Roaming around in Pune!

Pune has already become cosmopolitan, with new International airport and Metro coming up, will same old Pune exist at all?

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It’s good to be moving around your own city but with age and technology, there is a possibility that you may not be required to move out of your home, especially after retirement. You can get your grocery online, you can pay your bills online, for cash you can go to ATM and deal with a machine rather than a human. All these things look sexy initially. But humans are social animals, and they love to meet and talk to friends, relatives, acquaintances, and unknown people. It is a well-proven fact that if humans become isolated then there is a good chance of early death. It’s good to know what new things are happening around you. When you move around, you observe different aspects of life. You know where the world is going.

Kasaba

The other day, we went to a dentist in the old part of Pune. We took an Uber and lo, we reached there in about 25 minutes, which was 15 minutes earlier than expected, and 30 minutes before the appointment. That too during peak hours! As I have always said that I tend towards being an atheist, but once in a while I do visit Mandirs on my own. I suggested to Jaya, that since we were pretty early, we could visit the Kasaba Peth Ganapati Mandir which was bang opposite the clinic. It was surprisingly empty. After going inside, we realized that it was Chaturthi, an auspicious day from the Hindu calendar. I bowed to the God, Jaya did some more prayers and took another five minutes. As is usually done, we sat in the Mandir for five more minutes. When you go to a Mandir, and do not have even five minutes to spare, might as well not go there! This is done  to soak in the atmosphere. The Mandir is a totally different world than that I live in. People were very much engrossed in praying; a priest was giving a sermon and he was talking about day to day issues, how to handle them and how to face the world. I thought it was a very good way of helping people. The priests are revered by the society; his sermon was a good way of guiding people as a tradition. This is one tradition, people should continue to follow, instead of following some irrational things. The young dentist is my daughter’s classmate and I know him well. He jokingly said, “Uncle HE must have been happy that you found time to meet Him!” To me, HE is everywhere, I need not go to a Mandir to meet Him.

Use of Uber brings you in touch with more people, a group of drivers, the way they talk, the way they work, the way they look at the profession. I always make it a point to chat with them. One observation is that 50% of them are from Vidarbha, Marathwada side! In recent four trips, I had varied experiences. One chap was very unfriendly from the beginning, and ended up shouting at me and threatening me with dire consequences! In a huff, luckily, he cancelled the trip on his own. I complained to Uber and they took a lot of feedback from me. Next one was a good person, was shocked how expensive Pune was and did not know much about Pune roads! When will Uber train these drivers about the city where they drive? I explained to this fellow that Pune is expensive because it has money and since it has money, a lot of people use Uber! Next one had his car in horrible condition, dusty and unclean from both inside and outside. I asked him why he had not cleaned the car? He said that he got the trip immediately after login. I asked him why he did not login after the car was cleaned, he had nothing to say. The last one was the best, he knew all the roads, his car looked new. When I asked him if his car was new, he said that it was two-year-old but cleaned it at least four to five times in a day. It showed his passion to do well in his profession! On top of that, he was very polite! I gave him five stars!

GoodLuck

In Pune and Bombay, there is a tradition of Irani restaurants. These are the restaurants run by people who have come to India from Iran and have settled in the last century. These were our favourite joints in our school and college days. They would offer, Bun-Maska (butter), Pastries and Omelet. Chicken and mutton also used to be their speciality if you wanted to take lunch or dinner. I was coming home in the very clean Uber and could look around for a change, as I was not driving. We passed by an Irani restaurant called Regal! I now came to know how the times have changed. They had a display board saying special treat for people who keep fast for 9 days during the Navratri festival that is currently going on! (We always have some festival running or coming or just finished celebrating) Sabudana Wada, Sabudana Khichadi and so on. Typical Maharashtrian dishes. Goodluck is the most famous Irani restaurant in Pune. Looks like to grow their business, they are also offering stuff that people want. So happy to see the flexibility of the management. Another thing that I have seen these days is that these are small restaurants and are at prime locations. With traffic density soaring all the time, their prime locations have become no parking zones. Some of these hotels have bought a couple of shops near the restaurant so that they could provide parking space to at least 20 to 30 bikes, inside those shops!

Another great tradition that is going great guns in Pune, is cultural programs during the Ganapati Festival. Many colonies, apartments, condos have different programs on various days of this festival. In our Condo, there were cookery competitions, painting competitions. Youngest was my grand-daughter Rhea who gave a three-minute solo dance performance. Oldest was a 75 years old lady who took part in story-telling. Jaya and I also had fun. I interviewed her on the subject of modern technologies of IOT, AI, VR and AR. (These buzzwords were explained in the language all will understand) It was done in a chat format and we explained the technical things in such a way that common people could also easily understand the subject. We also kept it interactive and people asked a lot of questions! This is one tradition that should never be allowed to die! This brings people together, the main aim of Lokmanya Tilak who started this festival more than 100 years back. During this festival, people go to each other’s homes, sometimes uninvited, and attend the Ganapati Aarti (Prayers) which are performed in each home!

We keep on making a big noise about traffic chaos in any city. Pune is no exception. But my personal opinion is that Pune’s traffic is still manageable. But the indiscipline is rampant by the two-wheelers, trucks and buses. They break signals, bikes carry 3 or 4 people in place of allowed 2! They break helmet rule with vengeance! In most other cities this rule is followed quite well! They enter wrongly on a one-way street! But real information that you get is from Uber guys, three-wheeler auto chaps break the rules similarly to two-wheeler guys, so I don’t take their feedback seriously. There are surprises. The first thing we assume is that the traffic will be worst in the old part of the city. These are called Peths! The roads are narrow and winding, sometimes. But according to Uber guys, these areas are much better, traffic wise. According to them, the worst is Sinhgad Road and Nagar road. Hinjewadi IT park area is known for these issues simply because of the sheer volume  of vehicles which pour on the road, within a short span of time. Attempts are being made to correct this situation. But mind you, good things always come out in humans, when things go out of control. Nagar road traffic volume has been high and indiscipline has added to it. A group of people in that area created a WhatsApp group. (A creative way of using WA) At a very short notice volunteers from this group jump the fray and help the traffic to smoothen out. What they have done is to include some shopkeepers in that area who can easily see if there is a jam. They give precise location on WA and in a jiffy these guys, wardens working Pro Bono, come out and straighten things out.

Friends, I moved to Pune in 1967 and stayed over. In these 51 years, it has changed a lot but has remained same too! Change is because of technology and migration. Pune has already become cosmopolitan, with new International airport and Metro coming up, will same old  Pune exist at all? Maybe! In some pockets, it will remain the same good old Pune but in other areas, you may feel as if you are in any modern city! Will it be able to keep balance of both? Yes and no! Chitale’s of Pune have finally started advertising and with no breaks between 1 & 4 in the afternoon! Bhelpuri carts, now have to compete with Bhel Puri shops which sell other things like sandwiches and Ragda Pattice too! Puneri Misal is still famous so is sabudana khichadi (now sold even by Irani restaurants!) Only time will tell!

Human facets!

You may be postponing that one call, that one message, that one tinkle. Then you get used to it!

One of the meanings of the word facet is one side of something many-sided, especially of a cut gem. Whenever I think about the human mind and body, I always find new facets in different persons and even in the same person. These facets are after all are HIS creations. Human facets make a fascinating study. Recently, I heard an old song titli udi from the Hindi movie Suraj (1966) . I had never heard this song for its meaning but when I read the lyrics, I found them fascinating. I interpreted the song my way.

The word Titli in Hindi means Butterfly. The butterfly comes near a beautiful flower and the flower whispers, “please come to me for the nectar”! The butterfly says, “I am flying up in the sky! Beyond the clouds, there are flowers which to you are stars! I want to go beyond everything and reach them, as I want to cross the limits of what I can do. There will be none to tell me you do this and you do that because there will be no boundaries and limits!” The flower says, “Don’t go beyond because you will be waiting and waiting till infinity for your desires to be fulfilled.” The butterfly says, “Only when I spread my wings and go beyond, I will meet my Prince charming”! When butterfly flew beyond, she met new people and found her new persona! She met her Prince charming and love of her life! Wow! Such a simple song but such a deep meaning.

While listening to the song,  a kaleidoscope of different human facets came in mind. I went into a trance and started wondering about how this happens. The song reminded me of someone who was always passionate about doing things and always wanted to cross the limits that all of us face. Recently I read about a naval officer who wanted to circumnavigate the earth, alone, in a boat. He almost did it but for an accident. He got hurt in the accident and it took three days to pick him up. But he held on. I am sure once he overcomes his health issues, he will again attempt the same thing. Testing limits of own endurance both physically and mentally is  a facet of human beings, that I admire the most.

Knowing others is a trait which only humans have. Some people have the ability to get along with new people very quickly. I know someone who used to go on first name basis in the first meeting itself when calling each other by the first name was not so popular. He had a knack of doing it, he had that charm! But at the same time, he had the ability to keep the same affinity with people with whom he would lose touch due to circumstances. I once asked him how he did it? He said, “Pramod, look at any relationship. It may be love, it may be friendship, it may be a business relationship. Getting into a relationship is very simple but keeping it going is hard. You need to cultivate any and every relationship. Unless this is done, falling out of a relationship is quite simple. You just fall out. But that’s the hardest. I simply cannot handle falling out, so I would rather cultivate and keep the relationships going. In love, you have your moments like the butterfly had its moments, only the sky was her limit; two persons are the closest in this relationship!  In friendship, the relationship simply cannot be explained. In a business relationship, you have many good and bad memories of successful and failed projects. Falling out in a business relationship can affect your professional work too! He said, “Pramod, mind you. No matter how much you convince yourself otherwise, reciprocation is important. Without it, the relationship simply dies. You may be postponing that one call, that one message, that one tinkle. Then you get used to not communicating. But mind you, falling out of the relationship is the toughest!”

Another facet that I simply admire is the valour. We have read so many stories of going into battles with knowledge of sure death! We have all read of late Vikram Batra during Kargil war. He and his team had a target and he achieved it, though it was a very tough task and death was almost imminent. It is difficult to imagine such an act from a 22-year old officer. What drives these men? What must be going on in their mind at that juncture? I am sure these are not reckless men but men with a specific aim and great love for their motherland! We all of us know the story of Shelar mama in the battle of Sinhgad fort near Pune. When the going was adverse, he simply cut the ropes which were used to climb the Sinhgad fort, which is on a hill. He told his soldiers that they can’t go back and that one action brought out the courage in them and they won the battle. Baji Prabhu Deshpande, Shivaji’s general had promised Shivaji that he would make sure that Shivaji reached his destination safely. Till that time, he and his soldiers kept on fighting the moguls. When they heard the signal of Shivaji’s safe arrival, he plunged into the final battle and died.

I have talked of good aspects of humans but there are equally bad facets in humans. The Sabarimala case and “Me Too” are classic recent cases of the worst aspect of humans. What brings out superstitious side of humans, I am not sure. The Me Too is a classic case of male chauvinism where males try to throw their weight around to suppress, suffocate females and try to look for sexual benefits.

In case of Sabarimala, Supreme Court gave a ruling saying that the so-called religious tradition of not allowing the females whose menstrual cycles are active. This is because the God at Sabarimala is a bachelor and a celibate! Oh, come on! What is God? Who decides the marital status of Him? Who gave right to priests to decide this rule? Who gave them the right to decide this? This is a bad form of superstition! If these same ladies go to Ram temple, it is ok because Ram is married to Sita! Sounds logical? Says who? On one side we are talking of Industry 4.0 and in which a large number of ladies are actively involved, but on the other side we are trying to prevent 50% population from freedom! The ladies can take part in development, they can give birth to our children but they cannot enter the Mandir, what nonsense are we talking.

“Me Too” is also a similar bad facet of humans and males are creating this problem. I am not going into why this has been happening. But I see some different viewpoints expressed on the subject. A couple of ladies have a different opinion on this than the majority opinion, excepting of course those who are caught in Me Too! One is trying to shame Tanushree Datta and another one is claiming that sex in the film industry is always with consent! Wow! I did not know that the film industry was a secret branch of brothels! Have sex get a song, have sex get a role and so on. Take bribe in kind so that there are no issues with the IT department, later! Forget about your life’s balance sheet when you finally meet HIM!

Superstitions, Male chauvinism is a result of insecurities, being scared of going away from so-called traditions. In olden days, mandir’s were nearby, wearing footwear was not very common. If worn, they would be made of animal hide. So, priests must have formed the rules, no footwear. There were no concrete roads, no pucca roads so walking barefoot was manageable. The black colour is supposedly inauspicious; so, what is the logic that Ayyappa bhakts must wear black clothes! We are a tropical country, the people who go there to pay their obeisance are not professional climbers or trekkers. The black dress would add to their difficulties with heat and humidity! Oh, but this is the tradition and the bachelor God said that all must wear black!

I can go on and on but I will write more at a later stage! There are so many human traits some good and some bad. It’s really a fascinating aspect of our lives. I will slowly delve in them. CIAO!

Pramod the Feng Shui Guru!

When a person is considerate to others at all times, then this person has unconsciously accomplished sainthood!

Feng Shui (simplified Chinese: 风水; traditional Chinese: 風水, pronounced [fə́ŋ.ʂwèi]), also known as Chinese geomancy, is a pseudoscience originating from China, which claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. The term Feng Shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English.  Feng Shui is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy (observation of appearances through formulas and calculations). The Feng Shui practice discusses architecture in terms of “invisible forces” that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together, known as qi.  

The title of the blog is sensational and I am sure none of you will believe it. But you will understand the real meaning of this title, soon. To me, getting advised by Feng Shui or Vastu Shastra are means to achieve what everybody is looking for as ultimate joy and peace in this world! Enjoy the lovely monsoon drizzle, be excited to see the group of children screaming and running, get blessed with a hot Cuppa on a winter morning, get drunk on meeting friends without alcohol, be contented with boiled and salted corn, get lost looking at an old Madhubala song, all smiles! Burp on a stomach full of home food, feel the ultimate joy of gazing at snow clad Himalayan peaks, feel eager to reach sweet home at the end of a tour of Italy or whatever is your dream destination, feel lucky that maestros like Sachin Tendulkar and A R Rehman were around in your lifetime. Feel eager to go to work every day, buy fresh palak subji on way back from office because the better half loves it, feel lucky that you are born in a lovely family and living in a great city, enjoy the feeling that you married the bestest person in the world. If you already have this feeling about your life, without “experts” prodding you to do them if you are always contented with the life as you have it, you have a house which is your sweet home, you are already there! Have you now understood the meaning of the title “Pramod the Feng Shui Guru!” 

This subject came to my mind not because I am a believer in these things, in fact, I am very much against such thought processes. I read a story written by anonymous using Feng Shui as a subject. A person, who was a non-believer had decided to buy and decorate his dream home; in its compound was a beautiful fruit-bearing tree. Naturally, some branches were protruding outside the premises and some fruits were always  “borrowed” by kids outside. His friends suggested that he invite a Feng Shui expert from Hongkong, though he was a non- believer.  The Guru agreed to come; he was picked up from the airport and our friend went to pick him up personally. While driving the car he would always allow other vehicles to overtake, when they looked in a hurry! Later in a small lane, a child came running on the road, suddenly. Our friend stopped, he did not start the car immediately. The Guru asked him, why are you not moving. Our friend said, “Children always run in pairs when excited. I am waiting for the other child.” In came the other child. The Guru was astonished. After reaching home, they had lunch in the garden under the fruit tree. The Guru heard some commotion. Our friend said, “Some children are “borrowing” the fruits, my security is still getting used to NOT reacting.”  

After lunch and some rest, they started the discussion. Guru said, “You don’t need Feng Shui for your home. When our minds prioritize others’ peace and happiness, the one who benefits is not just others, but ourselves too. When a person is considerate of others at all times, then this person has unconsciously accomplished sainthood. The saint is, in fact, a person who through benefiting others becomes enlightened. You are a person who has already reached the level above what Feng Shui can achieve. I am flying back tomorrow and of course, No fees. I have already earned my fees by meeting you” 

This my friends is Feng Shui or Vastu Shastra or whatever you want to call it. People do many things to achieve peace, comfort and joy in their lives; they feel that the Gurus will tell them how to do it. Do we really need to be told by someone to be considerate of others? Why should somebody guide us to do these things? We read many books, we go to Mandirs and Masjids and Churches to achieve inner peace. Do we really need to go there? Being considerate, being polite, being nice and finally being content is something that should come from within, it is like going to the prayers. 

As a curiosity, I read something more about Feng Shui. It says remove clutter for good Feng Shui. Really? Do we need an expert to say this? Will you like to live in a home where there is clutter? We have a rule in our home. If we buy something as a replacement, we make sure that the old stuff is given away before the new thing arrives. It is common sense. I saw in someone’s house, two microwave ovens on top of each other. I was told that the old one was damaged, 3 years back and they would get it repaired!

Get good quality air and light in homes! Is it not obvious? Try staying in cold countries in winter, windows are always sealed and shut and sunlight availability is very poor during those months. Then it talks of Kua number, positive energy. Find your Feng Shui birth element; are we talking to a palmist? It talks about keeping wooden furniture in certain directions of the home. Vastu Shastra talks of positions and directions. What does this achieve?

Assume that there is a square building with four flats on each floor. The direction of Sunlight is fixed. So how can the same Shastra be applied to diagonally opposite flats? I live on the seventh floor, our flat is facing west. How can any Shastra tell me that the position of something should be such that I will get morning Sun? I never get morning Sunlight in my home, ever. From my floor upwards, the winds from the west are lovely and sometimes very strong. How can the same wind and second half sunlight be available on the first floor flat?  

Are Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra and their variants sciences? If you try to analyze scientifically, you may find many issues yourself. Of course, in homes, while constructing there can be some scientific errors. The experts will give the advice to break walls and windows based on their Shastra. One may do the same corrections under the guidance of architects or civil engineers. My friend had an office in a big square hall.  Along the walls, there were a few cabins for seniors. Once I went to meet him for a cup of coffee. The whole office looked like a war zone. Everything was broken and right in the centre of the office, a circular cabin was being created. The boss’s office! Vastu Shastra was in full swing! I, of course, did not ask him any questions about the activity, just had my coffee which was lovely!  

Why do people follow things blindly? What is the meaning of faith? In such situations, the cliché fits perfectly. Common sense is so uncommon! I have seen normally smart people following such advice. To me, it is a sophisticated way of following superstitions!  

By the way, I am starting a website www.pramodguruFengShui.com . I am giving below photos of stuff that we will sell online. 20% discount on pre-booking. 😊😊

 

 

 

Jinx !

What is your destiny? Are you jinxed?

A couple of days back a new Metro line was inaugurated in Delhi’s NCR area. The occasion was graced by India’s Prime Minister, Chief Minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh and Governor of Uttar Pradesh. The line starts from NOIDA in UP and terminates within Delhi limits. The news item also said that this is the first time in more than 20 years, Chief Minister of UP has visited NOIDA. NOIDA is city of about one million population and no CM would go there, because those CM’s who visited NOIDA, lost their Chief Minister ship, immediately after the visit. So, the story spread that such visits are jinxed. In such a large city in the state, the Chief Ministers did not visit a major city due to “jinx”! This is simply unbelievable!  

On one side we are talking of Metros, Super Computers and on the other side we are talking of jinxes! Black cat crossing the path, evil eye causing havoc in lives! We are more scared of jinxes than of illnesses! Is it a way of finding someone or something to blame? In our universe there is some power which controls everything. Nobody knows anything about the power but we try to “control” it by taking action or performing some rituals. When something unpleasant happens, we call it a jinx. But when unexpected good event happens, we are not worried, we feel this happened because of my hard work. Problem is that we do not take life in stride, always try to look for easy solutions to anything unpleasant. It can be a ritual, it can be blaming the jinx.  

When we are true to ourselves, we know that chilly/lemon combination does not make the “evil” go away. Tying a black doll on the main door of our home does not force the evil to go away. The problem starts with the definition of evil. What is evil? Definition of evil is anything that happens out of turn in life, anything bad happens in life is evil. But what is bad? Is death of a parent bad? Yes of course, it is. But if the death happens at the age of say 80 plus, is it not a normal life event? Should this be treated as evil?  I don’t think so. In certain areas in Britain, death happening after the age of 80, without any serious health complications, is celebrated. There is party organized by the family which is called Golden Death Party! It is to celebrate good life lived by that person. In our culture also, after any death, lunch is arranged on a specific day, e.g. 13th day, and some sweets are served. The logic behind this is that we should bring the life back to normal routine, after the death!  

LimbuMirchi

In life when things happen out of turn, death of a young person in the family, sudden loss in business, a divorce in the family, sudden loss of an opportunity for higher studies, such things do happen. When such events occur, we feel that life has cheated us! To make sure that such events do not recur, we start following certain rituals. But does it really help? Sometimes events occur which are natural calamities, sometime due to market forces in the world; illnesses occur out of blue. By performing rituals, are you so sure that they are not going to recur? Events occur due to the reason that they are destined to happen in one’s life! We know of people who have never taken any alcohol, dying of liver cirrhosis. We know of non-smokers dying of throat or lung cancers. We have seen extremely fit athletes dying of heart failure on the field itself! This is destiny!  

The other day, I read an article about what people have done at Mandhara Devi, a famous deity near Satara, in Maharashtra. When it becomes dark people are sticking chits on trees, cursing whoever they want in writing and hoping that they will die in accident, or their houses will burn and so on! This is the reverse of the ritual. People feel that if they wish bad things for people in the mandir, their foes will really face problems! They forget that so called bad things happen as they are defined in one’s destiny and not by someone wishing bad things.  

One thing is for sure. Jinx and allied rituals are there in all cultures, world over. Human race cannot accept things happening out of turn; one interesting thing about rituals is black colour is used predominantly in rituals world over. Black Cats are supposedly bad omen but black Kohl dot on the forehead of babies is supposed to drive away the evil! 

 

In India, we see many Trucks with the famous writing on their back sides  बुरे नजरवाले तेरा मुह काला to drive away the evil! But that does not prevent some stray truck from ramming on the back side of the same truck! Let’s take things in stride and drive away bad stuff; it does not happen by way performing rituals.

BuriNazar

Goodness is Godliness!

Spread the spirit of Goodness!

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!

 

¡ larga vida a la India!

Good always wins over bad!

¡ larga vida a la India! This is Spanish translation of Long Live India, the title of my previous blog! While writing that blog, I was distressed and was in melancholy mood. But as promised the next days’ early morning lovely weather and the bird’s singing brought me back to my normal self. I am going to talk of an India story; many such stories are mushrooming, all over India, amidst the bad things that keep happening around. My belief that good always wins over bad, continues!

In my younger days, we lived in a condo. A young girl used to support us in looking after our son. Later, she and her brother were offered living quarters and a job, as a watchman, in our condo. This family stayed over and was in the condo for next 25 years! Later, the girl got married and went away but the family of two brothers and their wives continued. Over a period, they had 2 children each. Their elder children were same age as my daughter. When they left our condo, they had a house of their own, one of brothers had died. Their wives continued to work with us as domestic help for a few years more. Then they moved on, as we all do in our lives!

We also moved on from the condo and went elsewhere to live! Recently, Jaya got in touch with one of the ladies and next day all of them came to meet us! The two elder children got themselves through school and are working in an automotive workshop as an expert mechanic and office manager. These children helped their mothers to guide their younger siblings through engineering college. Both these younger kids are working now in IT industry! They now have a bigger house but they have remained the simple people they are!

Look at the change in one generation! The parents were working as domestic help with a bit of help from agriculture income from their village; elder siblings pooling in later, helped the younger kids to join the modern work force! Honestly, if anybody had asked me about this scenario back in 90’s, I would have badly failed in my prediction! It is a clear-cut result of consistency, determination, hard work, and I am sure they all had aims!

What was the contribution of all of us from the condo? We sometimes supported them additionally with some more money other than their salary. We all treated them as family, we celebrated festivals together. This probably helped the kids to aim high in life, but it is their success, we were only on the periphery during their formative years. All the families in the condo, when they went out, left their home keys with the family. They would help us organizing certain things in our homes during our absence.

I will share with to you one experience from those times. My mother had come to stay with us for some period. One of the lady who helped us in cooking, gave a couple of biscuits to her child, from our stock, as the child was crying. When Jaya came home, my mother told her the incident! My mother felt that it was not right thing to do so! But Jaya explained to her. A couple of days before my daughter was unwell and did not feel hungry. This lady told Jaya, don’t worry. I will take the child home and feed her! She did that with such love! We were more like family! The same treatment was meted out to them by other families in the condo!

What is so big in the story? In India there many people who come from economically bad situation. It is for a little more fortunate people like us, who can take part in bringing them out of the tough situation by behaving with them as normal human beings, to guide them and their children to take the right decision, to become their roll models by doing our work sincerely and guiding our family and children, to respect all people, irrespective of their station in life! This probably helps people to feel that it is possible to come up in life in India too! We hear of a lot of rags to riches stories especially from USA. But in our country also, there are a lot of good stories happening,  like the one I shared.

When I move around these days, whenever I hire a taxi, I make sure that I talk to the drivers and ask them about their lives and their families. You will not believe, they will share many things with you, if you give them good ear! While listening to their stories, they always have small queries and want to know how certain things are done or achieved in life. I try my best to reply to the queries and I hope all of you must be doing something similar. To my surprise one of the drivers wanted to know about Electric Vehicles and its benefits. If each of our family, can bring up one family to achieve a better station in life with education and good behavior, to me it is better than 100 visits to a Mandir!

Our TRP based media has no time for such stories; these are not success stories in their books because there is no drama, there is no excitement! There is no love triangle or there is no mayhem! It’s a straight forward information about a family who improved their lives in one generation. Who cares for TRP’s? Which is your favourite story one with the TRP’s or one we discussed, without TRP’s? Long Live India!

Oh My God!

Dive into depth of His trough of knowledge and achieve Nirvana!

Dios mío, Oh mein Gott, おやまあ, अरे देवा, हे भगवान. These are the expressions in different languages meaning the same thing. This obviously shows that in any and every culture, concept of God has been in existence for a very long time. What is God? Everybody’s concept, strength of belief about God is different. In fact it does depend on religion, faith but more on individual beliefs. That is why we have some staunch believers and a few who tend towards being atheists or rationalist!

To me God is a belief, and an unknown super power. This thought process is fortified by the some events that happen in the world where we don’t seem to have any control! I am not talking of only bad things, we have no control on good things too! In bad times, people mostly use God as a punching bag and good times are of course their own doing, their own competence, their own expertise! In such situations people forget that He is around!

How He came into being? In olden times when general knowledge of the populace was limited, any situation not understood, was act of God! Not that situation has changed much even today but with progress in scientific knowledge of humans, at least in some cases we are able to differentiate between natural phenomena, scientific achievement and of course Act of God! This act of God will continue till the end of the world, because there always will be many things on which humans will have no control.

To me God and things surrounding the thought of God are like the ocean. Our knowledge of the ocean and its behavior is very much limited to whatever we see near the sea shore. Similarly, our knowledge about Him is very superficial. In the sea our general activity is maybe up to 50 kms from the sea shore. I am not talking of large sea vessels which travel all over the world! These vessels are result of scientific knowledge put together by humans to overcome challenges of the ocean. These are very small in numbers. I will compare these with some Gurus who have studied in depth about Him and they can be compared with sea going large vessels, again very small in numbers. Even with large sea going vessels the mystery of Bermuda Triangle has never been resolved. Similarly His mysterious ways are also not understood by us.

On a day to day basis we have formed our rituals about Him. These cannot be really explained in logical or scientific terms. In Islam, there is practice of self-flagellation, in Hindus people walk bare foot long distances to visit a mandir, sometimes they crawl to a mandir. To some extent it is followed in Christianity too!  Why this is done? This is supposed to be penance for the deeds of the humans. But I always thought that the spirituality or the thought of God is within one’s mind, so what is achieved by physical penance is difficult to understand and follow. This practice is being followed for thousands of years and even today people do not want to apply scientific thought to such practices. People don’t want to challenge the old tradition that may not make sense today, because they are afraid of His wrath! Or are they afraid of orthodox people from the religious bodies to challenge such practices?

In many temples, even today, ladies are not allowed to enter! Because they are “impure”! One Mandir management in south India ran into a tricky situation. A law and Order situation got created in that Mandir and police arrived there led by a DCP! The DCP was a lady! They had no option but to allow a lady to enter! Many of the practices, rituals were creations of old times when situations were totally different. People and the so called holy leaders don’t want to change this for a simple reason that they will lose control! It is all about power, these rituals are ensured to create fear psychosis in the minds of the followers. How do you explain a guy riding a motorcycle paying his obeisance to Him, without even stopping his bike momentarily, releasing both his hands from the handle of the bike, not even slowing down! He is afraid that if he does not do his namaskar, His fury will destroy him! Is it so? Is He telling you to pay obeisance? It is in our mind hence we are doing it! Religious leaders are happy with this situation because they have achieved to keep fear going in the mind of the people.

Friends try to reach the depth of the ocean that is Him! Presently, all we are trying to do is water surfing, catching the fish, enjoying the swim near the shore! That may appear to be the ultimate thing to be achieved with Him! Go to the depths, where the ocean has lovely corals that we have never seen, ocean has mountains within its body of which we never even think of, ocean has many beautiful things hidden from us because we have never traversed its depth. In the same way, forget the flagellation, forget the fasting, and forget the crawling. Try to really understand His depth, without being afraid of Him. God is hardly bothered what you do for Him because ultimately He does what has decided about us, (Act of God!) our society and our world. Those depths will be really beautiful like the oceans. Reach them and you will achieve the Nirvana!

God Bless You! Que dios te bendiga! Gott beschütze dich! お大事に! देव तुझे भले करो! भगवान तेरा भला करे!