Turn into cotton!

Withdraw gracefully when time comes!

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A noted Poet Kedarnath, Jnanpith Award winner, has written a Poem; I am sharing couple of lines from the poem.

Aaj ghar main ghusa toh ajeeb drishya tha,

Suniye, mere bistar ne kaha 

yeh raha mera isteefa (resignation), 

main apne kapaas ke bheetar jaana chahta hoon 

Roughly it translates to

“Today when I reached home, my bed offered its resignation, 

Telling me it wants to go back to its original self (turn into cotton) or maybe go back to roots!” 

Beautiful lines. The poet has elegantly explained the philosophy of life. I feel that  our life and persona is made up of certain character when we are born; some of it we acquire later during our life’s journey. I am trying to interpret these beautiful lines. During our life, we achieve various things, we travel to different destinations, many people even look very different when they age. But I feel that from within we don’t change much. We all want to turn back into cotton when we reach golden phase in our life! It is wanting to go back to roots. It is trying to get away from your station in life, gracefully!

In today’s times when people migrate from their countries of origin, in large numbers, this feeling of back to roots must be pretty acute. At the beginning of life all humans are almost same, as babies; it is their growth that brings changes in them depending on their intelligence, environment and other life defining factors. Sometimes being at the right place at the right is also an important factor.  As you grow in life, it may be as professionals, businessmen, doctors, officers, politicians. But inside we must try to remain the “cotton” mentioned in the poem. If this does not happen then mental clashes start, agonies start, when one’s time arrives, to end the innings. The mind does not accept that you are no more a mattress, which is a system, and you are not an important parameter of that system. You were good at some stage hence you became  the mattress. Now you may have crossed your shelf life, your expertise may have become irrelevant, there may be better people available or the requirements of the whole system has changed. Or it maybe the your health may not permit! With that change, expectations about you may have changed. Good idea, will be to turn into cotton!

I will share how a friend handled a similar situation in life. He established his engineering business over a period of 25/30 years and was doing pretty alright. In the meanwhile, his son joined him in business. The son was also well qualified and trained to take over the business and was already 45 years old. My friend slowly started giving reins of the business to his son. But over a period, he realized that many of his employees would come and discuss decisions taken by his son, with him. They were trying to get them ratified. This sometimes led to minor tweaking of decisions. Though there were no major disagreements between the son and the father, sometimes displeasure was visible on the son’s face. My friend had a dilemma about handling this situation. One fine day he called his son and told him, “Look Son! From this month end, I will stop coming to factory as I want to retire”. For next six months my friend did not go to factory, even once. After that he started going back to factory; his old cabin was retained. But he found that hardly anyone would come to him to ask work related suggestions or opinions. How this was achieved; my friend decided to turn into cotton. He understood the meaning of this phrase “Turn into cotton”! Now he goes to office every day, gossips in the right sense. Just tries to understand what is happening but never gives any opinion. He achieved what he wanted to do using foresight, by turning into cotton!

Friends turning into cotton does not mean that you don’t do anything after you are not needed. Like Sachin Tendulkar is trying to bring in sports, as a subject in academics. He rarely gives any specific suggestion about cricket. He tries to use his stature to imbibe  overall sporting atmosphere in schools, in different forums. In ancient mythology they discussed about Vanprasthashrama. I am not talking of that; but one can gracefully withdraw at the right time. Health permitting you can contribute in different ways.

I hear about some of our friends, who have lived for 45 to 50 years out of India, trying to come back to roots, trying to contribute in some ways. Some take time; a classmate of mine has come to India only once in last 45 years. Maybe he is an exception but they all do come back! You never remain mattress all your life! It is a simple philosophy but difficult one to digest! All good things have to end at some stage!

Post script:

I found the couplet from Kedarnathji  in a news item; Kedarnath Sing died of old age, only three days back on March 19th 2018! May his soul rest in peace! I know this is just a coincidence but now I am trying to get his book of poems to understand his simple but beautiful thought process. Incidentally, this couplet was mentioned by Film Actor Raj Babbar in a tweet he sent, on being asked to resign as chief of Congress party in Uttar Pradesh. Since it was mentioned in a tweet, it was difficult to understand if it was written in humility or sarcastically!

When things get tough…

When things get tough get going!

InternetGenie

Pramod somehow caught hold of Genie, managed to make Genie run at the high speed that was expected of him. Genie as usual started narrating a story. He started with a question, “Pramod, how do you feel is the life of an artist? What do you think keeps the artist going? What drives the artists to pursue their art?” Pramod knew that if he uttered a word, Genie would slip out of his control and system will hang! So Pramod did not give any reply to the question asked.

As usual, Genie kept on talking. Pramod, you must be wondering why I am asking you about artists! Ok let us be honest, you are not one, but you are now a closet blogger and blogging is like what artists do. You write your blogs as an individual, publish them and hope that your readers will like them, readers criticize them, disagree with you. When you started writing, you had only three readers, your family. Slowly your frequency of writing increased, you started getting a few more readers. Then during last few months, the “hits” started increasing because your frequency of writing increased, and the blog spread also increased. It took you about 4 years of consistent writing, to reach reasonable hits. Pramod, your livelihood is not dependent on this activity, so it hardly mattered to you whether people read your blog or not! You will continue writing blogs as and when you want as there are no deadlines.

But what about new singers, painters, sculptors and many such people who start their careers and hope that their art reaches a lot of people. How many of these people even reasonably succeed as full timers? They struggle every day not only with success but in making money! Doctors and engineers who work independently also have similar issues, but they can take up some job. But they don’t have to struggle on day to day basis! Where will artists get jobs? Musicians may get but singers, dancers, sculptors they must be on their own. Their work gets tested every day, criticized every day, and they are sure not whether their effort will be commercially succeed! The group of people who can use their talent is quite limited and competition these days is tough. Pramod, I heard that a Picasso painting got sold for US $ 450/ million. What did Picasso earn in his life time?

Hindi film industry music now is a big business. But with so many artists are trying their luck, there is tremendous competition. Top singers like Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Abhijeet have formally said that they are currently not being offered many songs. Same is the case with Kumar Sanu! There are many singers who are one or two film wonders and they are inexpensive! Pramod, you will be shocked when you hear this story. One artist was almost begging to a music director to allow him to sing in a movie and somehow managed to handover his cd. When the music director heard the song later, he found out that the singer was award winning singer for best song, the previous year. After that song, singer did not get any assignments.

There is one more shocking story, Pramod, about lack of control of artists on their earnings! Famous Hindi song “कजरा रेwas sold by a cell phone company for download as caller tune. The total business for this one song was Rs.16000/ crores, almost 2.8/ Billion US $! They shared the money 50:50 with music company. How much did the lyricist, singers, music directors get? Zilch! This one song could have made many artists millionaires! This movie was released in 2005, now it 2017! There is legal action going on. Pramod, I am not sure if they will get their money in their life time.

But what keeps these artists going? Passion! And secondly “No Option”! Pramod, in their passion I am sure, artists did not get trained to do anything else, other than their art! There are few people like M F Hussain and Lata/Asha sisters who were commercially successful ; there must have many equally good artists who did not become commercially successful. The artists mentioned above have also been successful but at a very young age they are “out marketed” by competition!

Pramod, I want your reply on this as I know you have strong views!! Pramod just could not keep quiet. He said, “Genie, there is no substitute to passion! I get a feeling that many great things in this world are done purely due to passion. If Steve Jobs did not have passion there would not have been Apple. Without passion there would be no Federer or a Tendulkar. Passion has driven social workers like Baba Amte and Maharshi Karve. Artists and individuals who work only with passion are the real creators in this world! This inherent toughness in them keeps them going in tough times. ”

With this statement Pramod broke the golden rule of silence that Genie had locked him in.  At that instant Genie slipped out of Pramod’s grasp, Genie’s speed became equivalent of 2 G and system hung!  Genie could not help but make a passing remark before escaping. “Pramod, I agree with you. But what is the reason in you to have this passion for blogging?

My Favorite Blog!

I started blogging very casually in the 2011, honestly I do not know why! It was more of a start and stop journey in which there were more stops! Post my health issues in late 2013 and early 2014 my frequency of writing improved. I publish my blogs on Word Press and wordpress helps one understand how to increase the reach of the blogs. Slowly I started incorporating those suggestions and I find that reasonable number of people read my blogs, some of them comment also. I have good friends who are my Critiques; we discuss why I write something and why I write in a certain way. They also point out important points that I miss out! This tête-à-tête with friends encourages my grey cells to become more active, helps me understand and accept different point of view.

 Out of 100 plus blogs I have written the most viewed blog, to my surprise is, “Paranormal behavior or “Angat Yene” or “Devi Ana” was published on 17th July 2017. This is a blog about my first experience of a known person suddenly going in trance, during a religious program at home. That lady was like you and me but the change in her behavior and persona happened in front of our eyes. She went into trance and was behaving in the way that can be described as paranormal. She came out of it when the religious chanting got over; she was sweating profusely and looked visibly tired! Question that comes to my mind, why this blog is most viewed? Is it because of the subject? Is it because the way I have written it? I don’t think so, I have not done anything special in this blog! Is it the curiosity? Is it that as human population we secretly want to understand what paranormal behavior is? Is it that people were hoping that I will explain the mystery? Honestly I have not understood this phenomena at all. I thought it will be good idea to retrospect and analyze my other blogs!

In the very early stages of my blog writing, I had written one piece called “These are the few of my favorite things”! Similarly I am trying to find out “Few of my favorite blogs”! I am going to select a few which I like the best and why I like them. I request you to give your opinion too! I have written the name of the blog and the date on which it was published. When you go to my blog page panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com you will see on the right side the list of recent posts and & archives. The details I have shared, will make it easy for you to locate old blogs should you want to read them!

“Dance of Civilization” was written on 19th January 2016, is my most favorite blog. It is tricky and is like trying to find out which is your favorite child? I am like Dhritarashtra, father of Kaurava’s who had 100 children, now I have 100 plus blogs! Why this is my favorite blog? I felt that I was able to make a proper mix of life’s small events with philosophy! Along with this, I was able to mix up view point of a small child; in fact they have no view point, they do what comes to their mind! This is the advantage of not having any “experience” in life! The child’s slate is a blank one and they will express what comes to their mind. This can be understood where I discussed the different ways of entering the Mandir! Rhea my grand daughter sometimes just did not want to enter the Mandir, she was more interested in drainage cover, she was interested in tearing up tree leaves that had fallen on the ground. She was more interested in jumping in the water puddle! She was keen to see how the crow was drinking water from the puddle! With our life’s “experiences” we become too rigid, too ritualistic and too stiff! In the blog I was able to compare the child’s view of life and the adult’s view!

“God! Where are you?” 10th March 2016 is a blog about how people believe more in rituals rather than achieving their goal! It’s about a group of people singing their hymns in a Mandir! Obviously they are trying to achieve peace of mind or maybe they were trying achieve Niravna! Two things in this world are really pure, the nature and the children! While trying to achieve their goal, the group was  disturbed by joyous shouting of kids! I feel that if I get to watch small kids enjoying their evening games, everyday, I will achieve Nirvana! Recently we achieved Nirvana by enjoying the nature at its best for about two weeks! What more do you need? I felt that this group of people had lost their path hence the title “God! Where are you?”

“Life’s Speed breakers” 15th October 2015. I always feel that people should share all their experiences with others. This blog is about the sudden detection of cancer in December 2013. My discussing all the events as if it was a third party event, I have tried to keep things impersonal. Even if a few of those who read this blog are benefited by this blog, in handling life’s difficult events, I will feel that I have achieved my goal. In tough situations, it is the positivity of the family and friends, quick actions, trying to get the best possible solution is the key. In case of issue like Cancer, Dr. Maiyya, my radiation Oncologist told me that Doctors, Equipment, Medicines do a play a major part but he felt that it may not be more than 60/65%. Balance is positive attitude of patient, family and friends. Luck of course also plays a major role! I have used a story format, telling date wise events to make it brisk and more readable by keeping the reader interested!

Parijatak उर्फ Nyctanthes arbor-tristis 5th November 2014. We look at many things in life but we never give thought to things in understanding that each living thing has its own usefulness and in case of flowers, its color and fragrance. I was able to get perfect simile where I could compare human traits with those of flowers. I have compared exotic flowers with highly skilled humans like pilots, engineers and doctors. Flowers like Parijatak are common folks like artisans, carpenters and nurses. But life is complete only when these two traits come together! I felt that sometimes we forget one of groups, depending on which group you are in. But I thought that I was able to explain how’s and whys of working together of Heliconia’s and Parijatak’s of this world!

From being grounded to going Sky high 8th June 2014. This blog is written more than three years back. During this phase I feel that I was becoming a better writer. The subject of this blog is an event from life where I changed home; I moved from a town house on the ground floor to a condominium on the 7th floor! This small change, made a great difference in my thought process and opened my mind to a much wider horizon which the seventh floor physically gave me. This maybe one of my smaller blogs but I was able put in a lot of thoughts in the blog. I was able to express a deep meaning in this blog. Probably my thoughts were also becoming more mature after recovery from health issue. In short, I have tried to say that every change in life is an opportunity!

Friends you must be wondering if I have written this blog because I have a writer’s block. No that is not the reason. Ever since I published the blog about Paranormal behavior, it is viewed everyday by sizable number of people; what is this phenomena? why this is so? Please read these other blogs also and give your comments! I would also love to know, if you read more than one blog, “Which you like the best”!