Dog is a pretty wonderful animal. It lives in present moment. We all live in imagination, either brooding over past or hankering for future which is the root cause of what Buddha calls, existential suffering.

The dog brings all sorts of things to the table : joy, playfulness, loyalty and connectivity, says mind-body medicine expert and word-smith Dr. Deepak Chopra. He further says that one of the greatest attributes that dogs have is their ability to just be without worrying about repercussions.

Equally interesting revelation comes from his son Gotham Chopra who in his book written with his father ‘Walking wisdom: Three Generations, Two Dogs and the Search for a Happy Life’ says that dogs make us physically healthier by making us exercise. They make us emotionally healthier by asking for caresses that sooth not just their bodies, but our souls as well.

The man appearing in the photo is a bountiful of compassion and empathy especially on the tongue-less animals. If we go into  details, every evening this man accompanied by his friend walks through every nook and cranny of our area   with a noble mission : to feed stray dogs in the area with a cup of milk and couple of biscuits.

Neeraj Sharma is the CEO of a construction equipment company - Aura Bucket Crusher at HauzKhas, South Delhi whose pastime includes animal welfare. I have been seeing him every now and then for the last one year. When I asked why he feeds the dogs daily, he unfolds his story.

Around 4 years back, when he went to United States for 3 month on business trip, his pet dog died back at home. During happier times at his stay in Siri Fort Road ,adjacent to my area ,Sadiq Nagar, Neeraj used to stroll with his dog and the pet instantly befriended with all nearby stray dogs in the area. That pleasant routine etched on his memory.

Though the sudden death of his pet somewhat crippled him, but he found a healing outlet by feeding all those stray dogs which were once the friends of his pet.  It looks odd to strangers to see his acts daily. But his beaming face acknowledges with full humility.

When asked if anyone ever interrupted  his acts, he says that once the President of a Residents Welfare Association severely objected but when he heard his story, got convinced and supported his cause.

Dalai Lama says : Show compassion whenever possible;  and Neeraj knowingly or unknowingly follows this dictum. The way he thrusts his legs forward to feed as many dogs as possible, reflects his deep compassion which is certainly a commanding act of rarity.


There is a Zen saying that when the student becomes ready, the teacher will appear.

Exactly the same happened to me some weeks ago when I was distraught with overwork lashing out the Creator why He was doing so ?  In fact the work that comes to my way is not teasing me but the comparison mania associated with it which is sadly lowering my performance. The pain is subtle with occasional outbursts. My deeper self wants permanent solution to quell the problem once for all. Suddenly, a close friend of mine gave an insightful article written by one of the India's best known corporate gurus - Mr. Anand Pillai. It is about 'Personal Branding' I read it and re-read it repeatedly. The substance somewhat sunk into my system. But not satiated with it, I wanted more on the subject which lead to watching a couple of his videos on You Tube.

The happiest thing is, the way he convinced to undertake any work, public or private with a unique Personal Branding is simply awesome. But the motivation gushes occasionally like a mountain stream. Is there is any way we could  pull the strings of motivation as a daily allowance ? The answer is ‘yes’.

It is a journey of self-discovery.  Once you are reflective enough, Gallup (American research-based, global performance-management consulting company. Founded by George Gallup in 1935) gives five simple tests to discover your strengths :

- Yearning
- Rapid learning
- Flow
- Glimpses of excellence
- Satisfaction

First identify what kinds of activities are you naturally drawn towards ? The question needs a candid answer from the bottom of your heart. You may find it difficult to instantly recognize it because most of us are out of sync with our own selves in the hustle and bustle of modern  life. But one needs a deep look to go to next level in performance.

Second key to unlock your potential is to identify which activities trigger you rapid learning or you seem to pick up quickly.

The third in the row is ‘flow’. Identify in what activities did the steps come to you automatically.

The forth test is identify in what activities you suddenly get a feeling of immense satisfaction or aha moment.

The fifth and final test is identify which activities that give you a kick or ultimate satisfaction.

Once the brainstorm is over, your awareness reaches to a point that you are not the previous self of mediocrity rather want to excel in whatever  activity you undertake to create your own Personal Branding !


Words form the thread on which we string our experience.

                                              - Aldous Huxley

In our present day education system, little stress is laid on honing language proficiency. As English is the link language in higher education in a country like India which is a mosaic of diverse cultures, we must strive hard to  hone language skills by building up vocabulary as a never-ending process beyond academic life. 

Nobody can master the vocabulary overnight. Like Rome was not built in a day, building up vocabulary is an arduous process and there is no short cut for it.

Some people may take a lame excuse that in routine life we need not use more high standard words and that’s why no need to refer dictionary. Their contention is that mediocrity meets the job. For those lethargic people, this is not the place to go further. But the credence of vocabulary is realized by people who are avid readers. To write, you need to be armed with befitting words to express different hues of emotion for different occasions. 

English is the world’s most liberal language and it adds any local words to its cobweb to become holistic. Personality development guru Anthony Robbins says that ‘with words, we can make our noblest intentions felt and our deepest desires known.’ Those who are sleepy to get on without expanding their vocabulary must read these lines of Robbins “People with an impoverished vocabulary live an impoverished emotional life; people with rich vocabularies have a multi-hued palette of colours with which they  paint their experience, not only for others, but for themselves as well’.

English contains more than a million words. As per estimate by Global Language Monitor on January 1, 2014, the number of words in the English language is : 1,025,109.8. Currently there is a new word created every 98 minutes or about 14.7 words per day. Experts say that the average person’s working vocabulary consists of only between 2000 and 10000 words.

We must cultivate the habit of referring dictionary daily like brushing teeth. It should be one of the non-negotiable activities of the day. Once this habit sinks into your system, it will enrich our speaking and writing abilities.

In computers, tablet computers and smartphones, dictionary apps are replacing the physical voluminous dictionaries. Though this digital substitute is doing wonders, the flavour of finding a new word in physical dictionary is enticing for which we must have a reliable dictionary. Finding difficult words and getting their meanings known should be daily ritual. The best way to remember the meaning for new word is to add some emotional string to that word so that it would embed in permanent memory.   Keeping a notepad exclusively for this purpose would keep not only a record for the new words we gather but facilitate to come back and forth to use those learned words in our daily usage.   Rich vocabulary is like party wear  which is a visual feast to the onlooker!

One of the secrets to influence others is through word-power and once you succeed in this, the world would lay a red carpet to you !


He is a lot to learn for amateur writers like me. Perhaps, he is a brand himself in literary circles. His intensity to live a life of all hues inspires anybody. He is one of the prolific writers of our times with subjects as diverse as God to gossip and religion to sex.

Khushwant Singh is the man who could turn anything into his story wittily with eye-catching narration. I became his instant fan after reading his book “Khushwantnama – The Lessons of My Life. It is a book of par excellence. This simple prose is a minefield of distilled wisdom and   one of the must read books. I equate this book with Marcus Aurelius’s classic : Meditations.

When the news of Khushwant Singh’s death broke on March 20, 2014, I felt an unexplained heaviness in my heart which reflects the bond he made with his writings. What I liked the most in him is his unadulterated honesty and put to pen whatever he feels in his heart.

You need to have tremendous guts the way Khushwant Singh writes. Most of his writings are blended with high dose of humour. Somebody in journalism circles terms his writings as ‘bullshit in art form’. He is an excellent conversationalist. Perhaps that won him more women friends which he equally enjoyed and transpired to the world candidly.

His words of wisdom resonate my mind all times. He is not a dirty man the way he accounts himself. He is like a crystal who can’t hide anything from himself.

He lived a fuller life with all his mental faculties in tact till the last moment. His last wish was also fulfilled : To die peacefully in sleep.

With utmost humility, I bid adieu to this grand old man who knocked out at 99, but taught a lesson to us : Live the life deliberately !