My Power Quote !

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

MOBILE MANIA


 Wherever you go, the scene is familiar. Be it in a crowded Metro Rail, City bus, park, cab or in auto rickshaw, you will be sick of seeing people hooked to their digital mates all the day to munch their favorite bits of information. The problem is more predominant in youth of both genders.

No doubt that with increasing tools of communication, we become a more connected society. But we are seriously in danger of losing the connection with our own selves.  The mobile phone clamours for immediate attention at every moment like a new born infant. From passion to obsession and then to addiction, it leaves its own scars on our emotional life.

We are a strong nation of 900 million mobile phone users, the world’s second largest after China. Like population explosion, India equally ranks second after China in mobile phone usage. When technology reaches at their doorsteps for an affordable price tag , people don’t hesitate to spend on gizmos to be more empowered and entertained.

The recent survey of Ericsson Consumer Labs (April – June 2014) in India brought some chilling facts to light. According to survey, Indians outpace the US in smartphone usage – 198 minutes compare to Americans who spend on an average 132 minutes daily. It also points out that 60% of Indians check their smartphones on an average 77 times per day , and 26% doing it over 100 times. Health experts say that it is a disturbing trend that may severely compromise their mental health.

Mobile phone becomes an extended organ of  body, cursing with continuous partial attention. It has unrestrained access whether it is in bed room or wash room. You can’t deny that it could pay your utility bills, make your travel tickets, do E-shopping in the cool comforts of home. 

But over-dependence make us blunt and robotic . When the mobile phone usage crosses a threshold limit, it spirals into an obsession and experts say that this compulsive behavior lights up the same pleasure centers in the brain in almost the same way as drug or alcohol dependencies. A pile of new deceases already added to the medical science : Nomophobia – the fear of having no mobile phones, Textaphrenia - thinking that a message has arrived when it has not, and Textiety – panic attacks over not receiving or sending text messages.

Mobile phone almost put us in a fix. It becomes a serious attention grabber in all waking hours. It is a culprit in one of the fatal accidents occurred on 24th July, 2014 in Masaipet in Medak District of Telangana (erstwhile Andhra Pradesh) perishing the lives of 14 small school going children in a school bus. The cause of accident is purportedly due to driver’s not paying attention as he was speaking on his mobile phone with earphones, while crossing the unmanned railway crossing when it rammed the moving passenger train.

It is time to learn quick lessons and recast our relationship with this gadget to bring sanity back into our lives. In fact the solution centers more at individual level with these easy to follow steps :


a) Don’t keep mobile phone as background activity of whatever you are doing.
b)  During focused work hours, avoid phone chats/ text messaging.
c)  Don’t login internet continuously which itches to search something which you need not require.

d) Don’t  listen music with earphones continuously as it may damage your ears.

e) Don’t speak on mobile phone while driving as it is not a passive activity. If required, stop the vehicle and speak liberally.

f) Don’t watch news on mobile phone before you retire for the day.

g) Don’t check mails/ social networking sites soon after you wake up in the morning.

h) When you are on journey or commute, don’t keep the mobile phone on hand. Shove it into  pocket or bag to enjoy the journey. 

i) Gauge constantly the amount of time you spend on gadgets. The very idea would put you in moderation.

j) Never allow the idea of your gadget superior to you.

Not sensing the danger looming in front of  you  may cost dearly and snatch away the simple pleasures of life which don’t come for a price.

Youth, are you listening ? 

Friday, August 29, 2014

BIJENDER's BENEVOLENCE

 In the present day syndrome of ' I don't have time' ,  some very ordinary folks teach us the lessons of compassion, benevolence, kindness to stay our foot firmly on the ground.  This needs to be constantly reminded as our lives are proliferating with uncertainty in the constant flux of cause and effect of our acts.

One such ordinary man appearing in the photo is : Bijender Singh of  Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh.  He proudly calls himself 'Rajput'.  Donning a spotless white safari dress, at first look you could presume him as a chauffeur to a wealthy man's high-end car.  But he is a proud owner-cum-driver of a three-wheeler Auto Rickshaw and earns a handsome income on the bustling Delhi roads.

Bijender is different in many ways from his peers.  He doesn't drink which ruins the lives of many  labour-class  in India.   He treats his vehicle as his child and keeps it always neat and tidy.

The other day when I boarded his auto, I felt elated of his three-wheel queen glowing as if it is bought  a month back or two. My curiosity asked him how old was his vehicle.  His reply was crisp.  ''Two years old sir''.  Elaborating how best he manages his time, he says that whenever he finds time in between his sorties, he halts his vehicle at some place and rubs off dust so that he could provide the best travel experience to the passengers sitting in his auto. He even throws a challenge to you to show dust even in the  remotest part of the vehicle which reflects his confidence and dedication to his profession.

When I spun  him enough into conversation wheel, he opened up further of how he saved the life of a young man of same profession who fell prey to Ganja and alcohol and collapsed his health.  When all his neighbours chose not to rescue the near-dying young man, he took him to a private hospital and administered treatment by spending  Rs.10,000/- from his pocket despite serious protest from his wife.

 By the time, I  got into  his auto, he was coming back from the hospital and the young man  was slowly recovering from the life-threatening condition.  Bijener Singh is a satisfied-soul after  the young man with folded-hands expressed his gratitude and promised to pay back the amount expended for his treatment.

He gave me enough sermon  that all should come forward to help the  needy irrespective of their social status.  He gave another instance  of how he adopted an orphan boy 15 years back when the boy with  less than 4 years old  was deserted on the road  and a rickshaw puller gave  him to take care of.   After approaching Police and failing to get response from the TV ad given, he took the boy to his home and became his guardian. Now that boy became a young man of 18 years old and earning and giving him Rs.8000/- monthly.

He says that he will do his best to settle these two men who came into his life.   By the time, he wraps up his story, my home came and I  pulled out Rs.100/- note from my wallet  and asked him  not to return the balance Rs.50/-  and use that money to provide a tumbler of juice on my behalf to that hospitalized young man.  I felt exuberant when Bijender's beaming face acknowledged my gesture.

I climbed steps heading to my third floor home, ruminating the words of Dalai Lama : Show kindness if possible; And I think it is always possible !  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

DAILY ACTS OF KINDNESS

 A recent post in Facebook  depicts  the fate of  Modern Man :  Touched Moon and neighbors unknown; High IQ but with less Emotions; and Good Knowledge and Less Wisdom.  

Is it the kind of progress we want to make ?

The rat race of  our lives  completely robs of our sensitivity and serenity of mind.  There is no time to feel the emotions nor  time for introspection / reflection of actions done,  but only accounting of finances  before we retire to sleep.  I doubt that majority  of  us are really leading rich emotional lives !

When I read scriptures or any other spiritual text or great  philosophy books,  I find the man should have two essential qualities with him. :  Compassion and Gratitude.  When this twin qualities become our second skin,  the journey of life becomes fulfilled.

When  I grow up  and started earning  in 1990s,  my task on pay -day is to go to bus stand or railway station  to search for  needy and distressing people to  extend my assistance in the form of  some money  to express my gratitude to  Almighty who  has not given me that role to play.  Those acts of kindness give me serenity   and I go back home happily feeling pride of my actions.

My heart naturally tilts towards poor, especially who do physical labour and sweat out to earn those needy bucks like daily labourer or rickshaw pullers who toil hard to  make both ends meet.   Whenever, I use their services, I do give some extra money over and above the bargained rate.  My heart inundates with a feeling of achievement when I see smile on their faces.

Whenever greed overpowers me, I visit places of   less-privileged who take alms at temples, busy market hubs etc.   Recently to grab some experience on such count,  I visited Old Delhi - Chandini Chowk.   The photo appearing in the post is taken  from my mobile phone.   When I see him, my heart melted with compassion.   I could imagine how much physical pain he must have been suffering.   

When I saw that physically distressing beggarly man, I remind myself of a Persian Proverb:  I weep because I have no shoe, until I saw a man who has no feet.   When this proverb resonates my mind,  I feel  blessed of my own condition.  

 Another incident that opened  my eyes is : One day when I was strolling in park nearby my home, suddenly, it came to my senses that I crushed the crawling insects on my  path.  Seeing  and counting the dead  insects, their staggering number ached my heart deeply. From that moment onwards, I keep  my eyes wide open  to allow my steps carefully to save those crawling creatures which are my flowers of worship to Almighty.

 Till  the man reaches forty, hormones hijack  him.  He starts  learning  to live life only once he crosses  that threshold age. The reason is that he gets the feeling of elapsing time. To show compassion and live with gratitude are not the qualities that he needs to borrow from books or others.  In fact, it is his  innate nature. The more he cultivates, the better man he becomes!.

Monday, August 18, 2014

WILLIAM PENN - A MINEFIELD OF QUOTES

 Harvard Classics, originally known as Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf, is a 51-volume anthology of classic works from world literature, compiled and edited by Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot and first published in 1909.

Eliot stated in speeches that the elements of a liberal education could be obtained by spending 15 minutes a day reading from the collection.

One such book which contains a minefield of quotes is Volume 1: The author is : William Penn   ( 14 October 1644 to 30 July 1718). As I was not familiar with the author in American Literature, I searched for clue from wikipedia to know more about him. The online encyclopedia reverted that he was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher and founder of the Pennsylvania, a U.S. State located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic region.

Like a wine, literature also when it becomes older gives more excitement and elation beyond the boundaries of sobriety. Penn's book "Fruits of Solitude" is a pithy comment upon human life. This literary giant has commented on all aspects of life and he is a man of permeating intelligence.

When you read his quotes, it reflects the amount of moderation required while handling our relationships with the outer world. Some of his quotes are enchanting and addictive which raise our awareness as the world we are living is shrouded with so many mysteries and the very mystery starts with our own bodies to pervading universe whose boundaries are unknown or you could say Unknowable.

Here are his best quotes to lift your soul:

- It were Happy if we studied Nature more in natural Things, and acted according to Nature, whose rules are few, plain and most reasonable.

- All Excess is ill : But Drunkenness is of the worst Sort. It spoils Health, dismounts the Mind, and unmans Men.

- If Love be not thy chiefest Motive, thou wilt soon grow weary of a Married State, and stray from thy Promise, to search out thy Pleasures in forbidden Places.

- There can be no Friendship where there is no Freedom. Friendship loves a free Air, and will not be penned up in straight and narrow Enclosures. It will speak freely, and act so too; and take nothing ill where no ill is meant; nay, where it is, it will easily forgive, and forget too, upon small Acknowledgements.

- Friends are true Twins in Soul; they Sympathize in every thing, and have the Love and Aversion.

- Between a Man and his Wife nothing ought to rule but Love. Authority is for Children and Servants; yet not without Sweetness.

- A true Friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a Friend unchangeably.

- Avoid Company where it is not profitable or necessary; and in those Occasions speak little and last.

- Never assent merely to please others.

- Knowledge is the Treasure, but Judgement the Treasure of a Wise Man.

- He that has more Knowledge than Judgement, is made for another Man's use more than his own.

- The Jealous are Troublesome to others, but a Torment to themselves.

A great writer does not descend from Heaven. He is groomed here. He weaves daily thoughts into an interesting  prose order thereby etch our hearts like WILLIAM PENN !

Friday, August 15, 2014

SHED THE OLD MINDSET AND PLEDGE FOR A NEW VIBRANT INDIA !

It was a glossy morning and I woke up a little early with high spirits to do something to improve my craft :Writing.  Out for a usual morning walk to get energized with the relaxed air hovering around the small park nearby my home.   My mind was searching for triggers to write something on the day - 15th August, 2014 :  India's Independence Day.

Suddenly my mobile phone beeped with a flash signalling receipt of an SMS.    Before I read it, the header hinted  that it is from PM Modi.  The Message : Greetings on Independence Day ! Let us pledge to do good deeds that benefit our Nation, fellow Indians & enhance the pride & prestige of our Tricolour.   Hope, like me, millions of other mobile users might have also  got the same SMS.   

When I read the SMS,  an unadulterated current of patriotism flowed into my system.   Instantly, I felt proud being Indian.   Suddenly, the park in which I was strolling appeared a little more pleasant and a story  weaved in my mind.

I feel that everybody should constantly try to bring out the best in them and when we demand much more than anybody ever expect from us, it would pull out all  the stops of our limitations.  

As the man is a domesticated animal,  a pruned behavior for larger good of group or society helps us to evolve as more enlightened being.

The public places are a harrowing experience when it comes to sanitation. Every day most of us silently endure this ordeal.    When this wave of thought gripped me, suddenly an empty polyethylene bag drifted from my legs.   When I gazed through the road, countless such polyethylene bags are liberally taking their flight on different sides posing serious threat  of choked  drainages especially  in this rainy season.

No doubt that Government agencies are doing their best to arrest the trend, but without  active public participation, nothing tangible could be done.   Small traders are serious violators for using this non-bio-degradable material and I am a hapless  victim in the vicious circle of trader - user.   It is a kind of behavioral deficiency by not thinking seriously.    Simply not this.  There is a laundry list of 'things we should have strived better ' .


Take the case of cleanliness of public toilets.   Except toilets in airports, in almost all other places, the plight can not be described in words.   Majority of educated/ working class don't bother to pour water when they use public toilets which I have seen on countless occasions.  This tendency needs an immediate introspection at individual level. It is diabolical to act in one way when somebody is watching and acting in some other way when not being monitored.   

We got  independence   from British after great struggle and  sacrifices of  countless people.  As a nation, we must prosper.  In order to do that the public conduct should be of highest order.  Inner integrity should  navigate our  conduct.   Sam Pitroda says that the Nation Building is an arduous task.   To be effective in that process,  the first thing should be to constantly remind ourselves of  responsibilities instead of clamoring for rights.

A reformist approach in personal conduct helps the administrators to maintain public order, more so public cleanliness which needs immediate attention.    Let us take a pledge on this occasion  on two counts :  (a) say 'No' to bio-non-degradable materials and (b) maintain sanitation in  public places with a little  behavioral change for a healthy society . Jai Hind !!  

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

SKY IS THE LIMIT FOR THIS DIFFERENTLY ABLED


Everybody's life is an interesting piece of narrative.  The only thing required is, a better story-teller to listen passionately.

If the story is dry without the blend of anecdotes, affirmations  of wisdom masters, nobody takes pains to lend an attentive ear.

I am a nascent writer, but a resolve to improve my craft.   With this mindset I lend my ear to whatever the tips I get from whomsoever.

One important lesson I learnt recently to qualify as a writer is to be patient enough to listen to the others view point.   You need to look into talker's face to sense the emotional cues.  The lessons of empathy could be grasped once you make an eye contact with the person talking to you.  It is what Daniel Goleman calls Emotional Intelligence which is much more essential than the traditional I.Q.

Once you are opened up on these lines, the world appears as a big playground. to churn your stories.  You must have energy enough to record these experiences in a better prose order.

The craft of writing  is a painstaking job.  The writer  needs tremendous mental energies, high degree of solitude,  passionate eyes to catch the episodes of societal transactions.   A part of your mind needs to grab information and other part must analyse and carve out the insights.  The best prose  occurs only when the writer's personal insights are added contextually to the subject.  The lesson I learnt is strive to write better.  It must be a daily ritual.

We can't say how a story unfolds.  Sometimes, a banner in a newspaper may trigger to write.  Some other times, the courageous act of a commoner and some other times, the efforts of a physically challenged person to win over life's constant battles.  These are really the unsung heroes who need to be brought to limelight to draw inspiration for what they have achieved.

The man climbing   here on the electric pole is unusual in one sense.  Despite having only one limb, he is not lagging behind in competing for the post of Junior Lineman Electric like normal person.  Annom Reddy Lova Reddy of Visakhapatnam District of Andhra Pradesh came out with flying colours in the test, ahead of other competitors.

Few people will have  guts like  Reddy.  He belonged to Kandipudi village in Paikarao pet Mandal of Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh.  With his achievement, Lova Reddy became a overnight celebrity as he was captioned in a prominent Telugu Daily on 3rd August, 2014.  His story should be an eye-opener for people with sloth and blame the world for their mediocrity.

The world is replete with examples of such physically challenged persons who have achieved more than what a normal man could do.

Sudha Chandran is an ordinary girl until her leg was removed by amputation when she met with an accident.  But that did not deter her from achieving her goal of becoming bharatnatyam dancer.  The rest is history.  People now know her as an accomplished Bharatnatyam dancer, film and television actor.  Her film career started with a fiery note in 1984 (after accident  and replacing with Jaipur leg)  with Telugu film "Mayuri'' which was later re-made in Hindi.

Those with disability,  whether at birth or  occurred later on , should  not feel sorry  but draw inspiration from those already achieved despite so many odds.  Take the case of celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking who is strewn with Motor Neuron disease but his mental abilities remain intact.  Another tall personality is celebrated American writer Helen Keller who blossomed into creative writing, despite blind and deaf.  The famous English Author John Milton who become blind at the age of 43 went on to create his most famous epic, Paradise Lost.

The very perception of disability has changed over the years.  Now, nowhere it is written ''disabled or handicapped'.   It is replaced with ''Differently Abled''  which is apt and empowering to the affected person and remind of his/her other strengths to achieve more.

Respecting human potential is divine law and when we see such differently abled people who hit headlines, it conveys a message : Achieve something worthy in life !
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