My Power Quote !

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

Saturday, September 27, 2014

MY FIRST LESSON IN HAPPINESS PROJECT


The other day, on a sultry afternoon, I was out to  visit a  book-store in the upmarket of  South Delhi. The purpose was to spend a couple of  hours to keep myself abreast of latest books in the town,  especially in my favorite genre - Self Help, Brain Power, Health/ Fitness, Happiness.

When I entered into that basement book-store, I felt the inside ambience soul-lifting. The fragrance of fresh -print-books was elating. The air-conditioned bookshop did not tire my legs when I snaked through the shelves, sometimes standing  to take a glance of couple of pages of books and some other times bending my back to take a quick look in the bottom racks. For a bibliophile like me, it is like a pilgrimage in the new town which I quite enjoyed.

It is one of the best bookshops I ever found in Delhi with a  tailor-made for book lovers. You instantly find the best-seller list, list of books of Booker Prize winners and Nobel laureates.

I gazed deep into the best sellers in non-fiction category. The book you are seeing in the image is the one I selected to buy.

The Book 'The Happiness Project' by Gretchen Rubin is # 1 New York Times Bestseller in 2009. It is a reprint of 2011 edition. One interesting fact about the book is that the author has spent twelve months test-driving the wisdom of the ages to know first-hand of how to be happier. The cover flap depicts that she found novelty and challenge as powerful sources of happiness.

Much before I saw the Rubin's book, I have already embarked my own journey of happiness in April, 2013 with a dedicated note book on happiness culling out great sayings of wisdom masters of past centuries including the sutras of contemporary masters. 

In this internet era, there is no much danger for copyright violations to cull out perennial wisdom which you find abundant in each culture. The main aphorisms of happiness are timeless and uniform across all cultures and a little inner-exploration gives anybody a hint of what it is. 

I use to read any book from back-end with acknowledgement of writer first. In the process, I read some stuff in the above book which was very interesting. As I flipped through the pages, suddenly my heart-beat stopped for a while when I found pages 125 - 126 of the book terribly torn leaving no hint to manage the contents. Much to my dismay, the succeeding pages 127 -128 also damaged partially leaving no words to describe my agony. 

I could not exchange the book as I wrote down my name with date of purchase.  The title  of the book suggested me not to react wildly. I stood silently to come to terms. I thought what best I could do to get over the situation is to subdue my negative emotions. Soon enough, I pat my shoulder that I should not loose my peace for the thing happened. 

After a while, the solution was seen round the corner. The Zen wisdom permeated my system and I convinced myself that I should not worry for the things which I could do nothing. But I desperately felt the need to vent my feelings , but how ? Suddenly I got a flash of insight. It is my blog where could I pour out my heart.  It is a place where I speak candidly.

Writing these lines gave me the much needed relief. They acted like magic pills to sooth my raging nerves. I find that peace can not be either bought or brought from outside and it is well within me. What I need is only to give a command to my own self with love like a ring master does to a roaring lion in the circus ! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

' MAKE IN INDIA ' - THE CAMPAIGN THAT COULD CHANGE OUR DESTINY

The roaring lion symbolizes the dominance in the wild world. This majestic animal is always a star campaigner since the era of Ashoka.   

The Lion Capital at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India has been adopted as the National Emblem of India on 26th January 1950, the day that India became republic.  We could see  the lion symbol  on our currency notes and coins.

After six decades, again this king of jungle came to limelight.   Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi started an aggressive campaign today (25th Sept, 2014)  by meeting the Captains of Industry and called upon  industrialists both in India and outside to invest in India and manufacture in India so that the fruits would go down the line to poorer sections of society to generate employment thereby they earn better wages and increase their purchasing power to spur the development of India.

The newspapers carried this news widely with  a full page advertisement  with 'Make in India' logo (the photo you are seeing) .   The very idea triggers rousing enthusiasm in the business community.  We are a nation of great sorts.  It is  world's largest democracy.  A great civilization - Indus Valley Civilization flourished here.  We are a country where the Number System was invented.  Zero was invented  here by Aryabhatta.  The world's first university was established  in Takshila in 700 BC.

The campaign of 'Make in India' lead by government is first of its kind with a dedicated website at  http://makeinindia.com.   From these developments, it looks that we embarked a journey which take us to greater heights in the coming days.

When I read about Shri Modi's hungry campaign  to see India as a developed nation, at my personal level, I got a lot of ignition to fine-tune my own abilities.  The goal to make India as a world's manufacturing hub is not a difficult one provided,  we join our hands to work together.  

Shashi Tharoor in his latest article ''We are growing younger; China, others are ageing. Advantage India' says that India is a young nation.  We have 605 million people below the age of 25.  He further says that for the next 40 years, India would remain youthful, dynamic and productive workforce when the rest of the world, including China, is ageing. These words sound like a music to every Indian.  

This is indeed  time for  India to  derive the benefit of this  demographic dividend.  What we need is throw the old mindset and strive hard to realize the dreams of what Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam cherished to  see India as a Developed Nation by 2020.

Before  we impress our Foreign Direct Investors  (FDI), the first task should be to strengthen the personal dreams of all Indians so that those small filaments would knit into  a robust rope to  wield  power  in the guided path of our elders.  

Let the Dreams of all Indians come true in this Noble Mission !   

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MANGALYAAN - THE WORLD'S CHEAPEST MARS MISSION

When the journey you embark is tough and the terrain is rough, teamwork pays dividends.

What the feat our scientific community lead by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) did on 24th September, 2014 is unbelievable and  a history of sorts.

Space science is so daunting  that even accurate calculations some times turn sore and you must weather all conditions so as to achieve mission objectives  in a time bound action plan.

ISRO scientists for the last five decades have worked hard in developing indigenous technologies for sending satellites with  its home-grown talent. The last mission to Moon : Chandrayaan also did well.

Why it is a  significant moment today is because, an inter-planetary mission of this sort involves so much complications,  but Indian scientists did  so well  with almost clock-work precession.

The Mission to Mars is a very ambitious project.  The Red Planet is 4th in the order of planets, next only  to Earth in  the Solar System, in the Milky Way. Mars or Red Planet as we call  is a rusty planet which is small and rocky. The rust in its rocks and soil makes the planet look red. Like Earth, Mars has almost twenty-four hour day, and a pattern of season that resembles to Earth.

The name Mars was given by Romans in honour of their God of War. The ancient Egyptians named the planet 'Her Desher' which means 'Red Planet'.

Mars and Earth are surprisingly similar. A day on the Red Planet lasts 24 hours 37 minutes. More over Mars and Earth rotate at roughly the same speed. The temperature on Mars is also similar to Earth's temperature.

India's  Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has successfully put its  satellite in Martian orbit on 24th Sept., 2014 thereby  joined the elite group of only  3 Agencies  (Soviet Union, United States and Europe)  Not only that  we are  the first country  in the Asia Region  for reaching this covetous position.

The journey of MOM in fact started  on 5th November, 2013 through its trusted workhorse PSLV -C25 and after series of orbit raising  manoeuvres,  it crossed the Earth's Sphere of Influence on 4th December, 2013.

After  covering  an incredible distance of more than 650 million kms  in  a journey spanning 11 months uninterruptedly,  MOM reached its  final destination: Martian Orbit on 24th September, 2014 hassle-free.    The complexity of  mission to Mars is such that out of 51 missions attempted across the world, so far a mere 21 had succeeded.  With a shoe-string budget of Rs.450 crores which the Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed it less than a budget of Hollywood Movie , the mission MOM gained prominence with its ''India'' tag.

Today's success reflects what a teamwork could achieve.   If the same spirit is distilled down the administration, as felt by our Prime Minister, no doubt that India  will show its mark and  lead the world.

This festive moment needs to be celebrated by all of us.

Kudos to all Indian scientific community in achieving this rate feat.

May success embrace ISRO  in all the future missions! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

A TALE OF TWO BABY PIGEONS

The other day before my morning coffee was served, my wife brought a news with her elegant smile. It was about one of the daily visitors to the balcony of 3r floor apartment in South Delhi.

In fact, our day starts with watching a flock of birds that come daily on the roof-top opposite to our home, to eat the grains spread by the bird-lovers of Aadarsh Andha Vidhyalay, a special school-cum-hostel for visually-challenged children which is a stone's throw from our home.

The news was : A pigeon laid two eggs on our sapling- pot which you could see in the photo. I cracked a joke with my wife that our home became the maternity ward for that pigeon which is a symbol of peace. We decided not to disturb the bird till it hatches the eggs. I felt amused by seeing the eggs and hoped to see the baby pigeons in a matter of days. The reason is that I have never seen the process of hatching by pigeons in my life. 

Everything in this world is a marvel. The only prerequisite is, you need a pair of piercing eyes to watch them. When you do so, a story would  be born to share with the world. Getting an idea or thought for a writer is like laying egg and the process of putting to pen is hatching and the 'final story' is offspring.

We carefully guarded the pigeon during the process of hatching of those two eggs as crows tried to eat away. My wife used to give me daily updates on the pigeon during our night dinners and how she maintained wakeful eyes to save the eggs.  

Though for a person of my age (40 plus) seeing of pigeon eggs need not be an attention grabber and most of us may dismiss it as routine, the writer in me wondered to see the very life process of Creator  orchestrating  through eggs.  But the problem with the most of the folks is when you try to narrate them, they don't endorse the same curiosity which may dip your enthusiasm and you refrain from sharing. But the best way to keep your learning curve in tact with age is to submerge into Nature for certain amount of time daily so that you feel connected. It amounts to be 'education'.

The eminent Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishna Murti says that Education is not just to pass examinations, take a degree and a job, get married and settle down, but also to be able to listen to the birds, to see the sky, to see the extraordinary beauty of a tree, and the shape of the hills, and to feel with them, to be really, directly in touch with them. As you grow older, that sense of listening, seeing, unfortunately disappears because you have worries, you want more money, a better car, more children or less children. You become jealous, ambitious, greedy, envious; so you lose the sense of the beauty of the earth.

When it comes to pigeon story, finally, the two eggs were hatched and two very beautiful baby pigeons came out and one of them had already flown out and second one is about to take her wings at any moment. 

Being a father of two children, my heart ached a lot when the first baby pigeon which grew in size in front of me flew out. The caring attitude of mother-pigeon to groom the baby pigeons gave us subtle lessons of how careful we should be in grooming our children. 

I already solidified my heart for second baby pigeon's flight. The pain is similar to a child leaving his/her parents after grown up and settled in life. A tender heart feels that way.

Man being domesticated animal try to connect with everything around him. It happens with everyone and I am not an exception !

Saturday, September 20, 2014

MANDOLIN MAESTRO


Writing gives a solace to an aching heart. It slowly evaporates the trauma bit by bit.

Whenever, any of my near and dear ones or even a celebrity known to me completes his or her earthly sojourn, it reminds   me  that "I am a mortal and one day it will be my turn'.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi rightly said in his interactions with children on Teachers Day (5th September,2014)  that parents should not openly aspire before children what they should become in their lives. What they should do is  to strengthen the children's resolve to do something and in that doing, they become something, like in the case of this brilliant instrumentalist.

This man's full name is my half name: Srinivas. He is special in a sense that he made an instrument's name as his surname. Mandolin Srinivas, the child prodigy who made the Western string-instrument to play Carnatic Music, died yesterday ( 19.9.2014) in Chennai, India, after prolonged illness. He is 45 years,  a year older to me.

My memories of Mandolin Srinivas go back to 1980s when I was in Kaikalur, a small town in Andhra Pradesh, India which is 60 kms away from his birth place : Palakollu ( Palakol). I had seen his first live concert at a temple when he was still a boy of around 13 - 14 years old. When I watched his performance sitting in the first row, my enthusiasm to become something went manifold.  The  meteoric rise  of  Srinivas  to fame as  one of the  best  instrument maestros of Carnatic Music is a natural phenomenon.   

Honoured with Padma Shri in 1998, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2010, the name of Srinivas has spread to all corners of the world.  Srinivas personifies the consummate skills of instrumental music which he crafted to perfection.  His death reminds me the limitations of mortals who come to this planet and stay for  a while  and pack off to unknown destinations. What remains long after these departed souls is their name and fame.

Condoling his demise, Oscar-winning musician A R Rahman said, “Emotionally shaken to hear of Carnatic shining star Mandolin Shrinivasji’s demise… May God bless him with happiness in the next world.” Tabla maestro Zakir Hussain said he considered the young musician as his brother.

I don't have brothers born with me. That's why, I treat persons of my  age-group as my foster-brothers and in that instant bonding, I feel connected emotionally.  The news of  his sudden death hit me very hard but it is life where you have to endure everything.  Gone were the days of writing a journal to gather your thoughts and the new path the technology opened is to BLOG which  instantly shares with peers who echo to your sentiments.

May his soul rests  in peace !

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

MULTIPLE ROLES FOR MOBILE PHONE !


Recently, I bought a mobile phone which is a gadget with cutting edge technology.    Myself being technology enthusiast always keeps updated on the technology front to make  my life exuberant in this modern age.

A smartphone these days is  one stop solution for all your entertainment, edutainment and personal care needs.  One needs to gauge on daily basis whether or not he or she is fully experiencing all its features.  When you carry it with you as an extended organ, you need to utilize the phone fully other than a talking-piece.

Though, excessive usage turns out to be an addiction, you need to tread a middle path by exploring all features so that your day is hassle free  and nothing is hindered and everything goes smoothly on-the-go.

I find the smartphone should be utilized on following aspects on  daily basis:

a) E-book reader :  To read your interesting stuff on the go.
b) FM Radio :  Listen  latest music / news
c) All India Radio App :  To listen news in your  regional language.
d) Videos:  To watch whenever you find leisure.
e) MP3 :  To listen your favourite songs or audio  
f) Internet :  Browse internet / Live news/ streaming videos with 3 G data packages.
g)Google's Hangout app :  For video calling.
h) 'Note' app : For ''To-Do'' lists.
i)  Pedometer app : To take care of your fitness needs.
j)  GK app :   To update with latest happenings/ current affairs.
k) Games: To steam up you with energy and enthusiasm.
l)  Camera :  to take shots of your interest and share instantly with your peers in Twitter & Facebook.
m) Voice Recorder : To record voice / interesting talk/ song of your child.
n)  Wikipedia app, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter - the essential toolkit to have a seamless connectivity with near & dear.
o) Last but not least, use 'Countdown Timer' in Clock for accomplishing tasks which you need to complete in time.

Hope my above list makes holistic !

IS IT A CHEATERS WORLD ?


The more people rationalize cheating, the more it becomes a culture of dishonesty.  And that can become a vicious, downward cycle.
                                             -  Stephen Covey

The other day, I went to India's biggest Electronic / IT market hub called Nehru Place Market which is just 2 Metro stations away from my residence in South Delhi. Known for its notoriety in price juggling depending upon the awareness of customers, fairness seems to be a dear commodity here.

Reputed as visitors paradise for all latest gizmos, gadgets, Nehru Place Market in Delhi turns you into tech junkie instantly.   One website depicting the market says that you should be careful enough before you procure the items by inspecting the essential factors like model, genuineness, specifications and warranty.

Mine, an ordinary mortal but having seen the better part of India, knows better the gimmicks being played by malleable shoppers, traders, roadside touts. My purpose to visit the market that late evening was to affix the screen-guard to my newly bought mobile phone with which the screen-guard came free of cost.   As I can't affix on my own without bubbles on the surface, I thought to get it done from  expert hand.

When  I entered  the market, at the entrance itself, I found a guy sitting with a small table on the raised  platform doing such works.  When I approached him, he with a half-smiling face readily heeded to my request and did the job.  By the time, it was going to be completed,   his friend or a colleague, took a glance of my new mobile and said that they had mobile covers for such new model of phones.   He ran into nearby shop and brought back a couple of mobile covers mentioning the price as Rs. 800/-    He tried to make a deal with me that he could give it to me for Rs. 650/-  I was not convinced of price he offered nor I made up my mind to buy.    

Meanwhile, when I asked how much should I give for affixing the screen guard, the man retorted to give Rs.100/-    When I raised my eye-brows  with a mix of anger and shock, he immediately changed the gears and said that I could give him  whatever I felt appropriate.  I left the scene by giving Rs.20/- which I found adequate.   Later on, I bought the mobile cover of same look and specification at Rs. 250/- only.

The moral of the story is, you need to have bargaining talents for a market where the prices fluctuate not according to demand and supply but tailor-made to your personality.  While I was returning home, I was thinking deeply why they do so.  Is it greed overflowing to earn those needy bucks by hook or crook ?  I find the answer that this behavioural deficiency is due to upbringing.  

Abraham Lincoln's famous letter to his son's teacher said that : 'teach him if you can that 10 cents earned is of far more value than a dollar found.  It is far more honorable to fail  than to cheat'

Cheating is done by only a weak soul.  Be honest and one could never get inner peace by making empires simply by cheating others.  A feeling of mistrust agitate his or her mind always. More than that, it would definitely bounce back and that person will be at receiving end at a later date and time.  

The beauty is, our heart constantly guides us what we should do next moment.   Suppressing its voice would land you up in great troubles!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

BE PART OF ELECTORAL PROCESS !

To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.
                                                           Louis L'Amour

In the 2013 elections conducted for State Assembly of National Capital Territory of Delhi, the percentage of votes polled is 65.63 %.

It means, around 34 % of Delhi's eligible voters did not cast their votes which is a disturbing trend and needs to set right with responsible behaviour.

The  youth of this nation needs to lead the show and actively participate in the democratic process to elect a government, be it a local/ State or Central Government for which they need to have voter identity cards to get their names registered in the electoral rolls.

Now technology has changed all the game rules and you could instantly get a voter card with few mouse clicks online and a representative would visit your home and collect some documents like proof of your age and address proof.  After some days, the voter card gets delivered by speed post.

Delhites, please get enrolled online from Delhi Chief Electoral Officer's website and pledge to participate in next elections / government formation which is your right  and also the constitutional responsibility.

I applied online for my voter card before advising you to do so.

Click here : http://ceodelhi.gov.in/Home.aspx

Jai Hind 

Sunday, September 07, 2014

STENOGRAPHER : THE SPECIES UNDER THREAT OF EXTINCTION

 The strokes you write hasten your hand. The fingers ride with speaker’s words. It is a perfect symphony of hand and head, an art  which you could master and  chisel  to perfection.

There was a time when the profession of stenographer is considered as middle-class’s breadwinner. It’s charm in 90’s in India is something you can’t find  in this Information Age.  The government sector is still the main  stakeholder of stenographers. But no doubt, it is becoming a dying profession and I doubt its survival in the coming decades as technology replaces maximum human labour.

If you go back to history of stenography, it is believed that the word stenography is derived from the Greek words steno (narrow) and graphein (the art of writing). It is also known as tachygraphy (quick writing), brachygraphy (short writing), zeiglographia and semography.  We find that   hundreds of shorthand writing systems and scripts have been experimented and used for more than 2000 years.

In good olden days, Notarii (reporters) write the speeches of roman senators. The famous writer George Bernard Shaw wrote all his literature in shorthand. Famous novelist Charles Dickens was also a shorthand writer. It is said that Shakespeare’s plays were preserved by means of shorthand. In Mughal Era, Qatibs (reporters) were appointed to take down Shahi Farmaan (orders of the king). These  historical traces indicate the prevalence of shorthand since time immemorial.

Shorthand is no doubt a dry subject. My own impression being a stenographer is : laborious; uninteresting. The primary qualification to win over this art is, patience.  For initial 2 -3 months, you can’t generate interest to go forward and you have to blindly follow the exercises with daily practice. Whether somebody makes it as a profession or not but it is an art that everybody should learn which immensely helps in note-taking, especially by students in their higher studies.

The stenographer earns his/ her reputation being exponent in this art. Charles Dickens, the famous novelist says that ‘’learning of Shorthand is equal to learning of 6 new languages’’. George Bernard Shaw felt that  learning of shorthand makes him independent of typewriters, of  Dictaphones and of the immediate present of a Secretary. The Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi says that Shorthand writers-cum-reporters hold the prestige of public men in the hollow of their palms….

The most prominent stenographic systems is Pitman Shorthand. Sir Isaac Pitman published his stenographic work : soundhand in 1837, later called phonography or Pitman’s Shorthand based on the phonetic structure of the ancient Indian language Sanskrit. History says that till the advent of Pitman phonetic system, nearly four-hundred plus systems of English Shorthand had been experimented in England alone.

There are other stenographic systems in the world as well, like Gregg System which is based on the longhand letters and became popular in United States. There was also a Sloan – Duployan System which is an adoption of French system into English.

The heroic figure for stenographers  in contemporary times is Dr. Gopal Datt Bisht, the first ever Ph.D in stenography in the world, and the Guinness Record holder for the highest shorthand writing speed of 250 words per minute.

There were also proud moments for stenographers in the annals of history. One of the stalwarts who did yeomen service is J.J. Goodwin (1870 – 1898). This British stenographer was initially assigned the task of noting down the lectures of Swami Vivekananda during his first tour to United States.

The credit for transcribing  large portions of Swamiji’s literature goes to Goodwin who painstakingly translated the Master’s  extempore words into inspiring stuff. Within a short span, Goodwin became Vivekananda’s close friend and discipline. The amount of love and respect Goodwin earned from Vivekananda is indescribable. When Goodwin died at a very young age Vivekananda wrote that : The debt of gratitude I owe him can never be repaid, and those who think they have been helped by any thought of mine ought to know that almost every word of it was published through the untiring and most unselfish exertions of Mr. Goodwin. In him I have lost a friend true as steel, a disciple of never-failing devotion, a worker who knew not what tiring was, and the world is less rich by one of those few who are born, as it were, to live only for others.

The seeds of interest to learn shorthand were first sprouted in me by my father who is a qualified stenographer.  He impressed upon me that the proficiency of English   is linked to learning shorthand. He  ignited a zeal in me which has still not evaporated  and helping to hone my language skills.

 Automation, new technological  aids and smartphones completely changed the surface of present day office set-up especially in private sector.  Digital devices replace humans as personal assistants and  this indicates  a danger of extinction of this specie called Stenographer,  sooner than expected !
 
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