Thursday, August 28, 2008


Celebrate Life !!

MUMBAI That’s where I really appreciated what celebrating life means .

Oh no .. I am not talking about the scintillating celebrities adorning that dream city and their celebrations. What touched me deeeep inside was the commoner’s attitude to celebrate life in the midst of …. a million problems and adversities. It is here that I also learnt how to change an adversity into an opportunity, in a real sense; how to embrace the golden moments of small, small pleasures of life, instead of whining about the wantings or constantly remaining apprehensive of the bigger problems awaiting us ( there were many at any time ). As is said, if life gives you a lemon, make a lemonade out of it – instead of cribing why it was not an apple( does not, however, mean that you should not aim for the apple. Do everything to get the apple, but do enjoy the lemonade all the same !! )

Local trains .. the lifeline of Mumbai. Driving down daily to office by personal car or taxi is simply out of question for people like us – both because we can not afford and time would not permit – unless you are really rich or you live near Nariman point. Most of the offices are located in that locality – approachable via Churchgate or VT and most of the residential localities are down town – so you need to travel a lot .. daily AND your only option is the local trains – faithfully showing up almost every 3 minutes. Minutes matter here. We got to know that right after reaching Mumbai. Point was how to brave the ordeal daily?

The ordeal seemed all the more enormous, because of our initial couple of encounters with it, while we were settling down during the first week, before joining office …First time, when we were totally fagged out getting the guest accommodation cleaned ( where we were to stay till we got our staff quarters) and were returning, we just boarded whatever coach stopped in our front without knowing, ( that was 1st class & we were holding second class tickets and the only distinguishing feature, as we learnt later, between different classes of coach was the colour of stripes on the body of the boggey !!) . I need not elaborately describe how embarrassed we felt when the TT checked our tickets and made us realise what grave crime we had committed. Of course, after showing all documentary evidence to convince him that we were new to the city, he was kind enough to let us go with payment of balance value of the 1st class tickets with fine only. We learnt our first lesson( Know the different boggey from stripes - always stand near the boggey you are supposed to catch – they always stop at particular places) the hard way, but the advantage was we NEVER ever committed this mistake ( ha, ha!) and, yes, we used to caution our friends when they were to travel the first time by local train, lest they get into such horrible situation!!

Second time, it was tuly serious – I still shudder at the thought of what could have happened . All of us were to board the train. It was very crowded ( as usual) and we were yet to have those monthly/quarterly tickets, so had to travel by ordinary class. The train started by the time three of us managed to board the train and my elder daughter started running to catch the train. Some lady on the platform from among the ones who could not board, thought this child is risking herself ( she did not realise that we were there and I was actually clutching on to her hand & pulling her up to get into the train .. it was all happening in fraction of second !!) . That lady started pulling my daughter back ( to save her, of course ), while I was pulling her onto the train. God, anything could have happened – just saved by a whisker, as others on board also joined me in shouting for that lady – leave the child , leave the child – and she could be literally dragged onto the running train, before it gathered speed. Second lesson – again learnt the hard way – do not attempt to get some one into the train after the train starts - better to come back from the next station, if that other person can not board on her own.

One look at the crowd – no , the sea of human beings - at the railway stations waiting at platforms, running and jumping on to almost running trains ( irrespective of age, size or shape), alighting from almost running trains ….. and a new comer is sure to give up even before trying! But, when you are left with no options, you eventually summon the courage to face the only option you have. That is actually the biggest plus point of not having options.

So, despite our horrible experience during the first week, we had to start taking the local trains for office. So, my ordeal with trains began .. from Goregaon( West) to Churchgate.

Boarding locals at Goregaon is a tough act – as these trains originate from Borivili and wiser commuters go back to Borivilli and catch an originating train ( for getting a seat from start till end is a luxury, worth spending some more time involved in this strategy ). We came to know that later. So, choiceless, we started taking the locals from Goregaon and believe me, for about 15 days … it was HELL, I swear. I tore about three sarees in first week itself , and gradually learnt how to manage your saree while getting up or down ! My specs, hair .., shoes ….handbag… well, well, it was a virtual adventure everyday just to reach back home in one piece !! My husband literally fell down while getting down and hurt himself badly... lost his watch ( just slipped off his hand .. you know, once you get inside and are standing in the crowd ( even in first class),you won’t even know where your limbs are – your hand can get stuck somewhere, your foot can get stuck somewhere, you may have to struggle even to keep your head straight .. yak !! And all this in a so called 1st class coach during the rush office hours. As I realised later, the only difference between a first class coach and rest during the rush hours is the variety of perfumes you get to smell – in first class, u find a class in these smells - in 2nd class, it could be a mixture of smell of sweat to fish or .. godknowswhat !!

But .. it does pay to try and in a few days, one eventually learns the tricks of catching a train just as it slows down just as hundreds of others do everyday !! Personally, I had my moments of triumph ( privately of course !!) when I could do this, at times by giving an elbow push to someone else ( bitchy ??) and started feeling happy. So, I also can !

Conquer one problem ( getting into the train), the second one starts looking bigger ! Managing a seat ! Like eagles, you eye all those who are seated, ask them where each would get off and stand near that seat – inside. Standing inside is a real skill, as there is no support to hold on – and my hands could never reach the sides. That was a real price to pay for the probable seat. But still … courageous as I am ( ha, ha ) – for some days, I tried that also .

Those were the beginning days …days of woes and worries.. and difficulties not less than fighting a battle each day ! Then, I used to think of the Mumbaikars and pity them virtually .. poor things, day in and day out, they are facing this !!

But as I said, that was only the beginning. It was not very long before I honestly started loving and looking forward to my local train journeys to office and back. It was in course of my stay there when I got local friends that I could understand and appreciate what a beautiful life they are leading, by choosing to be happy, come what may, which could otherwise have been a life of miseries !! Hats off to Mumbaikars. Rightly said, it is all in the mind !!!

How this paradigm shift in me ??

Well, ever been in any function, i.e. celebration and yet not felt uplifted ? Usually, the spirit of celebration is contagious – it is bound to impact others around… positively, even though the others may not be in a particularly good mood. And if you let go of yourself for a while, sooner or later, you will find yourself as a part of the celebration. That is actually what happened to me once I started seeingnot just looking around. There was so much of vivacity, so much of enthusiasm about everything in this so called mundane world, so much of life …..among the people at Mumbai, that you simply start seeing the silver line in every dark cloud.

Have you not heard … A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition ! (William Arthur Ward said it.)

It did not take me long to observe something extremely special …and lovely in these local trains! There used to be groups of daily commuters, catching the same train everyday and boarding the same coach. I guess, they knew each other since ages - most likely through these trains, as eventually they were getting off at separate destinations. Everyday, something or other will be celebrated by the groups .. someone’s birthday, someone took a new house, someone got a promotion, someone’s child passed with good percentage, someone been to a tourist place, someone wearing a new saree … etc.. etc.. As if they wanted to celebrate, and hence, there was always a reason! Mode of celebration was also very special – in the sense that it was invariably simple - distribute some sweets at the most ( sweets are very costly in Mumbai ) ; otherwise, some simple snack made at home or bada pav treat or whatever is being sold in the train ( especially in evenings ).

What was important to them was their celebration, not the means of celebration - their sense of appreciation ( you would always find one saying “changla” ( means – very good or tasty), their joy in sharing ( not what is being shared ). In fact, later on when I attended many of their social functions, I was profoundly impressed to see how people took it important to attend and socialise – giving least importance to food or gifts. Simplicity … that was it, something to emulate really. [ In most of the places elsewhere, when one calls for a get together, very soon the enjoyment of socialising ( the basic purpose of any social meet) tends to become a tension for the host and the guests alike, as the menu, gift and other incidentals start assuming more importance.] In Mumbai, it is different, as every commoner is in a deep sea and each has a heart to appreciate the position of the other ( fellow-feeling?) .

Coming back to local trains …you would also find many groups enjoying antaksharies or simple chit-chats with those sitting/standing nearby, known or unknown ( relating to fellow human beings ) and if not anything else, then enjoying plain and simple dozing off ( those most enjoyable moments of tension-free travel naps !!). Then, there would be some commuters totally enjoying reading, as if nothing is affecting them- the crowd, the problems, the noise ! And all this – when crowds are moving in and out at every station almost every 2/3 minutes !!

At the extreme, you would also find ladies sewing or knitting or peeling peas or doing the veggies ( yes-inside the local ) !! But once they board a train, you would never find these commuters worrying – about whether the train would reach in time, what if it breaks down in the middle etc. etc. Why worry about something which is not in your control ?

Yes, not a single moment can go wasted – either you use it gainfully or you enjoy it, but don’t let it slip out of unnecessary worry !! I salute this spirit of Mumbai !

I have also seen their concern for others – although, they themselves are in much inconveniences and nobody virtually has any time to spare! I really used to feel very scared about the pregnant ladies travelling in local trains. But my trust in humanity used to get re-affirmed as I have seen ladies getting up and offering seats to pregnant ladies, old and sick. It did call for a sense of sacrifice. Once, we saw someone fainting in the compartment – I thought, poor thing .. everyone is in a hurry, who would help ? No, some of the commuters did stop on the next station, helped her alight, gave her water, asked the police to help and boarded another train to office only after ensuring the basic help. Are not these the unsung heroins? I had seen plenty of them. Everytime, I see these ordinary ladies conduct themselves so extra-ordinarily through the trials of Mumbai life, my respect for them grows and my faith in humanity grows.

As days passed off, the Mumbai spirit started pervading me. Gradually, I realised that if only I accept that I am to travel standing, I can be actually better off, I would be spared the pain of waiting for a seat and gain time for reading. Soon I firmed up my strategy – after boarding the train, I perched myself at the corner of the entrance ( that was easier ) having my back rested on the sidewall of the coach – facing opposite to the direction in which the train is moving . This way, you don’t fall forward and you don’t have to hold on to any support in the moving train. Then, I would take out my newspaper - the middle page, which ordinarily contains the editorials plus many other diverse articles), fold it to the size of one article - so that it does not touch any other person, although I can read it without much problem – even at times holding with one hand. This discovery was actually the turning point in my life. Honestly, instead of hating it, I actually started liking the train journey ( oops !!) . Now, I had no problem at all in standing ( because I had accepted this mentally in preference to trying for a seat). I felt genuinely happy that I could now read the newspaper for which I had no time otherwise. It was only a matter of time when local trains actually became my reading room and thanks to Mumbai & those travels , I could read scores of fabulous books. I can bet I could not have read all those, had it not been for Mumbai & local trains. And you know what profound impact can good books have on the way you look at life !! That was virtually a huge treasure of knowledge and wisdom lying unzipped before me !! Thanks, Mumbai.

At Office also, I had lot many things to observe and learn how to celebrate life. Initially, I used to wonder, how come all ladies looked so fresh and vivacious even after commuting by crowded trains, walking to office and all that ? Soon I found out that all these ladies carry their small make-up stuff and after reaching office,the first thing they do is to freshen up. Ordinarily, this would attract a very satirical reaction from the colleagues – these ladies .. why do they come to office… to do their make up ?? No , you won’t have this in the air .. there at Mumbai. Just imagine, what a vast difference it makes to their spirit ( and obviously to productivity, too) by spending 5 minutes to refresh themselves – to shrug off all that tiredness, untidiness from commuting !! Minus this 5 minutes of freshening up – the entire day you would have carried the burden of yourself .

Not only that, I have seen ladies, really decked up at times while leaving office, with party wear ( they carry that stuff while coming to office on these occasions). Hey, what is this ? I soon got to know. Time is so precious and unaffordable at Mumbai that, everyone becomes a natural expert in time management. The great thing about Mumbaikars is that they do not let paucity of time or resources get in their way of living every moment or celebrating life !! In such tight situations, we usually stop socialising – which means stopping sharing and caring for others !! Hats off to the people at Mumbai, nothing deters them in celebrating life. Ordinarily, it is not feasible to go back from office, get refreshed and come back to attend functions – distances are just too much. So, people are used to attending ceremonies at others’ places straight from office and no compromise on party look either !! You and I would shy away from risking our good clothes in yet another commutation ( for attending a function also, you have to travel train mostly !) . But, what is the purpose of such nice clothes, if we do not wear it on occasions for which these are saved !)

Each festival … there will be celebration at office too, in small ways at least, without hurting the official decorum ( like distributing til gud laddus on Makar sankranti , with wishings “ gud gud khao, gud gud jhalo” meaning eat sweet & stay sweet ( Sorry, I know I have messed up the Marathi expression) . I used to love the wishes in Marathi. So, here also, the laddu was not important, it was the spirit, the best wishes with which it was being distributed. That was like spreading happiness through small gestures !! [ My friend still couriers me a small packet of til gud laddus every Makar sankranti . So sweet of her !! ]

I have been to some of the residences. Some are very small – area wise- but the hearts of the people living there are large enough ! At times, I did wonder, how even extended families fit into these one bedroom or two bedroom flats !! But they do . They understand the need of each other and the constraints of a metro like Mumbai and do their own space management in most innovative manner and stay together, sharing and caring for one another – that last bit is important ( sharing and caring !!). On top of that, you would always find people coming from outside and putting up with these families. Small space may be .. but large hearts, I swear !!

At the end, when I reflect and ask me what was it that made the Mumbaikars celebrate life shrugging off all the adversities, the answer that I get is “ ENTHUSIASM ” .

It is enthusiasm that makes all the difference in life. With enthusiasm, you will celebrate life’s each insignificant and significant thrill; without enthusiasm, you will only have alibi for not being happy and even the greatest thrill would fall flat on you. This applies to both personal and professional life. Think about it .

“ If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm .”

– Bruce Barton

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens. Circumstances and situations do color life, but you have been given the mind to choose what the colour shall be .”

– John Homer Miller

I would like to conclude with something, my friend Manasi had collected from Internet & shared with me :

Make it a Great Day
I woke up early today, excited over all I get to do before the day ends. I have responsibilities to fulfill today, I am important. My job is to choose what kind of a day I am going to have.

Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or ….

I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free .

Today I can grumble about my health or …..

I can rejoice that I am alive.

Today I can mourn my lack of friends or …..

I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships.

Today I can whine because I have to go to work or ….

I can shout for joy because I have a job to do .

Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework or ….

I can feel honoured because Life has provided shelter for my mind, body and soul .

Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped. And here I am, the sculptor who gets to do the shaping .

What today will be like is upto me . I get to choose what kind of day I will have !

Why not make it a great day !!!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008




Yesterday, it was a Bandh here in the entire State – in protest against the suspected Maoists attack on one Ashram in a communally sensitive area, burning to death a renowned Hindu religious leader and others. Dastardly and abominable, at the least!! I wonder, can there be any cause that justifies such gory, inhuman means ??

Anyway, that is not the issue I am going to comment upon here.

Well, my housemaid, who only sweeps & wipes floor everyday, did not turn up yesterday. Honestly, I was pretty angry, as she had already absented on 7 days earlier during this month - of course at a stretch due to some function at home, with prior information. But, last month also, she was absent for 4 days in one fortnight ( I have employed her only last month after shifting to this new house).

So, as she entered today, I asked her, “What’s the matter ? You did not come yesterday !” She said, “ bundh”. “ Bundh ? How does that affect you ? ” I was really irritated inside.

{I was under the impression that she stays nearby at walking distance – because she comes to my house around 7.30 am – 8 a.m. . It never even occurred to me while engaging her to find out where she stays, as she had readily agreed to my timings early in the morning. Further, so far my experience has been that maids in our area usually prefer to work nearby so that they could attend to their own household chores also. Obviously, for working women – it is always a balancing act .}

She replied, “ Buses were not plying, how could have we come ? I stay near Khandagiri area ( pretty far off from my residence). I and my sis-in-law leave home everyday around 5.30 am, come here, do all our houses, and by the time we get back, it gets almost 7.30 pm. ” Actually, during daytimes, while taking my car out of our parking space, twice or thrice, I had seen these two ladies having their dibba ( lunch) . Her sis-in-law works at two/three apartments here and it was she, who had actually arranged this lady for my house, as my timings were not convenient to her.

When I heard this, suddenly something changed inside me. My anger… sort of .. evaporated !! I felt truly bad that without knowing the whole facts, I was attributing insincerity to her. To be precise, I could see things differently.

Cetainly, there was a paradigm shift for me – does not matter even if it was in a very limited context only. The nature of experience of a small paradigm shift and a big paradigm shift has to be the same – what could be different is the context… the canvas , that gets impacted by the paradigm shift and the quantum of change – small or radical !! In my case, due to the paradigm shift in this particular case, I may change the timing to suit her more, I may change my opinion about her and give her more work etc… etc… In a bigger context like the role of Employees in an Organisation, a paradigm shift may cause the employees to be looked upon as the most critical asset to be possessed than just one of the resources to be used, which,in turn, would bring in fundamental changes in HR areas for organisational development.

In every paradigm shift, there is a spontaneity of change, that makes one see things differently. Needless to say, seeing things differently is the first step in the thousand miles journey in a new direction!! That is actually what we mean when we say “ paradigm shift “ - probably one of the most talked about concepts in organisational development and personal development( telling this from my own experience in HR – P.S. was the most over-used term that I had come across in articles and speeches/deliberations. ) When there is a paradigm shift, you see things differently, from newer angles, so you understand the composite and bigger picture better and it enables you to know better paths, more effective ways and means to address the issues involved …ultimately impacting the whole state of being .

This is what I got from Wikipedia on Paradigm Shift – just checking out whether what I am calling a paradigm shift is, in essence, in line with what Thomas Kuhn, who originally coined this term, meant it to be !!

Paradigm shift, sometimes known as extraordinary science or revolutionary science, is the term first used by Thomas Kuhn his influential 1962 book “ The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” to describe a change in basic assumptions within the ruling theory of science. It is in contrast to his idea of normal science.

It has since become widely applied to many other realms of human experience as well even though Kuhn himself restricted the use of the term to the hard sciences. According to Kuhn, "A paradigm is what members of a scientific community, and they alone, share.” (The Essential Tension, 1997). Unlike a normal scientist, Kuhn held, “a student in the humanities has constantly before him a number of competing and incommensurable solutions to these problems, solutions that he must ultimately examine for himself.” (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions). A scientist, however, once a paradigm shift is complete, is not allowed the luxury, for example, of positing the possibility that miasma causes the flu or that ether carries light in the same way that a critic in the Humanities can choose to adopt a 19th century theory of poetics, for instance, or select Marxism as an explanation of economic behaviour. Thus, paradigms, in the sense that Kuhn used them, do not exist in Humanities or social sciences. Nonetheless, the term has been adopted since the 1960s and applied in non-scientific contexts.

The term "paradigm shift" has found uses in other contexts, representing the notion of a major change in a certain thought-pattern — a radical change in personal beliefs, complex systems or organizations, replacing the former way of thinking or organizing with a radically different way of thinking or organizing .”

S..o .. That’s it , for the time being. Make conscious efforts to break away from the old thinking patterns… old paradigms. Every major break through in this world has been possible first through a paradigm shift.

Monday, August 25, 2008



Well, this one is dedicated to my anonymous friend, who said s/he is looking forward to this !! And yeah , I gladly accept the suggestion- not to call it a diet – red meat never really is a diet .

I fondly recall, we actually used to call it “Papa’s ” Mutton stew. Anytime, my mother or anyone else( including me ) dared try this, we used to reject saying – no , it does not give that “ papa, papa” flavour !! I have made it quite a few times – comes out nicely – but not as good as when bapa used to do it . Perhaps, his trick was being subtle with each of the ingredients – I tend to be a little louder .

A confession ! Although no oil is used for this recipe, we do require good quality goat meat with fat of its own . Yeah, it would be like soup only – so may not look too great to many ( my photo has not come out properly – actually it was looking much better ) – BUT , I and my family just love the aroma and the great taste of the stew.

How to make : Mix all ingredients , goat meat and water in a pressure cooker . Put it on high flame till full pressure ( i.e. one whistle comes) ; then lower flame to simmer and continue for about 25 minutes ( usually , meat takes about half an hour in pressure to become tender ). Take off the flame – leave it to cool for about 10/15 minutes , so that the cooker cover can be opened without having to vent extra gas from inside. DONE !! serve hot . Can there be a simpler process for red meat ?

Ingredients : For ½ kg goat meat – take 2 medium sized Onion ( sliced ), ½ inch ginger ( crushed), 7 to 8 big garlic flakes (crushed ), one tomato ( cut into pieces )

Whole dhania ( 1 teaspoonful), whole jeera ( ½ teaspoonful), whole black pepper ( about ½ teaspoonful), cinnamon pieces ( pounded lightly), small elaichi ( 3 to 4 , pounded lightly ) , laung ( 5 to 6 pieces pounded lightly) , 2 whole red chilly ( de-seeded and halved), 2 bay leaf

Dhania powder( about 1/3rd teaspoonful), zeera powder ( ½ of dhania powder), red chilly powder, dalchini powder, Haldi powder, salt, sugar

water - generously , about 2 to 3 tea cupfuls

[ I am horrible in giving measurements, because I myself never measure – it is always an eye estimate – and usually it works ! So, please decide for yourself – given photos for rough proportion of various ingredients . Particularly, give less of powders as whole dhania , jeera etc. are also going into the recipe and ultimately , it should be like watery soup , not gravy .]

AND do try it out – you would love the flavour when the very first whistle comes !

Thursday, August 21, 2008



SAY NO TO OIL, for a change, EVEN FOR NON-VEG !

Sounds weird ?? Well, it does. But I can guarantee, you will be very pleasantly surprised with this healthy, yet tasty dish. AND simplest possible recipe, yummy looking , too !! There are certain dishes, which are tasty, but do not look great. This one does.

The only thing required for this recipe is your knack to know when to cook covered, when to stir-fry, when to increase flame, when to simmer and when to sprinkle water while stirfrying !! I know, every cook usually develops this knack somehow. For the beginners, messing up a couple of times does teach them these cooking tricks!!

I would give credit for this recipe to my sis-in-laws – I had heard it from them ( not tasted ) , experimented and did a lot of self-patting ( ha, ha) .

How I prepare it :

Wash & clean regular chicken pieces ( with bones ). In a non-stick pan, mix chicken pieces with finely chopped Onions, Ginger, Garlic flakes, green chilli and freshly ground black pepper, lemon juice and salt to taste. Put the mix on flame – first cook covered on medium to low fire, so that chicken gets cooked. Initially, the mix will leave water of its own – keep on cooking by covering for some time and stir-frying uncovered for some time . Be careful about the flame , as there is no oil and no water . While stir-frying, to prevent sticking to pan or getting burnt, just sprinkle water to make it moist as it starts getting fried - Do this till the chicken is done and looks fried with a nice coat of onion & other ingredients – leaving the sides of the pan even without oil. ( don’t worry- it may stick just a little bit ). Taste to adjust salt and lemon towards the end .

L.oo. the dish is over .

A few tips : For 10/12 pieces of chicken, take about 2 to 3 onions( medium ), 10/12 flakes of garlic, 3/4th inch of ginger, ½ of a small green chilli ( as quite a bit of pepper is going into it, decide on green chilli to suit how much hot you would like it – I recommend more of pepper). Basically,quantity of all these should be adequate to give a comfortable rolly-polly to the chicken pieces – erring on a slightly higher side ( except in salt, lemon juice & green chilli ) should be okay, rather than taking less of these than required. And chop finely.

Be careful about lemon juice – excess of it will spoil the taste. One small juicy lemon should be okay for the above quantity. Better, put about half of the juice first, after chicken is cooked (or when you can taste it), check and put the rest as required.

I promise, it tastes heavenly if ingredients go in right measure and frying is done properly to give it that nice blackish-red colour, even without red chilli. Onion with lemon juice gets that reddish colour.

I will come back with another recipe without oil for mutton (goat meat) ! Do not jump off your seat ( ha, ha) .

Wednesday, August 20, 2008



Today marks the first day of my new life. I feel grateful to my organisation where I served for so long till yesterday and got to learn so much. I seek blessings of the Almighty and good wishes of all … all in my life. I know I already have it – only seek continued shower of the same.

The first thing that strikes me today is – “ Leading without a Title - a tag line I had read a few days back on Robin S Sharma’s blog ( Have you read his book “ The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari “? - awesome - very inspiring and to me, made all the sense! That perhaps made me introspect about my life goals a lot more sincerely. That was about 2 years back.) .

Now that I am without an official position, I understand what he is talking about .

Here I am reminded of a couple of stories.

Story 1

Seen that small documentary of Naseerunddin Shah on Star Fishes ? ( We were shown this as a starting point to an Organisation-wide internal communication drive, named “Parivartan”. )

The film shows an Ocean, with all its might and majesty, roaring with tides and throwing every moment with each sea-wave, a huge number of star fishes out of the water onto the sandy seashore, from where the starfishes can not make their way back to the water and eventually die .

However, here is this young boy, who runs everyday along the seashore and picks up starfishes and throws them back to the water – as many as possible for him – to save them.

An inquisitive observer asks the boy : Do you think you can really make a difference to the situation ? How many starfishes do you think you can save this way, even if you run your whole life ?

Obviously, the number of starfishes being thrown out by the ocean tides every minute far far outnumber what one person can save by manually throwing back to the ocean and who knows, how many are actually surviving the tides even after being thrown back to water once ?

The boy replies as he throws one starfish into the ocean : It made a difference to this one !! ( pointing his finger to the one which was just thrown into the ocean and was swimming into the deeper ocean !)

I am sure, the message is loud and clear.

Leadership is all about making a difference to someone else, to some situation in the environment, which, you think, should not remain the same.

It does not matter whether the difference you make is small or big. If you are truly concerned about a situation, make a difference by your personal action – without worrying about the fact that you can not make a total difference to the situation. Does not matter if the boy could not save all the starfishes affected. It is important to note that by his positive action, he could save at least a few starfishes out of thousands about to die, and that it did make all the difference to those few, who were saved by the boy .

Many of us get cowed down by the sheer enormity of a problem and do not even take the first step towards the solution,thinking that solving the entire problem is not within our personal control. We fail to appreciate that even a small difference in the desired direction eventually leaves the situation better than what it was and it is small differences by one or many, which eventually add up to a big difference !

So title or no title, you are a leader if you make a difference to the people around you – to your surroundings. That boy in the story did not have any title !

Story 2

A temple was being built and it was the dream of the builder to make it not only just a place of worship, but a sculptural masterpiece. A visitor to site under construction once came across three sculptors, carving out similar statues to be installed inside the temple for beautification.

He asked the first sculptor, who was apparently struggling with his work : “why are you making this statue ?” The reply came : I earn my livelihood by making statues. No wonder – he was not enjoying his work and the quality of his work was not upto the mark .

The 2nd sculptor was apparently happy with his statue, and said : I like making statues, this also gives me my livelihood. Here is a person, who derives pleasure out of his work and also understands its importance for him. No wonder, the statue created by him was very beautiful .

The 3rd sculptor, who was engrossed in perfecting a statue that he had already completed, replied : Oh , I am building the temple ! No wonder, he was passionate about his work and his creation was splendid and the best of all .

Just reflect ! For the first person, carving the statue was just a means of earning the livelihood. It does not matter to him, whether he enjoys his work or not. He was just a cog in the wheel. Obviously, a product of such disinterested work can at best be just ordinary. For the 2nd sculptor, it was a lot more than just being the means of livelihood ; it was also his source of pleasure . So, his creation was beautiful.

But for the 3rd sculptor, it was something entirely different – he took his work as a part of the bigger picture – the temple. For him, everything he does needs to be perfect, so that the temple they are building also comes up perfect – as visualised. This is what true leadership is – when you can see the bigger picture much above your specified role and work towards being a part of it .

S.o.o ? True leaders feel themselves as part of the whole picture, and unleash their best potential . Anyone, who contributes to the whole – with the whole in view – is a leader , title or no title .

[ Sorry … can not remember the source for giving credit. I have a bad memory for the exact manner in which stories are told or who the storyteller was. But whenever I read such stuff, what gets imprinted in my subconscious is just the essence . Anyway, I am thankful to the original storyteller for this which brings out lucidly how each of us in the society, each employee of an organisation can be a leader in one’s own right - title or no title .]

Story 3

This is from one of the articles by Sharu Ragnekar, one of the renowned Management consultants.

Once he visited Amritsar, a few months after the Operation Blue Star .There was still tension in the air. After showing the important places of interest, his hosts took him to the Wagha Border. There are Indian soldiers and Pakistan soldiers on the two sides of the border. At sunset, both sides lower the flags and there is a drill. This is very interesting to see as the drills are identical on both sides of the border and looks like a mirror image.

When he visited the border, he saw on our side of the border a teacher with 20 students. She was telling them, “ When the flag moves in the evening, all of you sing Sare Jahan se achchha Hindostan hamara.. ” Curious, Ragnekar asked her what she was doing . She replied, “ It is my practice to bring a batch of my students here on the first day of every month so that they can see the moving flag and sing. I do it every month – although this month, this was very difficult for me.”

“ Why was it difficult this month ? ”

“ Because it is the Pay and Stay month. This is the time when teachers get transferred . If you pay, you stay; if you do not pay, you are transferred . I want to stay , so I had to pay . So my budget was very tight this month. When I bring a batch of students here, in case of 3 to 4 students, the parents say they can not afford to pay for the trip. Each such child costs Rs 10 to be brought here and taken back by bus. So there is an expenditure of about Rs 50 every month and this month, it was very difficult to spare this amount as I had to pay for not being transferred.”

“ When this is what is happening to you, why do you want the children to sing Sare Jahan se Achchha Hindostan hamara?”

She asked spiritedly, “ Who is going to improve India? I have not been able to improve India; you have not been able to improve India. I have no influence over the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister, but I have some influence on these children and I am going to use it . These children believe in me – so I bring them here, let them look at the flag and let them sing Sare jahan se achchha Hindostan hamara. When they grow up, at least some of them will be proud of India and try to improve India.”

Sharu Ragnekar observes that this teacher has the basics of management:

- She decided that her responsibility is to improve India.

- She identified that her main resource is herself, i.e. her influence over the students

- She experimented with her resource to achieve her goal .

I would like to add, this teacher is a leader, as

- from the problems in her own circumstances, she has taken a decision that things must change for better

- she is committing herself through personal action to bring about that change – in whatever way possible for her.

- she is able to see a goal, much bigger than anyone in her position would see,

- she is navigating through constraints – but towards the goal .

She is making a difference .

Mahatma Gandhi ( one of the best examples of leaders without a title ) once said , “ We must become the change we seek in this world .” Very true . Titles may support your efforts – but not necessary for leading in a true sense .

This much for now. The infinite perspectives of leadership will never cease to amaze me. I will keep coming back to this topic .

Monday, August 18, 2008


The D day has arrived. Today is the last day of my notice period to quit service in my present organisation. I retire voluntarily with effect from close of business today. I cease to be a serving employee of my organisation from 5 pm today onwards – after an innings of 25 years 8 months and 17 days !! Strange – It is NOT feeling anything severely bad. Well, may be because, today is the last day only technically – actually, I had moved out on 26th July,08 after coming back from office, as thereafter I have been on leave. I have already been through all the natural emotions of separation during my first few days of staying away from office. The process of thinking through the decision to quit is also over and I believe, what I am going to do will be beneficial for me in a broader context.

Had I retired in usual course ( after more than 11 years from now), I would have received a grand farewel from colleagues & superiors, spiced with talks about me in all goody goody words. Of course, quite a bit of it would have been honest ( Ha, ha !! – just like to believe that ). Well, I will miss that – but cann’t help – there is miles to go … after my heart’s beckoning .. I have no time to stand still and mourn what I am leaving behind ! It will always be cherished though .

Funnily, there is a strike today in the entire Group of my organisation – against a host of issues. A colleague sent me an sms – Ma’am, the whole Group is going on strike on 18th August, 08 to protest against your VR. Obviously, that is not the fact . But, that was too sweet an sms !! Actually, I am totally touched by the way people ( who know me – and the number is very large, thanks to my assignments !) have been expressing their feelings about my decision to quit.

I would like to thank all for the affection and the whole lot that I have learnt from all of you. I would quote the following, which again was smsed by one of my colleagues:

“A life ends when an egg is broken by external pressure, but the same egg when breaks due to internal pressure gives birth to a new life ”

So .. here I go in pursuit of that new life …. which has already taken birth ( my blog !) .. but I have to put in my heart and soul to nurture it and see it growing ! Your feedback would be most valued. I thank my children for having initiated me into the wonderworld of blogging !

Bye friends and wish you all the very best in life. I will miss you all .




Understanding relationship is a massive task and it is a really daring attempt on anyone’s part to explain this complex phenomenon. But yes, with half a lifetime already over and more than two & half decades of experiential learning in the professional world of service industry, constantly relating to customers, public, peers, superiors and subordinates, I have developed certain insights, that I would like to share . Pl Check out .. if you also feel the same way !

As I understand, the essence of any relationship is captured by three Ts :




All three 3 ingredients in abundant measure go into the recipe of any vibrant relationship !!

And just like a Tripod, any healthy relationship rests on these three Ts . Dare loosen any one T ( one leg !) and see what you have done to the balance !!

Quite interesting. I was trying to take examples from all – literally all spheres of life - to see if this pattern fits . Lo.o. – it does !!

How ? Please reflect .

Trust – I am sure, it does not really need any elaboration. It is that mindset which believes that every human being is innately good and that every human being has unlimited potential. No trust and all relations, personal or professional or social, would crumble even before these get to stand on their own .

The basic foundation of any relationship has to be Trust. No relationship – not even the most basic and irreversible relation , i.e. biological parent & child – can thrive if the element of “trust ” is missing between them. Think about any relationship – between the spouses, between parent & child, between brothers & sisters, between friends, between a customer and a company, between an employee and the employer, between a teacher and a student etc.etc. In each case , either party must trust the other for a healthy relationship .

Frankly, I don’t know how to define what trust is. One can only know it intuitively – whether it is there ; whether it isn’t there .

Do you “see” horns on both sides of someone’s head as u talk to each other ? If yes, there is lack of trust in your relationship. Ha, ha, that was in a lighter vein – but it does captures a large bit of what happens when trust is not there – you start suspecting the other – you stop relying on the other’s words – you stop opening yourself before the other.

Trust is much more than absence of distrust. But yes ! absence of distrust could be the starting point for trust in many relations.

At a personal level, trust comes out of a strong belief in the innate goodness of human beings, so that you place yourself in the vulnerable position of relying on others and letting them know your feelings, emotions and other sensitive details having full confidence in them that they would respect you and not take unfair advantage of you. Trust also means that you have faith in other’s unlimited capabilities .It captures a mindset that believes

- others are also essentially good and will treat you in a fair, open, and honest way

- that intrinsically,every human being is trustworthy and need to be trusted until the other proves to be unworthy of your trust.

- That if you are able to let others into your life with trust, you also will be trusted .

Naturally, relationships based on trust on both sides would have more of mutual understanding, respect, care and concern and would foster growth of both individuals.

Think as a parent . If you trust your child, you would automatically know when to stop protecting and start supporting ; stop instructing and start guiding and let your child be instead of being imposing !!

In an organisational context also, trust is a key dimension in fostering business relations . Customers must have trust in the supplier’s competence and honesty in the sense that the organisation will deliver goods and services as promised/advertised, will not disclose private customer information. Similarly, sellers must trust that the buyer is able to pay for goods or services and is authorised to make purchases on behalf of an organisation as per the laws of the land and bye-laws of the buying company.

Crux of the matter - Trust others and be Trustworthy yourself.

A win win situation!!. It is said, life is an echo – whatever you give, comes back to you eventually .

Talk - You need to constantly talk to – communicate with the others in any relationship. One of the surest death traps for any relationship could be lack of communication. When I say talk , it means talk – not tell . In tell , you only do the talkings – unilaterally. In talk , both sides tell and both sides listen . Further, when I say talk – I also mean you need to express your feelings – not only to make your needs and expectations clear, but also to give/get feedback, or just to reiterate your trust, love and respect. As is often said .. even your near and dear ones need to be told once in a while that you care for them.

Knowingly or unknowingly, we usually create many barriers to communication in every walk of life - which is very natural and it happens to all of us as we grow older and older – preoccupied with our own work, own thoughts and beliefs, likes and dislikes. But unless we are quick to sense these barriers and do something about these, these will only grow bigger and bigger, creating a gulf which may prove to be extremely difficult to cover at a later stage. It really takes a strong will and constant conscious efforts to break these barriers as soon as they start showing up , as very often, our ego gets better of us in such situations. This is true for relationships at all levels – personal, professional and social . Stop talking and see what mess you have made of everything in your life !!

Touch - With trust and talk , you are sure to have saved your relationships. But what about that spark – that something extra in any relation ? That which continuously renews , reinvents a relationship !! Yes, some relationships do require “touch” in a physical sense ( jadu ki jhappi !! just like a baby needs to be cuddled, a child needs to be hugged ! ) – but all relationships require “touch” at an emotional level – when you strike a cord in some corner of the other’s heart. At a personal level, do things in small ways to reaffirm that you love, you care , you are there for them !! At an organisational level, it means walking that extra mile in the interest of the customers, the organisation, the fraternity.

While I talk of these 3 Ts which form the basic tenets of any relationship, I am also tempted to say a few more things about understanding relationship .

Lao-Tzu once said “ He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened."

Yes , it is the ultimate to know one’s own self. Apparently, all of us, most of the time remain in the illusion that we know ourselves pretty well – but usually that is not true.

Catch yourself unexpectedly - especially when you are going through something externally adverse for you – Sit quietly for a few minutes – Visualise that you have stepped aside ( out of your self ) & watch your thoughts/emotions. You would know what exactly I am trying to convey!! On many such moments, what I have encountered is a new “me”, who is not at peace with the “me” I usually know. But, yes – this is actually the defining moment – when I start seeing things clearly, start knowing my deeper self in a better fashion, start understanding the ‘why’s and what actually I would like it to be in alignment with my inner self and values . And then it really becomes so easy to shrug off any dirt that I might have rubbed on .. unintentionally, unknowingly. It is at this level of consciousness that one really appreciates that our external relationships and our internal relationships are in fact the same relationships. It starts making sense to believe that the relationships we have with other people are projections of the relationships we have within ourselves.

Remember the story of the stranger and the three villagers ?

Once a stranger was trying to reach a village, which he did not know earlier . On the way, he met a person and asked “ Do you know the way to xxx village ? ” “ Yes – go this way .” The stranger again asked , “ How are the people of this village ? ” Oh, they are really dangerous . You are a stranger - Be careful of your belongings , lest someone steals them.” The stranger got a little apprehensive and looked into the eyes of the person “ Is it so ??” He felt a certain discomfort when he looked into his eyes. The man passed by. He was actually a thief. All his relationships are governed by distrust , because he himself is not trustworthy. After covering some distance, he came across another person and asked the same questions . He showed him the way and said “The villagers are good, but lazy people .” The stranger felt a little reassured. This villager was a lazy, happy-go type person. The stranger covered some more distance and came across another man, with beard and matted hair, with an aura of composure about him. When asked about the villagers, he said “ Oh, they are extremely nice people, very hospitable and loving. You will have no problem whatsoever staying in that village and doing whatever you have come for .” And he passed by. He was actually a sadhu, a monk – living on the alms given by the villagers .

Got the point ?

Whatever you are inside , you would find that in abundance in others !!

Have you not experienced similar situations , where two people look at the same thing and attribute different qualities, different interpretation to that ? That happens – because the lense they use for looking at things/people are different based on their own perceptions and beliefs – which are the outcome of the realtionships they have within, which, in turn, govern their external relationships.

Recall how you reacted immediately on hurting yourself against a stone lying mid-way on your path? Anger ( Who the hell has thrown this stone mid-way like a fool ?) -externally directed towards another ( unknown) person, who, you perceive as the culprit. Actually, the fact is that you are angry with yourself ( how could I walk on the road like a blind man and hurt myself ?) Cool down a bit – and you would know that actually it was your own self that you were angry with and that you will only hurt yourself further if you clutch on to anger. Rather , what you should be doing is to get the stone out of the road – by yourself if possible or with others’ help if available – or do something so that the next passer-by does not hurt himself like you . If you can actually do any of the above positive actions, you will start feeling nice , as your behaviour in the incident would be in alignment with your good self – and this will positively nourish your relationship with self .

So.. understanding self …, in effect, would mean understanding our relationships with self and with others .

At a worldly level, every desired outcome requires some relationship – either with self or with others – to be nurtured in a desired manner. For a human being, everything ultimately matters in the context of relationship. If you are happy doing certain things, necessarily these are the things which are also nurturing or nourishing your relationship with self or others in your personal, professional or social life.

I feel happy when I sing. But would I be happy singing , if, say, a dear one has just passed away and lying dead nearby ?

I like booking business for my organisation – but would I be happy if , in the process, I actually harm customer interests or for that matter find that in the long run, these do not turn out to be quality business ?

Obviously No . It is when everything we do, everything that we seek to achieve manifests itself in terms of better relationships, that the desired outcomes flow and we become truly happy.

S.o….., next time we take a relationship for granted …. let us pause a bit and reflect !!

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Scrap Book - Independence


Today is a very special day for all of us – the Indians . Our INDEPENDENCE DAY.

Just felt like reflecting on what independence means to me .

Independence, to me, means, when one enjoys the freedom of mind and buoyancy of human spirit .

Anyone who understands freedom knows that freedom is not total abandon, or leissez-faire. If I am free, so are others. So while I enjoy my freedom, I am also alive to my responsibility to respect freedom of others.

And Buoyancy .. ? Well, press me down , and I will bounce back. Ever seen a child playing in water with a ball filled with air/gas ? Try pressing it – it bounces back and keeps afloat. And what keeps it afloat is what is within it. Similarly, human spirit - apply external force – instead of yielding, it would soon find its own course for expression and show its true mettle – human spirit knows no bounds.

The moment I live by these principles of “ have and let other have”, occasions for collision with others will be very few. And if at all there are such occasions, I will have the courage to make the correct choice. And I would remember – it may not always be correct to choose for self at the cost of others ; and at the same time , it may not always be correct to let others choose at the cost of yourself . Wisdom is : to be able to differentiate between the two situations and when that wisdom dawns on anyone, that is a state of true freedom of mind and human spirit - true independence.

Independence to me is when I tell myself “It matters little what others think about you or what the world may say: it is by your own honest judgement of yourself that you must stand or fall .” and mean every word of it !

Independence to me is when I close my eyes and hear my Almighty saying “ Why fear when I am there : Put all your faith into me and I shall guide and guard you.” and believe in every word of it !!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


It is easy to be happy.

Today I was looking at this picture – stuck on my daughter’s cupboard door – almost torn by sides, but preserved fondly. That is actually one of the first print-outs taken at home at Mumbai about a decade back, when we had purchased our first home PC and her birthday fell soon after . It was designed by me . Ha, ha - so.o. amateurish it looks now ! But it did capture what I wanted to say – she was actually having this whole lot of hair on her body when born, reminding me of the pretty little chicks. As a child, I always loved chicks and when I saw this pic of a chick just hatched and out of the egg shell – in the clipart - it instantenously reminded me of my first-born. Anytime I see this birthday message designed by me, I feel very happy… a feeling of pure happiness – no conditions attached, no expectations attached – brought back by just the memory of that moment when u hold your baby – your creation – for the first time !

Pause a little … you too must be having a lot many simple things to be happy about .

Let me try to observe myself – dispassionately from a distance, without being judgemental ( for example, oh, I am happy cooking – what an ordinary mortal I am – happy about something so.o. mundane and un..intellectual ! ). Well, let me list out when I feel happy or what makes me happy .. from mundane to profound ( so called) .. not necessarily in that order !!

Before I proceed, let me clarify why I want to reflect on my own self for understanding the dynamics and dimensions of happiness. Definitely not because I think too much of myself. Reason is very simple : I can not claim to know what is going inside the consciousness of other beings. At the most, I can make an attempt to understand self, via which at least some ( if not full ) understanding of the universal issues pertaining to human nature and human behaviour would be possible.

[ Good Lord, even knowing your own self is something symbolising the highest wisdom, in pursuit of which, wise men down the ages have devoted their lifetimes – the pursuit is still on for all of us !! ]

Coming back to what makes me happy ? Well – just amazing - perhaps I was not consciously aware earlier that there are so many little little things, so many simple events that can make me feel happy .

- When I sing

- when I listen to good melodies

- when I listen to nice foot-tapping westernised fast numbers

- when I listen to heart-rending sad numbers

- when I listen to the inspirational or devotional songs

- When I cook

- When I experiment a new recipe

- When my dish is appreciated

- When I taste or learn about some yummy recipe

- When I come first in any exam or competition

- When I first cuddled my new-born baby

( both times . I was as ecstatic about it when my second daughter was born as

when my first daughter was born ! Of course, becoming a mother was a

slightly more overwhelming experience the first time. But when it comes to

the baby, there is no first or second – both times, it is a bundle of joy. )

- all the firsts as I watched my babies growing up

( the first smile, the first step, the first word spoken etc,etc, )

- when I see any baby

- when I smile

- when I giggle

- when I laugh

- when I get funny

- when I encounter something funny

- when a see another happy face

- when I see a beautiful lady ( yeah.. ! )

- when I see a beautiful flower

- when I hear the birds chirping early in the morning

- when I feel the cool breeze on my face

- when I listen to the music of a cascading water fall

- when I savour the greenery and scenic beauty while travelling

- when I read something interesting or insightful

- when I do a flawless job

- when I try something with my heart and soul (although I fail many a times)

- when I succeed

- when I get a compliment

- when I resolve issues at my level

- when I made it to a prestigious institute like Delhi School of Economics for my


- when I got my promotions

- when I missed promotion and found people shocked that I could also miss

- when I gather myself to forgive someone’s mistake ( you know – that sense of

magnanimity !!)

- when I share

- when someone accepts my gift or donation

- When I learnt from my daughter how to create my own blog

- When I actually uploaded my first post

- When I say “thank you”

- When I give the credit to someone else

- When I find my children doing some worthy stuff

- When I see a reflection of myself in my children ( this is actually mean, but I had promised myself not to be judgemental about the things that make me happy .. hence .)

- When I just have something to do

- When I watch a nice, neat movie

- When I watch a perfect movie like Lagaan

- When I watch the reality shows and start getting amazed – so much talent exists !!

- When I do something original or out-of –box

- When I meet a deadline

- When I first donated blood

- When I first drove the car all by myself

- When I first sang on stage

- When I create something

- When I get to express myself in any creative manner - a new/improvised

recipe , singing , bringing out bulletins etc

- When I get to exercise my freedom of will – without hurting any other soul

- When I accept a challenge ( for a worthy purpose)

- When I relate to people

- When I stand up for a cause

- When I come upto the expectation of those who matter to me

- When I brave an odd and get to where I wanted to

- When I feel harmony ( I am doing something in alignment to my values)

Yup!, listing was a bad idea – how many things I can jot down ?

The list can never be exhaustive and can contain

anything that makes me feel good about myself,

anything that makes me enjoy the simple pleasures of life,

anything that makes me learn some lesson or something new

anything that sort of connects me to the Creator,

anything that makes me feel free and creative ,

anything that challenges my abilities and inner strength

anything that makes me feel grateful

anything that taps at my positive energy and zest for life

Ask yourself ? Is it not the same with you ? I am sure, it is .

I am convinced – there are infinite reasons to be happy about- once you decide that you shall be happy . That does not mean that moments of unhappiness will never be there – no , they will be very much there ( otherwise , how will you recognise happiness as a distinct experience ? ) – but when you choose to be happy , and you find something in the situation that is causing you unhappiness, then instead of sulking, you will work towards a situation that would remove that cause for unhappiness and create circumstances that give you happiness .

When I ask myself what would I like to have in my lifetime … so many things cross my mind, which, on a deeper introspection, boil down to one experience – that is happiness . I am sure, it is the same with every individual. What could be different is perhaps the way one looks at it ..believes what happiness is.

As I understand, so long as you confuse sources of happiness for happiness, the experience of happiness in the true sense would keep eluding you. Happiness is a state of being, not a physical object or phenomenon, that can be possessed. In fact, I think, it is the other way round – it is happiness that can possess you, if you get it right.

Someone rightly said, “It is an illusion to think that more comforts lead to more happiness .Happiness comes out of a capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely and to be needed .” ( Sorry .. do not remember , who said it . But this is one quote, which I have virtually got by heart, because it captures the essence of happiness in such a simple and brief manner ). I would just add one more thing:

Having a goal is a state of happiness .

When you are depending upon things or events external to you to make you happy, you are basically confusing the source as the ultimate happiness and obviously, you can not remain happy for long, as you do not have full command over things external to you and hence there is no guarantee that your source of happiness will continue to be there for ever. In such cases, happiness is just a feeling, that too transient, not an experience, which lingers on even after the cause is no longer there. What is worse, if happiness flows from an external source, then be sure that the moment the source ceases to exist, it will straight lead to unhappiness.

To give an example, when I purchased my car, I was definitely happy for a while – in the sense of happiness being a feeling coming out of the fact that now I possess a car. Car was only the external source of happiness. But what made me truly happy was the fact that thereby I gained mobility – a freedom to move as I like. This experience of freedom generated within is something that is going to stay whether the car stays or not.

I am getting ready to quit my job now. I feel both unhappy and happy. Unhappy - because the organisational tag ( source of happiness ) that I had for my identity will no longer be there. Happy – because these 25 years of experience in this organisation has made me what I am today, has helped me grow as a person and as a professional, capable of venturing out for a newer horizon. This is happiness as an experience - that stays on even after the source ceases to exist. Actually, the moment you awaken to the realisation that happiness is something that springs from within, you will discover yourself free from the compulsive need to look for the sources of happiness in your external environment. And then, to your ecstacy, you would discover that your own conscious is full of continuous moments of happiness – which you were oblivious of earlier.

Anything that produces zest and energy is sure to make us happy. Learn to enjoy everything that you do in the normal course of life – you will be happy . Learn to have worthy goals – small or big - you will be happy. Getting fresh vegetable from the market for the family is as much a worthy goal as earning a handsom profit for the organisation that u work for or doing some charity for the needy. One is your love for your family, the other is your commitment towards an entity that gives your livelihood and the third one is your gratitude towards the society in which you grow . Will you remain happy if you have to neglect any of these?

Ask yourself - what is it that makes you happy and then, commit yourself fully to take such action as would lead you to your cherished state of being. This way, not only you will be happy about the result – the end-state, the destination; more significantly, you will be happy through out your journey towards your destination. And is n’t life a journey ??

Let me share here something I had read somewhere a long time back and just saved the contents, without the author’s name ( sorry !! - wish, I could have given the credit to the original writer !)



Isn’t it amazing how few of us ask ourselves the important question?

Several years ago I ( the author of this book ) was invited to hear an important speaker address the student body of a small college in South Carolina. The auditorium was filled with students excited about the opportunity to hear a person of her stature speak. After the Governor gave the introduction, the speaker moved to the microphone, looked at the audiencefrom left to right, and began:

I was born to a mother who was deaf and could not speak. I do not know who my father is or was . The first job I ever had was in a cotton field.”

The audience was spellbound. “ Nothing has to remain the way it is if that’s not the way a person wants it to be ,” she continued. “ It isn’t luck, and it isn’t circumstances, and it isn’t being born a certain way that causes a person’s future to become what it becomes.” And she softly repeated. “ Nothing has to remain the way it is, if that’s not the way a person wants it to be .”

All a person has to do,” she added in a firm voice, “ to change a situation that brings unhappiness or dissatisfaction is to answer the question: “ How do I want this situation to become ?” Then the person must commit totally to personal actions that carry them there. “

Then a beautiful smile shone forth as she said, “ My name is Azie Taylor Morton. I stand before you today as Treasurer of the United States of America. ”


Actually I feel happy and a lot energised when I read something like this. Because, I also believe that happiness emanates from committed personal action to make a difference – small or big- in the desired direction, be it in your personal life or professional life or social life around you- instead of whining about problems with other people or in the circumstances.

At times it may so happen that originally you set out for a particular destination, but after covering a significant stretch, you find a bend or a road block or a dead end. Never mind – take a detour and explore a new route or a new destination altogether, which might be a worthier goal, but was not within your sight earlier because of the bend or the distance. At the end, the highest reward for one’s perseverence is not what one gets for it , but what he becomes by it ( that is, a more evolved, wiser and happier soul ).

Friends, ever reflected on how you feel as a parent when you see your child grow – I will put it as pure bliss, real happiness. That is actually a gift from our children to us . Similarly, what we, the children of God, are deep within is God’s gift to us; but what we become is our gift to God . And just the way parents derive happiness from growth of their children, so will God ( the Creator) be happy to see us grow in life .

So … Let us be happy and make all others happy, too . It is easy to be happy .. just decide it for yourself and see the magic work .