathu Niram Theigirathu….

Apoorva Sagotharargal – Unna Nenaichen paatu padichen thangame….

Minnale – Vaseegara, yen nenjinikka, un pon madiyil….

Kadhal Konden – Devadhayai Kanden, kadhalil vizhundhen….

GunaJanani Janani Jagam ni agam ni….

Vaaranam Aayiram – Mundhinam Paarthene….

Thiruda Thiruda – Rasathi yen usuru yennudhilla….

Hindi:

Name of movie/ Album – Song

Sarfarosh – Hosh vaalon ko khabar kya….

Yaadein – Nagmein hain shikve hain (Title song)….

Dil Se – Hai Ajnabi tu bhi kabhi….

1942 A Love Story – Rhim Jhim Rhim Jhim….

Banaras – Om Namah Shivaya….

Ham hai rahi pyar ke – Ghoongat ki ardh se….

Jism – Jaadoo hai nashaa hai….

Tere Mere Sapne – Kuch mere dil ne kaha….

Kaho Naa Pyar Hai – Na tum jaano na hum….

Ghajini – Guzarish….

Anjaam – Badi Mushkil hai….

Taare Zameen Par – Title Song….

Lagaan – O Palanhaare….

Ok, now its time for you guys to do this tag. You may or may not link the songs – Don’t worry, we’ll Google or YouTube it! And if you are reading this and you are familiar with some other language that is not mentioned here (Like Oriya or Malayalam) please consider yourself immediately tagged!!

Update – II:

Best of Slow Melodious and Soulful songs – Songs 20 to 11

Top 10 Slow Melodious and Soulful songs

Update – I:

Nimmy has done this tag in Malayalam and Hindi (Don’t miss the 3rd , 6th , and 9th Songs in the Malayalam Section – They are too good). You can listen to them here: http://nimis540.wordpress.com/2009/02/16/tagged-softmelodious-and-soulful-songs/

Vishesh has done this tag in Tamil (Listen to one of them – classical) and some symphonies (The fifth song seems to be nice. If you like visual effects, the fourth one is too good). You can listen to them here: http://visheshunni.wordpress.com/2009/02/16/tagged-23/

Wortman has done this tag in German (My favorites are Karat – Schwanenkonig, Rosenstolz – Liebe ist Alles, Wolfsheim – Kein Zuruck). You can look up to them here: http://wortman.wordpress.com/2009/02/16/slow-melodious-and-soulful-songs/

Radha has done this tag in Chinese (My favorite Chinese songs among them are Song No. 1, Song No. 4, Song No. 6). You can listen to them here: http://radhagarima.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/the-best-of-the-chinese-music-boundlessly-inspiring-in-10-songs-tagged/

Radha has done this tag in Italian (My favorite Italian songs among them are Song No. 4, Song No. 7 and Song No. 10). You can listen to them here: http://radhagarima.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/slow-melodious-soulful-top-10-italian-songs-tagged/

Su has done this tag in Telugu, Hindi and Kannada (My favorite Kannada songs are Nee Amruthadhare (Amruthadhare), Anisuthide yaako indhu (Mungaru Malhe), Hoove Hoove (H20). You can look up to them here: http://harshasrisri.wordpress.com/tag-me/10-the-songs-tag/ (I am yet to listen to the Telugu songs. I will do that soon).

Reema has done this tag in Bengali and Hindi (My favorite Bengali Songs are Amar Raat Pohalo and the two Ravindro songs listed there. And if you are new to Old Hindi songs, there is an entire treasure waiting for you there). You can listen to them here: http://opinionsandexpressions.wordpress.com/2009/02/22/bengali-and-hindi-songs-tag/#more-2563

Radha has done this tag in Napoletano (Yes, there is a language like that J and it is an Italian dialect) So, my favorite songs are Song no. 6, 7 and 10. You can listen to them here: http://radhagarima.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/top-ten-songs-in-italian-dialects-especially-in-napoletano-tagged/

Radha has done this tag in English (At last, one language that we know J and my favorite songs are Song no. 3, 4 and 9). You can listen to them here: http://radhagarima.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/top-ten-soulful-songs-in-english-tagged/

Radha has done this tag in Spanish + Portuguese (My favorites are 1, 2 and 9. The first two songs are instrumental.). You can listen to them here: http://radhagarima.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/top-ten-soulful-meodious-in-spanish-portuguese-tagged/

Swaram has done this tag in Hindi and Kannada. You can listen to them here: http://thesongoflife.blogspot.com/2009/02/whats-life-without-music.html

Man of Roma has done this tag in Italian and English Songs by American Italians. You can listen to them here: http://manofroma.wordpress.com/2009/02/26/italian-songs-anna-magnani-dean-martin-pavarotti-and-the-three-tenors/

Third Time a Charm has done this tag in Tamil and English and you can listen to them here: http://myheadtrip.wordpress.com/2009/02/28/third-time-a-charm/

Sahaja has done this tag in Telugu, Hindi and English and you can listen to them here: http://lovelysunrise.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/my-love-music/

Renu has done this tag in Hindi and you can look into the list of songs here: http://rinksnbitts.blogspot.com/2009/03/soulful-slow-and-melodious-songs.html

My story – ISB and beyond has done this tag in Hindi (First part, old songs) and you can listen to them here: http://ramsabode.wordpress.com/2009/03/07/slow-melodious-soulful-songs-1/

Dev(Lallopallo) has done this tag in Hindi and Punjabi and you can listen to them here: http://lallopallo.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/melodious-and-soulful-songs-tag/

Priya Iyer has done this tag in Hindi (130 Songs!!!) and Gujarati and you can listen to them here:

Hindihttp://priyaiyer.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/songs-for-the-soul-1/

Gujarati: http://priyaiyer.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/songs-for-the-soul-2/

Prakash, has an interesting list of his favorite Malayalam songs, which you can access from here.

Destination Infinity

 

A Career in Sales

I was tagged by Axinia to write about all the jobs that I have held till now. So, here goes:

Market Development Executive – Sales

Sr. Sales Executive

Sr. Executive – Marketing

Sales Manager – South

As you can see, there is one thing that is common with all of them – Sales.

Till my final year of Engineering, I wanted to become a Software Engineer. But two incidents predominantly changed my mind. As a part of the final year curriculum, a technical project needs to be done by everyone. I wanted to do this project myself. I had selected a topic and short listed the hardware and software components required for the same.  But, in spite of my best efforts, I was not even able to start with this project. Secondly, I happened to interact with a few seniors who were employed in big software companies. The feedback they gave about their jobs, was far from impressive! These two incidents moved me away from a technical field of work. The question was – What else could I choose as a career?

Till I finished my education, I was quite an introvert. I was reserved and my pursuits were more intellectual in nature – Reading books, trying to learn a musical instrument, writing something interesting and forwarding it to my friends (Now you know why I am addicted to Blogging!). So, I didn’t have the qualities which I thought were required for a good Sales person (I was not outgoing, talkative etc). This was a driving factor which led me to choose Sales as a career. My logic was, if I take up Sales as a career, I will have to attempt to transform myself as a person. I will have to develop some of the qualities required for a good Sales person. This was very important for me back then, and if a career could help me develop some skills and make me slightly more of an extrovert, it was only Sales.

Besides, I didn’t think it was a big risk, back then. I wanted to do an MBA in Sales/Marketing and I thought two years of experience in a related field would definitely be an advantage (I also wanted to earn some money to fund my higher education. But I never did that MBA because I never saved enough money to afford an MBA which was becoming costlier with every passing year. And I also had to take a break of two years and go back to studying which was quite unthinkable after two years). A strong second factor was recession. I would always be thankful for the recession that happened back then as it was not easy to get a Software Engineering job and campus placements were rare. (Actually the IT market started opening and recruited large numbers only after about nine months since I joined my first job). So, it was easier to convince my parents that I would not be able to join an IT company and hence they should allow me to take up Sales as a career (I think even the proposed MBA after two years helped here).

I was quite afraid when I joined my first job (They don’t expect much from a fresher in this career, but I didn’t know it back then). So, I was doing all that I was asked to do without complaining and to the best of my abilities. My salary was around 4000 Rupees back then but I never had a shortage of funds (In fact, I even managed to save around 1500 Rupees per month).

Companies seem to know when to keep and when to fire their employees. During my first job and for sometime in my second job my performance was not all that good. But the management never fired me for that. They were constantly monitoring what I was doing and observing if I was lying about my reports etc (Contrary to popular perceptions, lying doesn’t go well either with your customers or with your bosses in this career). In fact I was not even asked about the performance in my first job  as long as I was sincerely doing what was given to me. But during the initial course of my second job, I was asked to resign a couple of times. But when I went to the office the next day, my boss would totally forget having asked me to leave (In fact, I was later told that it was done to put some pressure on me).

Pressure, is an important driving factor in sales. And the pressure is not only from your bosses but it also comes from your customers, partners, vendors and almost everyone! In the beginning it was tough to handle that. But in the due course of the job, when I found that the pressure was helping me to do my job better, I developed a more tolerant attitude towards it.

Procrastination costs you dear in this career. If you don’t respond quickly to the client’s request for quotation, some one else would be walking with the purchase order! Coordination is a quality that is important and you tend to develop fast, in this career. You are expected to coordinate everything from the first quotation to the collection of payment (And it is quite a big cycle) and also need to coordinate within the company (Like installation team, finance department, logistics department etc) and with vendors and most importantly – Customers. Touring is an integral part of Sales – You need to travel far, often at short notices (And no, there will not be much time to go sight seeing). Presentation and communication skills are also important (This you tend to develop as you gain experience).  And contrary to popular expectation, you don’t necessarily need to drink a lot of alcohol to get the drive (Maybe it helps, but I never felt the need for it. Especially because it is not good for health. I do go to Pubs with my partners and colleagues but I don’t drink alcohol. In fact, I order for a sprite and give it a ‘Gin’ effect while drinking by drinking it in the style of drinking a Vodka 😉   )

So, to cut a long article short, I feel that sales as a career is like any other. It is highly rewarding and challenging. You need the right attitude and the right perspective. The right attitude will be developed as a part of the job but the right perspective needs to come from within you.

 

Destination Infinity

You could find similar articles in the Non Fiction section of this blog.

 

My dear Aeroplane….

 

My dear Aeroplane,

 

You have connected the whole world,

Like never before….

 

If today,

My friends and loved ones,

Can dream of education and career,

In the best universities of the world,

And top corporates of the world,

It is because of you….

 

If today,

I can go to Bombay and come back,

On the same day immediately after work,

It is because of you….

 

Thanks.

 

But,

You have also disconnected the whole world,

Like never before….

 

If today,

Most of my friends are living abroad,

And I have lost touch with them,

I can’t blame the time zone or their careers,

I can only blame you….

 

If today,

Most of my friends settling abroad,

Don’t want to take their parents along,

I can’t blame the recession or their intention,

I can only blame you….

 

If today,

A wife or a husband,

Who has to choose between,

A year of On-Site opportunity,

And a year of being with their little kid,

I still can blame only you,

When they proudly choose the former.

 

If yesterday,

I was able to finish reading a book,

On my blissfully long train journey,

To Bombay and back on work,

But today,

When I am not able to finish,

Even a hundred and fifty pages,

For a whole three months,

I can’t blame the lack of time,

I can only blame you….

 

But this time,

While I thought that you could only disconnect me from others,

You chose to disconnect me from myself.

 

 

Destination Infinity

PS: This is sort of a sequel to my earlier post. I am thinking of making it a trilogy 🙂

The value of money

“Self respect is a question of recognizing that anything worth having has a price”

Everything we own has a value. Monetary value.

But the value of money in itself lies in the happiness that it is able to buy its beholder. What is the price of such happiness? Is more money = more happiness? Is it a simple direct proportion? Let us explore…

Dear Dairy, I saw an Aeroplane toy today at the exhibition. Wow, it was awesome! It also makes sounds and flashes lights. There is also a remote control to make it move around. I will pester mummy and daddy to buy that one. Just imagine how happily I could play with that toy. If only…..

Dear Dairy, Today, I saw Shakeel playing with the Play Station 2. There is a cool 3D Aeroplane game and you could shoot down all the enemy planes. You can also play multiplayer racing with friends. Looks real fun! And look at me, I am just having a boring remote controlled toy!! If only…..

Dear Dairy, My best friend is traveling by plane today! Just imagine – Chennai to Delhi in just under three hours! And the journey itself, so thrilling along with the airports, ambience, great food, air hostesses…. Wow! And look at me, all I can do is play with a stupid Aeroplane video game! If only…..

Dear Dairy, My boss always travels in Business Class. In the best of the brands. Just imagine, you are traveling and next to you could be Dhoni or Amir or anyone like that! Imagine the comforts and the services…. If you fly, you have to fly like a king! And look at me, all I can do is travel long hours along with hoards of people in eight seater compartments where the chairs don’t even bend back! If only…..

Dear Dairy, My client has his own chartered flight. Just imagine, he can fly anywhere to anywhere without having to bother about the tickets, schedules and all the other mundane things. And I am not even factoring the neighbor’s envy! And look at me, I spend almost quarter of all my available time on flights and airports – either waiting for them, or flying in them! If only…..

Dear Dairy, The Russians are sending people to the space on paid trips! Just imagine the thrill of being a space tourister. I mean, how many people can afford that? Just imagine, floating in a near zero gravity condition and looking at the earth from the space, what a splendid sight and opportunity that could be! That is what I would call a tour!! And look at me, I am still traveling in a plane! I mean, who doesn’t have a chartered plane these days? If only…..

Dear Diary, Today was my first space trip. No words could express my feelings when I was floating up there. And do you know how I felt when I first saw the earth from above there? At that moment, I felt like… I am not able to express my emotions through words… like a kid, who is presented with a toy Aeroplane with remote control, which he has been wanting for months! I was so happy!!

Such Creeps, we are!

 

Destination Infinity

 

Cooking is too important to be left in the hands of women

I was like you, Guys. I was just like you…. For a quarter of a century I never went into the kitchen except for rare occasions to make the Instant Noodles. But we are a victim when it comes to the most important activity – Cooking. And we have been deliberately kept away from it!

Cooking, like any other art, is not so easy especially if you start late. You tend to make some mistakes. And learn it the hard way! When I decided to start cooking lemon rice, I asked my mother to help and she made three things – Rice cooked in pressure cooker, Lemon juice in a cup, the mustard/ gram etc cooked in oil. All she asked me to do was to mix these three things and eat! (Since I was new to cooking). Being the lazy guy that I ever am, I postponed this simple task for two weeks. After two weeks, when I opened the container containing rice, I got a huge shock! It smelled so awful and it was so much de-composed, that I had to throw away the container along with the spoilt rice!! When I did start to cook some simple dishes, I just left the vessels unwashed for a week. (While cooking itself is a task, you need to wash the vessels too!) Because of that negligence, it became harder to wash the vessels!

Rule No.1: While cooking, don’t postpone any activity related to it.

Then I did learn to make rice (in a pressure cooker cum frying pan). So, one day I thought I will make the lemon rice myself. So, I invented a new procedure – without planning anything, I started to heat the oil in the pan. Then I put mustard, the grams and the groundnuts into the pan and started frying it along with the oil. They seemed to become black instantly (Which I learnt was because I had kept the flame in full) and in order to protect them, I put the turmeric powder, salt, Kothamalli, rice(!!) – and almost everything in my sight into the pan! Then I remembered, I was doing lemon rice and hence I searched for the lime, cut it, and directly put the juice (along with the seeds) into the pan!! Then, I started re-cooking the rice in the pan along with all the other things that I just put in. This is called the chaos theory in kitchen – butterfly effect! How hopelessly related incidents lead to the biggest incident – of having to eat what you just cooked!!    

Rule No.2: Plan what you are going to do. There has to be a sequence!

By now, any pro-active person would have rushed to the nearby restaurant to grab what is left before they close for the day. But I decided to cool what I have just cooked under a fan (as if cooling would make the taste better!) and then started eating it after fifteen minutes. The fifteen minutes (which I spent listening to songs) where the most crucial, which I didn’t realize at that time, because – the nearby restaurant close by that time! But alas, since we advocate learning by the hardest way to sink the lesson into our minds, we have to eat our own pills!       

Rule No.3: Have a back up. Have instant noodles packets ready, but since everything that could go wrong, could actually go wrong – like the gas running out or the noodles over cooked, have bread/butter/jam or something like that, ready. Now, it is also very important that you finish cooking BEFORE the neighborhood restaurant closes!!

 

Coming back to the title of this post – you thought, we could remain experts in eating alone, and the sarcastic remarks made by women (Like ‘My son never even enters the kitchen, he never helps’) are to force us to cook? Nothing could be farther from the truth! In fact, we have been kept away from kitchen while they (Look at the no. of comments in this blog post where the author has invited recipes on some theme and it is almost all women – each having a cooking blog!) improve their skills by collaborating and keeping us out! Even in the parliament, if not 33%, there is some considerable no. of women MP’s!! (Still worse, you thought there were no cooking blogs on the net?).

So, “Arise, Awake and stop not ill the goal is reached” And to remind you, eating is not the goal – It is a consequence of cooking, which is the ultimate goal. So, you guys start planning something about this, while I am off to eat the Gulab Jamun made by my mom! J

 

Destination Infinity

PS: This was supposed to be humorous post. Alas, we men find humor even in such ironies of life!

Nasha ye beer ka nasha hai

“Nasha ye beer ka nasha hai…

Ye Meri baat yaar maano…

Nashe mein yaar doob jaao…

Raho na hosh mein deewanon…”

“What would you like to have sir?”

“Bring two pots of beer. Strong”

 “Today, one passenger got into my Auto. By his looks I could make out that he was new to the city. He wanted to go to a nearby locality. But I took him around for 5 Kilo Meters before dropping him in his destination. He didn’t notice that the meter started at 14 Rupees. I told him that the meter started at twelve rupees and showed him the 12 to 14 rupees conversion chart, which we used before fixing the new meter. So, I charged 100 rupees for a ride that would have cost him only 30 rupees”

 “Two more pots of beer, please. Didn’t he argue?”

 “He did, but then I raised my voice. After all, I am dealing with such passengers’ day in and day out. So, how was your day?”

 “Of late, I have been telling the motorists that they need to get their vehicles emission certified, twice a year. And they have not done it. Almost everyone gets stumped by this. Even though they have all the other documents, we don’t leave them without paying the ‘subsidized fine’ “

 “Two more pots of beer please. I guess, being a traffic constable comes with much more benefits than a normal auto driver like me. So, you should have made a lot today, that too with zero investment…”

 “Yeah, but I can’t take everything for myself no? There is always a hierarchy which needs to be ‘respected’ “

 “Two more pots of beer please. I think, as long as there are people who could be cheated, people like us can always keep cheating them

 “And that will enable us to keep celebrating throughout the year. So, I toast this last glass of beer in memory of all the people who have ‘donated’ enough so that we can have fun”

 “Cheers to you too”

 After some time, both of them left. The owner of the pub and the bartender were listening to their conversation. They started exchanging their opinions.

 “Sir, look at the ways in which they cheat people. How bad all those people, who have been cheated, would have felt?”

 “Yeah, they might have felt bad, but would soon forget all this”

 “But the fact remains that they have been cheated of their money”

 “What do you think we did just now? Do you know how much this beer costs outside? Do you know what my buy price is? Do you know how much margin I make per bottle and the snacks?”

 “Is it high?”

 “Much higher than you think. People come to a good pub like this for the ambience, the music and of course for the alcohol – It is the whole experience that matters to them. No one has questioned me why the prices are so high”

 “At least, they have fun”

 “If they come here once in a month or once in two months, then it is fun. When they come here three or four times a week, it is more due to the fact that if they don’t come, they find it uncomfortable. That is called addiction. Not fun. Well, as long as there are people who cheat others and make money easily, people like us can always take advantage of it

  

Destination Infinity

 “There are two things to aim at in life: First, to get what you want and after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second” – Logan Pearsall Smith

 Also read this story I wrote sometime back, on the same subject.

Participative Democracy

This post was already published in Youth Unite

Participative Democracy

He was in his third year of college. And since the semester examinations were still one month away, he and his class mates had nothing much to do. Since they had nothing to do, they wanted to do something. But what? There was a brain storming session during the lunch time. And they decided on three things. Since, the interviews and campus placements were just a year away, they wanted training on group discussions, presentations on stage and other personality development related activities. They wanted to be trained at least two hours per week by a professional trainer. Second, they wanted to learn at least one foreign language. German, French and Japanese were short listed. They were ready to stay back after the college hours, and if required pay some extra fees for it too. Third, since all work (!) and no play makes Jack a dull boy, they wanted some empty land near the college to be leveled and made suitable to play cricket.

So, now they had decided on what they wanted to do. But how to get it done was still to be addressed.

“Macha, let us all go to the HOD room together and ask him to take it up with the principal”

“Yes da, they collect so much fees from us, and they should at least do this much”

“But I am telling you, all this is a time waste da. The management is only interested in how much money they get and what percentage of results they are able to achieve. They will not even look into all this”

“Then, let us go to the Chairman directly and talk to him. If he doesn’t meet us, we will go on a strike”

“All you guys will talk now. But when the time comes for action, all of you people will come back to the class rooms if the management doesn’t allow you to take up the semester exams. I know about you guys”

And so, they were not able to come to a consensus on how to get what they wanted. The lunch time banter was forgotten pretty soon.

After a month, while going back from the college in the college bus, a neighboring department HOD was casually enquiring with him on what the students in his department felt about the college. Since he remembered the lunch room banter incident one month back, he told the HOD about the same. Including the three things that they wanted from the management.

“So, did you guys write all this in a piece of paper and put it in the suggestion box?”

“Which suggestion box?”

“Haven’t you seen the suggestion box outside the office?”

“I am not sure”

“How many times do you go to the office?”

“Once in a week….”

“Then you should have noticed it. It is right next to the entrance. Anyway, write it in a piece of paper and drop it there tomorrow”

He told about this to a couple of his classmates, but they advised him not to waste his paper and ink. Still, he dropped it next day without even writing his name and department.

To his surprise, the first two suggestions were implemented the very next semester.

This is a true story.

And if you think the title doesn’t match with the content, think again.

 

Destination Infinity

 

Blog Etiquette

 

premio-dardos
the-award-cup1
butterfly-award1
proximidade_blog_award

I have received the above awards (The Cup, Butterfly and Proximidade awards from Nita and Premio Dardos award from Renu) and as per Blog etiquette, I need to pass them on to fellow bloggers.

So, I give the Premio Dardos award to the following people:

  1. Diary of Think Tank (Rahul): This is a blog hosted in Rediffiland, and the kind of writing he does is quite thought provoking. Excellent writing.
  2. A Wide Angle View of India (Nita): A responsible Blogger who writes lot of unbiased views on serious topics. One of the blogs, where the comments can go up to even hundred, and hence a very healthy discussion happens on most topics.
  3. 1000 Petals (Axinia): I have always wordered how someone born in Russia and brought up in East Germany and Austria can write on Eastern philosophy so well! She also writes on great people from Russia, Germany and also India.
  4. An Alien’s thought’s about our planet (Raj): His analysis of major issues goes really deep and he does not hesitate to call spade, a spade.
  5. Sit, Relax and Watch (Raman): He has this ability to write articles on so many different subjects, and yet, extract some morality out of it!
  6. Meditation Photography (Suresh): Balanced perspectives with a touch of philosophy. And some of the best photographs, I have seen in his blog.
  7. I love life So I Explore (Prerna): Interesting and frank analysis.
  8. Nivi’s Space (Nivi): Some of her stories, are really good, especially when she conveys some message through them.
  9. The life and times of an Indian Home Maker (IHM): Though I don’t subscribe to all of what is conveyed, her perspective on sensitive issues is too good!!

 I give The Cup to the following people:

 

  1. Whatever Matters!!(A Bhutanese Blogger): You would definitely like to know the happenings in this near to perfect place, from a near to perfect Blogger. This blog is innocently blissful!
  2. Awakening(Suchitra): Though she has stopped writing, you could always visit her site for the poems.eg. http://suchithewriter.blogspot.com/2008/09/perversion-of-poetry.html I have never read poetry written like this! Also read the ‘Muktha’ short story on her last post.
  3. Daily Blog Tips (Daniel): An expert on SEO and things like that. His question answer series is very popular (In fact, I learnt how to link, from him!)
  4. Maami’s Weblog: Be it her stories, her articles or anything else, it is just excellent. I have never seen an account on Chennai so beautifully written.
  5. Jabberwock (Jai Arjun): If you are thinking if there is much of Indian writers writing in English, visit this site. You could get an interview or review of almost all the English books published in India!
  6. Soliloquy(Aditya): While his writing is not extraordinary, his commenting is. He can argue on any point, persistently and convincingly!!
  7. My Story ISB and Beyond(Ram’s Abode): A classical music treat, especially some of his lengthier articles on the nuances of Carnatic music.
  8. Punchinello’s Chronicals: This author, has a very balanced sense of analyzing the society and everything else that matters in the United States.
  9. Arjun Somanchi’s Blog: If it is about perspectives – he’s definitely got the right one. Nice articles that give you the alternate (truer) perspective.

I give the Butterfly award to the following people:

 

  1. Doing Jalsa and Showing Jilpa (Krish Ashok): Humour, can never get better than this!
  2. Mashed Musings (Amit): When he doesn’t write about Bollywood, he writes great stuff – but the number of awards at the Avant Garde, should tell more about him.  
  3. 18,000 RPM (Dinesh Babu): He writes on normal topics. But makes the stuff so interesting to read. His proposed story for ‘Robot’ was really good.
  4. Su (Sri Harsha): What ever he writes, he writes with authority. Even the comments. When he comments on other sites, he puts a lot of effort into it.
  5. The Light Shines the brightest (Vishesh): Too mature for his age! He writes long poems with some exceptional implications and understanding (And he himself knows that his poems are long!)  
  6. Rinksnbitts (Renu): A Blogger who not only writes responsible things, she also comments responsibly.  And she speaks her mind straight.
  7. Straight Drive: I was impressed initially by his cricketing posts, but now following his entire blog. He writes frankly.
  8. Redifining Oblivion (Rakesh): His pursuit of meaning and purpose of life through travels, book reviews etc. is evident in his blog.
  9. My Experiments in Kitchen (Sahaja): The only cooking blog I follow. Her blog teaches the simpler dishes like Semiya upma and the likes, which are practical, more popular and easy to cook. She can read and understand Sanskrit – a rarity.
  10. Anniyan (Pavan): I just read one of his articles – On the Aethist’s point of view on God, and was mighty impressed. Keep going!

 

Destination Infinity

Peace

“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict – alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence” – Dorothy Thompson

Adhiyaman, was the king of Thadagur. A neighboring King called Thondaiman wanted to wage war on him. Adhiyaman, didn’t want the immense losses of a war. So, Avvayar, who was a very famous poetess, decided to go to the court of Thondaiman, as an emissary. Thondaiman, who had a great deal of respect for her literary works, showed around his palace, with pride. He also showed the huge stock of weapons he possessed which were new and shining. On noticing that, Avvayar told him that Adhiyaman’s weapons are all broken and are being sharpened, implying that Adhiyaman was more experienced and his expertise was tested in battles. Thondaiman, was quick to grasp the meaning and averted the war.

“Peace has to be created, in order to be maintained. It is the product of faith, strength, energy, will, sympathy, justice, imagination and the triumph of principle. It will never be achieved through passivity and quietism” – Dorothy Thompson.

Artabanus, was the uncle of Xerxes. He thought that there was danger to the Persian army going into Greece, and he tried to induce his nephew Xerxes not to war against Greece. Xerxes answered him as follows: “There is reason in what you say, but you ought not to see danger everywhere or to reckon every risk. If whatever comes up, you are going to weigh everything alike, you will never do anything. It is better to be always an optimist and to suffer half the amount of evil, than always to be full of gloomy anticipations and never suffer at all. If you attack every proposal made without showing the right course to follow, you will come to grief as much as those whom you oppose. The scales are evenly balanced. How can a human being know certainly which way they will incline? He cannot. But success generally attends those who wish to act; and it does not attend those who are timid and balance everything. You see the great power which Persia has attained. If my predecessors on the throne had held your views, or without holding them had had counselors like you, you would never have seen our kingdom become so great. It is by taking risks that they made us what we are. Great things are achieved through great dangers” – This conversation is dated around 500 BCE.

“They have not wanted peace at all; they have wanted to be spared war – as though the absence of war was the same as peace” – Dorothy Thompson.

 

Destination Infinity