Sunday, May 24, 2009

How GREEN are you


As I was sitting at home a fews days back and leisurely browsing the internet - deeply soaking in the soft rustles and pampers of the nice, cool breeze blowing through the room even during this hot summer day in mid-May, suddenly I woke up to some serious realisation.

Yes, I had not switched on the fan in the room since morning and it was already about 3 pm in the afternoon. What’s more, I also realised that I have not been using fan or light in this room for the past quite many days, ever since I returned from Patna !! It is so very well ventilated and well-lighted that you simply do not need a fan, AC or lights !! (though, others may feel obsessively compelled to put on the fan or even AC ) Actually, our apartment is south-facing, looking over a large stretch of vacant land; so we are extremely lucky to have been blessed with Nature’s most precious gifts – air and light- in abundance !!

Recently, to harness this blessing all the more, I had re-arranged my furniture in the living room – shifting my dining set to the huge window facing the balcony. During morning hours, I just love sitting there, having my steaming cup of tea, reading the newspapers and working on my lappie, caressed by refreshingly nice n cool breeze and ample light. No need for fan or light again ! During the last three decades, I had almost forgotton this amazing feel of natural breeze, that we used to have in our childhood at our residence at Puri ( located near sea )!!

I really feel very happy that at least mine is a GREEN home and relish giving myself a pat on the back once in a while over the fact that I have got into a habit of making conscious moves to keep it that way ; saving on electricity consumption to the last bit possible. I switch off all lights, fans in rooms other than the one I am in – almost obssessively now. But for this energy-consciousness, I would have liked the entire house to be lighted especially when alone ( and most of these days , I am alone ) !!

So to cut the long story short : I am deliberately trying to reduce energy consumption / wastage – not only it saves my money spent on electricity – it does something much more significant for this planet: it helps in energy conservation- the insignificant quantum of my personal contribution notwithstanding! Every unit of energy saved is equivalent to a unit of energy produced !! Because the stock of natural energy is finite and availability of energy in usable form like electricity is also finite by the extent of production. So if I save a unit by curtailing my wasteful usage, it becomes available elsewhere for a genuine need. Just imagine, what the gross impact could be, if each individual makes a conscious effort to reduce wasteful consumption of energy at one’s own level first !! Add to that the impact of green initiatives that are possible at an organisational level !

Actually, by now most of us know( but the point is how many act as needed ) that the physical survival of our race and our Mother Earth now is severely challenged by three major environmental issues, off-shoots of our high industrialisation and urbanisation :

i. climate change / global warming mainly due to emission of carbon and other hazardous pollutants to air on one hand and rapid erosion of green cover ( forests , trees ) on the other.

ii. rapid depletion of natural sources of energy like coal, oil , gas ….and even water mainly due to excessive usage of the same to maintain our modern lifestyle which would come to a complete halt without these. Can you imagine even a day without electricity ? without fuel for your car ? without energy ? Run a quick glance through your everyday items of use and the lifestyle of even a common man – you will shudder to think of a situation without energy !!! The real challenge is that these natural ‘stores’ of energy sources are finite and are getting exhausted at astronomical rate. So, the challenge before us is to conserve energy to the last bit, have better and better extraction technology with improved ability to tap the available natural deposits of oil, coal etc. and most crucially, to find and harness alternative sources of renewable energy, like solar power, wind power !

iii. Waste management : solid waste, chemical waste, industrial waste etc. ; perhaps now e-waste can also be added as a menace in not-too-distant a future.

As far as our physical environmental hazards are concerned, these ‘trio’ form the crux of the menace – acting and interacting on one another !!

[Of course, when it comes to our survival in its real sense, economic and social ‘pollutants’ affecting the sustain-ability of the human race also need to be addressed on an equal footing. Truly, ‘rising temperatures’ are equally a consequence of unadmissible entrants into air, water and earth as of unadmissible entrants into our value syatem – of ‘falling values’ !!! How ? Worth reflecting by anyone genuinely concerned beyond self –interest.]

Coming back to the environmental hazards, my take is : although these issues to be meaningfully addressed, the corporates and the goverments must play their role at an organised level, we, as individuals, can also play an equally significant role through our conduct in our day-today-life – in fact, I would say, a far bigger role than that meets our eye on first thought.

This reminds me of an interesting concept called “Waste Hierarchy ” that I had read about somewhere, which I think, is a wonderful way to internalise green consciousness in both individuals and organisations.

This is a ranking of possible environmental actions in increasing order of environmental benefit:

  • To burn material for energy is better than sending it to a landfill.
  • To recycle it is better than burning it.
  • To reuse material is better than recycling it.
  • To reduce the amount needed is better than reusing it.
  • To eliminate the need for material is better than reducing it.

The last one is the best option and last but one is the second best and so on. If as an individual, as aslo as a part of an organisation, I imbibe this thinking, then instead of giving lip service to the environment issues, I would act in a conscious manner everyday – at least to reduce consumption, curtail wasteful consumption, reuse to the extent possible and find out other modes of doing things which are not dependent on scarce resources or produce lesser solid waste for disposal, plant trees in office and home/neighbourhood, walk down to the neighbourhood shop instead of using my car etc. etc.

a. At home and office, I can desist from switching on fans, lights and ACs, if not truly needed.

b. I can switch off TVs/computers , when not in use, instead of leaving them in stand-by mode. Contrary to common belief, stand-by mode consumes a significant amount of electricity .

c. I can pause a moment when I see numerous fans and lights on, proclaiming that the office is open even when higher animals called employees to adorn their seats are not in sight; I can simply switch them off - without listening to the clamour of voices inside ringing with cynicism company ka maal, darya mein dal ” !

d. I can be very careful about use of paper !! After all, where from paper comes ? Is it not one of the major reasons for felling trees, erosion of green cover ??

e. I can stop taking those n number of photocopies of official communications to be sent to numerous units of operation, to which I have already sent these communications by e-mail or fax ! I will do well to remind myself that the recipients of these faxes/emails must have already kept hard copies !! ( I mean, if at all, hard copies are to be preserved in each damned case .)

[ And no offense meant to anyone, but what about the common practice in many organisations to keep a copy of every communication received from top and passed down the line, at literally every point it passes through ??? For operating units at the grass root, most of the time, one ends up getting at least 6 to 7 communications with same/similar contents around the same time – by letter, fax, email print-out etc. It used to amuse and amaze, and then hurt, me while in service to think of the colossal wastage of time, paper, fax rolls, fax ink and so many other resources due to this one single reason ! One should imagine, with 10000+ operating units alone and hundreds of controlling /administrative units across the organisation, how much resources must be getting wasted in maintaining this kind of a working culture !! In fact, I used to get wild to get faxes on the same matter from five different places around the same time and all on official letter heads ( you can imagine, how much costly fax ink gets used up just in printing these logos and other detailed stuff that appear in all letterheads !!). I have even called up many of them to say … please, for heavens sake, stop this ! But, unless an organisation-wide awareness and sensitivity develops, this will go on unabated. ]

f. I can use the reverse side of the envelops/letter covers/obsolete stationery for drafting, noting etc. instead of wasting fresh plain paper for these purposes . I have the moral right to say this, because I actually do this.

g. I can ‘sell’ the letter covers etc. along with newspapers, old notebooks, books etc. – instead of dumping them in the dustbin – obviously not for the price ( which is just measly), but because it ensures that it goes to the recycling factories eventually. Dustbin wastes mostly get disposed off by burning. My uncle once mentioned about this practice that he follows and the reason for it and I really appreciated.

h. I can maintain separate dustbins, at home and office, to dump paper-based waste separately, which will facilitate their disposal in a way as to facilitate recycling or reuse.

i. I can plant or maintain green plants / gardens in my neighbourhood and office premises.

j. I can close running water taps , if noticed at public places. I can draw the attention of the concerned authority to broken / leaking pipelines.

k. I can use public transport or pooled car, whenever and wherever feasible, instead of feeling pride in speeding away all alone in a huge car with AC on and blocking half the road all by myself. I can also prefer walking down or cycling, if feasible, of course.

l. I can at least enquire about the emission levels or compliance certifications and fuel efficiency while purchasing new motor vehicles – consciously, out of concern for global warming. Similar display of concern by large number of prospective customers would ultimately push the manufacturers to improve green-compliance of their products. ( Obviously, govts and policy makers have a big role in setting regulatory framework in this regard, but I am talking about my role as an individual only – so not discussing that aspect).

m. I can sacrifice my lust for ‘earth’ and decide in favour of an apartment in a multi-storeyed building for my residence over a stand-alone house.

n. I can resist the temptation of going to that bigger shopping mall at a distance, by car, to window-shop and get my branded stuff; instead I can walk down to the neighbourhood mall where all these same things are available.

o. I can plan my visit to multiple shops / visit points ( say, the tailor, the dry-cleaner, the grocer etc. ) on the same day, instead of dashing off in my car to these places on different dates, just because I have time to spare.

Well, so on and so forth …. But am I really trying to do similar things?

If green consciousness sounds not-something-to be so finicky- about, then please think twice .

A few days back, there was a news item in a Daily ( TOI issue dt 06th May, 09 , reported by : Nitin Sethi) – captioned :

“ Disaster date may move up 21 years to 2029”

It said, the world must restrict its carbon emissions to 190 giga tonnes by 2050, if it is to have a chance of escaping the consequences of global warming. These are as per the latest findings published in “ Nature” magazine, which puts aside all earlier calculations and warned that our planet could take even less of the greenhouse gases than imagined before. There is 75% chance the world can hope to escape the danger of global average temperatures rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era only if it can keep its carbon emissions below 190 giga tonnes over the next 41 years. Although this inspires some hope, there is much to be worried over, as last year alone, the world emitted 9 giga tonnes of carbon by burning fossil fuels. And the rate at which we emit carbon is rising 3% every year. If we continue to burn fossil fuels and gases at this rate, the safety mark of 190 giga tonnes will be crossed by 2029 !! Every single tonne of carbon thrown into the air thereafter will reduce progressively our chances to survive the havoc of catastrophic climate change .

Some wake up call, I swear ; but seriously, are we listening ??

Well, that is only about the issue of global warming and climate change due to carbon emissions. But it is not this single issue alone, that needs to seize the attention of anyone walking on this planet. It is the entire spectrum of issues concerning our SUSTAINABILITY - from emission of carbon and other toxics/pollutants into the air, rapid erosion of forest cover / water mass, rapid depletion of energy sources like coal, oil, gas and water levels to …… well, a host of other things that affect the sustain-ability of this planet, that may well include how we conduct ourselves as individuals as much as how the corporates run their businesses from a perspective of corporate social responsibility( CSR) - everything to do with rising temperatures and falling values that may affect the sustain-ability of our current generation as well as the coming generations !! I reiterate this at the cost of repetition .

In short, “Sustainability” is the ability to meet the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their needs.

And “Go Green” is coming up as a metaphor to represent the entire spectrum of sustainability issues and not just planting trees or addressing global warming. When I say how green are you or your organisation, I am simply keen to make you introspect on all these issues from a long term perspective and do whatever you can to address this at your level – as an individual, as part of a corporate, as part of policy makers n government, as part of the global community.

The volume of carbon emissions and rate at which it is increasing - should there be a prize to guess whether the ability of our future generation to sustain themselves is compromised or not ? Are you, as a person, not a party to this if you are unnecessarily using a motor vehicle when you could have avoided using it ? Are you not a party to this if while buying or marketing cars, you have not given even a thought to know how much carbon it is going to throw up into the air/its compliance with emission standards? Are you not a party to it if you are not trying to have enough green trees around to help nature convert the carbon emissions to life-saving oxygen and lessen impact on environmental temperature ? Think about it and you will be amazed to discover in how many small ways you can make a positive contribution to make this problem a little less. I have already mentioned a few earlier in this post.

Yes… I catch what you are thinking right now. The corporate world, the manufacturers, the financiers, government etc. have a big, big role to play, so far as this particular issue is concerned. In fact, I was a little sad when “Nano” came to market and the bankers started falling head over heel to finance the cars – with slogans like “ Nano for each Indian” - that too, without anywhere coming out with any public announcements on the emission-performance of this little common man’s car. Obviously, the target is the two-wheeler owners who would be tempted to upgrade. Would it lure the big-car owners to give away their swanky status symbols for a Nano for the similar services it offers as a city-ride at a ridiculously low cost ?

AND, LORD SAVE US – how would the traffic scenario be, if actually each Indian possesses a small car, with nothing improving as far as the roads are concerned ??? Honestly, personally, I feel, it is time for huge public transports and not small cars for a multitude. It is high time for a twin action - a robust and efficiently managed public transport system that can inspire confidence in everyone that it is better than driving own vehicles AND disincentives for buying vehicles for personal use (say, by way of high taxes, stricter permissions like in Singapore ) as also disincentives for using motor vehicles during certain distances/ time periods. Such govt. imposed disincentives can work a miracle in taking the status-symbol out of personal possession of four-wheelers. What no amount of social awareness campaigns can do in this regard can be achieved overnight and the message will spread that it is no longer the happening thing to show–off a car ! A word of caution ! The disincentives, without developing an efficient public transport system first, will not achieve the objective at all.

In Office premises, go for centralised air-conditioning as much as possible, instead of numerous window ACs or split ACs, design your interior aligned to natural light and see the savings on energy consumption !

Bankers and financing companies can contribute a lot just by containing their opportunism in coverting everything into a business opportunity and financing everything that comes to the market, without making a reasonable study of its long term impact on the environment/society/economy from a sustainability perspective. On the side of affirmative action, bankers and financiers can also contribute positively by giving incentives by way of reduced interest rates/service charges to manufacturing units or other industrial/service units, who invest in and implement green initiatives.

I feel a fresh gush of breeze when I hear about new concepts like ‘Carbon Credit’, ‘Green Home Loans’shifting to green suppliers’, ‘cut carbon out of the supply chain’ ‘stop transporting air’, ‘go local’etc.

As per some studies, industrial and transportation sectors—those that coincide with supply chain activities—account for 61 percent of carbon emissions in USA ! So, if only transportation aspect in the supply chain can be taken care of, say by rationalizing sourcing, assembly and distribution in relation to markets, travel distances, corresponding fuel use can be reduced. At times, even simple changes to a product design – from reducing weight to making it easier to disassemble or assemble — can reduce energy consumption and waste throughout the product life cycle. Someone made a brilliant point: a delivery truck filled with flat-packed chairs can carry the equivalent of six trucks of fully assembled chairs; so why transport air ?? The same principle can apply to all types of surface transport for goods and merchandise - enhance carriage space upward, you save dramatically on energy cost on transportation. { Indian Railways did something similar a few years back – kudos !}

Point is: the industrial world, even the service organisations – in fact the entire corporate world needs to gear up now to go green – invest in R&D for cleaner and greener technology, adapt green practices, orient their staffer towards appreciation of and compliance with green initiatives. Governments and Policy makers, as also NGOs and awakened citizens/citizen groups must do their bit in driving something like a Green Revolution through awareness projects and regulatory/punitive frameworks.

Ekks… suddenly I realise that I am going on and on. Well, my objective was to stir your conscience and consciousness about sustain-ability of our Mother Earth – obviously our race and our future generations included. I would like to believe, I have hit it ! And you are thinking for yourself: “how green am I ?”

Please think and act.

Sunday, May 10, 2009



Everytime I travel by road via Bandra in Mumbai, a beautiful statue of a mother figure rocking her child on folded legs never ceases to make me thoughtful for a moment as I read the message that it carries :

A mother is born the moment her child is born.

Mother’s Day falls today - on 10th May, 2009.

I am usually against “Day”s being allocated once a year to remember someone or something special, as it lends a measure of formality to something, which otherwise should be spontaneous, boundless and straight from the heart. In some way, it also sanctions tokenism for things profound. Nevertheless, over the years, I have started seeing the plus points of such celebrations also – especially days like Mother’s Day, Friendship Day etc.. ( hey, when is Father’s Day celebrated ?? ). At least, it encourages one to express the unspoken words for the dear ones on that particular day. Otherwise, with increasingly fast pace of life these days, many well meaning emotions never get expressed. Let us remember : even the best of bonds grow stronger with occasional explicit re-affirmation !!

I am particularly fond of Mother’s Day. Gives me an occasion to re-connect with my mother and my children, who made me a mother.

[ NOTE BEFORE I PROCEED : She invariably includes he ; so I take the liberty of referring an entity who possibly can be of any gender as a “she” - like a child and God, the almighty !! And of course, I take ‘mother’ as representing both mother and father, none less than the other !!! ]

Now, let me first share my treasure !

Well, so..o. sweet, nah ?? That’s a magnet couriered by my daughter recently – thanks, baby !!

This one was hand-drawn by my daughter when she was a little kid and presented to me on that year’s Mother’s Day. So, cute !! In the middle portion of the card, she draws a cat and writes, “ I L U”, this is a sweet cat card for you from your kitten ” . If, by chance she visits my blog and sees this, she would be so surprised …(and scandalised, ha, ha, sorry kiddo !) Yes, darlings, I have preserved many more of your presents…. they are so precious to me !!

Again hand-drawn and self-composed verse by my sweetie pie, when she was a kiddo. Every time I used to go outstation on unavoidable official tours, coming back home used to be a lovely and hugely cherishable experience.

And this one !! The locket – a monkey-god(who I worship) – was gifted by my daughters on one Mother’s Day . So..o thoughtful of them ! They knew, I am an ardent fan of Lord Hanumanji and was always wearing a silver locket on a gold chain, although it was not going with that at all. So , they gifted this gold locket – which I have been wearing EVER SINCE, and wish to wear it for ever ! I love you, buddies! God bless you !

Well, those are some of the tangible ones. There can be no count or display of the intangibles that I have got as a mother – I have grown fuller as a person after becoming a mother and growing simultaneously with my children.

I do not know, whether I have been able to give as much to my mother or not. I definitely owe her everything – all that I am today. I always know … she is there for me, whenever I need her – no strings attached. She is the most wonderful woman in my life . I love you, Mom.

The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks.

Carrie Latet

Mother, oh.. Mother …. !!!!!!!!

M for Magnanimity

O for Omni-presence

T for Teacher

H for Holiness

E for Eternity

R for Re-Creation

Mother is Magnanimity personified.

Full of unconditional love, blessings and best wishes for her child, irrespective of whether they deserve it, whether they reciprocate it or not.

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.

Tenneva Jordan

That is example of only a trivial sacrifice. She is ever ready to become a martyr on the altar of her child – ever ready to pardon even the bitterest act or gravest mistake by her child – even behind a façade of a ruthless mother who lets her child fall only to learn how to walk, there is a mother’s heart which would do any sacrifice needed to protect her child and see her child stand on her feet and take the bully, that is this world, by its horns. Mother’s love is unconditional ultimately. Blessed are the children who develop the wisdom and sensitivity to understand it .

“ The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. ”

Honoré de Balzac

Mother is Omni-present for her child.

Call out for your mother with your heart and soul and there she will be – in life, in death, whether you see her or not. She is always available to you – no conditions attached !

Washington Irving once said,

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”

How true !!

Mother is child’s first and the best Teacher.

“That best academy, a mother's knee.” - so told James Russell Lowell

I still remember the kitchen of our old house at my home town, where, as a child, I used to sit on a “pidha” ( a slightly raised wooden platform on which one sits on the floor without touching the ground) and used to do my lessons taking help from my mother as she would cook the dinner and at other times, I would just sit there and sing to my mother. Heaven on earth, I tell you.

It is a truism that a mother is the first and the best teacher of a person and needs no elaboration.

Mother is Holiness.

God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers.

A Jewish Proverb

An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy. Appreciation of this simple truth is equivalent to praying the Almighty. After all, she is our Creator in this physical world that we see, feel and perceive. She is the God for her child in that sense.

Is there any difference between the trust we feel towards God and the trust that a child displays in completely surrendering itself to her mother during infancy when it is absolutely helpless and dependent on others for every single thing ? Growing up, as you serve your mother with true understanding and love, God shall not ask any further.

Mother is Eternity for her child.

So long as you exist, your mother exists, too, through you, in you, irrespective of the fact whether or not she is alive physically. Can any child ever obliterate this existential presence of her mother ?

Perhaps, that’s why it is said that one of the greatest legacies that a human being can leave behind is a child and one of the greatest service to mankind lies in raising a child in a worthy manner .

“My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune.” Graycie Harmon

Mother is Re-Creation.

Mother re-creates and perpetuates life . Kahlil Gibran once said, “Your children are not your sons and daughters: they are life’s longing for itself.” True. But life chooses a mother’s womb to re-create itself !!

[That was my Ode to Mother. Actually, I wanted to write a poem, but alas- that is not to be -so prosaic I am !! Friends, if you have composed some, please share.]

My dear friend Veera had once shared with me a touching story on Mother, which I feel like sharing with all on the occasion of Mother’s Day – in honour of all mothers on this planet.

The story goes like this …. The narrator uses the first person to narrate the story.

My mom only had one eye. I hated her... she was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students & teachers to support the family.

There was this one day during elementary school where my mom came to say hello to me. I was so embarrassed. How could she do this to me !!!

I ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out.

The next day at school, one of my classmates said, “ EEEE, your mom only has one eye ! ”

I wanted to bury myself.

I also wanted my mom to just disappear.

So I confronted her that day and said, " If you're only gonna make me a laughing stock, why don't you just die?!!!"

My mom did not respond...

I didnt even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because I was full of anger.

I was oblivious to her feelings.

I wanted her out of that house, and have nothing to do with her.

So I studied real hard, got a chance to go to the city to study.

Then, I got married. I bought a house of my own.
I had kids of my own.

I was happy with my life, my kids and the comforts .

Then one day, my mother came to visit me.

She hadn't seen me in years and she didn't even meet her grandchildren.

When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited.

I screamed at her, "How dare you come to my house and scare my children!"

And to this, my mother quietly answered, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address," and she disappeared out of sight.

One day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house in the city.

So I lied to my wife that I was going on a business trip.

After the reunion in my village school, I went to the old shack just out of curiosity.

My neighbours said that she died.

I did not shed a single tear.

They handed me a letter that she had wanted me to have. It said…

“ I think of you all the time. I'm sorry that I came to your house in the city and scared your children. I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you.

I'm sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up.

You see........when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn't stand watching you having to grow up with one eye.

So I gave you mine.

I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye.

With my love to you,

Your Mother

The story ends there and it is left to the imagination of the readers as to whether after knowing the facts, at least a drop of tear came to the eyes of the wretched son or not !!

No painter's brush, nor poet's pen
In justice to her fame
Has ever reached half high enough
To write a mother's name.
~Author Unknown

MOTHER is the most splendid experience in life ! Thank you, Bou, for always being there for me – for making me all that I am today.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Pause And Ponder sl 5 : Why bad things happen to good people at all ??

Quite a number of times in my life, I have run into this question… why at all bad things happen to good people ? When something unexpectedly adverse happens to me at a personal level also, I look up in total bewilderment and ask “ God, Why me ??”

But the anguish was perhaps at its peak, when my brother passed away a few months back at an age of just 55 and thinking of what has happened to my sister-in-law ( an adorable sister, not just in law !), and my niece ( can not be a better ‘daughter’ than her for any parents in the whole world !), I agitatedly asked God 'why' ????

To my question, I got an insight like never before .... 1stly, the question " Why bad things happen to good people?" is a wrong question ab initio. Nowhere it is said/written/suggested that bad things will never happen to u if u r good - EACH human has to have a piece of both, good as well as bad, to grow and experience life as a complete whole. There is not a single adult on this planet who has not fallen at least once before learning how to stand and walk erect. It is all in the process of natural growth and so are the ‘bad’ things; only difference being– if you are ‘good’, God invariably blesses you with everything needed to come out of it better and not get battered. So, the real test of if you are truly good or not is testified by the fact asto whether a bad experience leaves you better or bitter & battered.

So, the correct question is : What do good people do when bad things happen to them ? And the answer to this, as I pose this question in relation to my sis-in-law and a whole lot of other good people, who have apparently been meted out injustice or unfair treatment in life, that I know about, is very very convincing : They do everything to emerge out of this as a stronger and still better ( not bitter) person, develop still greater sensitivity to others' hurt n suffering, show still greater willingness n ability to help others ! They seem to tread their path with unwavering trust in the divine dispensation, taking each adversity as an opportunity to grow further; eventually, they do not allow themselves to be crushed – they bounce back with greater courage, love and agility.

And on the day of their reckoning, the good people walk away from this stage full of honour, legitimate pride and fulfilment !!!

I was so touched! My sis-in-law was amongst the first ones to wish me on my wedding anniversary and sent us a wonderful e-card to share our happiness, notwithstanding the fact that, she herself was in an emotional turmoil - by then, not much time had elapsed after Bro left us ! Needless to mention, this is not just one instance of what she did that led me to include her in the category of ‘good’ people. I know her for about three decades and by any standard, she is a wonderful and gold-hearted person. Hence, I took her as example. She is now settling down with engaging assignments, her daughter is already in a pretty good job – and she has all of the extended family by her side - basically, she might not have got all that she wanted, but God has blessed her with everything that she needs and I am sure, in time, she will look back to see the divine design in everything along the way.

There are many such examples in history, in and around us. Just look around and you will never ever let any inappropriate questions like the first one above bother you or affect you any longer.

And I highly recommend reading of works by Robert H. Schuller, the celebrated author of “ Tough Times Never Last; but Tough People Do”. I find his elucidations very lucid and candid when it comes to building perspectives on life issues, which any one can identify with. It helps re-assure you if you already believe in the power of positive thinking; it clarifies and brings back the perspectives, if you are a bit confused, as of now.

Here, I am reminded of an insightful story regarding how we may not always have a clear and correct view of all the things happening. Let me share.


When I was small, my mother used to sew a great deal . I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She told me that she was embroidering .

As from the underside I watched her work within the boundaries of the little hoop that she held in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat. She’d smile at me, look down and gently say, “ Son, you go about your playing and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side .”

I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view.

After sometime I would hear my mother’s voice say,” Son, come sit on my knee.” This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or sunset. I could not believe it , because from underneath it looked so messy.

Then mother would say, “ my son , from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a plan on the top. It was a design. I was only following it .. Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing . “

Many times through the years, I have looked upto heaven and said, “ father, what are you doing ? “. He has answered, “ I am embroidering your life . “ I say, “ But it looks like such a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark. Why can’t they all be bright ?” The Father seems to tell me, “ My child, you go about doing your business of doing my business, and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on my knee and you will see the plan from my side . “

- Author Unknown

Worth reflecting, do n’t you think so ?????