My Power Quote !

A good book on a rainy day is happiness for me - Ruskin Bond

Thursday, October 25, 2012

DECORATE YOUR OFFICE WITH THROBBING LIFE


A lion's share of one's time is spent in official life. Therefore the ambiance surrounding your work place, specially, your desk should be carefully planned, if not, at least readjusted to make it more creative, productive all through those working hours.

The world's most creative company : Google has a very flexible system where the employees can have the liberty to decorate their desks according to their interests, so as to remain enthusiastic, creative during working hours. In fact the company has nap pods  for their employees to let exhausted employees enjoy a quick nap during afternoon hours.

Once you are in a sedentary job, you are very prone to weariness and some times no work also leads to laggardness. So, it is quite essential to keep yourself in an enthusiastic mood and not to
loose your cool. More over, it is very important to protect yourself from occasional emotional outbursts which is an activity of reptilian brain i.e. Fight or Flight. Once, we have been evolved as humans, it means we must be more contemplative in our actions.

Irrespective of gadgets you put on your desk, don't forget to put a plant or sapling, in and around your work space. Once you put a plant, it means that you put a throbbing life in front of you.

In a study conducted by researchers at Texas A& M, workers with plants in their offices showed more creativity in thinking up new ideas and approaching old problems. The studies further reveal that the employees not only increased their efficiency but also added colour and freshness to otherwise dreary office environment.

So, what you are waiting for ? Plunge into action and decorate your desk with a sapling which needs less watering to you burst into creativity.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

TURN ME OFF !


Television is a powerful medium that goes like wild fire and garner public opinion instantly. In today's context, it's influence is wider than known horizons. Nobody knows exactly how it stealthily seeped into our lives. It made children glued to it leaving the young minds guardless to whatever the stuff that appears on that dreaded oblong box, called television.

The role of parent is  now increasingly becoming complex. It is a tight-rope walk. If you yell on children not to watch television excessively, they complain that they shall not be deprived of
freedom to choose their mode of  entertainment. One of my friends who watches television in high dose says that it provides incredibly a lot of information and entertainment. He has given it a status of "companion". His contention is that multimedia almost replaced as a source of knowledge, compare to book reading which he averses vehemently.

True to his assertion, satellite TV channels have dramatically changed the landscape of entertainment resulting children to hook to TV like never before. Any step to restrain them from watching fumes  them and sometimes torn the relationships. So the solution lies in taking a middle path by giving fair chance to children to get their slice of entertainment,  and at the same time put a tab on their habit of sitting long hours before television sets.

But the paradox is, parents  give a whip to children to sleep in time but they watch as if the rule is not applicable to them. It puts their minds in quandary and act as counter-productive.  This precedence needs to be changed by ruthlessly following the moral lesson first by parents.

From health point of view, each hour of TV viewing after you are 25 can cut 22 minutes of your lifespan, according to researchers from University of Queensland, Australia. The problem is more alarming, if the person is in sedentary job and having unhealthy eating habits.

Considering the health hazards, it is the time to redefine the way we feel about recreation. Noted personality development guru Robin Sharma says that after a tiring day at work, it is so easy to curl up on the couch and spend the next three or four hours watching television. Robin further adds that it actually makes you feel more fatigued after watching too much TV. He says that recreation must serve to re-create you. Effective recreation then must involve some pursuit that soothes your soul.

The best way to desist the children from excessive watching of TV is to spend quality time with them. We must play with them and take them to friends & relations so that their minds accord priority to relationships instead of plug and play syndrome. Another advice which may look pale but will certainly change the mindset of both children and parents is,  to have family dinner without TV on. Children must be encouraged to play physical games which not only put them in good shape but tremendously improve their brain power. So the next time when your children try to switch on TV., don't yell at them, but patiently replace their old habit with new one diligently.

Of course, grooming children is not a child play !

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

STAY HUNGRY, STAY FOOLISH

There is no straight-jacket formula for success. It is an assortment of strategies combined with precision, and of course luck and destiny play  their roles.

          When we see the history of great leaders, it looks that they have not been extra-ordinary to reach to that level. Only their passion made them insanely great. What factors most is their  personality that has driven their companies to the pinnacle of success.

         Steve Jobs falls in this rare category of unconventional leaders. The world is abyss to carve out his difficult lessons. His biographer Walter Isaacson says that he acts as if the normal rules don’t apply to him.

          Jobs’ life is a story of rags to riches. The reason behind why people attentively listen to his words is due to the fact that he brought passion, intensity, and extreme emotionalism to everyday life that helped to shape his products viz. iMac, iPod, iPod nano, iTunes Stores, Apple Stores, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, App Store, OS X Lion.


            For me he is an essence of arduous spiritual practices doing silently behind scenes. He abhors the idea of ''market research'' to see what customers wanted. He says that customers don't know what they want until we have shown them. He invoked Henry Ford's line " If I had asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, Á faster horse !

           His earthly sojourn of 56 years is worth to be remembered. He redefined the way we do personal computing. Now computers not only shrank their size, but envious features were injected  into their circuit boards and processor speeds reached to dizzying heights making sharing of data & multimedia an effortless spool across all devices and platforms.

          The company, Apple he co-founded in his parents’ garage in 1976 rose as the world’s most valuable company. When asked why he has a tendency to be rough on people, he replies that “look at the results”.   His inspiring leadership could be emanated from the fact that each year he takes his top 100 people on a retreat so as to indoctrinate them with his philosophy. He loves white-boards because they give him complete control of  situation and they engender focus.

         The ads of his products are always unique in a sense that they give much larger meaning. Take this ad appeared in his first marketing brochure : “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

       His product launch sessions are worth to be watched. Even being in the midst of provocative technological aids, he hates power-point presentations.  His argument is palpable. He says that ‘I hate the way people use slide presentations instead of thinking. People would confront a problem by creating a presentation. I wanted them (his team) to engage, to hash things out at the table, rather than show a bunch of slides. People who know what they are talking about don’t need Power Point’.

           One would never forget his immortal words at Stanford University on June 12, 2005 ”Remembering that I will be dead soon is the most important tool I have ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not follow your heart’.

         At another occasion, he says that “your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Though, the fate has mercilessly taken away jobs from us on 5th October 2011 by pancreatic cancer, his pragmatic approach to life continues to inspire succeeding generations.

Monday, August 20, 2012

EMPATHY - THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT TO LIVE LIFE AT GROUND ZERO

 When we see people in destitute or less fortunate in life, we are sympathetic towards them. But simply showing sympathy will not mitigate their miseries as they  need the required help for which we must have empathy.

Empathy means step into other’s shoes. It is just like reading their mind and thinking from their perspective. Unless we are at ground zero, we can not think at their level. The moment we think at their level, then we could establish a divine contact with them and whatever the little acts of kindness we do , not only soothe them but  also bring  tremendous satisfaction to us personally.

Understanding the problems of others and lending a patient hearing are some of the noble acts which will rise you above beastly existence.

In fact, creativity and sensitivity are twin sisters. The moment you have one, the other comes naturally to you. Having empathy reflects our degree of sensitivity and concern on fellow beings/creatures.  So we must come out from the pre-conceived mindset and start responding in a more constructive way which will leap the otherwise foggy relationships,  whether it is within family or society.

I was awe-struck when eminent Hindi film hero Aamir Khan who hosted the famous TV show " Satyamev Jayate " started crying while hearing the heart-wrenching stories of a victim in his show. In fact, my eyes were welled up with emotion when I watched the episode titled "domestic violence'. But the cynical media accused him of 'acting' and the director of program Satyajit Bhatkal brushed aside such claims and said that Aamir is a sensitive person. He cries on  regular basis even for the smallest of small things. Like Bhatkal said,  any sensitive person will be moved when he or she listens such touching stories. If that don't happen, it means that there must be something wrong inside you.

After all, we are all humans blessed with these divine qualities and those who indulge in acts of cynicism should be taught a lesson, of course with more empathy ! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

QUIT SMOKING !

One of my thick friend's experience as one time smoker is rather stimulating, though the truth is otherwise ! When he takes a puff of smoke, he feels emancipated from the daily dread of problems.

He was not a chain smoker but he felt it as a companion in his younger days. The bad breath and associated health issues forced him to find ways to get rid of the habit. Then he started reading all the literature available, to quit smoking. The first truth that  came to his mind is, to develop a hobby which could change his pattern and put him on higher pedestal.

Anthony Robbins book" Awaken the Giant Within" which is one of the most sought after self-help books in United States, brought a cognitive shift in his attitude towards life.
The concept Robbins coined is Neuro- Associative Conditioning (NAC)which is a step-by-step process that can condition your nervous system to associate pleasure to those things you want to continuously move toward and pain to those things you need to avoid in order to succeed consistently in your life without constant effort or willpower.

As explained by Robbins, if you get enough leverage and interrupt somebody's pattern strong enough, they will find a new pattern and condition it. A friend of Robbins tried everything he knew to stop smoking. He broke his old pattern only when his six year old daughter earnestly asked him one day " Daddy, please stop killing yourself, I want you to be there .... when I get m-a-r-r-i-ed. From that day onwards,  he  found many alternatives to smoking that give him the same pleasurable sensations.

My friend grasped the subtle lesson to overcome the addiction which people would say that you need psychological counselling to quit smoking. Whoever support this notion, I remind them that no outsider could program you better than yourself.

In fact there is no magic wand to quit smoking. If you are a chain smoker, you could bring awareness and walk out free from the habit without any outsider's  interference.

Though the society is increasingly becoming health-conscious, our teens especially in cities are falling prey to smoking. It is a heart-wrenching experience to see a bunch of school boys smoke freely nearby their school areas.   Pitiably, there is no difference between a boy and girl. The plum shopping malls and marketing hubs in metros are now fast becoming breeding grounds to smoking and alcoholism . I have seen countless instances where young girls and boys exchange cigarettes which is a shocking visual to any responsible parent.

A latest survey reveals that India has nearly 274.9 million tobacco users, the third largest in the world. This monster habit kills nearly one million people every year due to related diseases such as cancer, heart and lung illness.

A missionary approach to help smokers to get rid of the habit will save their precious lives. The emphasis should be more on youngsters, 550 million below 25 years age but fast falling prey to this dreaded habit !

Sunday, June 17, 2012

HONE THOSE WRITING SKILLS !

There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes.

                      -   William Makepeace Thackeray

Because of your uniqueness, you have your own set of experiences/ judgments in response to outer happenings. They need to be constantly channelized in the form of writing . If you go untapped those creative thoughts, they get buried inside you .

Experts say that to write, your inner environment must be serene. William Zinsser says that ' writing is thinking on paper'. In fact all your experiences become a distilled wisdom and settle in a retrievable place and what needs is you must inculcate the habit of taking out the right ones in right time.  I personally feel that writing helps to  integrate your creative right brain with logical left brain. One great man sagely advises to exercise the writing muscle everyday even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch or a journal entry. He further says that writers are like dancers, athletes and without that exercise, the muscles can not be strengthened.

To become a writer means, to be an avid reader. One essential element for good writing is  lending  an ear and one must listen to the sounds of one's own prose. Peggy Teeters says that the only way to learn to write is to write.

Honing writing skills is a painstaking job More word power means more fire power. If you are armed with less vocabulary, it means you are poorer by expression which may not help in improving your writing skills to  rivet the readers .

The main characteristic of writing is better described by James F. Stephan " originality does not consist in saying what no one has ever said before, but in saying exactly what you think yourself". To write means to have patience. The written prose is vulnerable to constant editing as new ideas continue to flow and they need to be inserted to make it more holistic. As the mind is a factory of ideas, every time when I sit for writing, a new wave of thought sweeps through and natural editing of written lines occur.

The writing ability severely batters when the family atmosphere is not conducive. So you must be careful to have harmonious relations. Economy of words is another secret of writing. Thomas Jefferson says that the most valuable of all talents is that never using two words when one will do. L.P. Hartley advises that it is better to write about things you feel than about things you know about. Eugene Lonesco has made the task cut out for a writer " A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.

Personality Development Guru Robin Sharma says that "Maintaining a daily journal is one of the best personal growth initiatives you will ever take. He further says that it offers you the opportunity to have regular one-to-one conversations with yourself. You may not become a professional writer or choose it as a profession. But in between your hectic professional life, writing on chosen subject with your insights help others benefit from your knowledge. That's why Robin Sharma asks to write as little as 15 minutes daily in a private journal which can improve health, functioning of your immune system and above all your overall attitude.

I was nearly shaken the way Dr. Deepak Chopra, a prolific writer (America's famous Indian) humorously replied that he is neurotic and compulsive about writing. What drives me further is his style of writing. He sometimes uses his Blackberry mobile to write and send to his office in e-mail and that way he completes writing books. Very revolutionary idea for writers !

The success stories of writers is endless. Chetan Bhagat, the youth writer who shot into fame with his first English novel “Five Point Someone’ written especially for Indian youth, is an IITian with - management degree from IIM . He quit his career as investment banker in a multi-national company to settle as writer , and the rest is history. The New York Times called Bhagat 'the biggest selling English language novelist in India's history". Time magazine named him as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world.

Writing is such an enticing act that  transports the ideas of writer to the succeeding generations and thereby the writer lives through his/ her work.

To wrap up in the words of Harlan Ellison " writing is the hardest work in the world. Lonelier, and nobler and more enriching !!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

WAKE UP WITH FIRE IN BELLY !

 Tomes were written about the immense health benefits of early rising. Benjamin Franklin calls ' the early morning has gold in its mouth'. What beauty lies in rising early and how it impacts your quality of work are questions you must dwell up on.

 Deepak Chopra, the mind-body medicine expert and the author of famous book "Ageless Body, Timeless Mind" says that when you live with right questions, the life will move into answers. He further says that you must treat your body as an energy and information field and not as a fixed  structure.

In fact, when you rise early, the day appears to be slowed down and you feel leisurely to accomplish all your chores without any hurry. If you have any creative hobbies, early rising is a perfect vessel to nurture those hobbies.

Don't be in indoors after wake up. Go for a morning walk to nearby woods / park/ green patch. In those solitary walks, knowingly or unknowingly you tune-up your system. Experts say that it is the gift you can give to yourself !

One great man sagely advises that if you want a bullet-proof mindset, get up early. It is true that when you have passion to your work, literally you will wake up with fire in the belly. When you wake up early morning, you feel mystically connected to your higher -being and the body is naturally at the peak of its performance.

Personality Development Guru Robin Sharma says that new habits are like new pair of shoes. First 40 days the habit needs to be nurtured blindly so that it almost becomes your second nature. If you mentally program before night at what time you need to wake up, you could wake up perfectly to that time without the aid of an alarm clock , because your bio-clock would act upon.

Deepak Chopra, further advises that instead of jarring alarm clocks, you can set some soothing music to play at the time you want to get up and that will work. He further says that your intention to wake up will stir you even before the clock plays music.

Physical fitness and early rising are inter-connected. If you are super fit, you need less number of hours for sleep. Richard Whately wraps up that " lose an hour in the morning and you will be all day hunting for it".

BE HYGIENE CONSCIOUS !

Public places are our extended homes. This truth must be sprouted into our minds before any  responsible behavior is expected.

The typical Indian mindset is a cause of concern.  Honesty is hijacked by selfishness.   The fabric of togetherness is  torn by individual interests.


Garbage is thrown in public places in a mindless fashion.    Systems fail unless  reformative attitude  first comes in the minds of people at large. 

The unmanned public toilets mirror our behaviorial deficiency.   I have seen countless instances where some people don't even pour water in public toilets saying that next user will take care. Result we could see especially  the condition of unmanned public toilets which is  worrisome and local administration is helpless.  

In Govt. townships, parks are built with adequate green  patches for the sake of dwellers, but  the upkeep of the same simply lie not in hands of agencies responsible for the same.  All users must be conscious of their responsibilities, otherwise, it only takes seconds to spoil them.


The photo appearing  in this post was taken   from  the park near to my house (Sadiq Nagar, South Delhi ) . It  is a telling narrative of how responsible we are in maintaining public places.    Such a beautiful park with a boundary wall and cemented pathways for walkers  is  totally defaced  and cluttered with garbage everywhere.  Some self-righteous people throw their left-over food at the corner of park feeling pride of feeding to birds and stray animals. 

Unless a transformation comes  in the attitude at individual level,  things may not improve  much !   

Sunday, April 29, 2012

BOW DOWN BEFORE YOU MOTHER !

 We have seen some film personalities for whom temples have been built in their honour like Mumta Kulkarni (Hindi actress of yesteryears who also worked in South Indian films) and Kushboo (South Indian heroine of yesteryears ). It reflects how the film personalities are treated simply not like semi-gods, but Full Gods !

But the story of Krishnaiah, a retired bank manager from Sidapur in Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh, India is same except to the point that the person who drove him to build a temple is his own mother. He built a temple of his mother in his own land, by spending Rs. 3 lakhs and now doing daily ritual to the idol, certainly a commanding act of rarity !

His nobility for doing so comes naturally from the fact that his mother in spite of so many odds struggled hard in life after the death of his father and made him worthy of society. So according to him, his mother is like a God, to him

The other rare virtues he does have are writing her mother's name to one crore times. His routine include spending considerable time in that temple and writing poetry and stanzas on mother. As reported in news, in 2008 he accomplished his foot journey from Warangal to one temple called Koti Lingala temple in Siddhpet of Medak district (Andhra Pradesh ) which is around 370 km praying for heavenly abode of his mother who survived upto 95 years and left her body only in 2006.
Krishnaiah’s life must inspire us to treat our mothers with  dignity so that children are groomed into better citizens of tomorrow.  

CURING THE PATIENTS IN HIS OWN WAY


Sometimes, inspiration comes from unexpected quarters.

My hero of inspiration today is this middle aged person : Rama Brahmam of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh who harnessed the technology for a social cause.

He is a clerk in the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences at Hyderabad dealing with the reimbursement of medical claims of govt. servants referred to NIMS from different corners of State. Tired of hearing the agonies of countless patients who walk through his office to know the status of their claims, he coined the idea of creating a blog in the year 2008 (which the Google is offering as a free service by which anybody with a google email can create a blog or web Log) to serve those people by putting the status of their medical claims and other related information online. Since then, he helped around 18 lakh families.

The dedication with which he is doing it is really marvellous. When he is unable to go to office on any day, he uses to send his son to office to get the information updated in his blog which is a rare gesture of government servants.

His idea of creating a blog using the available free technology for the larger good of society must draw inspiration to all . Though crippled with throat cancer which made a hole in his throat,  it did not dip his enthusiasm. There are so many such unsung heroes who have not got the attention due for them, but that makes a little difference in their mission.

You can reach his blog at
http://www.nimsgosc.blogspot.in/

Saturday, April 21, 2012

COMMUNITY LIFE LACKS IN DELHI

 
It's been close to three years in Luyten’s 'Delhi, but no community life here. Difficult to digest, but a telling reality. The daily grind of bustled city life leaves little time to have an interactive life.

After being sickened with such frantic routine, came a day filled with joy, and the occasion was Annual Day of our Residents' Welfare Association. My second daughter Sravani stood 3rd in 100 mtrs running race conducted on that occasion. An invitation to participate in the prize-giving ceremony followed by contributory dinner  paused me   to decide. After mulling over it, I gave my nod to test the waters.

We were told to reach by 7 pm, but we arrived at around 7.30 pm believing that the programme would not start in time. Further, I thought that it is a small and routine function of an Association. But the organizers made my eyebrows raised by organizing the event in a very professional way.

Shri Ajay Maken, the then Union Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, Govt. of India, graced the occasion and gave away the prizes to the winners. It was a glorious moment to witness my daughter taking the prize from the hands of  the  Minister. I am convinced that gracing for such a small routine function by a Union Minister has not surprised me as he is a sitting Member of Parliament of New Delhi Constituency under which our area falls.

Shri Maken nonchalantly remarked that when he being a Minister could turn up in time, then there is no convincing reason for not turning up in time by some other prize winners and their parents. Generally, we assume that our politicians come late for public meetings/ functions, but exactly the reverse has happened here. Thank God, I saved my situation by dashing to the event 15 minutes early.

What surprised me further is that my daughter voluntarily went to the organizers earlier to give her name for reciting a poem of Rabindranath Tagore on dais. Befitting to her excitement, she got a token prize for that also. I could see her little heart overwhelmed with joy.

The dinner followed by was well organized with no glitches at all. What the missing soul however is, community bond. There is no warm 'hello' by anybody. Everybody set their eyes on food. It is not a war crime to remain  that way. Most people want to respond if the other person says hello first. But the difficult question is who will extend his/her hand with a warmth hello ?

Monday, April 02, 2012

THE ONLINE PHENOMENON IS CROSSING THE LAXMAN REKHA

Ever since the internet stormed our lives, it has changed our very DNA. This seeping revolution has turned the world into a global village and re-defined the way we seek information. The phenomenal growth of social-networking sites epitomize the kind of connected society we have, like never before.

Technology is like a double-edged sword. If we become over-dependent on it, it makes us blunt. For instance we forgot long back to make manual calculations after advent of calculators.

The immediate victims are our kids who glue to the net like never before. Though there are some parental control options, still there is an easy escape route to access pornography and other objected stuff which would cause considerable  damage to children.

The 90s changed the landscape of India as most of the companies started switching over to computer networks and hands-on experience with computers was a prerequisite at that point of time. I witnessed its growth from being a simple word processing machines to today's sophisticated online computing devices. It reached to a stage where your laptop is your virtual office and mundane chores like paying utility bills to e-shopping is simply a mouse click away.

It is quite natural to be addicted to new technologies, but there must be a lakshman rekha with regard to internet usage.

Considerable research squarely blames the habit of remaining online for long hours. The bizarre syndrome now is that youth prefer to interact with their peers through social networking sites  than face to face. Google became a household name as it has silently seeped into our lives as a friend, philosopher and adviser at every step of life. It’s motherly role for all information needs is commendable.

However, over indulgence damages relationships. A recent survey conducted by Norton Security of Symantec reveals that Indians stay connected to the Internet close to 8.4 hours a day.

The other interesting revelation that came in the survey is, 83 per cent of the respondents said they could not stay away from the Internet for more than 24 hours. Internet withdrawal symptoms struck fast when Web connection got severed, with one in two online Indians feeling the effects within the first three hours.

To free from its ill-effects, we must have a clear agenda in mind before we sit on the machine. In fact the requirement should be quantified in definite terms so that we could judiciously dispense the time at our disposal.  This kind of self-restriction would save you a lot ! 

Friday, March 30, 2012

SUN - THE SHINING STAR

 When I fold my hands before sun god in the morning,  it slides me into reflective mood of how shrouded we are with the mystery of life. I am amazed by this very light and energy field. The more I read about Sun, the deeper will be my reverence. I bow my head to this daily wonder so as to remain more pious.

 In fact Sun is the living wonder right in front of us. Without His rays, no living species would survive and the Earth would freeze into an ice ball.   Though we made some inroads in knowing other stars in the Solar System, our research on Sun is still nascent.

When I talk about Sun, I am reminiscent of a Sun Temple in my Home State Andhra Pradesh, India, called Arasavalli Sun God temple situated in the coastal district of Srikakulam. It is one of the ancient Sun God temples in the country. The beauty of the temple structure is such that sun rays fall on the feet of the idol twice in the year during March and September in early hours of the day. This ancient temple is believed to have been built in the later half of the 7th century by Devendra Verma, the Ruler of the Kalinga Kingdom.

When it comes to ongoing research on the Sun, recently a group of scientists from Hawaii, Braziland California have measured the diameter of the Sun with unprecedented accuracy by using a spacecraft to time the transits of the planet Mercury across the face of the sun in 2003 and 2006. They measured the Sun's radius as 696, 342 km with an uncertainty of only 65 km.

It is believed that this gigantic ball of spinning gases is about 5 billion years old. The base material is Hydrogen (71 %), Helium (26.5%) and other elements (2.5%). The nuclei of hydrogen collide and fuse to form helium and this chain reaction produces energy, which among other things, lights and heats the solar system.

Scientists estimate that the mean distance between Earth and Sun is about 150 million km. If translated into flying hours, it means that a jet aircraft with 1000 km/hr would need more than 17 years of non-stop flying to reach the Sun.

Johannes Kepler, the German astronomer (1571-1630) produced the first accurate model of the solar system. Much of our present knowledge about the stars owes to an English astronomer, Arthur Eddington (1882-1944).

I feel that the mystery of Sun is no different from the mystery of Universe. It appears that deeper aspects of life and origin of Universe continue to remain beyond the realm of human comprehension. We can't be able to connect dots and what Arthur Eddington said to the world 84 years ago in his work : “ The Nature of The Physical World, 1928 (291)” still holds good: Something unknown is doing and we don't know what it is.

So the home point is, we are part of that mystery!

Friday, March 23, 2012

BUFF YOUR BRAIN

In the past 15 years, brain science has advanced to phenomenal levels. However, the fact remains is, whatever we discovered is only a tiny fraction of what there is to know about human brain !

Look at this 3 pound mass jelly which consists of 100 billion intricate network of neurons. Each neuron makes synaptic connection (points of contacts where information is shared between neurons) anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000. The permutations and combinations it could make is beyond the elementary particles of known universe. The fuel oxygen is 20 % of our total intake.

Numerous studies have been made on the cognitive abilities of humans and recent studies indicate that if we learn a second language, the cortical circuits that hold both languages, become active. The prefrontal cortex which is just behind our forehead, the so called CEO of our brain then steps in to choose the right word.

During brain anatomy studies, researchers observed that the gifted writers and poets may have excess connections between word and language areas of the brain. Likewise gifted painters and graphic artists may have excess connections between high-level visual areas.

Brain scans of London cab drivers gave an interesting insight. They have been found with larger posterior hippocampus, the region which files the spatial memories. These findings reiterate the fact that any skill can be cultivated by repetition which will not only improve our motor abilities but activate the non-mechanical parts of brain and fine-tune those abilities.

Brain is simply not a processing machine. It is a data warehouse. All the events of our life are stored in memory which is categorized into three kinds: procedural memory (new skills like bicycling), semantic memory (factual knowledge) and episodic memory. If we don't take enough care about what we are reading, seeing or hearing, it won't be retained in our mind.

Research also reveals that handwriting engages more sections of the brain than typing. It becomes easy to remember something written down on paper. Folk lore says that writing one time equal to reading 20 times. So next time when your children face any memory retention problems, ask them to write down which makes the task much easier.

Scientists believe that our greater cognitive capacity comes from having more neurons or synapses. The compounds such as BNDF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) stimulates the production of new neurons and synapses. Physical activity gives enormous boost to brain power. Walking 30 minutes a day stimulates production of BNDF for creation of new neurons and synapses that underlie learning. Laboratory studies reveal that exercise increases grey matter in the region of the hippo-campus that processes new knowledge and dispatches it to permanent storage in the frontal cortex.

Meditation increases the thickness of regions that control attention and processes sensory signals from outside world. Indulging too much in gizmos will only lower our natural abilities. See how our mathematical ability has fallen drastically after the advent of calculators !

Engaging in constant activity will seriously jeopardize the brain performance. Those who want to ride with time should also listen that a nap in the afternoon not only restores brain power to its fully awake best, but can also raise it beyond what it would have been without some shut-eye. Studies also show that 15 minutes after-noon nap is ideal to refresh the mind.  That's why the search engine giant Google went a step ahead in providing nap rooms for their employees and others must follow the suit to increase the employee productivity.

The more you know about your brain, the more still remains. The old myth about human body as a structure should be replaced with what mind-body medicine expert Dr. Deepak Chopra calls as "Energy and Information Field.'

To put it in a flash of insight : an intention to excel in any activity is the prime driver to keep your brain at best!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

TIME = MONEY; HAPPINESS = ZERO


Ever since I decided to write on daily basis to improve my writing skills, I search for triggers to ignite my mind. One such trigger recently came from the heading of a small article in a news magazine which I adopted it as a title to this article.

In fact, happiness is the underlying thread in any activity we undertake in this world . Instead of finding true centre of happiness, we ceaselessly slaughter the world for our own pie.

The true wisdom lies in enjoying with our own being without encroaching into other's space. It is what Henry David Thoreau did when he left for Walden bank (United States) to live alone. He wrote about all his experiences in an epic book "Walden" which is a masterpiece for self-transformation. The chapter on 'Solitude' is one of the best inspiring pieces of his literature. When asked why he went to Walden bank to live alone, he contended that : "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front , only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover, that I had not lived. "

The paradigm of happiness has now undergone a tectonic shift  and people  grab material possessions so ruthlessly which brink them to shallow lives. Those who value time with money have neglected their relations and by the time they start realizing, it is too late for them as considerable damage already happens in their lives.

The work alcoholics who treat time as money should be more cautious. The new research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology shows that the more one treats time in terms of money, the more one loses the ability to 'experience' time and everyday happiness.

A latest survey put India ahead of so many advanced countries in terms of happiness. India ranks Number 2 with 43% 'Very Happy people' out of 24 countries in a survey conducted in February, 2012 by a French marketing company Ipsos. Indonesia tops the list at 57 %. It is time for others to learn something from us and it is happy going for India right now!!

CREATING A BETTER WORLD FOR CHILDREN


As our children grow, we worry too much about their future. Instead of allowing them to flourish on their own, we impose our own ideas on them, thereby condition their minds.

Noted Indian spiritual guru Sadhguru Jaggie Vasudev says that it is time to learn back from children. He further says that think for a moment: Who looks more happy – you, or your children ? He believes that children are consultants for happiness.

My daughters when they are taken to evening stroll, they make spirited discussions which they don't do when they are indoors. So take your children on regular walks and listen to their ideas. Robin Sharma in his much acclaimed book 'Who will cry when you Die' echoes the same point: "Children come to us more highly evolved than adults to teach us the lessons we need to learn."

The difference between your child and you is that you know a few survival tricks while he/she is still innocent and brimming with creativity.   Allow them the life they want to lead. Don't be their boss. Be a guardian and facilitator so that they feel comfortable and share their views liberally without any inhibition. If you frighten them, they will shy away from you. So be like a friend. Communication is very vital. The greatest gift you can give to your children, Robin Sharma says, is the 'gift of your time'. But how much time do we really spend with our children is a moot point.

When it comes to education, we evaluate our children through their report cards. We compare them with their peers, and question them why they are not better than their friends in studies. This mindless comparison kills their creativity. It is our duty to nurture their inherent talents so that they achieve their full potential in their area of interest.

Sam Pitroda, former adviser to the Prime Minister on Public Information, Infrastructure and Innovation, says that you cannot really teach your children. They learn the way they can. Do what you are supposed to do, and your children will get the message loud and clear. He further says that give children enough space so that they can understand the works of the world and adapt themselves to the situations.

But the present educational system helps little to blossom children.  The marks mania is eroding the educational standards. I was shocked when I read a news item in a reputed news magazine that India ranked 73 out of 74 countries in a 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study based on extensive testing of nearly 5,000 upper primary students in the educationally advanced states of Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. What is more disgusting is that eighth graders from India could barely match the Math skills of South Korean third graders.

With regard to content of text books,  the same magazine in their story reported that Class 3 Urdu-medium schoolchildren in Andhra Pradesh are being taught Hindustan kevazir-e-azam PV NarasimhaRaohai ( P.V. NarasimhaRao is India's Prime Minister).

Some tough decisions need to be taken to reform the education sector, otherwise children continue to be the victims of mediocrity.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

MEDITATION FOR QUALITY LIFE !


 Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.
                           - Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is what Krishna taught about 5000 years ago, Lord Buddha about 3000 years ago and Jesus Christ about 2000 years, who said that the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.

Meditation is a state of restful alertness. It is the art of taming your mind without any manipulation. American Cardiologist Herbert Benson, M.D., a pioneer in
meditation research, reported that Buddhist monks are capable of raising their body temperatures in near-freezing weather to the point that they are able to heat up and completely dry ice sheets wrapped around them.

Dr. Mani Bhaumik, whose book " Code Name God' is Los Angeles Times Best-seller says that Meditation is , by the way, also the mind's most blissful state, as evidenced by the significant rise of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain chemistry of deep meditators.

Our daily lives put us under enormous stress affecting physical and mental well-being. 90% of diseases are caused by stress. Latest studies reveal that our very chromosomes are affected by stress which cause us to age faster.

Scientists find an extraordinary wear and tear of telomeres of people who are leading stressful lives. Telomeres are in fact the end tips of chromosomes, little caps that protect our DNA. Telomeres play an important role in cell division and get a bit shorter every time a cell divides. There is an enzyme called telomerase which maintains and repairs the telomeres, prolonging the life of our cells. An exciting 2010 study shows that people in an intensive meditation practice had greater telomerase activity in their immune cells than those who did not meditate.

Published research reveals that a regular practice of meditation for 5 years will reduce your chronological age by 12 years. Its benefits include lowering of heart rate, blood pressure and stress related hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the immune system and increased blood levels of serotonin. A consistent practice of meditation thickens the prefrontal cortex, the so called CEO of your brain.

Psychologist Roger Thompson says that the true nature of individuals is emphatically non-individual. So simply sit quiet for 20 minutes daily at an appointed time so as to get inner serenity with a wide range of health benefits. While sitting for meditation, ensure that you wear loose-fitting clothes and be a witness to what is happening inside your mind.

Jiddu Krishnamurthy, the eminent Indian philosopher guides us to witness the mind and thoughts like a lizard on the wall. Don't attempt to stop or change the thought pattern and be a witness . Take a deep breath with eyes closed. The posture is simply sit on ground with folded legs and spine erect or sit comfortably on a chair.

Meditation facilitates you to concentrate your energies more on present moment than brooding over past or wavering for future. Dr.Bhaumik wraps up that once meditation becomes a regular practice in our lives, we become part of something much larger than our individual selves. !

Thursday, March 15, 2012

STEPHEN HAWKING, THE EINSTEIN OF OUR TIMES

Stephen Hawking needs no introduction. This Einstein of our times was born in 1963. When he was just 21 , he contracted with 'motor neurone disease' which only gave him 2 years to live, but that keeps on extending till date  to the utter amazement of medical doctors.

This former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge provided mathematical proof for Big Bang theory.

As far as I remember, it was during 2001, I got a glimpse of his much acclaimed book ' The Universe in a Nutshell' I was terrified to comprehend the concept and scientific jargon used in the book. Though the book narrates the origin of Universe in common man's parlance , I could not grasp and left it untouched again. Fast forward to 2012, I mustered enough appetite to read books on mainstream science, astrophysics,  though a difficult nut to crack for a modest commerce graduate like me. His other amazing books include 'A Brief History of Time', 'The Grand Design'.

Though I have not seen him face to face, a huge respect outpours from my heart and he remains one of my inspiring personalities. I read so many articles about him especially his computer-aided voice synthesizer without which he can not share anything with the outside world. The science came to the aid of this physicist to share his insights on the mysteries of Universe.

I personally feel that the scientific temper might have kept Hawking alive. Under normal circumstances, a crippled body could have led to diminishing mental efficacy.   But in his case, it proved the opposite. He personifies that scientific temper which helped for ground-breaking theories on Big Bang and Black Holes etc. What I have learnt from his life is this unparalleled scientific temper to remain inquisitive.

Science is fast changing the way we see the world and we must constantly update our knowledge dished out by these great minds. I recently read "Science versus Spirituality- A War of the Worldviews, co-authored by Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mladinow. This book literally created ripples in United States. It will be a fitting tribute to this man if we ever expand our scientific temper which refines our everyday living.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

SOLITUDE

I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in the company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as Solitude.
                 - Henry David Thoreau

In the hustle and bustle of city life, I need one constant company that is my own solitude. Outer world is a poor substitute when it comes inner serenity. Hours will pass like a blip of second when I sink into myself.

When I was a bachelor for 5 years after entering into service, I never rubbed my shoulders too much with anybody. In fact, I have a very limited number of  friends . I feel scared of having too many friends as I can't carry the burden of their expectations. In fact, the liberty or the chastity of freedom has driven me to take a step of being aloof from the crowds. I really cherish my moments in solitude than meeting anybody else.

But ordinary folks never like solitude. They term it as loneliness which is different. They usually go to others to converse issues from heaven to earth till the other person gets bored from that non-sense. When you ask such people why they do so, they argue that they don't like loneliness which means that they don't want to be in their own company.  The question here is when you don't like your own company, how can others bear you ?

Some people connote solitude with elements of spirituality. There is no denying in that. Solitude is such a silent ocean of energy that will not only churn your creative juices but gives a higher level of awareness which helps you to go to magical realms of infinite possibilities. If you want to know the gross description of solitude, read Henry David Thoreau's magnificent Work : "Walden. Every word of Thoreau in chapter "Solitude" touches your soul and you will relish its prose.
On Solitude, Albert Einstein says : I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity. Solitude and writing are inseparable twins. Great writings happen in the deeper chambers of your soul. I personally feel that the best inspiration comes only in solitude. It could be affirmed in the words of one wise man that "one can be instructed in society, but one is inspired only in solitude".

The inventor of electric bulb Thomas A. Edison sagely says that the best thinking has been done in solitude. So do take regular chunks of solitude in daily life !

IS THERE REALLY ANY GOOD DAY OR BAD DAY ?



“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”
                        -Robert Louis Stevenson 

When anything crucial is to be undertaken, normally we in India look for an auspicious moment. Some people consult their family astrologer to see if there will be any impediment in the coming days in their lives. Some others remain frenetic regarding movement of their stars rather than their tasks on hand. Is there really any good day or bad day as we think of ? This question needs a closer look.

Good or bad depends on our thought process and it is our attitude that counts. If you march forward by following  trial and error basis, then there is no need to be panic when bad moment comes. In the constant flux of events, we should have the soldier's spirit to handle the situation on hand, rather brood on planetary positions. But modern life is fast becoming a  complex web of problems and happiness remains a dear commodity even within family life. Impatience becomes hallmark of our personality. Nobody likes to bear the difference of opinion. Your spouse may ask you some suggestion and when you don't respond according to her/his expectation, the tirade will sweep away your own happy mood. 

The problem is due to the fact that we are giving much more credence to our predestined beliefs rather use the intellectual ability to understand the things in larger scheme. 

Before you label any day good or bad, start your day by gazing magnificent sun-rise. Is there any change in the quality of sun rise ? Further billions of flowers blossom on the planet Earth. When the Creator shows no difference between a good day or bad day , why do we ? It is in fact our inclination to have no failure that is is blocking the road to enjoyment. In difficulty, there is an opportunity to learn. In sorrow, we cherish the moments of happiness. So it is time to look beyond our fickle minds so that the idea of good or bad day will never crop up and wisdom prevails according to the situation.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

MY WRITING FOR MY OWN SAKE


Though I am an avid reader for more than a quarter of century, little I thought to write seriously. But it always remained as one of my deep passions. Though having a blog for the last so many years but  not posted even a single  article until March 2011 when a friend of mine persuaded me.   He said that  I should write something regularly so that my creative ideas will find a natural expression and those writings may inspire and benefit at least some people. In my friend's words I should contribute something to society about my insights/ experiences on life.

After being inspired with his words,  I posted my first article on my  blog on 26th March, 2011 with a pledge that I write regularly to give an outlet to my hidden potential.  A little milestone has been achieved on 30.12.13 by completing 100th article. Though I am not trained in journalism, a deep passion drove me to indulge into the hobby. The reason to choose online world/ internet as a medium is because when you are a nascent writer, initially it is a tough job to get your articles published straight away in newspapers/ magazines. Further, when you go on sending your articles to newspapers/magazines  and if they don't respond it will puncture your spirits and whatever the strength you muster to write against all odds will die down instantly.

Writing is a tough hobby which needs tremendous mental energies . It is in fact a kind of evolving into a higher self. Inspiration comes from many quarters. Some times the  inspiration comes from a young boy like  13 year old,  Aryaman Dalmia who has written a book ' Graham, Buffett & Me'.

In fact, I draw my inspiration from countless great people which include Deepak Chopra who is one of my favourite writers. He is a celebrated Indian American doctor having authored more than 60 books , several of them are New York Times Best Sellers. Initially his writing career is not glittering as there were no takers for his new concept of mind-body medicine and several medical research journals refused to publish his insights. At last he chose to bring out his research in the form of book which he self-published thereby he slowly came to limelight. Equally enchanting is the story of investment banker Chetan Bhagat who became the celebrity writer with his book 'Five Point Someone' with no journalistic background. These people became prominent writers out of blue.

When I analyze the lives of highly successful people, I find that Travelling, Reading and Writing ruled their lives. When asked about his life's ambitions after retirement from public life, Shri P. Chidambaram, a prominent politician of India told that he wants to take a serious pursuit of his three hobbies i.e. Reading, Writing and Travel .

It is true that when your basic material needs are catered, this trio should rule the life.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

BOOKS ARE MY PASSION !!


Book Exhibitions are always an important itinerary in my life. These are annual rituals in my hometown Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India every year.

Over the years, some great books have changed the trajectory of my life, more aptly I could say my  perception on ‘life’ . It is immaterial whether you purchase a book or not, but a visit to Book Exhibition will definitely give a gusto to the soul.

When I visit Book Fairs, I feel  that I am in pilgrimage. I suck enough enthusiasm by seeing throngs of book-lovers. While I see the books in the stalls, I look them not as inanimate objects, but as living entities.

However the thin attendance of people in my recent visit to Delhi Book Fair reminds me of people’s increasing dependence on gadgetry. In spite of   electronic books ruling the market, they could never substitute a physical  book.

When I take gaze of wonderful collection of books in my personal library , huge respect outpours from my heart. In such serene movements, I feel as if I am looking the Masters who silently inspire me.

My relationship with books is eternal. They are my friends, companions, philosophers and mentors. In short my craving for a good book is self-driven !!

Monday, February 20, 2012

DRAW INSPIRATION FROM DIFFERENTLY ABLED !

The other day my daughter brought home one pamphlet which raised my eyebrows.

We generally appreciate the artistic abilities in people. More attention is drawn when such people are differently abled which I find in the pamphlet : "Indian Mouth & Foot Painting Artists, Mumbai."

The inspiring part of the story is the pearl-like handwriting of one boy named NadeemShaikh (in the photo) who has written a letter by foot. This boy was born without arms in Mumbai. From a very young age, he had to carry out the activities of daily living with his feet. He honed his artistic skills and began to draw paintings with his foot. The story of NadeemShaikh reminded me the talents of  John Milton (English poet) who became blind due to eye disease in later years, but his poetic talents did not diminish and his poem "On His Blindness" is really one of the inspiring masterpieces of his poetry. In fact the physical deformities are not an hindrance to the creative expression. They come out with flying colours inspite of all odds.

The painting works of these less privileged reminisced my own childhood when I took hours together drawing pictures of whatever I find in newspapers/ magazines. In fact, I won first prize in the drawing competition in my 10th class. Though I did not get any formal training in painting, it was my serious pursuit well after my graduation.

The turning point happened when my father's colleague one day visited our home and saw me painting. What he did at a crucial juncture contributed immensely to further hone my artistic skills. He came back to our  home with a set of brushes, poster colours and charts and presented me saying that it was his pleasure to gift them to me to encourage an upcoming artist in me. My joy found no bounds on that day. I exhausted all the materials in a matter of week by making drawings of whatever I had seen. My parents fully supported my hobby which I could never forget.

When former Prime Minister of India V.P Singh left politics, we know that he immersed into his hobby of drawing paintings. In fact painting is such a contagious hobby which brings closer to Mother Nature. There was a time when I thought of taking it as my regular career option, but somehow or other it could not materialize. But the artist inside me wants to come back. I don't know when that will happen. But every time, this quote of Norman Cousins resonates my mind : Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

SUCCESS SAGA : ORISON SWETT MARDEN

He is the mountain of wisdom. Who handed out the success sagas of great people to us. This 20th century Personality Development Guru is responsible for New Thought Movement of America. His unparalleled insights on life through his writings lift even the dud.

I came to know this great man while I was reading a book ‘ Awaken the Giant Within', the much acclaimed work of Anthony Robbins, sometime in 2004.

 Mr. Robbins needs no introduction as he is one of the America's top most personality development gurus of our times and has a reputation of conducting courses on 'Fire Walk'.  I was awestruck when I read the following fiery quote of Marden in Robbins epic book: Awaken the Giant Within :

 Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers,
powers that would astonish him that he never dreamed of
possessing; Forces that would revolutionize his life,
if aroused and put into action.

The above quote of Marden invigorated my perception of life. When it comes to his groundbreaking works, I could say that his magical words mesmerize the readers instantly to unlock their inner potential. His selective phrases and apt adjectives fit the context like colours and shades in a fabric. After I read about Marden, my level of enthusiasm grew manifold.   Marden's life story itself is very interesting. A medical doctor and successful hotelier, he devoted his career to writing inspiring books. He founded Success Magazine in 1897. Marden believes that our thoughts influence our lives and our life circumstances.

His famous books include "Pushing to the Front, Cheerfulness as a Life Power. His sublime narrating style trigger so many positive thoughts and his laborious task of culling out the wisdom of past centuries is above board. All his books are must read ones and can be freely downloadable from the internet.

After reading a few of his books, I feel that no new book need to be churned out in self help category as abundant efforts had already been made by Marden. So when you are in low spirits and searching for a pill to put you in resilient mood, turn to Marden's treasure trove.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

HOW TO DEAL WITH OFFICE POLITICS


When I first joined as a stenographer in a private firm in my hometown Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India,  my job was to type out work orders or invoices of the firm. Afternoon 2 hours was sleep time.

The first taste of bitter office politics came to my way when my boss's son resisted me  in taking  afternoon siesta.  He  tried to wield   authority on me and began asking me  to do some  work unrelated  to my sphere of job.

Being  a young man of 21 years and to gain experience in the job, I tolerated the hardships. But the situation precipitated further as he started yelling at me that I could not write numerals properly in the cash book and I had to bite the bullet.

My father being in Govt. service by that time counselled me to tolerate as I needed to get experience in the job. As the situation did not improve, I was compelled to quit the job after some months as my boss joined with his son in harassing me.

After a brief gap of some months, I joined in another firm. This time the pain was of finding no time to prepare for competitive exams to gain a govt. service. The day used to be jam-packed with office work. My work included typing and accounts work. It was a lot of struggle to cope with those trying times. I continued  with the job only to earn those needy bucks to meet my pocket expenses and also offset a part of  burden on my parents.

Though the job did not raise any hackles, but for pure salary considerations I joined in yet other firm. Within a month, they showed me the hell. Deliberately, I was put to work till 9 pm. When asked, my immediate boss who was a Senior Manager, Accounts, tried to convince me that I should win the laurels of the management by sitting late into night even if I don't have any work to do. That concept almost damaged my self respect. I just severed myself from that company and joined back the previous firm. After some months, the bounty of God came in the form of Govt. job as I was selected for the post of stenographer in Central Government.

My first posting was at
Udaipur in Rajasthan. I was handicapped with speaking in Hindi.  But I arduously followed my dad's advice that I should first create the best first impression before my boss. After seeing my credentials and capability, my boss assigned me Accounts related work also in addition to my stenographer duties. For some months, it was a smooth sail. All of sudden, one day, my boss handed me an order that I should take over the charge of Mess Secretary ( managing our Mess - job is much  like a hotelier managing / purchasing the provisions/ vegetables and maintaining related accounts). I just flared up with the kind of assignments given to me.

I approached my boss to spare me from such duties as I was new to service and hardly know the local language - Hindi to handle the local people for purchases. After a little struggle, my boss was convinced and he rescinded the order.

When I dug deep  to know who was responsible for suggesting my boss to assign me such new set of duties, I was shocked that my colleague who was an elderly man and head clerk in the office  instigated my boss to assign me such additional duties. I faced his sore acts head on. After grappling with him for certain months, I wrote my own commandments to protect   from the murky office politics.

I drew my Lakshmana Rekha to what extent I should stretch myself for helping others or taking help of others.   You should not be within his/her firing range. Better not take too many favours. Never indulge in financial dealings as they may exploit the situation. In a vicious office atmosphere, people try to figure out your mistakes or weaknesses and you should be conscious enough to act in an unpredictable way.

In fact, there is no straight jacket formula to cope up with office politics. The essentials are, you must be honest  in your financial dealings. Create confidence in the eyes of boss that you are a hard worker.   Don't spoil your relations with subordinates who are your real messengers to handle the courier jobs of your reputation. Help out anybody, within your permissible limits. Don't make empty promises. Don't bank upon too much on colleagues. Too much rubbing shoulders with immediate colleagues who are working in the same premises will create problems and sometimes, they may destabilize your position.

Just meet the boss's requirements. Need not stick labels on your face about all your other talents. Just give according to their needs. In that way you would save your creative energies for your productive use. Instead of campaigning all yours strengths and carry the burden of others' expectations, it is better to shut the mouth and silently immerse in your own personal improvement.

One last advice is : Read the book : "Art of War", by Sun Tzu, the 5th century Chinese military general". This is a epic book which used to be under the pillow of
Anil Ambani when he locked horns with his estranged brother Mukesh Ambandi. This book is such a fantastic thesis that  gives a mountain of wisdom to harness human relations,  and most importantly how to deal with your enemies, simply not in combat fields but in real life social situations also.
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