For me the year started on the Art of Living advanced course in Bangalore Ashram. I was in silence and Guru Pooja was going on right at 00:00 of 1st Jan 2008. Previously, I used to jump, dance, make noise, hug friends but this year, I was in complete silence, even the hug was quiet; no halla-gulla, no dance, no singing, and still blissful from inside.
That was my first advanced course, so I was very much curious about it. Being in the silence for so long was a different experience. I could not believe that I too can be in silence. I still remember the night when I came to know that I will be coming out of silence the next afternoon and how disappointed I was. I thought, why so early? Can I not extend my silence little more? Well, He heard my prayer and blessed me with two more advanced courses this year. People who know me still laugh at the thought that I can be in silence but the fact is, silence gives me that chance to be with myself, at least for 2-3 days where I am not a student, not a son, not a brother, not a friend. Basically, I am nothing. During the first advanced course, I also started my journey to the question, Who am I and Why am I here for?
I also listened to the Aashtavakra Geeta. The commentary by Guruji on Aashtavakra Geeta, which continued for 34 days, one VCD per day. That answered many questions about life and lot of the ideas and pre-concepts about life got some direction. As I was listening for the first time, I could not sip in all the knowledge but hope to digest more in the future.
Apart from spirituality, the year went quite happily. I got promoted in the family and now no more the youngest person in the family. Chutki is now the center of our family. Academically the year was so-so. The standard question of "Ph D कब ख़तम कर रहा है?" was answered simply by दुबारा मत पूछाना ! (Don't ask me again!).
The Mumbai terror attack was a big blow for the entire nation. I was glued to the TV for the entire duration. I just stopped working those days. I could not even move away from the TV. I seriously started thinking on how can we contribute for the nation. We need good people over there in the government. Some gmail chat status said, "We need to worry for people who came by BOAT but we need to worry more about people who came by VOTE". Just changing the CM/Dy-CM, Home Minister is not going to work. We need to strengthen our base so that any building that is build over it is strong enough to sustain any attack. One of the TV channel reporter said "Even the rich were not spared this time!" and I had no option but to wonder how people/reporters think in INDIA. Although the blood is RED, it is still labeled as poor, middle class, and rich. Probably it was the rich class that was shaken more this time as they realized that they too are no more safe here. Previously, when the attacks were in the local train, bus stops, markets, the rich people used to say that they are far away from all these places. They are safe, but that was proved wrong this time. And hence they were also seen on the road, voicing their concerns. And being rich, their voice was definitely louder and is good for INDIA.
In all, I could see myself getting matured. The rise was steep as compared to previous 2-3 years. I could see more confidence in what ever I was saying and I was able to make stronger comments, when ever needed. It is said, the most satisfying thing in life is knowing that you are improving day by day and I could experience it.
Some 2008 moments best expressed via photos:
My Rangoli @Diwali: I was really disturbed by the Marathi and Non-Marathi movement in Maharashtra and particularly in Mumbai. I have always been surrounded by friends from all over INDIA, from my collage days. So its difficult for me to differentiation people like that. So, the rangoli was my expression of the same.
A prayer for all in 2009: This is the message I wrote in front on Trident. Let all people be happy and let peace prevail all over.
Face painting competition in Hostel 12. Painter: Ayush. We won the first prize :).
This photo finds a place here because there are very few occasions when I will be looking so smart. Tend to be with chalta hai attitude in terms of my dressing sense.
This is real me, Ghochu! (30th Dec. 2008)
Bye Bye 2008 and WELCOME 2009. Happy New Year !
Jai Guru Dev!
As I kept my gmail chat status as "Marry X'mas", I was pinged by many friends asking about the status. Well, it served my purpose, because the whole intension was to attract that extra attention from my friends, who see me online but some how think that they will chat with me some time later, may be tomorrow when they will have time, or I will not be busy, or some thing like that. I also think that way many time. So, gave an opportunity to break that ice. And, I succeeded in my intension. Got to talk with many friends. I am naughty sometimes and I continue to be, to keep myself happy.
Other than that, it was a wonderful Christmas day for me. The Santa was walking with me through out the evening. I had few small-small desires and I could see every desire getting fulfilled. In the afternoon I had expressed my desire to attend a Satang and dance and in the evening, there I was, in a Satsang, singing and dancing in full swing, that too on my favorite devotional song. Also had egg-less plum cake, which I got after searching a lot. At one point of time I had given up the chance that I will egg-less plum cake as it was not available in the shops I checked. Later in the night, I had a desire to have the sweet in the mess, but some how got late and hence it was finished at the counter. I thought for a moment and decided to let it go. I was already happy to see that most of my wishes had come true and hence I can forgot sweet that day. Later, my friend gave me his sweet as he had reduced sweet consumption. What more can I ask for? On the dinner table I even got comments on why I was smiling so much. Well, thats all the Art of Living effect. Can't help smiling, what ever may happen and with Santa with you, the smile blossoms.
In our day to day life also, Santa is always walking with us. But we just are not aware of it. The moment we learn to appreciate every good thing happening in our life, miracles start happening. But what we mostly remember are the things which did not worked well for us. So, a reversal in the filtering process, of what to remember and what not to, can bring an massive change in our lives.
So, with Santa walking with us, why do we need to wait for that Christmas day? Every day is Christmas, and can bring celebrations in our lives.
Santa is within us. Just start experiencing it.
First, I would listen. Why had he acted in that cruel way? I would try to understand all of the suffering that had led him to violence. It might not be easy to listen in that way, so I would have to remain calm and lucid. I would need several friends with me, who are strong in the practice of deep listening, listening without reacting, without judging and blaming. In this way, an atmosphere of support would be created for this person and those connected so that they could share completely, trust that they are really being heard.
After listening for some time, we might need to take a break to allow what has been said to enter into our consciousness. Only when we felt calm and lucid would we respond in such a way to help them discover their own misunderstandings so that they will stop violent acts of their own will...
When we react out of fear and hatred, we do not yet have a deep understanding of the situation. Our action will only be a very quick and superficial way of responding to the situation and not much true benefit and healing will occur. Yet if we wait and follow the process of calming our anger, looking deeply into the situation, and listening with great will to understand the roots of suffering that are the cause of the violent actions, only then will we have sufficient insight to respond in such a way that healing and reconciliation can be realised for everyone involved.
In South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has made attempts to realise this. All the parties involved in violence and injustice agreed to listen to each other in a calm and supportive environment, to look together deeply at the roots of violent acts and to find agreeable arrangements to respond to the situations. The presence of strong spiritual leaders is very helpful to support and maintain such an environment.
What is the "right action" to take with regard to responding to terrorist attacks?
All violence is injustice. The fire of hatred and violence cannot be extinguished by adding more hatred and violence to the fire. The only antidote to violence is compassion. Compassion is made of understanding. To understand, we must find paths of communication so that we can listen to those who desperately are calling out for our underst...
There are people who want one thing only: revenge. The Buddha said that by using hatred to answer hatred, there will only be an escalation of hatred. But if we use compassion to embrace those who have harmed us, it will greatly diffuse the bomb in our hearts and in theirs...
We have to find a way to stop violence, of course. If need be, we have to put the men responsible in prison. But the important thing is to look deeply and ask, "Why did that happen? What responsibility do we have in that happening? "Maybe they misunderstood us. But what has made them misunderstand us so much to make them hate so much?
The method of the Buddha is to look deeply to see the source of suffering; the source of violence. If we have violence within ourselves, any action can make that violence explode. This energy of hatred and violence can be very great and when we see that in the other person then we feel sorry for them. When we feel sorry for them, the drop of compassion is born in our hearts and we feel so much happier and so much more at peace within ourselves. That (empathy) produces the nectar of compassion within ourselves...
When there is an attack on society and we lose our loved ones, it causes a lot of sorrow and fear. If we keep reeling in sorrow, fear and anger, We need to come together then life moves on the path of destruction.
But if we want to channelise this energy and prepare to face this war bravely, we need to first calm the mind and come to a state of equanimity.
We need to become sam-darshi or one whose vision is equanimous. Today, we are all angry with the politicians or with our system. Our police lack the necessary tools... The whole of Mumbai seems angry. In a way, we have woken up. We are no longer ready to take the 'chalta hai' attitude. For so many years India has seen terrorist attacks in different places, for the first time, the entire community, especially the youth, have woken up...
How to make our system stronger?
Firstly, we need to come together... We need social leaders who are satya-darshi or truthful, sam-darshi or equanimous, and door-darshi or far-sighted. So let's also resolve to first examine the qualifications of those whom we elect. We need to protect our country from those who manipulate issues for their personal gains and lead by playing vote-bank politics.
Secondly, we must resolve not to act out of anger, but instead channelise our dynamic energy for the common good; to expose all those who are supporting violence, no matter what religion they belong to; to get rid of the mentality which asks us to protect people from our own religion, or community, even if they are doing wrong. This is very important.
Three things need to be done today: Stringent laws should be in place and the hands of the police have to be strengthened. Second, intelligence agencies and the police should be well-equipped and third, politicians should allow them to take necessary steps independently.
We consider the entire world ours... We might have different religions, communities, languages and cultures, but underneath all this diversity, every Indian is One. We are proponents of peace, but we are also from the land of Guru Gobind Singh. Today, we need Sant-sipahis or soldier-saints. Every one of us needs to be a peace soldier...
Peace does not mean inaction. We want a revolution, but a peaceful one. Mahatma Gandhi advocated peace, but he did not just sit back and allow injustice. Being in peace, he took action. The essence of the Bhagavad Gita is this ^ to fight with equanimity. Today, we are again seeing a dharma yuddha a battle for righteousness...
Whenever i visited Israel, i have been told by Jewish leaders that India is the only nation in the world where a Jew has never been attacked. India is known for its tolerance and peace... We shall not let the terror attacks in Mumbai sag our spirits. We shall overcome. And in doing so we will not let go of our culture and nature of peace and non-violence.
I would like to say to all the families who have lost their dear ones that the soul never dies. Know that once you drop the body, there is no more suffering to the soul. Those who have departed have merged with the divine, and their souls are still with you, with us, with the entire nation... Everyone will die, including us. But they have sacrificed their lives to wake us up and make us realise that others should not suffer, that this should not happen again. They are asking us to be Arjuna.
Swini is the new name for Chutki. Swini means one who always shines brighter. The other names are Manali, Gia (her birth name), Chutki - my favorite, and Amla, the brand ambassodor of her Dad's Amla products.
Swini Khara is a cute child actress who has acted in "Chini Kum" and is recently seen in many ads.
MARK MANUEL Times News Network (Times of India, Bombay Times, 08 Dec 2008, page 1.)
This time, the smile of welcome didn’t quite reach Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s dark and mischievous eyes. The face was troubled, the mind still burdened by the pain of the hundred thousand people he had addressed the previous evening at Priyadarshini Park. Some survivors of 26/11, others bereaved family members of victims, everyone a Mumbaiite let down by the state — all looking for a shoulder to cry on, a spiritual hand to apply the healing touch. That Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had already done. “I told Mumbai, if you stay with anger too long it will take a toll on your health, your mind, your thinking,” the Art of Living guru explained to me at the bungalow of Yash and Avanti Birla yesterday morning. “We need to channelise our energy,” he added. Energy or anger, I asked. “Anger is energy in a more proactive way,” he corrected, “and how to channelise it, is in itself a skill. There’s no point doing the extreme thing in anger and then regretting it. Or being passive and not doing anything at all. Find the inbetween path.”
He’s gone beyond the Art of Living and is into trauma relief around the world now. Like a healing wind with the spiritual touch, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has gone from Ivory Coast to Iraq and Kosovo to Kashmir, reawakening human values in people, making them violence-free, teaching them Gandhian principles, yoga, meditation. His lessons in spirituality are not just for victims of terrorist attacks, but also for survivors of earthquakes, floods, tsunamis. But in Mumbai on Saturday, he was addressing terrorism. “Terrorists are ill-educated people with distorted, poisoned mindsets,” he said derisively. “It’s not true that the uneducated become tools of terrorism, or the poorest of the poor, but ill-educated people with hateful motivation. And they have to be addressed with words. Not guns. You just cannot quell violence with violence. But through dialogue, and spiritual education, I’ve seen this in Iraq.” And what were politicians, I asked. “Politicians are narrow-minded people who, for the smallest gains of position and money, do things which later harm themselves and also the people,” he said in ill-concealed disgust and some anger.
What would he have done in Mumbai last week, I asked. Would he have been able to make the difference during the siege by engaging the terrorists in dialogue, by negotiating with them for the lives of the hostages, or convincing them to lay down the gun? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar regretfully shook his head. “You cannot learn archery on the battlefield,” he replied. “At that moment, the terrorist is not in the mood to talk, he is only in the mood to destroy.” I asked what was the difference between spiritual education and religious, because the terrorists are Islamic jehaadis, boys indoctrined to become men with mindsets that believe the Quran okays mindless killings of innocents. “Spiritual education is different,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, “it makes you a soft, gentle, caring person, it teaches you the principles of ahimsa... of nonviolence. We must teach these principles, the Indian ethos of peaceful coexistence, of inclusiveness, to our neightbours and the rest of the world.”
At this point of time when Mumbai was at the crossroads of change, when emotions were still ragged and the wounds of 26/11 yet festering, did we need spiritual education or an aggressive movement against violence? “Not just Mumbai, the whole of India needs an overhauling,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar answered. “In Mumbai’s case, just changing the Chief Minister will not help, the new man will take six, eight months to settle in and then make change. But, immediately, there must be a change in values — of the police, especially; a change in vision — of the people responsible for the city; a change in self — people must be true to the country and themselves; a change in sensitivity — people have woken up, but the spate of violence doesn’t touch all, we feel the heat only when the shoe pinches; and, a change in direction — let go of the past and go forward. Move on. Yes — the heart is heavy, but the healing touch will be complete only when hands unite and reconcile with the past.” When I left him, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was smiling in welcome at his next visitors — Bollywood stars Kunal Kapoor, Dino Morea and the lovely Lara Dutta, but the smile still didn’t reach his eyes.
On Tuesday, 2nd Dec, 08, A call to ALL PROUD INDIANS was made to assemble at the Air India building to write messages for the brave cops and soldiers of our country. Some of us from IIT reached there at the Air India building around 6.30pm. There were lot of people including some of the celebrities who had come to express their gratitude toward the martyr cops.
Most of the people over there were youth, from all the communities. The nariman point and the strip close to the sea was crowded, although not as it used to be. I remembered how I was sitting at the same spot a month back. Fearless, enjoying the sea and chit-chatting with my friends and today, I was serious, not even in a mood to smile.
We went close to the Trident building. There was heavy security and policemen all around. I could see few broken windows of the Trident building and the repairing work going on. I am really amazed by the Trident people that they are planning to restart the complete operations in next two weeks and I could see that happening.
Next we moved to Taj. The taxiwala dropped us near the back side of Taj heritage. Again no entry near the hotel, heavily protected by the police. We went to the front side of Taj and were actually seeing the Taj Heritage building for the first time after 26/11. The area is still protected/covered and hence could not see it closely. Even the Gateway of India is also closed. There were interviews of general public going on by some channel and slowly the outrage of the people was seen blaming all the politicians, moving on to media, to RGV, to name a few. This continued for good 10-15 mins and not many could make out what exactly was the point put up. One of my friend was trying to understand the issue but of no use.
We got the taxi for CST. It was around 8.40pm. It was not usual Mumbai. Hardly any traffic. After the taxi dropped us near Azad maidan, we went via the subway and it was very less crowded. We had some chaat and juices. Then one of my friend went to a shop to check out jeans. I followed him. Others also joined after they finished their food. While my friend was bargaining, others were discussing the situation on the 26th night. Shopkeepers were saying that the terrorist had come close to the subway and all the shopkeepers there were having terrible time. Fortunately for them, the terrorists didn't came down the subway and hence all of them were saved. Things have changed a lot after that. No crowd in the subway and hence not even in the shops. Previously the shopkeepers were forced to close the shop at midnight. Now, there is hardly any customer to keep the shop open. As we were talking, I realized that we were the only customers there. The scene was similar in other shops also. The corridor was so less crowded that I could stand in the center and click the photos. I could wait till I get a good click with no one in front of the camera. Normally, I don't think it would have been possible for me to even stand in the center.
At the entrance, we were welcomed by the metal detectors. I felt the tension seeing the metal detectors. What if it beeps when I pass through? Will I be checked by the armed police? And when I passed through it, yes, it beeped but there was no one to check me or even to listen to the beep. I was saved. But whats the use of these metal detectors installed at the entrance? They are hardly of any use. When ever you cross them, there is invariably a beep. There is no one to check the person who causes the beep. So, whats the use of these metal detectors? Only to show people that there is something like metal detectors which are installed for the safety of the common people.
In general there were lot of security people. Policemen checking the bags and other belongings and in general tension on very face moving around. I too could feel the tension while roaming around in the station. It was not as usual.
We moved on to buy the tickets and the scene was similar. Hardly any rush on the ticket counter. The ticket counter at 9.00pm used to have a long queue. Today only 5-6 people in the queue.
During the time when we were close to these spots, the thought of what if some thing happens NOW was coming again and again to my mind. I saw a small cute girl enjoying chocolate in the subway and this thought caught me again. I was horrified to think what if there is a terror attack NOW. I hope we all come out of this type of thoughts as soon as possible and start enjoying the beauty of Mumbai.
Art of Living is conducting FREE trauma relief sessions for all those affected by the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
There are 2 locations in South Mumbai (Bombay) where they are being held and the details are as under:
1) Peddar Road - Starts today - Wednesday, Dec 3 2008; Address: 502 Prabhukunj (this is 3 buildings after Cadbury House, going towards Jaslok) - Contact person - Nanda Botadkar - her cell is 98203 42276. Each class for an hour; Session timings: Morning - 9am, 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm and Evening - 4pm, 5pm, 6pm and 7pm
2) Badhwar Park (Colaba) - from 4th to 6th Dec - 3 day course of 1 hour each day; 2 batches per day, 6.30 am and 7.30 am..One could join any one batch - Contact person - Anand Beria - Cell - 9819089071
Please spread message around to anyone you know may be in need. It may change somebody's life or put somebody's back on track ASAP.
The Art of Living Foundation is conducting trauma care and counseling sessions,
following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai.
For Helpline numbers: +91-9821620948, +91-9967477004, +91-9820612152
H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will conduct a special prayer, pranayama and meditation session for all
Mumbaikars at Priyadarshini Park & Sports Complex, Nepean Sea Road on Dec. 6 at
Join us in our quest to create a peaceful, stress-free society.
For more details visit http://www.artofliving.org/Home/tabid/36/Default.aspx
Cross posting from : http://bawandinesh.name/
The act which is only destructive and inflicts suffering both on oneself and others is terrorism. In such an act, human values are lost in the process of achieving a goal.
Some of the factors that lead to terrorism are:
- Frustration and desperation to achieve a goal
- Confused emotion
- Shortsightedness and Impulsive action
- Belief in a non-verifiable concept of heaven and merit; a childish concept of God favoring some and angry at others, thereby undermining the omniscience and omnipotence of the Divine.
Terrorism induces fear psychosis in all, increases poverty, suffering and loss of life with no apparent gains. Instead of solutions the terrorist looks for destruction as an answer. If you simply criticize without giving a solution, know that this criticism comes from the same seed as terrorism!
Although there are certain qualities you can appreciate in a terrorist such as:
* Commitment to a goal
You will have to learn from them things that you should never do:
* Valuing some ideas and concepts more than life.
* Having a narrow perspective of life and dishonoring its diversity.
The Remedy for terrorism is:
* Inculcate a broader perspective of life — value life more than race, religion and nationality.
* Educate people in human values – friendliness, compassion, cooperation and upliftment.
* Teach methods to release stress and tension.
* Cultivate confidence in achieving noble aims by peaceful and nonviolent means.
* Create spiritual upliftment which can weed out destructive tendencies.
We always say about stopping terrorism. But by this time every one have understand that its not an easy task as the root cause is not under control/territory. Even if the PAK Govt wants to stop supporting terrorism and the outfits that attempt to spread terrorism, they will not be able to stop this completely. The roots of terrorism have reached far deeper than we can think of. Children are being brain washed right from their childhood. Hence their way of thinking can not be stopped by force, it can only be suppressed for the time being. To eliminate this ideology completely, a gradual way which works on the core of the humanity is to be followed. This is a long term and slow process. You need a lot of patience but the fruits are definitely sweet.
The way to go about is by spreading LOVE through the path of spirituality. Don't mix spirituality with religion, which is were many people go wrong. When asked to His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar about the difference between spirituality and religion, he replied "Spirituality is the banana pulp and religion is the banana peel". Under the name of religion some of the wrong activities are spread but remember the core is still intact. We only need to throw away the rotten outer cover and the inner core will start shinning and will spread the message of LOVE and COMPASSION. The very nature of human being is LOVE and COMPASSION. All the other are temporary and can be removed with an intend to do so. There are many spiritual organization which attempt to do that and I am proud to be associated with one such organization which thinks globally when it comes to spirituality and its benefits.
To give a few examples, two of the terrorists from Kashmir are now The Art of Living (AOL) teachers. They are spreading this message of LOVE and even conducting the course in bunkers where the terrorist hide. Two is a small number but remember this is a non-zero start which will improve over the time. In another example, during the Iraq war, when the whole world was moving out of Iraq, few Art of Living teachers were send to Iraq to conduct the trauma relief operations and the Art of Living courses. I know one of the teachers very well and have heard his experiences. During the war time, these people were in Iraq for 18 months and they helped so many people during their crisis time. Today few Iraqi citizens are AOL teachers and have started to spread the message of LOVE throughout Iraq.
A very high dose of LOVE needs to be given to hardcore people but remember we also need it. We too have so much of hatred inside us. We hate some of our friends, relatives for very very small incidents. Friendships/relationships are broken for really stupid reasons, many a times due to misunderstanding and we keep that in our heart till we die. There is no need to do so, just drop it. Looks simple to read/write and let me tell you, is equally simple to implement. You can just start NOW. Pick up your phone and call a friend/relative whom you have not talked with for some time, for what every bitter reasons. Call up and start talking. No sorry, no thank you. Just a clean new start as if nothing happened. And you will be surprised to see your face happy, like never before.
If every one is centered with LOVE and COMPASSION, the whole world is going to be a heaven. We all can be part of it with a bit of contribution from every one of us. Stop pointing fingers to others and start getting into action every now and then and in few years from now we will be living in a world FULL OF LOVE.
To any situation like this, there are various types of responses required:
1) Immediate response: This type of response is to counter-act the situation. For this there is a need of disaster management system, which can react immediately to any situation. INDIA has this only on paper.
2) Mid-term response: Here all the related system are strengthened so that the planning of the attacks itself is intercepted , generally by the intelligence and other agencies, to guard the nation. INDIA has them all, scattered here and there with no proper communication between them.
3) Long term strategy: This is a very important aspect which is totally ignored in INDIA. Unless we strength the whole system/society bottom-up, every tremor is going to shake the whole structure. Hence its very important to increase the awareness amongst the people by having higher literacy level and bringing them up to the level where their VIVEKA is awakened. This might takes decades to see fruits but that is a key to have long term solution to any problem. Terrorism is just an instance which attempts to attack the system. Take what ever instances of distraction, if the basic system is solid, nothing can shake the nation.
If you ask yourself this question, "How many BAD people do you know?", I am sure the number will ZERO. So, by and large we can say that there are extremely small number of BAD people. Even then BAD people are able to make noise and disturb the GOOD people. The reason being, BAD people don't think, they only ACT. But good people think, and think, and think and NEVER ACT. Time has come for the GOOD people to ACT, and ACT NOW. Just imagine if GOOD people start making noise, how loud will it be.
We always point fingers to the system because thats much easier than saying I am also part of it. That is why we always blame the system and get away. But remember, we are the first element of that system. We want to change every thing but our own attitude. So, let us first change ourselves and then eventually the system will change/improve on its own.
Whats the solution to these selfish moves which leads to tremendous financial loss and also some poor lives. Who is responsible for this? Is Raj going to compensate for all this?
Its a very unhappy state of affairs in the largest democrossy of the world. This has been happening for years and will keep happening.
The ambiance of the hostel was good. A person was singing a birth day song, along with guitar, near one of the table. The singer was standing close to the table and singing and hence had a very personal touch but at the same time for people like us, it was a strict no no.
We were four people and selected a corner table. The menu included variety of items, mostly Marathi and Rajasthani. We were not very hungry and hence had a small order consisting of Dal-Bati, Baingan Bharta, Fulka Roti, Bharki, Bajre ki Roti. All the items were good in taste and had that typcial Marathi/Rajasthani taste, although not spicy as general Rajasthani dishes are. The ghee and gud were a delight on the bhakari. The bill also was under Rs. 500/-, which was a surprise for all of us.
All the main Marathi items and sweets are on the menu. I don't know much of Rajasthani items, but must be there. The service is pretty fast and over all behaviour of the staff is good and helpful. They even served us only two pieces of Bati (half plate) in the next round.
One of the key element of any public place is the availability and cleanliness of the toilets. The toilet there was under renovation and hence was in poor state but I hope will be up to the standards after the repair work is done.
Food : ****
Value for Money: ****
Blog on Suicide by BAWA .
The second article by Ashwani, which I like because of its reasoning, is also a must read.
Permanent solution to temporary problem
She is so cute and so small that I feared to take control of her. Just touched her and she is so soft-soft. Eyes wide open, open mouth, long fingers, big nose are all the special effects.
Till my niece gets an official name, I named her Chutki :)
Being away from my home since last 8 years, I only get death news but never was part of any cremation process. Hence although I knew death is certain, I hardly had the realization about it.
The realization that death is certain has changed the whole perspective for me। Last week I had been to ICICI bank and a couple was demanding, very furiously, an apology letter from the bank manager. The statement I overheard was "You don't know with whom you are talking" and the first thought that came to my mind was that they are not going to carry the apology letter with them after they die. I kept smiling at the whole incidence and was watching the couple how they were reacting to the whole incidence. I don't know what exactly happened before I reached there but in any case the way apology was asked for, was a fun to watch. It reminded me of many knowledge points that I learned over my one year of The Art of Living life. Finally the couple asked the concerned person (who might have mis-behaved with them earlier or like that) to sign the letter and the couple left the bank. I thought for a moment, what they will they do with that letter? A photo frame put up in office or home, or in the Devghar at home. What will they do about it? Finally its just to satisfy their EGO, nothing else. I even thought that in case I am in similar situation and I ask for an apology letter, how am I going to react. The immediate answer was to tear it off, may be in front of the person itself. Now if I am going to tear it off then why ask for it. Well, the whole exercise is for that person to realize his/her mistake and not to satisfy my EGO. Tearing in front of the person, I will tell the person to understand the mistake and learn from it and forget about the whole episode. All said and done, its easy to write here, or may be, think while observing others, and difficult to be aware at the very moment when its required.
The other realization is more on the spiritual front. In spirituality, it is believed that you are immortal. Birth and death processes are just like changing clothes. You are not dying, its just that you have completed your part of the journey here and you are moving on to the next one. Its as good as we coming to this college, completing your karma/dharma here and then passing out. You feel bad or little sad while leaving but then the thought that you are moving on makes you happy. If the same analogy is applied to the death process, all the close ones will not feel that deep shock. It is true that the close ones are going to feel that void due the absence of their dear one, with whom they had been sharing their thoughts for so long, were partying, eating, etc. But then that person was to die, today or tomorrow. With this realization the sorrow will reduce and even the death can be celebrated.
To me birth is the start of life on this planet and death is end of it. If I am born, then death is certain. On my death, I would like people to celebrate than mourn, just as they celebrated my birth. People should have satsangs, sing, dance, and yes, definitely have Natural ICE cream on the 13th or 14th day to make me even more happy.
Life is a celebration, death can also be.
PS: In the first para I said that the slogan touched my heart and not the intellect because when some thing touches your intellect, you ask questions but when it touches your heart, you accept it from with in and wonder about its beauty.
Reproduced from : http://www.angelfire.com/realm/shades/ganesh/storybirthday.htm
It was Ganesh's birthday and he had been invited for dinner at a devotee's house.
Ganesh had a very heavy meal and was returning home on his mouse, when a snake crossed their path. Seeing this, the mouse got very frightened and ran away, in the process felling Ganesh. Ganesh fell and his stomach, which was very full, burst open. Seeing this the moon burst out laughing. Ganesh felt very humiliated, so he killed the snake and tied it around his stomach. He then gave chase to the moon who ran for his life. The moon managed to evade Ganesh and hid in his palace. Ganesh soon came there and stood guard outside, telling the moon, "Where will you go now? You have to come out sooner or later and then I'll take my revenge". It became very dark, as the moon refused to come out. This resulted in chaos on earth. The gods went and pled with Ganesh to free the moon. Ganesh finally relented and let the moon come out, but cursed him saying, " You hid in your house like a thief. Therefore, anybody who sees you on my birthday, will be implicated as a thief".
This is the reason why we are not supposed to look at the moon on the auspices of Ganesh Chaturthi. This was also the reason why Shri Krishna was accused of stealing the Shymantaka gem.
Its more than 100 years now and things have changed a lot. In old days, small amount of money (वर्गनी) used to be collected from all and every thing was managed in that. Local people used to work hard, set some play and perform. But now its all commercialization happening. Money comes as sponsorship, people are forced to give more and more money and professionals from outside are invited to perform. The decoration is awesome but very costly. Things are also being controlled by the political parties or underworld.
I remember, back in late 1980s, when I was a kid, Ganeshotsav used to be all fun. When I was in 4th std, in Nagpur, I participated in a play as a lead character. The play used to involve all the small children of our locality and hence the play of 5 characters used to have at least 30 performers. Used to be all fun. Each dialogue being split into one sentence by one kid. Being all kids zone, the whole locality used to enjoy it. On the last day, we also got the consolation prize for participation. I even danced with a girl who was in 7th std. That was my first and last dance performance in public.
Next year I moved to a new locality and it was the first time our locality was having Ganeshotsav. All happy moments, I did well in most of the competitions: sports, literature etc. I used to be a start performer there in my age group and used to very happy on the last day to get so many prizes.
It was only in my first year of engineering that I got an opportunity to handle the sports division, which included all the competitions right from sports, to literature, to cultural. I still remember fighting with my elders, double my age, on an issue about giving first prize to two people who have got equal marks by the judges or arbitrarily giving one person the first and the other second. As the budget was low, every year they used to give only one first prize and of course then you can choose who can be the first. I made sure that the prizes are given to both the participants with no partiality. The end result: people felt that justice was done to their talent and there was no result which was managed, as used to be previously. I was happy that I was part of the system cleaning process in a small way.
Those were my first lessons of organization skills and I cherish them a lot.
In IIT, all the PhD students need to present their work once a year, and its called APS.
APS time is never cool in IIT. At least was not till last three years but this time I had totally different experience.
It was as usual,10 days before my APS, nothing ready with me. Yet to start the report. APS scheduled on 20th and on 10th morning I was yet to start the report. The emergency was declared and I had to option but to get down to the reality and work hard. Ya, work hard, easy work not done on time. And this is the perfect definition in such situations. I guess in IIT, we all do hard work :).
I also rememberd Gandhiji's statment "Today I am so busy that I need to meditate for two hours instead of 1 hour". I had heard of this so many times and that you need to be cool when it matters and all that but never could experience it. As I was all f***ed up, I thought of going the cool way and decided to meditate at least twice daily. I do mediate daily, with out fail, for about 30 mins. I increased it to regular 30 mins once, and added 20 mins each twice daily and what I saw was Gandhiji's statement coming into reality.
I was cool and calm throughout the day. Inspite of not having made much progress in the report, I could remain silent in the mind and all this resulted in a much better first draft which I submitted to my guide. Unfortunately, it was too late for him to review and hence I was my own reviewer and to my great surprize, it was not at all a bad draft. In the past, my first draft used to be really really bad and used to get lot of (bad) comments.
With my own review I improved the APS report. Even changed the way I presented my results and again submitted the second draft to my guide and the same result, no review by my guide. He even gave me a go ahead to submit the report. Again, I had to review my own report, and correct it. This time also, the quality of the writing was much better than I though I could write. One of my RPC members reads the report completely and had no negative comment ( as was last year) and the report was also send to my collaborator in Denmark who has commented that the report is well written. So, I am happy that it was read by some one :) compared to many cases where no one even opens it, forget about reading it.
Looking back, I thought its the way I could keep my mind so stable even during the tense period. The quality of the work/output improves if the mind is at rest and I was able to do that. As a preparation for this I attened the Art of Living advanced course in the first week of August and that paid off more than what I could expect.
The second aspect was blogging. When I write the blog, no one reviews it for me. I have to read it so many times and make sure that I am able to convey what I want to convey and that to precisely the same idea/concept. This has improved my writing skills and now I am scanning my blogs just once, to correct a few things. In all my writing skills are improving and the same is also visible in my technical writing.
So, if not doing already, start meditating and blogging :). Need any help, contact me for the first and google for the second.
Thanks to BAWA, who's blog inspired me to start my own blog. Those inpsired by my blog, chain goes up to BAWA :).
Cross positing from BAWA's blog: AMEX and Art of Living
Here is the post, reproduced for you.
All of us could potentially see to it that a nice partnership can be formed between AMEX and Art of Living... read on...
AMEX (American Express) has offered USD$2.5 million for a Service project that will be chosen among many that people all over have put up on their website... The process of choosing is simple... people vote, the top 25 projects will be reviewed and considered for the grant... There are many interesting projects out there... AND Art of Living has 2 projects, who need votes to get into the top 25 (about 600 votes away)... i would prefer them to get into the top 5 :) (about 4000 votes away)
Could whoever reading this please goto their site and vote for these 2 projects?
You can sign in as a card member if you own an AMEX card, or you can sign in as a guest as well... and you can do so anonymously too!
So please, take a few minutes out and go vote for these projects... btw, you can vote for multiple projects, so if any other catches your eye, feel free to vote for those as well :)
Voting stops on Monday the 1st of September, so PLEASE do it now!! :)
here is what you do:
1. Click the links below
2. SIGN in either using your American Express Card Membership or as a guest. (When u click the link below, a window opens and bottom right there's guest signup, go signup and assign yourself a screen name)
3. Once you have registered,window automatically opens to the project selected. Click the Nomination Button. Thats it!
Jharkhand Tribal Project
End Gang and Youth violence in California
Once you have done it, PLEASE leave a comment here to let me know that you did it :)
Also get friends, relatives, family, etc to do it... It will be great if Art of Living can have a partnership with AMEX to do the fantastic work that it is anyways doing!
My blogging started one Sunday morning when I woke up and felt like writing some thing. And here is the results, my first blog. That is one of my best blogs. This blog inspired many people to write/restart their blogs and I am happy that I could be some where part of it. I am not sure what exactly inspired them but as long as the results are positive I need not worry.
Then came Life is a template , another blog which I personally liked very much. This was read and explained to my parents by my brother and sister in a family get-together. This also gave a hint to my parents that I may not follow the template and hence they might be better prepared for whats coming up to them soon. I hope this will ease my work during my Diwali vacation.
On the blog day, do post some thing :). Visit: http://www.blogday.org/
By Sugatha Menon
Guava: (Amrud in Hindi. Peru in Marathi): This is the uncrowned king of the fruit basket. We are lucky that being a tropical fruit, guavas are available almost throughout the year in our country. A guava tree is one of the most common fruit tress growing in many a backyard. Even in a concrete jungle like Mumbai, one frequently comes across guava trees. Why is guava the star? Recent reports suggest that guavas are packed with anti-oxidant properties and are abundant in Vitamin C. In fact it is said that it beats other fruits hollow when it comes to Vitamin C. Guavas are also the richest in fibre and have age and inflammation fighting properties. Not surprising then that this fruit is the top chartbuster here!
Lychee: Lychees are beautiful to look at, and taste great too. But did you know that just three lychees can meet a third of your Vitamin C requirement of the day? 100 gms of fresh lychees gives you 72 mg of Vitamin C. Other good points of lychees include copper, potassium and riboflavin. Avoid lychee juices and stick to the whole fruit.
Papaya: Another one from the wonder fruits stable. Papayas are wonderful for your skin as they help you fight wrinkles. Vitamin C, folate and potassium are present in papayas. Papayas contain papain, a natural digestive aid, which helps to cleanses the digestive track. Other nutrients include Vitamin A, E and carotenoids and lycopene. In comparison to an orange papaya has 13 times more Vitamin C and 50 times more potassium and four times more Vitamin E than oranges and apples. All this at a lower calorie count.
Banana: Easy to afford and easily available, bananas are a universal favourite. Quick to digest, bananas come with a host of vitamins, A, B, C and also calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. Experts say that the fiber in a banana is good for your heart. People suffering from acidity are often asked to consume bananas, as they are said to protect from stomach ulcers. Raw bananas are also used in Indian cooking and are high in iron content.
Pomegranate: Red wine and green tea are said to be high in anti-oxidants. But did you know that the content of anti-oxidants in pomegranates are almost three times higher! So next time say 'cheers' with pomegranate juice. Also indulging in this juice frequently is extremely beneficial for your heart and it cuts down the risk of artery clogging. Additionally they contain Vitamin B, C, calcium and phosphorous. It also contains a powerful agent that helps fight against prostrate cancer. It is also said to be effective against anaemia, intestinal parasite irritation, piles, asthma, diarrhoea, morning sickness and poor appetite.
It is one page knowledge that one can share with others. You are the author of the page. You can invite collaborator/reviewers etc. There are three levels of licenses (open, non-commercial, copyright) and three levels of collaborations (open, restricted, closed). In the restricted mode of collaboration registered uses can suggest changes to be approved by the author which is a very useful way. You can also earn using google adsense. Adsense was one of the feature I was looking for and I got peacefully. In addition it also has Name Verification option which if done will put a seal against the knol/author. This way the reader will be sure of the identity of the author.
As its recently released, only few articles, mostly in medical science are available as beta release. But I guess with Google's aggressive way, the tool is going to rock. In all, a cool too if it satisfies your requirements. In my case, it is perfect.
The ambiance was excellent. All people over there were in Rajasthani clothing. The water is served in small glasses which are typical in tea-stalls in villages. Even the welcome drink, Chaas and sugarcane juice was served in similar small glasses. That set up the perfect mood for all of us. We jumped in for starters, Aalu (अळु)chi Wadi, पकोडे. They were good and then for a change, we shifted our gear to desserts and had Keshar Milk, Gulab Jamun, and Moong ka Halwa.Desserts were far below expectations :( .
As I was celebrating my B'day, the cake cutting was with LIVE song. After all cutting/eating, we also danced on few LIVE numbers and that was really refreshing. That enhanced our enthusiasm and we were all waiting for the grand food items. There were Punjabi, Marwadi, Gujrati stalls along with routine Chaat, Fruits, Desserts ,etc. All this with the live songs sung by village artists, Puppet show, Astrologer and the Tarot Reader.
We started with all favorite Dal-Baati but that crossed our all expectations downward and we just could not have it. Next we went for Gujrati food but again nothing up to the mark. Even Kaju-Karela had Kishmish in it which completely made it taste horrible. Some sweetness in between ruined my Karela dish. The other items were also not at all up to the mark. Gujrati Khichadi and Kadhi were so so and we had to be happy with that only. To end our food journey, we had ICE gola and kulfi.
In all, the ambiance is very good but food is not at all up to the mark. Its a good place to spend time in a big group of 10+ people but if you are looking for good food, there are lot many other options
Food : *
Value for Money: **
My advise to all those who have just entered into their PhD life and also to others, start investing NOW. With increased stipend, save at least 20% of the stipend. Ask some one if you are not aware of investment methods. In simple case, if you avoid investing, at the end of 5 years, you will have nothing with you. Now, suppose you start investing say 3K per month, i.e. 36K per annum, you will save 1,80,000/- in 5 years and if you book a profit of 20%, which is quite common, you will earn about 85,000, which adds up to 2,60,000/-. So, if a new PhD student starts investing right from day one, he can save up to 2,60,000/- by the time he passes out.
You may claim that you don't have any money to invest, don't worry, that will be the case even if you invest or don't. Had I not started investing last year, I am sure I would have just smoked that money some where in shopping or eating out.
So, what you waiting for? Start Investing NOW :)
So, the discussion went in the direction that why should they wait any further if they can financially afford to have a child. A very valid point but then what is the hurry to have a child so soon?
So if we look at life of a typical person right from the birth, it will more or less follow a template: You are born. You start schooling at the age of three, study in primary school, middle school, high school, slog for SSC and then HSC, enter into engineering/medical college, do lukkhagiri for most of the time, study during the exam period, crack the exams, land up with a good job in the placements, join the company, get married. Once financial stability is achieved, get into parenthood, get involved in the up bringing of your child, make sure the child gets good schooling, completes his degree, and gets married, become grandparent... The story continues and finally one fine day you die.
Have you noticed, for most of the people this is a typical case. One thing logically leads to another. There is no deviation from this template of life. The moment one things is complete, the next logical step is taken. There is no thought process while taking the next step. It just happens. So once the education is over, the next logical step is to join the job. After a some time in job, the next logical step is to get married, and further have children. So, there is hardly any thought process that is needed. Just live the life like a template and follow it. The life will be simple to live. Nothing much to take decision about. You are happy, your parents happy, and all others are also happy.
A careful understanding of this concept answered my question in the first para. It just follows :). Now if we look at the life of people who are doing some thing different in their life, we will see that they are forced to take decisions at every step in their life. One step does not lead to the next local step and that makes their life full of decisions as well as uncertainty. Sometimes they might be labeled as poor decision makers as some of their decisions are proved to be wrong but that is because they have taken that step to go out of the template and create their own life pattern. Like doing some thing is better than doing nothing, taking a wrong decision is better than taking no decision. And the highly successful people will mostly fall in this category who defy the template.
So, next time you take a decision in life, be aware if that is a standard template decision or a non-template one.
(This post is the outcome of my discussion with Ayush Choure. The theme is mainly developed by him during our discussion.)
The singing and dancing performances are excelling. No margin of error . Very enthusiastic. The performers are not doing for the sake of doing it. Every one puts his/her 100% and feels like they are part of that moment and this gives an altogether different smile on the face of the audience.
The show covers how Marathi people celebrated festivals/functions like Diwali, New Years (Gudhi Padawa), Dahi Handi, Marriage etc. The drunk man (बेवडा ) in the marriage is excellent. The way he is handled during the marriage is amazing. Those who have seen how the drunk people behave and are handled especially in villages during such functions, can appreciate it ( I have see it ;) ). Also, if there are 50 performers on the stage, each one will have his/her role at every instance and you need to watch all of them. Every detail is taken care of. And thats what makes it an excellent performance.
The show covers most of the cultural aspects of Marathi junta. The history and geography is well covered. But I feel they have missed out on the cultural aspects of entire Maharashtra. Its mostly Mumbai-Pune-Konkan region based. No attempt to touch Marathwada, Vidarbha etc. Powada is also surprisingly missing in the play.
Language is no bar for this orchestra. Any non-marathi person can also enjoy it. Infact we had one Bong person with us and she liked it very much. Its more of an experience to watch the show than describing it here. I got 100 times more satisfaction than what I expected and guarantee that the same will happen with you also.
Lust is in general thought to be associated only with sex but thats a very limited viewpoint. The definition above is generic enough to include lot many things. So what all can be included in lust? Take a break off and think of all the incidences/things which make you crave for it, especially for your own gratification.
Is craving for Cigarette, Alcohol lust? Can anxiety of Tea/Coffee be considered as lust? Is wanting to talk with some one for long, day in - day out, be looked in as lust? Things will vary from person to person, but its important to be aware of them.
After understanding your short comings, its important to act on them. In this scenario, the simplest act that you need to perform is not to perform that act. This will need very high commitment from your side. In spite of you wanting to avoid the act, you will not be able to avoid it. Don't get dishearted. Try again. Some time down the line you will be able to have that commitment and the awareness to drop the cravings created within you. Experience it for yourself!
There are two keywords, co-operation and support, that form the core of the definition. Friendship is not just about staying together or spending time together. For a long term friendship the co-operation and the support of each other is a must.
If you look in the history of your friend circle, you will notice that your friends with whom you used to spend a lot of time are no longer your friends but those few, with whom you had spent very little time are still your long term friends. For some friends you just say a hello and move on, for others you want to talk, for at least a minute, even if you are in a hurry. What is the difference between these two categories of friends? What makes the second category so special to you?
If you look back, you will notice that you have that special connection with the second category of friends. This connection is due to your past experience when they have added some value to your life, to your discussion, to your happiness, to take you out of your misery, or some thing like that. At some point in your life they had contributed positively and hence knowingly or unknowingly you tend to feel that special connection with them.
And YES, you can be that special one for so many others. People will be looking forward to meeting you and get that warmth from you and feel happy about it. Your happiness will also be elevated as there is no better satisfaction than being instrument for other's happiness. To achieve this you will need that frame of mind where you are coming out of your own world, your own benefits and start thinking about others. How can you contribute to other's life. Every small action that you make should be with an attitude to help others, to make them happy, and to show them the right direction. Practice this for some time and you will understand the depth of the point discussed here.
God : Hello. Did you call me?
Me: Called you? No.. who is this?
God : This is GOD. I heard your prayers. So I thought I will chat.
Me: I do pray. Just makes me feel good. I am actually busy now. I am in the midst of something.
God : What are you busy at? Ants are busy too.
Me: Don't know. But I can't find free time. Life has become hectic. It's rush hour all the time.
God : Sure. Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you results. Activity consumes time. Productivity frees it.
Me: I understand. But I still can't figure out. By the way, I was not expecting YOU to buzz me on instant messaging chat.
God : Well I wanted to resolve your! fight for time, by giving you some clarity. In this net era, I wanted to reach you through the medium you are comfortable with.
Me: Tell me, why has life become complicated now?
God : Stop analyzing life. Just live it. Analysis is what makes it complicated.
Me: why are we then constantly unhappy?
God : Your today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. You are worrying because you are analyzing. Worrying has become your habit. That's why you are not happy.
Me: But how can we not worry when there is so much uncertainty?
God : Uncertainty is inevitable, but worrying is optional.
Me: But then, there is so much pain due to uncertainty. .
God : Pain is inevitable able, but suffering is optional.
Me: If suffering is optional, why do good people always suffer?
God : Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don't suffer. With that experience their life become better not bitter.
Me: You mean to say such experience is useful?
God : Yes. In every terms, Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.
Me: But still, why should we go through such tests? Why cant we be free from problems?
God : Problems are Purposeful Roadblocks Offering Beneficial Lessons (to) Enhance Mental Strength. Inner strength comes from struggle and endurance, not when you! are free from problems.
Me: Frankly in the midst of so many problems, we don't know where we are heading..
God : If you look outside you will not know where you are heading.Look inside. Looking outside, you dream. Looking inside, you awaken. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides insight.
Me: Sometimes not succeeding fast seems to hurt more than moving in the right direction. What should I do?
God : Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you. Knowing the road ahead is more satisfying than knowing you rode ahead. You work with the compass. Let others work with the clock.
Me: In tough times, how do you stay motivated?
God : Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.
Me: What surprises you about people?
God : when they suffer they ask, "why me?" When they prosper, they never ask "Why me" Everyone wishes to have truth on their side, but few want to be on the side of the truth.
Me: Sometimes I ask, who am I, why am I here. I cant get the answer.
God : Seek not to find who you are, but to determine who you want to be. Stop looking for a purpose as to why you are here. Create it. Life is not a process of discovery but a process of creation.
Me: How can I get the best out of life?
God : Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.
Me: One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.
God : There are no unanswered prayers. At times the answer is NO.
Me: Thank you for this wonderful chat.
God : Well. Keep the faith and drop the fear. Don't believe your doubts and doubt your beliefs. Life is a mystery to solve not a problem to resolve. Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live. "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that took our breath away!
(I am not the author of this text. Its a forwarded mail, worth sharing.)