Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Mullaperiyar Paranoia

The people of Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been living in an ordeal for the last two or three months. Is It the result of a hype created by the politicians and the media? Or is there any solid foundation for the fear that has gripped the people?
 It seems the immediate cause has been the occurrence, and that too at closer intervals, of minor tremors less than four in the Ritcher Scale, in the Idukki district. Well, this area has been prone to seismic activity for a long time now but there has not been any quake above 4 in the Ritcher scale and seismologists do not predict any strong  earth quake in the vicinity of the dam.  If a strong quake does happen, the Idukki Arch Dam and the other dams of the district would collapse and the damage would  be much more severe than if  the Mulleperiyar one crumbles. Earthquakes are not in the hands of the politicians or rulers but are brought about by the tectonic movement of the plates of earth’s surface and sub-surface dynamics, and hence undue fear about what will happen when the dam bursts is simply a figment of imagination. Let us hope nothing happens  and the dam will stand.   Man has been subjected to natural calamities from time immemorial. Even if the dam fails, only 8tmcft of water will flow down and this can be easily contained by the Idukki Arch Dam which has a capacity of 73tmcft. It is generally less than half full and in the peak season only 75% full. Hence the Mulleperiyar water does not pose any threat on the Idukki dam and the velocity of flow would have come down to safe limits when it reaches the Idukki dam reservoir.  There is no engineering evidence to say that Idukki dam cannot contain the sudden inflow in case of a burst and this was declared by the Kerala Advocate General in the High Court.  But during the peak of the paranoia, there were fears raised about the safety of the people of even the Ernakulam district and that of Kochi itself! There is no limit for human imagination if it is under the grip of paranoia!
To avoid any collapse of the Mulleperiyar dam and to prevent casualties of people downstream up to the Idukki Arch dam, it has be fortified quite thoroughly as being carried out by the Tamil Nadu Government over a few decades since 1986. There are 3 phases of strengthening--emergency, medium and long-term-The first two have been completed successfully.  According to the engineers of the Central Water Commission appointed by the Supreme Court the dam is safe and strong and the level of water could be raised to 142 feet.  In fact Kerala has not allowed the strengthening process to go uninterrupted and does not allow now the same to be carried out to the baby dam and to build the parapet wall on the main dam which is required for the long –term -strengthening measures. If we are really concerned about the safety of the dam and the people around, we should see that the same goes on in a war while we try to build a new dam. It will take more than 5 years; it takes years to get even  the clearances from the environment and other concerned central ministries and agencies. By not allowing the strengthening work, we are making the danger higher if a problem arises due to a quake or any other reason.
Can we say the apex court of the land is not concerned with the welfare and the safety of the people living nearby? Judgements are passed after carefully studying expert opinions.  It irrigates 8000 acres of land in the rain shadow districts of Tamil Nadu -and without the water the people will lose their livelihood, go hungry and die. Is it not a humanitarian issue too like the threat to our people?  
The media and the politicians can make a hype out of any issue and bring it to a crescendo where reason is blinded by emotion and public sentiments. Of what good has the commotion made so far been? A lot of property has been vandalized, thousands have lost their livelihood and few innocent lives lost or maimed apart from the difficulties caused in the movement of people, transportation of essential goods, and inter state visits. The price of essential commodities has been skyrocketing in Kerala and people are put to unnecessary hardships. Who will compensate for all these? Let the concerned government work out a reasonable solution  without emotionalizing the issue. 

New Year Resolutions

2012 has just arrived. An old year has been rung out and a new one rung in. The new year gives us all a lot of hope. We can forget all our mistakes and shortcomings. We can dream and restart in right earnest. 
The past is past; let the us bury the past. Here is the freshness of yet another year. One where we can keep our resolutions and promises we have made to ourselves.
Have you made New Year resolutions? Like we did last year and the year before? Let them not become nasty reminders of the broken promises we made to ourselves. Let us not make any for the sake of making them. Let us make them only  if we intend to carry them out, come what may.
Let us resolve to go a little more to love our dear ones, spend more time with our kids, love more our partner, forgive their shortcomings, ignore their bad habits, sacrifice our egos a little more, go that extra mile to make him/her happy. Let us learn to give more and help more. After all life's pleasures lie in loving and giving. Let us resolve to invest in ourselves: learn a new skill, acquire more ideas on what we do or get a fresh diploma; start dreaming for a better job with a higher pay. Let us resolve to bring down our fab by 10 lbs or whatever, start exercising every day and make ourselves fitter in mind and body.
We have just 366 (its a leap year!) days before another year comes whistling by. Each day, each hour and each minute is important.We have the same time Mother Teresa, Michelangelo, Helen Keller or Leonardo Da Vinci had. The quality of our life is decided by how we spend each minute.. Let each minute be fruitful and happy.  Let us resolve not to waste a single minute of a single day. Let us make this year of the 80-100 odd years we have on this planet a memorable one which we will truly live.       

Friday, December 30, 2011

 What do you want to be after 10 years from now?   If you can see it clearly, forcefully and consistently for over 4 years, you will become it. But if you don’t foresee anything, you will have to be content with what comes along. And you will term it your fate or ‘written in the clouds’.  Imagine your future into reality.  Your mental pictures attract the forces, opportunities, persons and circumstances that will lead you to your goals. Your subconscious mind, in total control of your mind and body, uses your mental pictures as a guidance system. It accepts without questions your mental pictures--whatever they are, good and bad,--as absolute instructions to make them real. Your past and present mental pictures are all arranged in your subconscious mind to become the ‘building blocks’ of your life. It retains every past thought and every past mental picture. If you picture yourself a pauper you will become so; if you think of success or fame you will get it too. All the great thinkers and seers of history have affirmed that every person becomes what he or she thinks. The saying, ‘as a man thinketh so is he’ is very much true. Even Buddha taught, ‘all that we are is the result of what we have thought.’ The great Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius wrote: ‘our life is what our thoughts make it.’ The famous psychologist William James of Harvard stated thus: ‘belief (intense mental picture) creates the actual fact .’  Persistent thoughts and the accompanying mental pictures control your life and determine your future.  If your dominant thoughts are of failure you will constantly play in your mind a movie of failure and you will end up a big failure. If they are about succeeding, you will reap success. Your life will be consistent with what you mentally picture for a considerable period. If mental pictures are not consistent, your mind will have no direction and it will have to group in the dark.  Do not place any limit on your mental pictures. The all-powerful subconscious mind does not place any limit on what you can become. Remember the subconscious mind connects the limited mind to the infinite universe and its powerhouses. One’s mental picture becomes one’s future. As the rich picture and ‘see’ more wealth mentally they become richer. The poor sees poverty, wants and diseases all the time and they become poorer and sicker. Mental pictures provide motivational guidance and condition your attitudes so that you will act in a guided manner to achieve the objectives you hold in your continuous and persistent thoughts.
To be effective, you have to streamline your thought process and mental pictures. There is a procession of thoughts and pictures passing through your mind continuously. Unless you consciously control the flow of thoughts and pictures, unwanted thoughts and pictures will fill the mental space and your subconscious mind will be all at a loss in guiding you. This failure, in turn, will make you fail in life. The uncontrolled thoughts and pictures can be pleasant day-dreams or worry, anxiety, resentment, hatred or other emotional experiences. The negative thoughts and pictures will become the source of subconscious guidance with disastrous consequences. Learn to streamline your thought process.  Normally an average human has 70,000  thoughts passing through his mind in quick succession. If more than 35,000 thoughts are on a single aim for a considerable period, it will be translated into reality. But If stray thoughts crowd your mind, no positive picture or thought gets impressed. But the negative pictures of guilt, anxiety, fear, worry or inferiority will predominate too. You need to consciously stop the flow of negative emotional experiences and fear which are highly harmful to your progress and success in life.   How to control this uncontrolled flow of thoughts and pictures? Relax your body with a few deep breaths, close your eyes and black out all pictures from your mind and fill your mental screen with darkness until your mind is relaxed. Calmly but deliberately replace the temporary darkness with bright and intense mental pictures of what you want to become. Plant constantly these mental pictures to virtually overwhelm the subconscious mind. As you subconscious is being bombarded with countless stimuli, impulses, memory recalls and responses, it is rather a difficult task to keep the required thoughts and pictures down there. One cannot impress your subconscious with a weak, vague, infrequent, indifferent, indistinct mental picture. You mind is not impressed with the importance of attaining your life goal more than you care.  You have to constantly hold a self image of the person you want to eventually become so that it is etched indelibly into the mind. You have to intensify the mental picture so that it will be your constant dominant thought and all your principal thinking will relate directly or indirectly to it.
Your subconscious mind will produce what you want in direct proportion to the intensity and frequency of the mental pictures. You can emphasize with words what you are picturing. Repeat your life goal in three or four words very forcefully hundreds or thousands of times at every opportunity.  Suppose you want to become a renowned author you can coin the rods, ‘publish famous books’ and repeat them often with accompanying mental pictures. Or if you want to be rich, say ‘make a million’ often forcefully. Be excited about what you say and picture as the subconscious mind picks up the vibrations of thought which are emotionalized. Constantly repeat your coined words in 1-2 seconds excitedly and emphatically accompanied with vivid, colorful mental pictures at least 2000 times during a day. It will be helpful to think about why you want to be successful or rich or anything else and what will you do with the riches you accumulate or the fame you get. The ‘why’ of your goal will emotionalize it and pass it over to the subconscious mind more forcefully.  

Can We Prevent Natural calamities?

  In a sense, thought are things and the prolonged, intense thoughts do become things. A building is first conceived as an idea before it is transferred into a paper and then into the ground.  Everything that we see down here began as a thought. The whole civilization has been made real through man’s imagination and his thoughts.  But all that happen on this earth are not brought about by thoughts. 
There are natural disasters like tempests, hurricanes, earthquakes, famines, volcanic eruptions, floods, pestilences, epidemics and plaques which occur as per the inherent physical, gravitational and chemical laws of this planet, the Solar system and the universe as a whole. No one including gods can prevent or produce them.. The forces involved are colossal, beyond even the reach of human imagination.  Yes, conscious, energized and persistent thoughts always become reality or whatever one visualizes for long does happen. The energy and the mental vibes will influence nature to attract forces, people and circumstances that will help in the transformation. The brain vibrations will interact with the universal energy and the invisible thing becomes tangible. But it is erroneous to say that ‘things are thoughts.’
Natural calamities are also forms of energy. But the energy involved is colossal. The forces are massive and huge. Nobody can bring or stop a volcanic eruption or an earthquake or a hurricane.  Imagine one of us thinks of stopping one of them. Let us say one focuses all his thoughts on stopping an earthquake. His thoughts produce some energy, but it is negligible in comparison to the massive tectonic forces involved in shaking this earth! Even if a billion people concentrated upon the desire in absolute harmony and channelized their thoughts on the target, it would amount to almost nothing in comparison.
A thought produces infinitesimal energy. A million peoples’ thoughts of a day or a month or a year will not produce any significant value to affect a natural calamity.  Everything in nature follows the laws of the Universe.  Bigger forces overpower smaller ones. Who can stop the earth spinning around the sun? It has been doing so for over 4200 million years! It has to continue its revolution and its rotation around its own axis so far as the overpowering sun’s gravity lasts. . The sun, with all its attendant planets and their moons, is revolving around the galactic nucleus with a speed of 250 kilometers per second!  It cannot stop this either. Everything on this earth---plants, animals and humans ----are produced by an infinitesimal portion of the sun’s energy that reaches this earth. The ‘poor’ little humans down here cannot prevent  natural calamities which are powered by the Sun and the changes happening on the earth’s core and its mantle.  Man has to produce colossal amounts of energy to bring about any change and as he can never do the same and natural calamities will continue.  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Time for a new Revolution!

An honest, unmarried soldier who owns nothing but a bowl and his rough clothes with no bank balance (let alone billions in foreign banks) from a village of India has come forward to put an end to the suffering and the ill-treatment the masses are subjected to. India is rich in natural resources and manpower. It has developed industrially too and is on the threshold of becoming an economic power in the world!  But  500 million Indians live below the poverty line (who get less than $1.25 a day) and more than 25% of them live with less than Rs12- a day (a quarter of a $). They don’t get a square meal; they do not have a house or proper clothes. Most of their children are malnourished, stunted or wasted. Millions of women die during childbirth. About half of all men and women are emaciated and sick most of the time. Illiteracy rate runs very high in rural areas and women give birth to half a dozen or more children who cannot be fed, clothed or educated. 30% of the population goes without any sanitation and thousands of women scavenge manually human excreta for a living.
With Independence, the Indian leaders started exploiting the masses. The political families, and their sycophants, the regional chieftains and their singers, the innumerable government employees (a big bureaucracy was the creation of Nehru - a large chunk ofl the revenue collected by the Center has to be earmarked for the salary of the bureaucracy- which brought in corruption at all levels and stifled industrial growth) all started exploiting the poor masses with the effect that it divided the society into two classes: the haves and the have-nots. There are a number of programs launched for the poor by the government but not even 20% of the money allotted reaches them; most if it is gobbled up by the leaders and the employees midway.   A poor man is at the mercy of the bureaucrats and the rulers; the latter can manipulate them in the name of religion, caste, and parochial issues. Corruption has grown to such an extent that almost 27billion (2,70,000  millions of rupees) is drained away into the secret foreign accounts every year!. See where the wealth of this fabulously rich nation goes! To safeguard the same, the CBI is kept in the grip  of the ruling party. The black money accounts holders of foreign banks are kept a top secret. (Is the thief within the vessel itself?)
Anna Hazare has no wealth or power. He wants dignity to be restored to the common man. He wants to stop the exploitation of the poor by the political leaders and the bureaucracy. Even his team is now haunted by the CBI and the other law-enforcement agencies. It is time for another freedom struggle, for another revolution to free the poor from the chains of exploitation, corruption and manipulation. Is it the intention of the rulers to keep the masses poor and uneducated so that the majority can be swindled to vote in their favor by playing caste, regional and religious sentiments? Has democracy any meaning in India where people are illiterate  and ignorant  of the real motives of the politicians? They manipulate the teeming masses with clever gimmicks like sleeping for a night in a poor man’s hut, raving about a village woman’s plight or openly supporting the Moslem community (16% votes but they remain poor) through the print and visual media which they control with their money power. The earlier rulers were chasing poverty from the soil of India by catchy slogans (which they wrote all over the place) like ‘Garibi Hatao,’(throw away poverty) and ‘ India is on the move.’ They also managed to explode a crude nuclear device and made the Indian media rave about “India is in the nuclear Club” in the 1970s. Was it of any help to the poor masses? They send rockets to the outer atmosphere and to the Moon in the name of space exploration when majority of the rural population have no toilet, road or electricity! Our defense budget is the one of the highest where graft is rampant. Anna Hazare is determined to book the corrupt and make democracy a reality in this impoverished country. Let us all wish him good and strengthen his feeble hands in his relentless fight against the all-pervasive evil of this great nation and usher in a revolution.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Run for fun!

 You have heard the mantra 'exercise and be fit 'many times before. "But let me say that if there is a magic to enhance the quality of your life in general: it is exercise,” says Dr. Amy Wechsler, the author of Mind- Beauty Connection. “Exercise fights the onset of age-related diseases, lifts your spirits and sense of well-being, increases your lung capacity so you can take in more oxygen, boosts circulation to deliver nutrients to cells and skin, lowers inflammation, and, for many, it is said to be the ultimate stress reducer. That healthy glow you get after a great workout (rosy cheeks indicative of the increased circulation that is nourishing all those facial cells and tissues) isn’t just for show.” There are endless studies on exercise and its mind-beauty connection. Exercise makes your brain release certain chemicals with anti-depressant effects. Regular exercise helps to extend your life. Even the middle aged people who start exercise gain extra days here. Even starting exercise in your middle age can lower death by 23% in the next 2 decades. In a well-known Harvard alumni study it was found that 26,000 people who had spent 2000 calories per week by exercising extended their lives by 2 years. Simply put, it was found that every hour of exercise would add three hours of extra life.  Although almost all of us know that exercise is good for our body and mind, even half of us do not want to resort to it regularly.  It not only energizes but lifts our spirits too. It helps every single cell of your body by producing  chemicals like endorphins that make you peaceful and jovial. It is an anti-dote for insomnia, depression, and is a self -booster. Exercise helps to manage stress better and it simply promotes psychological well-being. People who exercise look toned, healthier and younger as they burn off calories.  As weight reduction is inevitable, it wards off hyper tension, protects you from heart disease, obesity, back pain and diabetes. It also helps one maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.  The more sugar you burn the more active you become.  It helps to boost your sex life. With the enhanced energy level and better self esteem sex becomes more enjoyable. On the whole, it helps your entire life. It is after conducting an extensive study on a considerable number of adults on the effect of aerobic exercise on insomnia that the scientists at the Northwestern University, concluded that people could improve their quality of sleep, vitality, and mood with regular exercise.
 As teens do not exercise (they need at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise daily) as much as adults these days they become prone to many illnesses. You must have read somewhere some time that you must do 20-30 minutes of aerobic activity like brisk walking, running, cycling, 3-5 times a week . It is essential too that you engage in some muscle-strengthening activity like stretching at least twice a week. For those who have been inactive for a while, they can start with walking or swimming at a comfortable pace for short periods and slowly begin more strenuous activities. Exercise will make you feel hungry and you may eat more food but you will not eat enough to match the calories you burn. There are 700 odd exercises and workouts to chose from. If a machine is not used it rusts and before long it will die. Our body is a complex machine and every part of it-every muscle, joint and limb needs lubrication and movement.  The more we move the better. As we advance in age we move less and our body becomes stiffer and the joints taut.  If inactivity continues there comes a point of very little movement and death is at the doorsteps. Movement determines quality of life. And exercise insures us. Move more live more.  Inactivity and moving less erodes our mental faculties. As the body becomes stiffer the mind begins to rust. The more used and agile your body and limbs the fitter your mind. Remember the ancient Roman saying, in a sound body rests a sound mind.’ When our organs, limbs and joints are not exercised they start giving trouble. Slowly but steadily diseases start coming in. Hospital, doctor, and medicine cripple your life. Regular physical exercise will keep away the doctor. Those who do not find time for exercise must eventually make time for illness. Those who prefer to be in their comfort zones of idling will end up soon in the cold world 6 feet below. 
All of us know what is needed to live healthier and more fulfilling lives. The sad thing is that we do not do what we know. We are waiting for the right or opportune time. And in the process weeks slip into months and months into years. Before long the sun will start casting long shadows signaling the downing of the curtain and there will be a lurking regret that we did live life the best way we could. There is no need to find a well equipped gym to begin exercising. You could start walking on your terrace in a round, as I do every day, watching the painted cotton puffs floating in the sky, savoring the fragrance in the breeze, feasting on the western picture post card like painting of nature against the city skyline, watching the crimson ball slowly lowering below the horizon. The fresh air, the chirpings of nestling birds and the slow darkening process will be, in themselves, invigorating.             

Monday, December 26, 2011

Take the first step; the next step follows

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But without making that first step nothing will be accomplished. Once the first step is taken the next one and the next and all the others may simply fall in line. You already have enough to begin with that first step. If you are looking for alibis of ‘if onlys’  you will never really start anything or reach anywhere. If you keep on thinking about the problems ahead, you may to tend to postpone things. Prolonged delay paralyses any initiative you might have had. There is no auspicious day, there is no special circumstance; every day is right and every moment is auspicious. All the conditions will not be just right and perfect conditions will never arrive. What you can do now in the present set-up is all that really matters.  The distant and the vague appeals to the human mind as no specific action need to be taken. It is difficult to take the first steps but remember, you unleash a lot of power in doing so.“The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive; the great opportunity is here,”   Says, John Burroughs, the American writer.  From what I know of the lives of the great, I can tell you that everything great they have achieved had begun with something very insignificant.  And many people have not achieved anything simply because they failed to take that first step. The impossible is many a time the untried. If you are in grave doubt or worry about  when or how to start the journey, just take the first step and get past the starting point. Subsequent steps would follow and you may reach a point of no return! You already have enough to take the first step and then the next. Do not worry what will happen tomorrow. Take the first step and then the next and go on. Before we begin a new venture the whole project looks so very overbearing that we are thwarted. When you look at the long road ahead, the destination looks far away and the task daunting. And you do not feel like starting the operation at all. Suppose you are overweight and you want to reduce 30kgs!. You think about the rigorous exercises over a long period of time, the food control measures that have to be implemented and you become dispirited. It is easier to be the way you are: eat whatever you want, do not exercise and it is easy to remain in your comfort zone. But all that you need to do is to just take one  step now. Begin your journey. Start with a simple exercise. Do not look too far ahead or too far back either. Enjoy your present exercise.
If you have begun, you have overcome the inertia and that is a great achievement. Once you start there is a momentum to push you for a little while and a few steps would definitely follow. You have to get charged up by motivating yourself with the goal thereafter. Once it is an intense desire more steps would follow. March on never losing sight of the finish line and never looking back. When I was a faculty of the TKM college of engineering in 1976, State Bank of Travancore had an offer: deposit Rs1000/- and get 100,000 after 40 years. I thought about it for a long time. But looking so far ahead into the future everything looked hazy and impractical. I held on with the idea for quite some time but never took the first step. And the result:  I saved nothing. Now after about 40 years, I regret having not taken that first step. I could have easily deposited Rs50,000/-over a period of a few years and I would have been a millionaire now! We  hear people talking about big plans  over and over  in life.  There are so many who want to write books and become famous, others who want to start a big business, and still others who plan to build a mansion. They are all waiting for the conditions to become right, for the auspicious moment. Very few realize that every moment is auspicious and every day is the right day. The conditions are not going to be different from what it is now  the next year or after ten years. If you do not put that first step, you will never achieve what you want. As in the case of my savings plan I would have been closer to my goal had I acted on time and started depositing my savings in the bank. If you wait under whatever pretext, the goal would recede further and further without any change in your conditions.   Winning is the most important part of any endeavor. Non-starter is worse than a quitter.  90% of success lies in starting, in taking the first step. You may fail after starting but you have a chance to win. If you do not start you are doomed as you have no chance to win. The first step is the hardest of all. Many of us fail because we do not take that first step. We do not overcome the inertia. One step is all that matters. If you don’t grow, you whither; no one can stand still. In other words you will never do great things if you do not do small things. The courage to begin is the same as the courage required to win. Little by little is a universal rule. Doing small things like taking that first step make all the difference in life. 

Are your problems really all that big?

We live on a minor planet of an average star located within the Milky Way galaxy, in the outer limits of a hundred thousand million galaxies.  Our sun is an average star but is not all that small. Its diameter is 1,391,000kms and can contain more than a hundred thousand earths!  Earth’s diameter is around 12,742kms and it is not small too.  Our nearest object, the moon, is 384,399kms away from us. The sun is roughly at a distance of 150 million kms from the earth. Giant planets like Jupiter can contain thousands of earths and are at a distance of  629 million kms The farthest planet Pluto is 5763 million kms away! The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is 4.28  light years away from us.(Light travels at 300,000kms a second and the distance covered in an year would be 300,000x60x60x24x365kms!) There are stars out there whose light has not yet reached the earth! They are more than more than 4 billion light years away. Against these scales, even our own Milky way galaxy, (dia. 100,000 light years) wherein our own sun is just an ordinary star among 200 billion others, is just a speck or a dot and our sun (which can take in 100,000earths) is insignificant and our own planet is infinitesimal. If our planet tends towards zero, what is our significance? Our average weight is 70kgs and that of the earth is 5972200000000000000000000Kgs!
In an earth like planet with the optimum gravity to retain an atmosphere, at an optimum distance from the sun(to get just enough energy) with an abundance of elements life has to be evolved (A creator is redundant) and there is an advanced civilization flourishing down here.  There may be millions of earth-like- planets in the universe and there could be life in many of them with advanced but alien civilizations.  But we will always be alone here as the distances involved are too massive that there is no way another civilization can become our friends or foes. But life has to end before the demise of our own sun which is not far away in the astronomical time scale- a few billion years from now. Our sun would start expanding and end up in a supernova and a dark curtain of death will befall the entire solar system including the earth.  Life on this planet will end forever. Life, if it exists at other planets of other stars, will end too with the demise of their respective stars.
 Thousands of billions of people have taken birth here and gone. A majority of them died before they reached the age of ten or less. Millions died in wars fought for gods, religions, powerful guys and nations. Billions have perished in natural calamities and they still do. Deadly diseases have devoured legions. No one is alive now whose age is more than 125. That is our maximum life-span But this small planet has been there, almost in the same form, for the last 42000000000 years! It may be there for another 40000000000 years! But we humans are like an air bubble, forming and bursting out almost simultaneously. We are so insignificant and infinitesimal taking in a breath and breathing it out for ever.  From this perspective, are your troubles really that big? Are your past, sad experiences, the problems you currently face and the challenges in front of you really as big as you think them out to be? We walk down here on this planet for such a short while. On the overall scheme of things our lives and their myriad problems are all just blips or less when we see them from the perspective of the universe and the eternity of time. Hence let us enjoy this sojourn and savor the short travel on the surface of this interesting globe. We have this life at this juncture of advanced civilization; we are able to enjoy the fruits of all scientific discoveries and material progress. So keep a smile now and give a hand to your co-travelers. There is no greater joy than having obtained this breath, this life. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Invest n’ harvest

 During a seminar for MCA students in 2001, I asked thems: “Why did you opt for MCA?” “We will get one hundred thousand rupees when we pass out.”  It was surprising that none of them mentioned his innate interest in the subject. A few had a  liking for computers. 4  years later, I was on the interview board of a medium sized electronic company and there were more than a hundred candidates for the post of junior programmers.  We tried to know what they knew about programming. The vast majority had not applied what they learnt in the text books.  Passing the exam was their sole interest and they were not bothered about the practical applications or appropriating the knowledge. The university degree was all that mattered and once the exam was over they forgot most of the theory too. “How much do you expect?   We asked those who fared better in the interview. "Will you give Rs3500($70 a month)-?" I was surprised as they had dreamt of Rs100,000/-Why did they come down to less than one- twentieth of what they had dreamt of? 
When posed with this dilemma Kerala Participants would answer; “they wanted a job at any cost as jobs are hard to come by.” But was unemployment the real reason for bringing down one’s value? Many of their own batch mates had been absorbed by Infosys, TCS or Wipro at much higher pay. It was definitely possible to get more.  But higher salary would always go with higher expectations. One had to invest in oneself to have the courage to ask more. Those who by-hearted the prescribed text a few weeks before the exam and vomited the same into the answer sheets would be diffident and accept any offer. Most of the two years earmarked for the course  had been squandered walking around the campus, commenting girls and boys or engaging in silly endless conversations with friends, seeing every movie released, going to the city centre in the evenings in the company of others, or daydreaming.  They attended the classes perfunctorily to get adequate attendance and to pass in the personal evaluations by the teachers.  Mind was not in the subject, they were not investing in themselves.
During my career as a CEO, I had to interview a number of engineers. We would go in depth to see what they really knew on the subject. After the interview, each of them would be asked for his/her salary expectation. They would ask for a little lower than what we had advertised. Why? The old theory that they wanted a job at any cost does not hold good as we had published the salary. Then? They felt they deserved less. They felt they were not worth the salary the company was willing to pay for the post. From my experience I have gathered that a interviewee would ask more and stick to it if he were confident in himself. These guys with 5-7 years of experience in the construction industry had not invested in themselves: they had not tried to learn what they did, they had not gone into the net to study the latest methods and modes of work, they had not thought about increasing efficiency or cutting down cost. They had not put their heart and soul to do the job with utmost quality and perfection and above all they did not try to grasp all the related aspects of construction and upgrade themselves so that they could handle any responsible position in the industry. 

We waste a lot of our time. If we make a simple time analysis of the way we spend each minute in our lives it would be easy to find that of the 24 hours available to us each day, we will be wasting about 3-4 hours or more. This includes time  in front of the TV, sitting idle or day dreaming, chit-chatting with friends, boozing,  going for movie, or loitering around the city center. Even while we travel we can make use of the time by reading, recollecting, or thinking about our goals. We all invest money in the banks. But how many of us invest in ourselves? Is that not the greatest investment? Let us acquire more knowledge, more skill and more ability in our chosen field. There is no greater crime than wasting our personal time.  Invest in ourselves by learning more about what we do or through the net (every knowledge is there) or through a short term course and thus let us empower ourselves and command more pay and perks. Let us  equip ourselves so that we are more valuable at the market place and at home. I think we decide our price. And today or tomorrow we will be paid what we are worth.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas a Pagan festival!

What is the true origin of Christmas? Do you know, Jesus the Nazarene, was born not   anywhere near December 25? It  was the "birth day" of the pagan sun- god, "Mithras" Noone knows when the Nazarene was born. It was also the concluding day of the pagan winter festival called the "Saturnalia." "Santa Claus" and  "Christmas tree" were all later additions having nothing to do with Christianity.
Wintertime in Palestine was very harsh and traveling very difficult and uncomfortable. It seems unlikely that the shepherds would be sleeping out in the fields while tending their sheep during that season. The early Christians did not celebrate the birthday of Jesus at all.  It  is simply impossible that he stories of Christmas, as followed by the modern church, is correct. No one knows when Christ was born or who his parents were or what he did or said.

 Today's  4 gospels were adopted a few centuries later by the Synod of Trend for the spread of the religion: all the other books , with so many stories and contradictions on the Nazarene, were ordered to be burnt. From the books that have been handed over, nothing can be known of the life and work of Jesus!
 It is known to all historians that the new religion, Christianity, was established by St. Paul, a genius.  Jesus was born a Jew, lived a Jew and died a Jew. But a new religion was started by St. Paul, later, by giving a new meaning to his birth and death which Jesus never even thought of. The genius said Jesus, a fearless social reformer was crucified by the Romans as per authorities' orders and law, did so for the sins of Humanity! How can  a punishment meted out by the then authorities become an atonement for the sins of man? Hundreds were crucified by the Romans, in a similar manner, for various reasons.
The cult of Mithras was introduced to Rome during the 2nd century and it flourished. Originally a Persian deity, Mithras was supposed to be born of a virgin, the birth being witnessed by a few shepherds.  Ahira Mazda made him a deity of truth and light, a sun-god equal to the Supreme Being. Mithras was strongly against Achriman, the spirit of evil. The  life of Mithras ended with a great bull fight , the bull representing the forces of evil. By slaying the bull and letting its blood, Mithras fructified the earth.  On the Day of Judgement, the believers would inherit the world of peace and the others would be perished. (The story of virgin birth, shepherds witnessing it, concepts of good and evil, last day's punishment, Sunday, Christmas, Easter etc  were all incorporated into the Gospel narrations or adopted by the Church from this Pagan sect. ). 
 Sunday was a sacred day, their Lord’s day. On December 25th (the birthday of Mithras) there were elaborate celebrations: bells were rung, hymns sang, candles lit, and sacraments of blood and water administered to the faithful.  Between December 25th  and the Spring Equinox (March 21) was the 40 days of search for Osiris which later became the Christian Lent. On the black Friday Turboilsim or bull fighting was represented with blood drinking.  Mithras, killed in the battle, was symbolically laid in a bier as a corpse. He was mourned in liturgy and was placed in a scared rock called Petra and removed many days later in a great festival. This later became the Christian Easter. Christianity like any other religion simply adopted the Pagan doctrine, rituals and festivals, so that the new religion could be spread easily to the believers of other cults of the time.  But nobody can deny the appeal of Christmas or its universality now. We all celebrate it unaware of these historical facts.                 

Down with dowry!

Man and Woman are now equal in the developed nations. Marriage is decided by the boy and the girl and it is conducted the way they want. Parents are invited for the function and there is no dowry whatsoever. They decide their life after the marriage and the two families just keep away from their lives. The picture is different in the rest of the world: oppression begins from the time a girl is born. Girls of East and North Africa are even subjected to female genital mutilation depriving them of sexual pleasures once and for all. There are girls kidnapped and raped to force them into marriage. Girls can be   surrendered as a sex slave to patch up with an enemy family. Bride burning, stoning to death, acid attacks and divorces at the will of the husband are all very common.
In most of the Arab world and the African continent, bride’s money (called lobola in Africa) is to be given by the groom to the brides’ parents. But this does not in any way mitigate her suffering or the ill-treatment meted out to her. The money is appropriated by the girl’s father and she becomes a purchased commodity or personal property with no right whatsoever.
Men and women are created equal by nature-- their intelligence levels are the same. Man is physically stronger, but women generally are more patient and they have a better EQ. In the evolutionary history, men and women have been assigned different and distinct roles vital for the survival of the species and accordingly they evolved. Women deserve a dignified life with self respect. But in India, trouble for a girl begins from the moment of birth. A huge dowry is to be arranged and she is considered inconsequential: boys are the breadwinners and the torch bearers of the family.  The amount of dowry depends on the education, job and family status of the boy. There is a lot of bargaining and it is like the sale of a commodity. In certain places apart from the huge amount, other items like furniture, cattle, household utensils and cars have to be handed over. It all depends on the final agreements between the elders of the two families. The buyer ends up getting the commodity and the bargained price.  Even after all the transactions are completed and the girl transferred to the groom’s house, she has to bear a lot of pressure from the in-laws to persuade her parents to give more. If the dowry is incomplete, real tragedy awaits her. The in-laws try persuasion before they start the real torture. In some cases she will be killed or burnt which will pave the way for a new marriage and a substantial new dowry. The in-laws will manage to prove she committed suicide: anything is possible here with money and influence. Even after a number of years of ‘married’ life she is subjected to physical torture, unrewarded hard work, beating, abuse, and all sorts of physical and mental oppression. 
Statistics show that in India about 20,000 brides are killed every 3 years by the in-laws for providing dowries deemed insufficient by the in-laws. Dowry was outlawed in 1961. Still the practice is widespread among all the communities of India. If the dowry is insufficient or not fully paid up the bride’s life will be horrendous.
If the youth of India, Islamic world  and Africa could accept:                                                                                          1. Boys and girls are equal in every way and are to be treated at par.                                                                            2. Families should give equal opportunity for education and employment to girls and boys with equal rights for     parents wealth.                                                                                                                                                                        3. Dowry or brides money will not be taken or given.                                                                                                                                            4. Girls have every right a boy is entitled to including the right to divorce                
5. Vow to stop engaging in eve-teasing or oppression of any sort.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Chain the thieves, save the land

India is fabulously rich in its natural resources and manpower. It is going to be the third economic power.   It has more gold than, perhaps, any other country. But it has more extremely poor people than any other nation too:  more than 400 millions live below the poverty line (less than $1.25 a day). About 40% of its children are malnourished stunted or wasted. Who drains away all the wealth coming to the government by way of taxes? Every year $27 billion (1,25,000 crores of rupees) are stashed off in foreign secret account by Indians each year! Calculate for the last 50 years the amount so drained away and you will know where the wealth of the Indians is! Why is the government, its ministers and the top ladies and gentlemen doing nothing about it? Because they are all honest people! Why is the CBI not able to trace the secret accounts? Because, they are all honest people too!

In the telecom scam alone 200,000 crores have been reportedly swindled! Only Raja had been apprehended and none from the government or the party who got a good  share of it. Because they are all honourable people! The CBI gives protection to the biggest hoarders of black money because they are all honourable persons! In the ‘money for votes’ scam the CBI could implicate only Amar Singh because all those who received the bribes are honourable leaders! The honorable rulers want the CBI to remain a stooge in their hands and hence insist on excluding it from the ‘LokPal  Bill’. The rulers want to retain the power to appoint and remove CBI top brass at will because they are all honorable people. The CBI will be made to arrest or acquit those whom the rulers want. The status quo of the CBI,  tainted  with allegations of corruption will be continued as the rulers are honourable people. Anna Hazare, the national crusader against corruption at all levels, who owns nothing but a mat to sleep and a bowl to eat and his team will be haunted because the rulers are honourable people!  Who will chain those who loot systematically this country and its wealth and make the millions starve and live a life of hell? Who will chain those who make our children malnourished, stunted or wasted? Who will chain those who make this great nation a land of the extremely poor and sick people? 

Women persecuted today as Christians did in the 'dark ages' to pagans!

In the Punjab Province of Pakistan, Ayesha, an 18 year old girl, accused of adultery by her husband, left her husband’s home to stay with her brother for fear of her life. Her husband, accompanied by his brother, under the guise of reconciliation, met her and persuaded her to return to his house. She agreed. When they were traveling back, her husband and his brother stopped the car in a semi-remote area and started to beat and torture her. They cut off her nose and her lips and left her in a field to die. in another incident, a Pakistani woman, Shamin Mai, who committed the “crime” of marrying a man of her own choosing rather than acquiescing to a pre-arranged marriage by her family, had her legs chopped off by her brother and uncle!
In Iran, two girls, identified only as Zohreh and Azar – sisters, were sentenced to death by stoning, having been convicted of adultery. The “crime” for which these two women were convicted and sentenced to death was caught on a video tape. This “adultery” consisted of the two women being in the presence of other men when their husbands were absent. There was no sexual activity, no touching.  But under the Sharia Law they committed “adultery” and have been sentenced to death by stoning. They also received 99 lashes for “illegal relations.” They would be buried up to their neck heads covered with a black cloth. The “executers” would stand at a short distance, throw stones of the prescribed size, at the exposed heads until the girl dies. An Afghani woman's husband was a drunkard and an womaniser. She had to earn a living to bring up her children. She sought separation and one day the man poured acid on her face so that no man would desire the  beautiful woman. She became blind and so disfigured that even her kids were afraid of her!   Women are perceived as the private property of the men in a few nations of the Middle East. A man can buy as many wives as he can afford. Even when there are many wives, a number of wealthy Arabs enter into temporary marriages with very young women from poor countries like Yemen. Of course they will be compensated for their ‘services’. These hapless women, when sent off, will  remain unmarried as no follower of this religion wants to marry a woman used by another. Many of these rich men go to London or Paris or Moscow to sleep with prostitutes. The wives back home will be waiting  for the arrival of their husband, confined within the four walls of the house delivering or bringing up children, many of whom grow up without even seeing their father. Women can go out only in ‘Purdhah’ like ghosts; they cannot drive nor take up employment. When the men return from their foreign sojourns they pass on deadly diseases. In a few Arab homes there are jail-like rooms where a disobedient wife is kept under solitary confinement. She is not provided with food or water and the husbands go in occasionally to kick, beat and push her against the walls. The poor woman suffers the ordeal and prays Allah to give her deliverance from this life. Women suffer beyond words can say. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The first male chauvinists

Women’s history has been a long catalogue of suffering, oppression and injustice. From time immemorial she suffered like a slave of man who utilized her for sexual gratification and  work.  Children came as a byproduct and he handled her as it pleased him. She is equal to him in every way: studies show that she has a better EQ and is better equipped to handle emotional issues. She understands people better and she can be a better leader than him.
But man has been unfair to her: Aristotle viewed women as deformed men. In the feudal Japan, she was marred from climbing the holy mount Fiji because she would pollute it! Unhappy married women were expected to commit suicide. Buddhist texts see her as an emissary of hell. In the ancient Greece, women were not allowed to have 36 teeth like men! Their philosophers had fixed the number at 32. The Chinese used to keep women in steel slippers to make them lame throughout their lives!  In the middle ages only women were termed as witches. In 1595 in the Wittenberg University of Germany a number of thesis were submitted to prove that women were not humans! When the English warriors went for the crusades they chained up their women lest they find out new lovers. It is reported that a Muslim ruler called Afsal Khan killed all his 700 or so wives so that if he never returned, they should not go after other men.
Oppression of women is universal. It had been more severe in some religions like Islam and Hinduism. In many of the Islamic states she is still a virtual slave. Women are in a ‘purdah’ from head to foot and move around like ghosts. Even today, in nations like India, she is burnt alive, beaten up and persecuted for inadequate dowry. In the developing countries she rears up children, does the household work and earns the bread of the family. It is also more pronounced in the poor societies where women remain largely illiterate having no say in deciding her fate. She is a stooge of man and her life is largely decided by the norms of the society framed up by men.
The discrimination begins in the Bible. God did not create woman equal to man. He first created man and he was put in the Garden of Eden with all conceivable pleasures. But after some time God felt Adam was companionless and his life was boring. So He sent a sleep unto him and he created Eve out of one of his ribs. Woman was meant to be a pleasure object of man. What a stupid thinking! Obviously those who wrote the Bible were the first male chauvinists. There is a story in the Bible as to how Eve, beguiled by the serpent, went against the commandments of God.  He then cursed her to bring forth children under great pain. Women were seen inferior to men when the Old Testament books were written and the authors made the stories of creation to suit their thinking.
Well, all His prophets were men. The leaders of his chosen race, the Israelites, were men too like Moses. Later, when Jesus came, he chose only men as his disciples. Magdalena Mariam was his girl-friend and sex companion as per the Da Vinci code. But she was not a disciple or an anointed one.
Later his disciples followed his example and appointed only men as priests, bishops and popes. Although most of the latter used women for their pleasure and some popes even went to the extent of anointing their illegitimate sons as bishops and popes. Women were not even allowed to preach the gospel.  She had to come to the church after covering her head and in subjection and she could not speak out to any congregation. Men as priests, bishops, cardinals and popes have always ruled women. It is only in the 20th century that the Anglican Church started anointing women-priests and gospel preachers. At last God has become sensible and just. As men and women are equal children of God, the discrimination could only be the handiwork of men.

How a family betrayed a great nation!

India had been one of the richest nations since the Indus valley civilization when we had a well-developed economy.  The scenario continued for millennia until the subjugation by foreigners. Nehru, ‘the architect of modern India’, was our PM (a wrong choice of Gandhiji?). Later his daughter and grandson became PMs. The ‘great.’ great grandson is now waiting on the wings. With the family’s rule, many think Indians have become poorer and the family immensely richer with billions abroad in secret foreign accounts,  if some foreign magazine accounts  are true.
After independence, Nehru developed his policies in the fashion of the communist Russia (he used to be accorded red-carpet welcome in the then communist states as he was fighting ‘capitalists and  imperialists’). The royal treatment by the ‘dictatorships of the proletariat’ unavailable in the developed nations, touched his heart. He failed to make an independent assessment of the regressive, retrograde nature or their economic and political philosophy. He followed his heart (and not head) which later proved to be suicidal for this great nation and its people. He closed our borders and made India isolated from the world like the iron curtain that existed in USSR.. He invested the nation’s entire resources in the public sector industries most of which became ‘white elephants’ or total failures. He tried to prop them up with heavy subsidies from the tax payer’s money. Private enterprise was dissuaded nationally in the name of socialism. Nehru, like his friends in Russia, took away the initiative and the competitive nature of the great people. He introduced state controls which led to red tapism and bureaucracy. He created a large number of government employees who devoured the GDP.  Organized Unions disrupted work and production in every sector but their pay and perks were increased without ensuring productivity. Large scale corruption became the order of the day. The ever increasing government officials with the ever increasing laws and restrictions further stifled industrial growth. Nehru made the Indian media echo what the Russians wanted us to know and sing their praises keeping the country in the dark about the developments taking place in the west. He tried his best to take money from the rich by way of high taxation and dole the same out to the poor. In the process, he made both the sections poorer and India one of the poorest nations of the world. Everything was subsidized for the advantage of the weaker sections and they naturally did not want to take responsibility for their future and became lazy. The poor proliferated triggering a population explosion.
Nehru’s policies, followed later by Indira, sealed India’s fate. She had some miraculous solutions to get rid of poverty and bringing in prosperity. She coined catchy slogans like ‘the nation is on the move,’ ‘garibi hatao’ (throw off poverty) and wrote them all over the country but India remained poor and undeveloped; the money spent for the bills was a waste.  Rajiv, a good pilot, was dragged into politics and the throne of PM offered to him. He never enjoyed his work, made blunders and is alleged to have made a few billions in the Bofors deal (a defense contract for the purchase of the Swedish guns).  He knew nothing about steering the state nor the intricacies of the political game. He was assassinated and the Congress came to power again. Rajiv’s wife was offered the throne by the loyal sycophants (thrice?) and the ‘humble lady’ rejected it thrice as the good old great Caesar. Now the sons of the sycophants are offering the same throne to the Amul baby, Rahul.  Long live the dynasty!
It was Narasimha Rao who opened up the Indian Economy by following the Free Market principles (nowadays the credit of this is given to the simple Rajiv who could not even comprehend the idea).  India reluctantly adopted free market principles and liberalized its economy to international trade under the guidance of Rao and his finance minister.  Following these strong economic reforms, the country's growth progressed at a rapid pace. Again the reins of power went to the Nehru family (money can do wonders in a poor country) and the nation started retrograding with rampant corruption and poverty. The ruling family and their courtiers are fattening their purses so that they can control the Indian elections at any point of time.  But the downtrodden masses who vote for them are becoming the poorest in the world unable to earn even 12 rupees (a quarter of a dollar) a day. We have more than 300 million people below the poverty line and about 40% of our children are malnourished, stunted and wasted!

Monday, December 19, 2011

India, a spectre of poverty!

India is a nation fantastically wealthy and desperately poor.  The Indian economy has grown steadily over the last two decades, but 25%  Of Indians earn less than the government-specified poverty threshold of 12 rupees per day (approximately US$ 0.25). A recent report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative states that 8 Indian states have more poor people than 26 poorest African nations combined! (410 million).  Rural Orissa has 43% extreme poverty rate and Bihar 41%! They are among the world’s poorest. As per the international poverty line standards, ($1.25 a day) more than 50% of Indians live below poverty line! The 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report ranked India amongst the three countries where the GHI goes up while 78 out of the 81 developing countries studied, including India’s neighbors, improve it!  42.5% of the children in India suffer from malnutrition. WHO estimates 49% of the world's underweight, 34% of the world's stunted and 46% of the world's wasted children live in India!"
Is this not a grim picture?  5 year plans and poverty  alleviation programs are launched by the government. If one rupee is earmarked for the poor, not even 20% of it reaches them. The whole money is eaten up by the bureaucrats mid-way. They become richer and fatter and the poor thinner and poorer. Recently in a telecom scam the CAG of India had mentioned of the loss of 2 lakh crore ($2billion) to the exchequer through the graft of the Minister and the officials!
Wrong priorities of the government impede progress too. Andrew Mitchell, the UK secretary for international development asks why UK should aid India which is the 11th largest economy in the world spending $31.5bn on its defense and $1.25bn on space program! The defense budget mostly goes for buying weapons, aircrafts and vessels where graft is reported to be rampant. Is the Space program a priority in a poor country like India where people are dying daily of hunger, diseases and poverty? Should the defense expenditure be so much? Why not India reduce the number of government employees, who eat away a major chunk of the GDP, and introduce efficiency? The amount of black money flowing abroad amounts to more $27 billion (more one lakh crores) every year! Petty officers, high bureaucrats, the ministers and those at the top- most of them are corrupt.  More than 20% of the ruling MPs has amassed immense wealth and hold foreign bank accounts. The common people are aware of this but they are helpless. Time is ripe for a 2nd freedom struggle. There is a mass uprising initiated by social crusader, Anna Hazare. When the foreigners left, the new rulers, leaders and their deputies have begun to loot the wealth of the nation in right earnest. The Indians have gone poorer after independence and the latter become richer and fatter. 

Life in the 22nd century!

‘How will be life, its culture and values in the 22nd century?’ What will all be the innovative technologies? Whether a new life would be created down here different from the present one? No one can certainly predict them. However, we can create a vague picture in our imagination tracing the present-day technologies and the developments in the cultural, social, and moral standards and beliefs.
According to the UN Population Bureau, life expectancy in 2200 will be around 100 for developed countries and the world population will be about 22.8 billion. In the advanced nations, emphasize will probably be on super-intelligent and disease free kids. Genetic engineering would remove all traits of a host of genetically transmitted afflictions.  Will man succeed in conquering the ageing process?  Will he be at the brink of conquering death? In another century, perhaps, man will decide when he will die. The gods can take rest and heaven and hell will be less thickly populated.  
Organized tours will be frequent to the space and moon and the tourism industry will be more vertical than horizontal.  Computer will have a far-reaching influence in our lives. The “computer-modified organism” or robots will probably be used to meet our luxuries and everyday needs 
Imaginative people predict the invention of water-fuelled engines, one of the biggest inventions of all times.  It means that the price of water will probably rise and it will contribute to the development of high-technology machines and stronger satellite 
Creating effective immune drugs will be a great leap in the medical field.  We are already on the verge of synthesizing successful anti-cancer drugs. Fitness and nutrition will be of the fad of the time. A revolution can be expected in the food habits and food production methods. Ready-made foods that will tickle the taste buds of man will replace the traditionally cooked meals. 
Little spoken languages and linguistic communities will disappear. English will predominate in the world. Each one of us living then will have the opportunity to speak, write, read, listen to and use English as a means of massive communication. All the other languages will be sidelined.
 Family structure will erode and very few women will opt for permanent marriage or child bearing.  More will rent wombs or resort to artificial insemination. This is already in vogue and  cloning mayl replace it. But the chances for the latter are less. Nobody wants exact replicas. Diversity will be more attractive.  The population will dwindle further in all the advanced countries and those of the poor increase.  Marriages of convenience will be more sought after. The strong ties of family are bound to erode and there will be professional homes to bring up children like we have ‘old age homes’ now. The gender discrimination is bound to close even in the backward regions.  
Will religions have the mad sway which they enjoy now in the less developed nations? There will be a total transformation. More than half of humanity will deliver themselves from the clutches of the organized religions. But as the religious roots can be traced to the very beginning of man’s evolution, and as human brains are fully programmed into a belief in gods it will take a few more centuries for their total eclipse. But the moment man conquers death, the death of god is certain. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Can you become Lincoln, Einstein, Gandhi, Shakespeare, Picasso or Brad Pitt?

"Anyone can reach anywhere."  Thousands of books on the racks (‘millions of copies of which are sold’ every year) are there simply to state this. They talk about those who succeeded from the worst.  Lincoln was poor, he could not attend school and he started working from 9; his entire life was one of failures. But he became the President of USA and one of the greatest men ever lived. They cite  uneducated  Edison who became a great inventor, Ford (illiterate) who became a great industrialist, Andrew Carnegie who rose up from poverty to  riches, and the deaf, mute and blind Helen Keller who became a great lady.  They even talk about a few Negroes who, against all odds, educated themselves and achieved success.       
They say aloud: ‘You are the captain of your soul; you are the master of your destiny.’ But are we the makers of our destiny?  Are we truly responsible for the heights or pits we find ourselves later in life?  Do heredity, environment and experiences influence the way life unravels?
 They have studied only those who tried and won. The vast majority of those who failed or continue to fail go unnoticed. They made rules (generalizations of success) from the lives of those who succeeded. But their study limits itself to the attempts they made, the setbacks and failures they had to face and the sweating they did. No attempt was made to ascertain the IQ, structure of the grey matter, their biology; childhood environment, parental interaction and experiences from infancy. Are these factors not influencing one’s life? And without an in-depth of study of them are the generalizations valid?  
Theoretically it may be possible to say any one can become great or rich irrespective of one’s heredity and environment.  There will be so many among you readers who feel that you had faced a number of adversities and came up irrespective of them. Millions of factors influence us from the moment of conception till we die. Some of the permutations and combinations are more positive than others. Without a deep analysis we cannot say whether we succeeded because of them or in spite of them.  
Prince Charles is a great philanthropist and the future king of UK. He simply inherited billions and a throne was dangling over his head when he was born. Napoleon, Hitler, Lincoln, Nelson Mandela are all highly will-powered. How many living today can match that sort of a will? Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Father Damien, Florence Nightingale and Helen Keller lived to serve others. How many of us can be like them?  Not even one in a million can become like the great US presidents or other world leaders. How many will have the tenacity and patience to go on experimenting until they invent something like the great scientists? How many among us have the physique and looks of Brad Pitt, john Travolta, Britney, Aiswarya or Madonna? There has been none with the IQ of Einstein or Charles Darwin ever since nor another Picasso, Michael Angelo or Leonardo da Vinci.
Everyone cannot become Shakespeare, Goethe, Tolstoy or Maxim Gorky. The genius or the great are more born than made. They sweated it out to the top, yes, but without the innate spark and the inborn tenacity of purpose, they would not have made it to the top. If you are persistent enough you can succeed in anything. But can you be persistent enough? A Mother Teresa or a Helen Keller is the outcome of a rare combination of genetic and environmental factors and experiences.    
The children of the rich and famous are always at an advantage.  Those emaciated, hungry, naked, kids of slums and famine affected regions die an ignoble death along with many of their parents. There are millions who are blind, crippled, and deaf. The mentally retarded, the feeble minded and the mad cannot go up in life at all. A Bill Gates can only be duplicated with the same structure of the grey matter, biology and identical environment and experiences. Out of the millions of possible permutations and combinations in the hereditary and environmental factors, a stray combination becomes a gem. And the rest tread on the beaten, murky paths with, not even with an occasional ray.  

Giving is living

Life has taught me a great lesson: the beauty in giving. The greatest souls that have grazed this planet are those who gave themselves up for others fully and unconditionally. Let it be Mother Teresa, Father Damien, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. or Abraham Lincoln……they surpassed all living souls with their selfless service to the needy.  As Winston Churchill once said,   “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give”   Our lives will be very much less fruitful if we are not giving what we have to others. It can be motivation, knowledge riches, time, comforting words; it can be anything that alleviates others’ pain or something that make others’ life richer and more meaningful. It  is this realization that motivates the rich philanthropists to give significant portions of their wealth to the poor.     
I have noted that all great leaders and thinkers of history have opted for selfless lives.   I also remember very often the ancient Chinese saying, ‘a little fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses.’ Those who have the attitude, ‘May I serve you,’ enjoy life far better than those who are constantly after material possessions, power or professional advancement.  
Giving can be its own reward.  But there is another aspect that a lot of us have failed to recognize. Giving is a form of energy that not only helps the recipient but it bounces back in a greater measure to the giver. The backward journey of this energy is often shrouded in mysterious labyrinths such that the giver is not aware of it instantly nor is it immediately perceptible to the world at large. The giver receives more than what he gave out if he did so without any personal motivation whatsoever. This is a great natural law. 
'The hand that gives is the hand that gathers.’ Many of our ancient as well as modern philosophers maintain that the secret to wealth is giving. When you spend money it goes out and touches so many and depending on your mental attitude it may bring back abundance. No wonder a famous Arab author, Al Koran advises people to bless the bills before you part with them so that it blesses all those they touch. He wants us to command the money to go out, feed the hungry, clothe naked and come back a million fold.  
During my seminars I often ask the participants, ‘will you get something if you work more than what you are paid for?’ At other times I ask them: ‘if you go the extra mile in your work, who is going to be benefitted?’
Most of them would answer thus: ‘the employer will get the benefit.’
Then I would pose the question: ‘Won’t you be benefitted in any way?’
After quite a bit of reflection someone would say, ‘we will develop too and our self esteem will go up.’
Well, you will be much more benefitted than the owner.   You will be rewarded hundredfold by the universe who is a just employer. When you give out selflessly the great universal Watchdog is going to reward you. It is certain that you will add tons of self esteem and you will increase your confidence levels. Further, you have invested in yourself and you have already become more valuable at the market place. When you go out for an interview the added self respect and esteem will make you ask for more pay as you know you are willing to give more than he is going to pay back to you.
The Bible mentions that whenever anyone feeds or clothes a destitute he does so to God himself.  Well I think there is no good in the world which can come anywhere near the act of giving, selfless giving in particular.
When I train youngsters the art of developing self confidence, I always emphasize selfless giving as the shortcut to the development of this crucial quality. In fact I tell them to check before they sleep every day whether they did some help to someone without expecting anything in return.                    
 It can be helping a blind person to cross the road.
It can be feeding a beggar who is hungry.
It can be offering a soothing smile to a stranger who is in tension.
It can be offering a dollar bill to someone who is dire need and whom you do not know.
It can be removing a stone from a foot path so that others are not hurt.
It can be picking up plastic bags and bottles from around a public place to make it tidier.
It can be pardoning a motorist who has splashed mud on your dress as he sped by.
It can be a great act of giving if:
You keep a radiant smile as you crisscross the pathways of life ……….
You spare some time to take an injured stranger to a hospital ……………
You give out a certain portion of your wealth to an unknown poor man or woman. .. …
You help your employer earn through your extra work, vigilance and care……..
You spend some time with the old to brighten their day…….
You give your seat for an invalid in a crowded bus……………
 Let me state a great secret to become richer: start giving a portion of what you earn or what you posses. What goes out comes back. Selfless giving ensures manifold return.  All the rich people of this planet are inclined to help others.  And that could be one of the reasons why they become richer. They get back what was given out, in true charity, hundredfold.  Giving is a sure way to receive more.    
Blessed are those who can give without remembering. That could be why our present world is getting filled with those who want to give without any string attached. They are quick to part with a part of what they have earned as they know giving has a superior value when one does so quickly and not waiting for to be asked.                                                                                                                                                                                   
The best way you can evaluate a person is by how much he gives and by how much he feels for others in his wallet. Giving is always a thermometer of one’s love towards others. When it comes to giving some people stop at nothing. ‘Give all you can,’ is an excellent formula for a successful life.                                                      
Living for others is the best way to live. That could be why Henry Drummond once said, ‘there is true happiness only in giving.’ Before we conclude let me remind you  Arthur Schweitzer’s words: “ There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.”

Why Brilliant guys fail at the workplace?

Having a brilliant academic background is great but it may not be helpful if one plans to work in the real world with real people with all their foibles and faults. You need the ability to work in a team to succeed.   If a brilliant guy has poor social relations skills and cannot cope with stress, he fails.
They are highly qualified but not competent. They may mechanically execute a task but lack that something needed to work in a team. Or, they may be technically sound but are not able to neither control their emotions nor understand their team members properly.
Their work output may be superlative too. But they are not easy to get along with and they keep upsetting others. They may fail to solve problems and understand others’ thinking patterns. They may not easily adapt to situations nor change behavior as and when required. They may not be optimistic in the face of adversity.
This is a classic case of IQ vs EQ.. With the challenges of today, I feel being a good EI person will only take you further.  
Is the Academic world designed, almost everywhere, to remove imagination, and creativity from the students? Why aren’t they exposed to different social settings and taught ways to cope with stress?   
Communication and attitude affect the performance of high IQ people in the corporate world. They are poor communicators and they have a poor attitude, often arrogant. In the corporate world we need to work as a team and communicate effectively our views and hear alternative views; we need to be open. Bookish knowledge is not practical knowledge. This is one of the main drawbacks for those who come from countries like India and they often fail in the organizational or corporate environment. One small project work in the end of the year is all that they do to get practical knowledge and it is highly insufficient.   
 A good percentage of students learn for the sake of learning and they put very little effort into a course. They study to get high grades; once the exams are over they forget everything. They have not appropriated the knowledge imparted.  
When we are dealing with people let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion. The universities do not equip students to tackle emotions. Brilliance measured by tests alone may not succeed in the workplace.