Who packed my Parachute?

My friend Vivek sends me some beautiful videos and stories. One story he sent me, is a story about a fighter pilot, who was required to para jump out of his airplane. Pilot asks a question, “Who packed my parachute?” For the pilot, parachute is the backup that is life and death for him. In our lives all of us have someone in the back ground who packs our parachutes. Not all of us are pilots and not all our situations are life and death situations. But day to day  situations arise where we need support.

In case of the pilot, his official back up system which has the safety person, who handles important function of packing his Parachute, performing this duty to perfection! I felt that “Packing the Parachute” is a metaphor for support system in our everyday life. In our lives, we also have parachute packers. They are always working in background and they are relentless and selfless in their work. Nature of this work is quite serious, this needs to be done consistently day in and day out. We think that practice sorties taken by Airforce pilots are very important for the safety of our nation but the parachute packers like those who pack the parachute, those who perform the maintenance of the Aero planes are equally important. The Airforce pilots are parachute packers for the nation’s defense!

In humans and other species, mothers pack the parachute till the baby is on its own. Only thing that changes is the duration of this initial support system. In birds it may be a few days, in humans it is till the child becomes independent. But in the mind of the mothers in humans, this support system lasts life-long! How does this happen? Why this is done? Such  support system is without any expectation from the child in return! Mothers have carried their child in the wombs and this creates an affinity that cannot be described, it cannot be explained. It is just there. Even when one becomes older, the mothers have a knack of knowing what is happening in your mind, if something is wrong with your health, when you need physical support or mental support. The mothers will leave everything else, to pack the Parachute for the child.

Unstinted support that is given is sometimes not known to us and is most unexpected. I have shared this story in a blog in March 2014. When a dangerous industrial safety situation arose in a factory, the plant was evacuated. The plant-in-charge and a colleague decided to inspect the situation. Things were brought under control by their actions. When the in-charge turned to go away from the danger zone, after finding things were under control, he saw 4/5 workers standing just behind him. He said, “I told you to evacuate, why did you come inside?” The reply was, “Sir, when you were in a dangerous situation, we were just behind you to help, if needed!”.

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These are Parachute packers of our life. In our life we have friends, family and others who may not be close to you on day to day basis. These persons or group of people are just there behind you, just in case, if needed. How does this happen? What makes people think differently than others? Is it the love between two humans, not necessarily equals? Is it inborn in the people? In normal course your parents, sibling’s, close relatives and friends are expected to be such people, but there have been instances when this group of people have remained spectators. Your parachute packer, lurking in the background, raised his hand! 

Do we work on creating such support system? Is such support quid pro quo? No, it is definitely not quid pro quo! Such people are simply born that way. Like mothers, these people also pack your parachute because they just want to do it! Who does not need parachute packers in their lives? I feel that all of us, need such people in our lives. It is simply because money can’t buy everything. There are some situations where you may have financial where withal but that does not get support you are looking for; you may be two minds about the decision to be taken in a tough situation. You may feel lost in a situation; Parachute packers are there to you in the background. You go to them and they will help you. Or maybe sometimes they will come to help you without your calling them. 

In case of the Parachute packer for the pilot, parachute packing is his job, it is his work. But I am talking of those who support others on their own, because they just want to do so. I will share with you a story about a professional. He was a very smart professional in technical marketing field. He had exceled in his job and everything looked hunky dory, from a distance. One day he went to see a friend of his. They were good friends but did not meet regularly. Our man told his friend, let’s go out somewhere. They went and settled near a lake; the guy looked very upset and tense. He said, please help me I have an issue in my job. The problem was that gentleman had simply started hating his job; and going to office, daily,  was a big “No, No” for him. He did not have any professional issue, and he was not sure what caused this. He also said that once he felt like committing suicide. His friend talked to him for some time and helped him to decide to quit that job. He nursed him back to normalcy. The gentleman took another job and is very happy with his life for last 30 years. The person who did this is a close friend of mine. I asked him why this friend came to him? He is still not sure, but my friend spent almost 3 months in nursing that person back to routine; they have met only once after that episode in, 30 years!

Why was my friend approached in this situation? My analysis is that my friend is a great listener, he is a person with empathy, he is very sharp and can judge things in correct perspective, quickly. He is not afraid to call spade a spade! And most important is that during this critical phase took special efforts to find time for this gentleman who was in difficulty! Is that description of a Parachute Packer? I don’t know but my description should be at least 85% correct. Friends could you help me in finding balance 15% qualities which I could not define? I wish I had at least 50% of these qualities in me! Happy Parachuting!

Goodness is Godliness!

My friend Vivek sent me a video. I saw the video once and watched it so many times, that had it been a vinyl record, it would have worn out! I have shared that clip below and I am sure you will love it too!  

 

A couple of months back I had written a blog “Oh! My God!” It was about the things that happen in this world which are not under our control but under HIS control. But anytime I see something good, it always reminds me of God! I am almost an atheist. Atheist is a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God. By this definition, I am not an Atheist but I can be called 95% Atheist! I do believe that there is a super power in this world that can be called God. But I don’t believe in religious rituals. As a family if we go to a mandir, I feel nice when I go there. I have visited Churches, Gurudwaras, Dargahs. All these are pristine places and give me a feeling that I have reached near Him! But that does not mean that I must visit Mandirs frequently, perform the poojas and so on!  

But do we really have to go to these places of worship to be near Him? HE is there in everything, a stone, a pond, a river, a child! HE is there on the road, in the jungle, in the skies! HE is there in a beggar and in an animal. When he is everywhere why humans take so much efforts to reach HIM, by way of rituals and physically go to places of worship?  We are forced into this by the society in general; people are scared that something will go wrong if some rituals are not followed! People tend to wear their God on their sleeves! Why this is done? If HE is everywhere, you don’t have wear a cap or a shawl displaying HIS Name. Does someone not wearing something displaying HIS name a lesser follower or a bad person?  

I have observed that in most religions, the so-called God men make sure that people will feel that if they don’t meet HIM regularly in a Mandir or a church, don’t follow the rituals regularly, they are in for trouble! Most people do this out of fear. I am aware that some of us just feel nice, going to places of worship and they may do so. But this habit should not get converted into a ritual. One should not feel, “Oh I have not visited the mandir in last two weeks, something bad is going to happen!” Because in such cases, it becomes a ritual followed out of fear!  

I am writing more about Hinduism, because as a Hindu I know a little more about Hindu rituals than those of other religions. Be honest to yourself and think whether your heart was touched more by the video clip above or by some rituals you follow, most of the time blindly or because someone else does it. I feel that if your heart is in the right place, the video film will beat everything else most of the times. Look at the Godliness in the film. The child believes that there is God in this world; his mother beautifully supports that innocent idea. He is too young to follow any teachings. He might have just heard from his teachers and parents that there is God and he is good! The reverse side of the story is that for homeless woman getting something to eat and the love she received unconditionally cannot be anything else but an act of God! The beautiful end is when the child tells his mother, “I met God today, but God is a lady with a beautiful smile!” Similarly, the homeless lady tells her partner, ” I met God today but he was much younger than expected!” What a beautiful way of expressing!

Think of this small film and the story. A great meaning is hidden in this story! Ultimately what do all the religions teach you? They say that be happy, be generous, love unconditionally and do not expect returns for your good deeds. The religions also tell you that He always knows and sees what is happening in our lives; He acts when we are destined to be rescued or served! Both the child and the homeless do not expect anything else from the encounter! The matter of fact way in which both share their experience, the child with his mother and homeless lady with her partner is to be seen to be believed!  

Today is the Christmas eve; Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed most commonly on December 25, as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast. This is a Christian festival but the ritual followed in Christmas is one which teaches children from childhood, that Santa gives gifts for the good deeds that we perform throughout the year! Its a great way of teaching children to be good, all the time! In childhood it is great way of teaching goodness! Ultimately, Goodness is Godliness!  

Merry Christmas to all my friends and let us listen to HO HO HO from Santa Claus!

 

Go with the nature!

Days are longer in summer and shorter in winter. There are scientific reasons for that. Similarly, waxing and waning of the Moon follow the laws of nature. Except for humans, all the living things follow natures laws, religiously. Why humans behave differently? Simply because we are brainy! Are we?

Human kids and their pets like dogs follow the nature. Example is eating habits. A child simply refuses to eat more food than it needs. If their indulgent mothers try to force them to eat or drink something more, they will simply vomit. Have you seen a dog overeating? Have you ever seen an obese dog?

There is a lovely little Marathi song for kids “Chimnu tai chya pila”. In the song the kid is asking the baby sparrow,  “How do we find the roads in the sky? Are their white markings, Red, Yellow, Green signals up there?  Should a kid lose the way, are there any policemen who will help them find the way back home? Do policemen provide kids with biscuits till someone comes to pick them up?”

Wow! What a song? So much meaning to it! The kid asks the baby sparrow only with references known to him, the white lines/policeman/signals and so on! But I always have been fascinated by the bird species that traverse certain path daily, regularly and religiously! This they do it to gather food for themselves and their babies; they also collect building material for their nests, when required. How do they handle this? They must be having very advanced radar and eyesight! They must be having a perfect body clock which guides them to start their day at a certain time with respect to sunrise & sunset! Birds never go out for all night parties! Every day, from my seventh-floor window, I see flocks of birds flying away for their daily chores, around sunrise and return back around sunset! In winter, as the days become shorter the morning times are a few minutes later every day and evening time is a few minutes earlier every day! How do they handle this when the Sun is not visible?

What will happen if humans follow the routine of the birds? I am very much aware that we have different time tables and don’t go by nature’s clock. There are practical limitations. But we humans flog our “intelligence” so much that we don’t follow even twenty % of what nature suggests! Have we heard of any birds who have stored so much food that they don’t have to go out in monsoon? Within the limitation of our life style, we should try to follow as many nature’s laws as possible!

We hear many stories of sleep deficit, insomnia, sleep disorders! Some of the people, may have illnesses, which cause these issues; but again, our fancy life style of partying, drinks, late nights start these issues. Once these issues cross the limits, sleep related issues start. Studies about sleeping patterns of Polar Bears makes a fascinating study. Scientists tagged about 30 polar bears in Northern part of Canada. They wanted to see how Polar bears handle their hibernation. (Polar bear Hibernation is a state of inactivity and metabolic depression in animals capable of generating their own heat) As the known time for going into hibernation came closer, volunteers started tracking bears physically. All 30 bears were looking for their nook for hibernation. To surprise of all when the hibernation start timings for all 30 bears were compared, they all went into hibernation exactly at the same time. Nature? Humans can at least learn that you have your flings and swings but don’t overdo them, otherwise our body reacts in such a way that different issues can start affecting our quality of life.

Migration of Birds in winter is another discipline that humans cannot follow due to practical difficulties. Lately, humans have also started this activity; our retired brethren who have settled in cooler climes, come back home during winter for 2/3 months. The radar and GPS within the birds works perfectly and I fear that Googles of this world have developed GPS, studying the birds! But can we humans not accept the discipline part of the winter migration? When “dumb” birds can do it can we “smart” humans not achieve this discipline?

Emotion is a trait very distinctly displayed by humans. I am sure that other species also have emotions but I am not sure how much they use the emotions. Human baby goes out of the “nest” at age of 20/22! Whereas in other species this phenomenon occurs much earlier. If we do comparisons using life spans, human “baby” spends ¼ of the life in parent’s home. Whereas in other species it is much smaller. This may be one area where humans are better over other species! This I think is because humans have come out of “survival of the fittest” law!

What can we learn from other species and laws of nature? A lot! We are already doing it. In science, this usage is much higher than in our personal behaviour. The airplane landing follows same flight path like the bird landings. Boats take their design from fish! Car maneuvers are based on Chitah running! Of course, Chitah looks more elegant! We build great homes but we are not able to use the simple tools available to us, like the beak and two legs, used by birds to build their complex nests!

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Humans are way ahead other species because of their intelligence but could have a much quality of life if they try to go closer to nature, by following more and more things suggested by nature, in personal life; these are already adopted by birds and the beasts. Many of these adaptations, will reduce a lot of common setbacks in life like obesity, sleep issues, social issues. See the photo of pelicans below, where there is no fight between them when fish is fed to a group of pelicans. So, get to know your Bees and Birds better, and follow them in other personal areas of life too! ( For records, Pelican photos were taken by me during our Australian sojourn)

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NOW!

Life is full of contradictions. We hear or see different signals, we hear different thought processes and observe different ways of thinking. To succeed in life we need to dream and think about future. It gives us such a pleasure to know that our civilization was quite advanced in the past and we have a beautiful heritage. But there is another thought process which suggests that we should live in “NOW” to be really happy.

I remember the fable of Shaikh Mohamad and his dreams. He is a farmer who has some land and animals. One day his wife set a big earthen pot of Dahi or Yogurt. (As we know that in India we “set” Dahi at home, buying Yogurt from outside was not very common till recent times) Our Shaikh is taking his siesta and he dreams that with the Dahi he has, he will make butter milk and also some butter. If done properly he will grow his business and have many buffaloes and lots of Dahi, butter and butter milk. He will become rich doing these things; after he becomes rich, if he finds his lazy wife not doing work, he will kick her and make her work hard. In his sleep he kicks and hits the earthen pot in which there is Dahi!! With this his dreams are shattered along with the earthen pot! This fable tells us, not only to dream but to work on what you hope to do.

Instead of dreaming of future, had Shaikh produced butter milk and butter, in “NOW” time and had continued to do so, he probably would have achieved his dream. Thinking of olden days and future have their own pluses and minuses. But maybe there are more minuses. Today one can be unhappy because what had happened yesterday or guessing what may happen in future. In life nothing is certain except death. No other things are certain and things can change at the last moment for better or worse. But this does not happen with death. When the time has come it has come. Period!

Today one may be sad because he/she lost a wallet last week. A couple of days back while driving someone came and brushed the car and there was some damage to the car. Of course when such events occur we feel sad, at that instant. But if we keep on thinking of these events all the time, then your “NOW” is spoiled. You are sad because what happened in the past. Could we have prevented these two events from happening? I don’t think so. Can we change them now? No. Then why are we sad today? It is similar about future. Will I marry the most beautiful girl I know, down the lane? Will I become an airline pilot, which is my dream? It is great to dream and try to achieve it. But is there any point in brooding “NOW” for things that are likely or not likely to happen?

A persons feelings “NOW” are many times based on what “was” or what “will be”. A friend had an opportunity to go to Germany but missed it because of the boss! But why is he not happy “NOW” though he is enjoying holiday with his friends in Goa! ( Missed Germany opportunity?) I missed on meeting an old friend as our dates clashed so I am sad. Why? Why not just pick up a phone and chat with him “NOW” and be happy? I am sad as I lost six months in life because I was in bed due to illness. But why am I not happy “NOW” because I survived that major health issue? I have known of many people who don’t get their yearly medical check-up done because some health issue may be detected! Stop worrying about future! But why not get yourself checked “NOW”, be happy if nothing comes up, or take action if something comes up and then be happy!

The human nature of thinking about what happened in the past and what can happen in the future, comes in the way enjoying life. Forget the past and the future, we can enjoy “NOW”.  Past is writing on the stone and we can’t change, future is like writing on the sand on the seashore. The writing goes away with every tide and the slate becomes blank. So is our future, we think and hope that so and so is going to happen- writing on the sand! Next day situation changes, it’s the tide that has come in, so you write again. When we know that this is going to happen then why worry about it!

Over a period, I am coming to a conclusion that all of us must try and start thinking like a child. Become a child is my mantra for happiness.

As William Wordsworth says in his poem Rainbow “A child is the father of the man!”. There are so many things that you can learn from kids. Instead of learning from kids we try and mold the kids to behave like adults! I am currently staying next to my daughter; her daughter is 2 ½. This baby just breezes in our home. Do I see her brooding any time? Does she look bored any time? Does she look worried any time? Never. The reason is very simple. She is happy with what she has, she is simply enjoying the current moment. She is enjoying ““NOW” all the time!  Friends it is with us to be happy by being in “NOW” situation always!

Interpretation of the proverb “A child is the father of the man!” in the Poem Rainbow :

People’s personalities form when they are children; A person will have the same qualities as an adult that he or she had as a child. (From William Wordsworth’s poem, “My Heart Leaps Up.”) In Bill’s case, the child was father of the man; he never lost his childhood delight in observing nature.

The poem Rainbow

My heart leaps up when I behold

A Rainbow in the sky:

So was it when my life began;

So is it now I am a man;

So be it when I shall grow old,

Or let me die!

The Child is father of the man;

And I could wish my days to be

Bound each to each by natural piety.

By- William Wordsworth.

Trial by Media- an Assault?

In the last few days, I have read about two unfortunate medical cases one in which a young man, 30 years old, died a sudden death, in Southern India. In the second case, a small child died while a dental treatment was going on, in Pune. Both instances are incredibly tragic events; my sympathies are total with the families.

In the case of the young man, a Facebook post written by the young man’s wife was printed verbatim by Daily Bhaskar with a headline, “Monster Doctor did nothing while patient had a cardiac arrest!”. At least at the end of the Post, they have printed a disclaimer saying that they have just published the Post Verbatim and do not necessarily agree with the views etc.

But in the case of the child, media trial is on, from day one, after the mishap took place. The so-called leading news daily of India printed the photo of the Doctors’ name board!! When we watch these things from far, everything is hazy. But some decorum needs to be followed. One can understand the parents & close relatives of the child, making strong statements, as they are in grief; this cannot be justified though understandable!! There was a discussion claiming that maybe the doctor was a quack. Come on, the Doctor is PG in paediatrics from a renowned institute. Even in criminal cases like murder, unless the criminal is caught red-handed at the site, his/her name is not declared, if it is practical. What right the reporters and for that matter, the society, in general, have to judge a person without knowing details!

We hear about cases where families have attacked the Doctors physically when a patient has suddenly died. This has usually happened in the case of uneducated families. How is this assault justified in any way? Media attack and social media attacks are Assaults with a different name. In the latest cases, the headline about the “Monster Doctor” is a veiled slap on the face of the Doctor and not any different from the physical slap, “disclaimer” being a balm applied after the slap. In the case of the child, the attack is exactly the same as the physical attack. It is not that the doctor ran away when he saw that child was in grave health issue. He tried his best. So why assault him intellectually? Is it because he is defenceless? If the doctor tries to give any statement, it will be misinterpreted so he cannot say anything. So the media and society keep on slapping him.

From the medical point of view, we need to know if the correct treatment was given. Were the proper procedures & or protocols followed? Was the child going through some other treatment, at that time, and was on medication? Was this informed to the doctor? Was the child given local anaesthesia? Did the reaction occur immediately or after some time? There is a mechanism in place where such cases are referred to a medical panel. This panel is empowered to study the facts and decide if there was a mistake by the doctor or negligence by the doctor. If the oversight is proven, then the doctor can be charged by the police under due process of law. We do not expect a doctor to overcome such police cases with the same impunity as many big shots from the society are known to do.

How this event should be handled. This is not politics where party A will attack party B and so on. Politics is a business. In current medical cases, individuals involved are rational human beings like you and me. Is it right for the media to give “exposes”? Is the doctor hiding anything? Is the medical council hiding anything? Due course of action has to start, yet. If some hotchpotch happens in this process of inquiry, then the media can go into depth. Here media is trying to show as if the doctor is a villain. What does society achieve by taking a candle march? Was this a rape case? When a child dies in a road accident, we don’t have candle marches! We don’t start publishing the history of the driver! (It may not be drivers’ mistake to begin with) What are we trying to achieve here? Are these the drawbacks of TRP related stuff? Is this the drawback of having the Facebook platform being readily available?

I have personally experienced what can happen due to a reaction of an injection. Years back when penicillin was used regularly, my mother was injected with penicillin. From the same ampule, my nephew was also injected. I was sitting next to my mother; within one minute my mother just collapsed and fell on me. Her hands and feet started becoming cold, and she started growing black and blue! This all happened within 2/3 minutes. Luckily an Oxygen Cylinder was readily available so was Adrenalin injection. She was treated with all this immediately, and she came back from the brink, after fifteen minutes! We were all just praying, or maybe we just did not know what was happening!! Was this attempted murder? No, it was not! My mother had taken penicillin shots before and had no known reaction history, but her body still reacted differently. These things are known to happen, that is why doctors take a consent form before anaesthesia is used or a surgical procedure is done. In the current case of the child, the reaction of something (still not known) had started 30/40 minutes later. The concerned doctor took the help of another expert, and a hospital overcomes the reaction issue and to revive the child. Sadly this did not happen.

Does consent taken absolve doctors of the responsibility? On the other hand, will the doctor ignore the reaction just because he/she has received permission for the procedure? This case could be a drug reaction, misjudgement of the doctor but this is decided not by you and me. Let the law take its own course. What the society can do is to ask for a quick report from the medical committee and let the action start as quickly. “Justice delayed is justice denied” should not happen in such cases. But let us not become judges, juries or maybe God and try to fix the destiny of a human being without following the right procedures! There is no short cut to anything, and that applies to justice also.

God bless both families in which deaths took place but also let us give the professionals involved leeway of trying to prove their innocence. Ultimately they also have a family!!