What is the mind?

The mind never sleeps. It is always preoccupied with something!

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This is a song from Hindi movie Chitralekha from 1964, sung by Mohmmad Rafi and Music by Roshan, written by my favourite lyricist Sahir. The song explains beautifully about the Mind which in Indian language is मन !

Can you arrest the Sunlight?

From rising and receding!

Can you imprison the colours?

Who has shackled the beauty?

All dictionaries define MIND in 2/3 ways.

  • The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.
  • A person’s ability to think and reason; the intellect.
  • A person’s attention.

Obviously, it is not a physical thing, it not an attribute but it is something which exists but cannot be seen. It is supposedly having a great depth, sometimes it is said to be deeper than the ocean. The way we cannot see things deep down the ocean, we don’t know what is happening in someone’s mind. It is unpredictable. People jokingly say that it is very difficult to predict how a lady will react to a situation but (jokes apart) same is true about men too, in fact, it is predictable about the human race that unpredictable nature of human facet is predictable!  This is one of the pictorial depiction of the Mind!

mind

The mind is a data bank within the humans, with unlimited gigabytes or terabytes of ever expanding memory. Human mind always compares new things, new events with old data in mind! When we talk of mind, we point our finger towards our head but in the head, we have a brain and not mind! So where is the mind? Mind to me is the human intellect which during “thinking” accesses the data bank, compares and gives out the result by way of actions; these actions may be verbal, in writing or by physical action. To give an example, someone is being interviewed for a job. After various stages, the person is offered that the company will pay 20% less salary than demanded. That person recalculates in his mind and says Ok, I am good. What did his mind calculate? First, it calculated how much was the final expected figure in his mind? What was it based on? Expenses, EMI’s emergency expenses and savings! Based on such variables the mind recalculated the new situation.

How can we develop a mind which is very passionate and always questioning? Probably when we constantly inquire anything and everything, our mind becomes a free mind, which has a lot of data and a lot of flexibility. When the flexibility is gone, the questioning is reduced or stopped, our mind starts accepting everything at face value. Such a thought process then starts calling many things as traditions, which are to be just accepted. Our mind may be gets covered with some kind of rust; this rust coating does not allow our mind to remain active and ensures that we accept everything as beliefs and traditions.

I told my granddaughter the other day that it is not a good idea to watch YouTube or TV while eating food. She has a very sharp mind and mind which does not have cover of rust. She said please tell me what happens if she watched YouTube or TV while eating food. I could have given two answers. One, it is a tradition, which is really true; till 50 years back there was no TV and till 10 years back there was no YouTube. Hence the tradition was not to distract your mind while eating. But for a five-year-old girl both these things have been around from the day she was born. So, telling her that it is a tradition is incorrect! I explained to her scientifically and she was happy with the answer. So many times, beliefs and traditions are something which we use to hide behind instead of facing the truth, challenge an event or a thought process. Because thought is the way we respond to something with old data and current data,  then mixing the two to bring out an appropriate response.

I feel that the brain and mind are synonyms. But the  brain physically exists and in the case of mind, there is no physical existence. As the brain is made up of several materials, it can be studied. On the other hand, it is hard to conduct studies on the mind as it is not made up of any material. The brain is an important organ in the human body whereas the mind is equally important. It is in the brain that all the functions and activities take place. The brain, which is the center of the nervous system, coordinates the movements, thoughts and feelings. But these are put forth or felt through the mind. We all use the mind to think, feel and respond. The Mind refers to a person’s understanding of things and also his conscience. Mind also refers to a person’s thought process. The brain has a definite place in the head. But with regard to mind, it is only supposed to be in the brain. The brain may be affected with diseases and can be diagnosed whereas mind does not have such complications. But yes! If your mind becomes corrupt about something then it is very difficult to eradicate such a thought process.

The mind never sleeps. It is always preoccupied with something; it is preoccupied with thoughts and these thoughts keep on changing all the time. Now the beauty of the mind. This non-physical entity controls many actions and reactions of humans, some good, some bad and some are really ugly. These actions and reactions can result in some fascinating outcomes and some horrible outcomes. The preoccupied mind wears out humans to a great extent, even when they are asleep. A person is worried about something and the mind goes in overdrive. Mind keeps on churning out thoughts to arrive at a correct solution. Till this solution is reached, the non-physical entity tires human body! The result can be that the humans are  not able to go to sleep, or are tossing and turning even when they finally fall asleep. As described in the song above the mind or मन cannot be controlled, cannot be arrested; it will follow its own path at its own will! In the famous song from Sound of Music, “How do you solve the problem like Maria”, there is a line “How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?” That’s mind for you!

There is a phrase a “Mind Over Matter”! This phrase is one of the most important statements in our lives. What does it mean? Mind over matter is —used to describe a situation, in which someone is able to control a physical condition, problem, etc., by using the mind, the ability to keep going, even when he is tired, it is a simple question of mind over matter.

We have seen and heard of many examples of Mind Over Matter. Lance Armstrong is one best-known athlete who overcame his cancer to win many cycle races. (Unfortunately, he was later caught in doping scandals and stripped off all his medals!) Oscar Pistorius had both his legs amputated in while he was a baby but he overcame these issues by having prosthetic limbs. After becoming Paralympic champion, he took part in normal races too, representing South Africa! (He is currently in jail for murdering his fiance!) We had a co-passenger when we took Alaska cruise. He needed 100% Oxygen support because of his medical condition. But he not only was on the cruise but also took all the land excursions!  I know a couple of people with this condition, who simply died after a few months!

I am still amazed by this human “organ” which is invisible! It controls human reactions, it decides important things in life, it gives great support to humans along with Adrenalin, during excitable situations! There is a lot of discussion going on these days, about Artificial Intelligence becoming very powerful and may do most of the things better than us humans. But I don’t agree. How can an algorithm or any code decipher human mind? Humans themselves cannot fathom the depth of the mind, they don’t have real knowledge about how the mind behaves; so, don’t worry we are safe in the hands of the mind!

 

You Start Dying Slowly!

Live life royally so that you don’t start dying slowly!

A friend shared with me a poem “You Start Dying Slowly” by Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize winning Chilean poet. The funny part is, this information is a hoax. An article in Latin American Herald Tribune reports, “Muere Lentamente” is the work of Brazilian poet Martha Medeiros.

Martha_medeiros_tv_brasil

It is remarkable how this Brazilian poet, despite not getting the acclaim and recognition for her work, is taking it all in stride. The article says she is not losing sleep over it and has “enough of a sense of humor to laugh at all this.” That speaks volume of a person who is not dying slowly. You can read the full poem here. https://7minutesonline.com/2017/03/13/you-start-dying-slowly-poem-by-martha-medeiros-which-has-been-erroneously-attributed-to-pablo-neruda-for-a-long-time/

I have chosen to share some important lines from the poem.

You Start dying slowly 

If you do not appreciate yourself 

When you kill your self-esteem 

If you avoid to feel passion 

At least once in your lifetime, 

To run away from sensible advice… 

We should take some time to find out what in you is dying slowly. Whether it is a job you have long wanted to resign from, or your desire to migrate to a place where you feel like you truly belong, or even for once wear something else instead of black, or to order Bhel instead of your favorite Upama or maybe you want to eat pani puri from street side vendor! We’re all in a rut somehow. It’s time to get out of our comfort zones and to finally live life fully!

What happens is that we are stuck into our day to day routine. We do the same things every day, eat, drink, go to office, come back home, watch TV and go to sleep. Most of us are afraid to change. Afraid of what? I do not know? We also have apprehensions about talking to persons not known to us. We think twice before we call a long lost friend when we get his/her phone number after a long search. “I hope that I am not forgotten. Now the person has become a big shot, will he talk to me as a friend?” All these small things always keep on pulling us back.

I have tried to explain below how the thoughts in the poem are real world things. These examples show that you have destiny in your own hand provided you don’t start dying slowly every day!

A friend called me and said, “Pramod do you have some time for me?” I said come over. When he came home he said, “Can we go out?”. We went about 10 km from home and went to a lake shore. I could see that he was completely stressed out. He said, “Pramod I wanted commit suicide but my wife convinced me otherwise. I was traveling and staying in a hotel.” He was working in a reasonably decent organization and had no work-related problems. He further said, “I just don’t feel like going to my office. Somehow, I hate the atmosphere in the office though personally I have no issues.” He said many things and in the end after about 45 minutes he asked me what he should do? I said, “Change the job.” He said that since he did not have any job offer how can he leave a well-paid job? I asked him, “Will you all starve if you don’t get paid for one month?” He smiled. Next day he resigned, within 8 days he got another good job. He bumped into me after a year or so, all smiles and fresh as ever.

Another friend was a couple of years junior to me in engineering college. After second year he decided to leave the course as his calling was theater! He took a degree in arts and managed to get a job in an insurance company where they allowed him time for his passion! If he had not dared to follow his dream, I don’t think he would have been happy, ever!

Mohan

Leading actor Dr. Mohan Agashe did his MD in psychiatry after his MBBS degree. I need not tell you what he has achieved in acting field including a Padmashri! But most will not be aware of his work in Medical field. I called Mohan today to get the details about his work in the medical field. In post Independence India there was hardly any work done on Mental Education, Services and Research. Mohan conducted a study for the nation vis a vis, state of Maharashtra. He generated a project report on the subject. His report was accepted by Government of Maharashtra in 1988, a decision was taken to establish Maharashtra Institute of Mental health. Established in 1991, this institute trains people to take care of patients who need psychiatric help.  Thanks to Mohan, the pioneer, who was instrumental in starting formal Mental Health training in India. I am sure Mohan must have been advised by many to take up medical practice after he completed his studies which was a sensible advice; but Mohan continued to pursue his acting passion along with medical career. Rest as they say is history!

STen

There was an eleven-year-old boy who was passionate about cricket! How can an eleven-year-old be so passionate that his middle-class parents allowed him to stay with his  relatives, to help him to follow his passion and dream. At the tender age of 16 plus Sachin Tendulkar started playing cricket for India. Basically, this happened because he had passion. Hard work, discipline, for next so many years were things which helped him play for record 24 years for India!

Friends what Martha has said in her poem is aptly displayed in the caricature below.

 Snoopy

Opposite of “You start dying slowly” is you live your life royally! To live life royally you don’t have to do things royal! You should do small things in life that you want to do! As per latest term used these days, create a bucket list of things to do before you die! Make sure that you follow your dreams. In the real world there is always a discrimination by colour of skin, height, smartness, sex, money and many other parameters. But we should not forget one thing. We humans are all a special edition, created by HIM. No two persons are same. We should be proud of what we are. We should have self-confidence about ourselves. Many a time we do not understand our own abilities, our expertise and our own self. Be proud of what you are and what you have achieved. But for that you should have tried your best in whatever you did.

I want to apologize to Martha Medeiros. She has inspired me to add a couple of lines to her poem! Friends, you also suggest your own lines!

You Start dying slowly 

When you do not show empathy for others 

When you do not want to give back to the society 

When you don’t help people in need! 

Martha, thank you for allowing me to take the liberty!

Work Life Balance!

Enjoy Life with correct Work Life balance!

When I was in school, I used to come to Pune during holidays to my grandfather’s house. He had perfect Work-Life balance in those days. He retired before I was born. But from what I have heard, he used to go to office around 9 and be back home by 4.30. He was one of the luckier persons who had a steady job. When I started going to Pune, he had just started his retired life and would go to sleep by 7 in the evening and wake up at 4! Before going to sleep he used to listen to local news on radio, which would start at 7 pm. All others at home would have dinner by 8 pm and simply go to sleep by 8.30 pm. Cozy life, lovely life; there was nothing to do anyway. There was no TV, going for movies was rarity.  

This reminds me of Gulzarji’s lines 

अब दिन रातपे ही आके रुकता है 

मुझे याद है… 

पहले एक शाम भी हुआ करती थी 

Lifestyle has taken a tumble of 180 degrees since those days. Things have reached the other extreme, discussions have started on Work-life balance, which is a concept that supports the efforts of employees to split their time and energy between work and the other important aspects of their lives. Why has this imbalance come in our life? Who is responsible? Do managements expect too much from employees? Is work being done with the help of less number of people? On home front, families have become nuclear, both husband and wife are working, and it has become a norm. There is less support system available from elderly. We have too many commitments on social front, too much time is “productively” spent on social media.    

Times have changed, work pressure on individuals has gone up. Pressure to perform is nothing new, it was always there and it will be always there. Why does the imbalance take place? It is simply because we have 24 hours in a day to do so many things. It is how productively we use that time which is important.  

First and foremost is the travel time. Home to workplace travel time is the most unproductive and tiring time. People these days travel anything between one to 2 ½ hours one way, to work. Traffic is going to become more complex and heavy, so there may not be respite from traffic. But yes, there is a solution. When people take up a new job in a different city, they rent a house as near to work place as possible. But in your own city you probably own a house or have been living in an area from childhood. So, you don’t want to change the house.  Solution, cut the emotion, be a little open minded about shifting to stay near the work place, be pragmatic. I was talking about this issue with my young friend Abhay.

Abhay rues that his generation has all the material stuff but no time to enjoy it. He said that if he moves to stay near his work place, he will save two hours every day! Multiply by 250 days. 500 hrs a year. It is as good as getting 50 days of additional leave to be with the family, maybe hit the gym, which today is not possible today. I told Abhay, after shifting near office, don’t spend additional two hours at office. Deepti wanted to take a new office. I suggested to her that it should not be more than 3 kms from her home, she had that option. Now her total travel time is 15 minutes. Hours gained, anxiety reduced? I don’t think you need any consultant to evaluate value addition done by making these changes. If you have financial need, rent out the “owned” flat. 

Now about the most unproductive thing! Social media. FB and WA are the biggest culprits causing the imbalance. Everybody wants to look at the cell phone at every opportunity available. Waiting for the red signal to turn green, open the device. You are doing serious work in office, you get a ding or a dong, ting or a tong! You stop the work to at least send a message, “I will come back to you”! Heavens are not going to fall if you don’t reply. Of course, friends may think that you have died since you did not respond in 30 seconds.  

Social Media has changed the society in such a way that there is fear in the minds of mafia that they may lose out to Social Media cartel. Take a back-seat Heroin’s, and ganjas of this world. You cannot compete with us! Smoking? What is that? I can have my new drug on my person all the time, police are not going to arrest me for that, parents are not bothered (they themselves are busy with addiction), lovers tiff no way. Why are you not talking to me? You don’t love me anymore. Did you see my new necklace? These words are passé! Both are busy looking at their own screens, looking into each other’s eyes? No way. Looking into his or her screen, yes of course. Did you see this video? Did you read this quote? Recently I saw photo of a group of friends, who met for chit chat! All were looking at their cell phone! Chatting? No way!  

To manage the Work Life balance, another thing we should analyze is how much time we are spending on social media. 2 hours, four hours? How many free hours do we have after deducting time for work, travel, sleep, and day to day chores? Do you want most of the waking time to be spent on social media? In fact, we are cutting into family time, sleeping time, causing sleep deprivation, or even  going out time. Your mind is never into what you are actually doing!  

Not in the distant past, a cranky child was given a pacifier in his mouth. Now the child is given a cell phone or a tablet to pacify the child. When the child crosses a certain age, the parents start cribbing, “Oh, my child cannot spend a single minute without cell phone”. I have seen mothers looking at WA while feeding a child, not breast feed but regular meal. A child needs a bit of attention and diversion. A song, or a story used to be the name of the game while feeding kids! When the mothers themselves indulge so much in WA/FB what do you expect the child to do?  

When we attempt something differently, it should start with you! Will you remain, away from social media for some time? Will you remain away from kitty parties? I am not saying that you shun these things. Anything in moderation is always good. A Mac Burger once in six months, a glass of wine, a cup of your favourite tea or coffee, for that matter any drink in moderation will always give you joy! Please think in a positive way! If we don’t use social media for some time, is it really going to affect your life?

Work pressures will be there, but can these be 24/7 and 365, no there are never such pressures. I have known of a person who went to US for work for a month, then 2 months and then continued his stay for three months. From there he was told to go to Germany for another three months. There were many problems at his home including illnesses; he should have told his boss that he will travel back after a quick visit back home, at least a couple of times. I don’t think his boss would have said no! But our friend just wanted to shun his home responsibilities. I am so busy syndrome!

Firstly, one has to decide if you really want work life balance! If you want it, there are always ways, you can find your own different methods too! Will will find a way! I forgot to tell you; I have promised Abhay that I will have a cup of tea with him one day, after his son has gone to school and before Abhay goes to office! Five minutes is all Abhay needs to go to office. The other day we went in the area where Deepti lives, we barged in to see her mother. Her mother called Deepti, she came home from office to have coffee with us. Utopia?  

                                                                                                                       

 

 

सपने मे सजनसे दो बाते! Beloved in my dreams!

Trying to share my feelings about a lovely song!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWFDNTBGCro 

I am sharing this song with you as this one is rare and my favourite! This is a Lata Madan combo!

 सपने मे सजनसे दो बाते एक याद रही एक भूल गये,  

सपने मे सजनसे दो बाते 

एक रात मिलनकी आयी थी और उसके बाद जुदाई थी  

गम और ख़ुशी की दो राते  

गम और ख़ुशी की दो राते  एक याद रही एक भूल गये,  

सपने मे सजनसे दो बाते 

 

एक सावन की रुत लायी झुले, दुजी में सजन हम को भुले  

देखी हैं यही दो बारसातें, एक याद रही एक भूल गये  

सपने मे सजनसे दो बाते 

 

एक रोज तुम्हे दिल दे बैठे, फिर रोग बिरह का ले बैठे  

ये प्यार की हैं दो सौगाते, एक याद रही एक भूल गये  

सपने मे सजनसे दो बाते एक याद रही एक भूल गये,  

सपने मे सजनसे दो बाते 

Many  a  times,  I  have heard  people  talking  about  Hindi  Film  songs  in  two  extreme  emotions.  Hindi film songs are  either described in  derogatory manner   or  they  are treated as  gift  from  God.  Likes  and  dislikes  about  songs  is  individual  choice.  So  these  reactions  are  understandable. Recently I have started going into details of understanding of the meaning implied in the songs. Some the lyricists have been legends and the songs they have written are phenomenal. Of course, many times it so happens that the songs are just inserted for TRP, maybe as good as on public demand. Here I am not  writing about this aspect of Hindi film songs. 

This song is from the movie “Gateway Of India” It is a 1957 movie, singer Lata Mangeshkar, Madan Mohan’s music and the lyricist is Rajinder Krishan. Song is picturised on Madhubala. This song is a typical Lata-Madan combination. 

You are swayed by enchanting romance, moods of dejection and a feel of refinement when you listen to any of the songs by these greats. Both had a great chemistry together, which helped them highlight the female protagonist of Hindi movies through some soothing Ghazals.. 

The wordings of this song are very simple, with no fancy words, no Urdu jaban, but the song  talks beautifully about life’s philosophy. सपने मे सजनसे दो बाते  is  the  refrain from the song and has been used beautifully. (Refrains are the lines repeated in a song) This song talks of the expression of thoughts by the lover about her beloved, in her dreams. This thought itself gives mystical dimension to the song. The lover is saying that, ” I  spoke  with my  beloved  about  two  things  but  I  remember  only one  but  I  forgot  the  other.”  She  is so involved  in  her  love  that  has  become  forgetful. The  night  they met was  followed  by  separation.  This  is  typically  sadness  followed  by  joy  in  our  life.  Come  to  think  of  it,  if  only  joy  or  sadness  existed  in  our  life,  we  won’t  really  feel  the  other.  Joy  exists  because  there  is  sadness,  sorrow!  What  we  need  in  life  is  change.  What  state  we  are  in  and  what  events  will  happen  in  our  life  is  destiny  and  we  can  not  control  it. This interchange of joy and sorrow brings back our sanity.

In  the  next  stanza  the  lyricist  takes  this  to  a  new  height. In  the  hindu  month  of  Shravan  there  is  tradition  to  tie  swings  to  the  trees  to enjoy  the  arrival  of  rains. The  rains  also  help  us  in  our  fields  and  brings  water  to  the  drying  rivers.  The  first  smell  of  the  rain  drops  falling  on  the  heated  soil  is  the  same  joy  that  we  all  feel.  But  as  the usual cycle  is,  joy is  to  be  followed  by  sorrow! With second shower my beloved has forgotten me! Cycle of joy and sorrow continues.  It follows the same pattern of feeling of joy and forgetting sorrow.  

The lover finally says, my beloved I gave you my heart on a platter with joy but I never knew that I will be caught in the sorrow of separation. It was my joy to give you heart my beloved but never knew that separation will be like a disease. These contrasting feelings are part of our life but get highlighted between lovers as the emotions are very high. 

The sorrow of separation and joy of togetherness has been beautifully used to explain our life. This can be between mother and child, two friends, or your separation with your pets! In any relationship this is bound to happen. Rajinder Kishan has given this superb song in which is very simple but at the same time full of meaning.  

This song is rarely heard on radio/tv and I was lucky to see Lata sing this song live, in late 70’s on DD Srinagar. I was simply struck by the simplicity and beauty of this song. I had to wait for the advent of internet  to get this song. Who am I to talk of the virtuoso duo of Lata and Madan? They are legends and they give us joy. The joy they give us, helps us overcome different sorrows that come in our lives. There are many such combinations like Lata/Madan in our Hindi movies. Hope I am able to share a few more combinations with beautiful and meaningful songs with you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                     

To do or Not to do!

Be careful while getting some procedures done on your body!

Advent of technology brings many benefits to the human race in curing illnesses, diseases and body conditions. They also help in better and improved diagnosis due to inventions like imaging technology. When modern techniques like Laser are used in surgeries, the benefits are manifold. The Laser technique uses probes to perform surgeries; this avoids the external cuts hence improves the healing process and  speed.  I know of someone, 91 years of age, who underwent a surgery, which without Laser technique may not have been possible.

But again the new techniques and technology  are used  for  certain procedures  which are not  proven or their long term effects are unknown.  There is a  procedure called Lasik. LASIK or Lasik (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), commonly referred to as laser eye surgery or laser vision correction, is a type of refractive surgery for the correction of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. The LASIK surgery is performed by an ophthalmologists who use a laser or microkeratome to reshape the eye’s cornea in order to improve visual acuity. For most people, LASIK provides a long-lasting alternative to eyeglasses or contact lenses.

While talking to an eye surgeon, I  asked  him  his  opinion  about  Lasik.  He said that anything that is done to our  body,  against  the  nature,  can  be risky,  dangerous  and  some of the detrimental effects  may be  seen  after  a  long  period has passed.  He felt  that  this  maybe  done  for  a  specific  reason;  for  example, for joining  armed  forces  certain  eyesight  requirements  are  there. This  is  also  done  on  people  who  want  to  be  in  show  biz  like  movies,  TV.  Using eye  glasses is considered taboo for younger aspirants. But he made a valid statement. He said, ” In our city there are 13 eye surgeons who perform this surgery for sometime. Why not a single one of them has undergone Lasik? If they perform this surgery on hundreds of patients, do they not find it safe enough?”  This reminded me when I had visited an electronic item chain store called Radio Shack, in Boston with my son Sachin.  We bought a few items and went for billing. This was many years back. Their system was so slow that I said to my son, jokingly, that these guys seem to have ancient computer systems that have a speed of a bullock cart. I said this in Marathi. The person on the counter was smart enough, he understood what I had said, “Sir, upgrades are for customers, not for us!” Like  many  drugs,  these  new  procedures  will  have  side  effects  but we don’t  stop  using them.  In  fact  judicious  use  of  modern  technology  is  going  to improve  our  life style.  Laser  assisted  cataract  operations  are  the  classic examples  of  such use.

Humans  are  known  to go overboard  sometimes,  and  get  things  done  that  should  not  be  done.  These procedures maybe  essential in show  business (says who?)  but  can  cause  lethal  damage, sometimes.  Michael Jackson  and Sridevi  are  two  names  that  come  to  mind.  They  had  performed  some  procedures  over  a  period  of time  which  made  their  skin  lighter.  Both of them, originally had darker complexion. If we compare their  videos from  early  and  later  days,  you  can  distinctly  notice  the  change  in  colour  of  their  skins. Even a nondoctor like me understands that the skin colour  rarely changes  over  our  life  time. Skin colour is due to Melanin, and it is HIS gift! We cannot do much to change it!  What treatment they took, I am not aware.

But both of them had early deaths which could have been due flogging of their body to improve their skin  colour.  A well-known blogger and writer  Ratna  Rajaiah  had written an interesting blog  about  skin  colour. As we are all aware that the South Indians normally have dark skins. She mentioned that in Southern India, during growing phase of girls, there is an advice given to her to “Talc Yourself”; just finished your bath, talc yourself. Going out, talc yourself, have done nothing for some time, talc yourself. She mentioned that “talc oneself” is an obsession in South Indian ladies. The weather conditions are very humid and add to that the colour of skin, this leads to excessive use of talcum powder. It has been a human thought process since thousands of years, that anybody who is good, is fair skinned and those who are bad have always been dark skinned. This old thinking prevails and people want to be “Gora”, fair skinned.

This obsession has led to people taking treatments for the skin “improvement”. They should have asked their surgeon if anyone from surgeon’s family was given this treatment. Maybe all these doctors were Caucasians! Another thing people want to control is their body shape. It is well proven over thousands of years what is good and what is bad for our body. But still people go out of their way to control weights and in case of women their figure, the so called 36-24-36-hour glass figure. Controlling weight is good but good idea is to eat sensible things and exercise regularly. People don’t do these things and then want to do crash diet, follow severe work out regimens.

Another thing that ladies do, is to control body to “Zero Figure”. Honestly, I do not know the real meaning of this. But the girls who are in modelling and advertising, try to achieve Zero figure. For what? God has made woman’s body keeping in mind child bearing capabilities. Procreation is the most important aspect of human life which keeps continuity. HE has given the right size, shape and contours to take care of child bearing. Ok, you don’t want a child but HE is not going change design only for you. By making such drastic changes in your body, you are inviting trouble. I hear that some these girls have bulimia. Bulimia is an emotional disorder characterized by a distorted body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by fasting or self-induced vomiting or purging. Princess Diana had bulimia!

As usual the questions arise why, why and  why?

Friends I shared with you some things  where  doctors  do  some  procedure  on  patients  but  will  never  do  it  on  themselves.  People in show business get somethings done, but these  are  basically  against  nature.  Some people follow regimen which  are  against  HIS design.  So  is  your  career  so  important?  Is looking beautiful so important  even  if  the  risks  are  known?  Is bulimia accepted? Why not try a different profession? There are enough choices in life, choose the right one, choose the path which does not go against the nature. To me at least, health is more important than the so called successful career.

Sridevi Meri Chandani!

Sridevi, a natural, who just clicked on when she came in front of a Camera!

24th Feb 2018 was a shocking date for all us film lovers when Hawa Hawaein lady Sridevi passed! It looks like HE likes all beautiful people and decides to take them away early. Sridevi was just 54, very young by today’s standards when she died. She had just started her second innings. Madhubala died at the age of 39 and Marilyn Monroe at the age of 36! In case of Madhubala at least her health issue was known to the close ones, Marilyn was veering towards her death but in case of Sridevi there were no known issues; her sudden passing was all the more shocking to everybody!

She started acting in the film industry at the tender age of 4; so, she was in the industry for 50 years! That is a very long time to be in any field and I am sure that she must have been doing her work on auto pilot! She was a beauty, she was a fantastic dancer in classical mold and a terrific actor. People always talk of her dancing prowess but I feel that her acting prowess was even better! The classic example of this, is the film Sadma. In this movie, she is a modern young lady who loses her memory due to retrograde amnesia, following an accident. Her mental age becomes 6 or 7. She goes through a horrible phase in her life as she is pushed into prostitution. Kamal Hassan meets her in a brothel and realizes that she has been cheated to go into prostitution. He takes her away and nurtures her back to life; a doctor finally is able to cure her and she becomes original modern girl. After this change she simply does not remember Hassan, as her amnesia is cured! Life goes on! Her acting in this movie is seen to be believed. Behaving like a 6/7-year-old girl is not easy when you are a normal person! She was nominated for film fare best actress award. She won a lot of critical acclaim for her role! This gem of a song, from the movie Sadma, “Ae Zindagi” is to me the best song picturized on her, ever! Suresh Wadkar, the singer, is also at his best in the song! Did she enjoy her childhood in this song, as she may have missed the real one?

Public life has it pluses while going is good, but when things turn up differently it is really nasty, what with our TV shows, newspapers, WhatsApp and FB! People in general and reporters and commentators in particular forget that the celebrity is normal human being like you and me. They have their family, husband or wife, children like all human beings have. When stupid and nasty things are mentioned, poor jokes are circulated, they forget that they are troubling a family and a group of friends; it was a heart wrenching experience to see this tamasha. When celebrities are alive they can ignore, smile and sometimes rebut! But when Sridevi died it was pointless to discuss everything threadbare. There was that unfortunate change in the reason for death, found in autopsy. This took the rumour mongering to crescendo! Naturally, I do not want to go into details but I have the usual questions why, why and why? Why get into this mode? Why discuss threadbare unnecessary details? Why not let the family be, in their sorrow? Everybody simply forgot that someone had died.

Sreedevi Boney Kapoor Ayyapan was born in a Tamil orthodox family. She started working at the age of 4! When you start working at that age, I am sure that you never have a normal childhood; again, I am not going into details. According to Ram Gopal Varma, she became penniless when her father, who looked after her finances, died because he trusted wrong people with money. Later her mother made wrong investments and she became penniless the second time. When her mother died, Sridevi’s own sister cheated and looted her money! She finally got her solace in Boney Kapoor! I am sure that also must have been a tough call for her because she became his second wife. How much can a person take in a life time, I really don’t know. Even he her death, there was no peace but a great turmoil for her family!

We only look at the glamorous side amongst lovely people, beautiful dresses, going to exotic locations, traveling all over the world. According to Ram Gopal Varma she had a fantastic ability to switchover, once she was in front of the camera. Probably films was the only thing that gave her peace!  She turned into a different persona! Her eyes would sparkle and feet would start dancing to rhythm and what rhythm she had, what expressions she had, what flexibility she had! She had a tough time when she moved from South to Hindi movies because at that time she was not at all proficient in both Hindi and English. It was not rose petals all the way in Mumbai but she came up with sheer talent, hard work and brilliance of her performances! She became the first lady super star of Hindi movies.

Who would want to die at prime and a young age of 54! At this stage now people start new companies, new projects! Sridevi had started he second innings with a fantastic performance in a movie called English Winglish! She looked so natural all through the movie, it felt as if the role was written specifically, for her! She had kept herself perfectly fit in real life by way of exercise and diet. There are murmurs going around that she had gone through many surgeries; this beautification is probably need of the profession, and people do like to look beautiful and young all the time. People dye their hair suitably, they follow various anti-aging regimens which include procedures and surgeries, some of them can be risky. But Sridevi’s death was not because of this; she somehow fainted and died!

There is a turmoil going on in my mind, after I read about her cremation; but I will be a little selfish and say that my last memories of her will always be beautiful, bubbly Chandani! How can Madhubala and Monroe and  Sridevi be 80! Who knows she could look beautiful even at 80 but I will surely not be around! In our younger age we had Waheeda Rahaman, Sharmila Tagore who have kept themselves very graceful at their current ages 80 and 71 respectively. But not all manage this!

So what is my favourite memory of Sridevi? There are so many dances, performances, expressions, it is impossible to choose! I will give her 9 on 10 for everything or maybe 9.5 but I will give HIM 10 on 10 for his decision to take her away! What a selfish decision. He made a surprise move to have her back with Him! Perfect 10 on 10, bhagwan! Tusi great ho! Teri Lila agadh hai!

With moist eyes, and heavy heart! Alvida Sridevi!

Traditionally speaking…

Follow the traditions the right way!

Tradition means a long-established custom or belief that has been passed on from one generation to another. This is a great thing that we humans do. Traditions have been formed and continued based on what we have been doing year after year. But what has now happened is that traditions and their real meaning, and their relevance getting is lost in translation. Many of the traditions started in olden times with a specific thought process which was relevant at that time, within the knowledge level of those times but we want to continue using them without thinking! We also know that technology is the boon given to human race by intelligence and hard work of various people. But in case of tradition sometimes technology is becoming a  bane, a cause of great distress or annoyance:

What I feel is that instead of using technology in the right way, it is being used in such a way that it is causing harm. Take the case of crackers. Supreme Court has recently come up with a directive not to burst crackers in Delhi region due to serious pollution issues. There is a big discussion and people are upset about “heavy handed” action against traditions. But a close look at the situation in that area will tell us that traditionally farmers burn their chaff, people burst crackers of Diwali and the air purity goes to an absolute toss! Chaff can be disposed off by using different methods but we don’t want to change the tradition! Instead of being adamant about traditions, people should come together find out ways and means to enhance the joy of traditions, by lighting lovely wick lamps or diyas! Light thousands of them and enjoy the beauty and serenity!

delhi_smog_1478513562325diyas

Bursting crackers and enjoying decorative lighting is part of celebration but crackers without much smoke and cacophony is the order of the day. In olden days what was the population size? How many people burst the crackers? There was no car pollution, there was no coal power plants pollution. With all these modern changes if millions start bursting crackers we have seen what has happened. On top of that people buy crackers which are tied up as 10000 fire cracker garland. With technology the bursting strength and sound has gone up by many decibels. On top of that smoke generated by 10000 crackers is enormous! In my childhood 60 years back I remember about 7/8 of us kids would burst about 80 crackers in one hour, one at a time! These garlands were never our tradition because they never existed. We are making wrong innovations in the right tradition.

10000crackers1

Take the case of Dassara festival. It is naturally celebrated with big fanfare with a lot of flowers, garlands new clothes, it is a total celebration. This is celebrated for nine days with gusto. People dance with gay abandon to celebrate different form of the Goddess on each day! They take out processions, all fine! Now comes the misuse of technology. Since last 20 years or so procession also has big bank of huge speakers generating god knows how many decibels. During such procession which used to pass by our home, we would close the windows tightly shut, even with the windows tightly shut we could not hear a single word on TV at full volume. Only option left to us was to call police. Then the speakers would be toned down to normal volume for 200 feet and then… of course they would go full blast!

Speakers

Sabarimala devasthanam in Kerala is a temple existing from 12th century. It is in a very remote area in hills of Kerala. From olden times due to remoteness and difficult terrain,  and no roads women have avoided to go there. This practice somehow turned into tradition and was surprisingly ratified by High Court in 1991 saying that women within age group of 15 & 50 i.e. their menstruating age should not enter the Mandir as they will desecrate it. Even today in the year 2017 this practice is followed. It is a great mercy on people that Supreme Court has taken up this issue and is reviewing it. Tradition! What tradition? It is well proven beyond doubt that women are equal to men in ALL fields in spite of their monthly difficulties and difficult times during child bearing. The official spokes person of the devsthananam had the gumption to say that, “If women mentioned in above age group were  allowed to enter, then it will turn into Thailand, the Sex Tourism spot!” It is really stretching things too far!  If there is a law that says that this practice be allowed, change the damn law!

sabarimala

High profile and fearless persons, especially ladies, have to face smear campaign if they speak something about overcoming wrong practices followed under the garb of tradition. Why not let the ladies join the funeral pyre as Sati? Why not make her sit away from everybody during that time? Thank god such stupid things are done away with. Traditional thinking still has not changed as can be seen from looking at the sex ratio many states in India, females are between 85 to 92% of male population. Illegal sex tests and abortion are still rampant though governments are trying to do their best. Why? Traditionally one must have at least one son! 

Let us take a vow that we all will break the so called traditions which were practices that are existing but cannot withstand today’s scrutiny of science, knowledge and analysis. It’s fine to write “Happy Diwali” instead of “शुभ दीपावली”. We learnt English in last 100 years but it’s blatantly ok to break such an old tradition. Of course I am joking, these are not traditions but a way of communicating with each other.

Let me tell a story how traditions start. In a place of worship, a priest used to take discourse once in week. Over a period the priest developed breathing difficulties. Then just before one discourse a cat came and sat near the place where the priest sat for his discourse. The priest used to love cats but once the crowd started arriving it would run away. Priest would request someone to get the cat back out of sheer love for the animal. A tradition started that if the cat is not there, no discourse. Later the priest was transferred to be replaced by another priest.

The new Priest started coughing and sneezing when the cat was brought but somehow managed to complete his discourse. He went to a doctor and was told that these bouts were probably because of the furry friend. From next time onwards, before the discourse could start the people thought that the cat needs to be shooed away but it was breaking tradition, so cat was allowed to hang in, with same results to the priest. Over a period tradition continued that discourse would not start without the cat and the priest suffered. Finally people realized that the cat had to go away and priests’ health improved. This priest was transferred and old priest came back…. Tradition?