Monday, July 30, 2007

You can fly, look upside!

If you put a buzzard in a pan six or eight feet square and entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of his ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of ten or twelve feet. Without space to run, as is his habit, he will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

A bumblebee if dropped into an open tumbler will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

Ah, they are such wonderful creatures with strength to fly high and long, but their own limited perspective chains their very own strength to fly. In many ways, there are lots of people like the buzzard, the bat and the bee. They are struggling about with all their problems and frustrations, not realizing that the answer is right there above them!


When they didn't quit, how can you?

One of the most successful people in human history have jumped back from worst of their failures. For example, did you know this:

  • Beethoven was told by his music teacher that as a composer, he was hopeless!
  • Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper because he had "no good ideas"!
  • Thomas Edison was told by his teacher that he was too stupid to learn anything!
  • Albert Einstein was four years old before he spoke. He stuttered until he was nine. He was advised to drop out of high school and was told by his teachers that he would never amount to much!
  • Henry Ford's first two automobile businesses failed!
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team!
  • Steven Spielberg dropped out of high school as a sophomore. He was persuaded to come back and was placed in a learning disabled class. He lasted a month!
  • Ray Kroc failed as a real estate salesperson before discovering the idea for McDonald's!
I am sure you can find many more around you. And the lesson that each of of them tell us through their lives is as simple as this: When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.

So, never quit.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

The 3 masters

When one renowned wise guru was dying, one of his disciples asked him this question "Guruji, who was your master?" The guru replied calmly, "Well son, I am glad you asked. I had thousands of masters and it will take months if I tell you about all of them, but three masters I will certainly tell you about."

And the guru memorized his old days and started sharing..

"One was a thief. Once I got lost in the desert, and when I reached a village it was very late, everything was closed. But at last I found one man who was trying to make a hole in the wall of a house. I asked him where I could stay and he said 'At this time of night it will be difficult, but you can say with me--if you can stay with a thief'. I stayed for one month! And each night he would say to me, 'Now I am going to my work. You rest, you pray.' When he came back I would ask 'Could you get anything?' He would say, 'Not tonight. But tomorrow I will try again, God willing.' He was never in a state of hopelessness, he was always happy.

When I was meditating and meditating for years on end and nothing was happening, many times the moment came when I was so desperate, so hopeless,that I thought to stop all this nonsense. And suddenly I would remember the thief who would say every night, 'God willing, tomorrow it is going to happen.' And my second master was a dog. I was going to the river, thirsty and a dog came. He was also thirsty. He looked into the river, he saw another dog there--his own image--and became afraid. He would bark and run away, but his thirst was so much that he would come back. Finally, despite his fear, he just jumped into the water, and the image disappeared. And I knew that a message had come to me from God: one has to jump in spite of all fears.

And the third master was a small child. I entered a town and a child was carrying a lit candle. he was going to the mosque to put the candle there. In a mood to give the kid a hard time, I asked the boy, 'Have you lit the candle yourself?' He said, 'Yes' And I asked, 'There was a moment when the candle was unlit, then there was a moment when the candle was lit. Can you show me the source from which the light came?' But the boy laughed, blew out the candle, and asked me back, 'now you have seen the light going. Where has it gone? Will you tell me?' My ego was shattered, my whole knowledge was shattered. And that moment I felt my own stupidity. Since then I dropped all my complexes of superiority."

And then the guru faced his disciple. "Actually, son, it is true that I had no master. That does not mean that I was not a disciple--I accepted the whole existence as my master. My disciplehood was a greater involvement than yours is. I trusted the clouds, the trees. I trusted existence as such. I had no master because I had millions of masters I learned from every possible source."

The master is a swimming pool where you can learn how to swim. Once you have learned, all the oceans are yours.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Boulder on the roadway

In ancient times, a king wanted to see how many people in his kingdom had the willingness to think beyond themselves for a noble cause.

So he consulted his panel of wise men, and they gave him a simple yet brilliant idea that the king at once implemented.

He had a boulder placed on a busy main roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see who would bother to remove the huge rock.

To his surprise, some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. The day passed with such complaining trespassers passing the rock sideways, and the king was deeply saddened to realize the truth as it approached dawn.

But his eyes caught another passenger that moment. He was a thin weak looking peasant coming from far carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant paused for a moment.

He spoke to himself "I know can easily pass around this rock with my load of vegetables, but what if someone who couldn't gets stuck here? Oh no! God please help me move it", and he instinctively laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. At first it didn't move an inch. But he kept trying and after much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant was just about to turn back to his vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been.

The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king saying "This gold is a gift from me to the person who has the courage to remove the boulder from the roadway instead of merely whining about it". The king was smiled with content as he watched the peasant jump with joy upon getting his unexpected reward.

The peasant learned what many others never understand: every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's condition. Think beyond yourself, for others, and God never thinks twice about sharing his gold with you.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dumbest kid

A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer,"This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you."

The barber puts a five rupee coin in one hand and two one rupee coins(1+1=2) in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, "Which do you want, son?"

The boy takes the two one rupee coins and leaves.

"What did I tell you?" said the barber. "That kid never learns!"

Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store. "Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take two one rupee coins instead of five rupee coin?"

The boy licked his cone and replied, "Because the day I take the five rupee coin, the game is over."

Now you decide who was the dumbest kid here!

At times when you undermine the capacity of those around you by calling them dumb, you are just making a fool of your pride.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Man of the match

There was a young boy who used to come for regular practice, but always played in the reserves and never made it to his school soccer eleven.

While he was praciticing, his father used to sit at one end, waiting for him.

The real matches had started this time. But since last four days, surprisingly the boy didn't show up for practice at the quarter or semifinals.

But that deciding day of the final, the boy showed up all of sudden. Not just that, he went to the coach and pleaded, "Coach, you have always kept me in the reserves. But today, please let me play."

The coach said, "Son, I'm sorry, I can't let you. There are better players than you and besides, it is the finals. I cannot take a chance." The boy pleaded further, "Coach I promise I will not let you down. I beg of you, please, please let me play."

The coach had never seen the boy plead like this before. Something inside him touched his heart, "Ok son, go play. But remember, I am going against my better judgement and the reputation of the school is at stake. Don't let me down."

The game started and the boy played with amazing power. Every time he got the ball, he shot a goal. Needless to day, his team recorded a glorious win and he was declared 'player of the match'.

When the game finished, the coarch went up to him and said, "Son, how could I have faltered in my judgement? I have never seen you play like this before. How did you play so well?" The boy replied, "Coach, my father was watching me today."

The coach turned around and looked at the place where the boy's father used to sit. There was no one there.

He said, "Son, Your father used to sit there when you came for practice, but I don't see anyone there today."

The boy replied, "Sir, there is something I never told you. My father was blind. Just four days ago, he died. Today is the first day, he was watching me from the heavens above... and I wanted him to see, that I could do it."

This is a classic example of what the amazing power of motivation can achieve! Motivation is the one of the greatest driving forces for success in life.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pound of butter

There was a farmer who sold a pound of butter to the baker. One day the baker decided to weigh the butter to see if he was getting a pound and he found that he was not. This angered him and he took the farmer to court.

The judge asked the farmer if he was using any measure. The farmer replied, "Your Honor, I am primitive. I don't have a proper measure, but I do have a scale."

The judge asked, "then how do you weigh the butter?"

The farmer replied "Your Honor, long before the baker started buying butter from me, I have been buying a pound loaf of bread from him. Every day when the baker brings the bread, I put it on the scale and give him the same weight in butter. If anyone is to be blamed, it is the baker himself."

Isn't that funny?!

Yes, and it has a simple lesson too: We get back in life what we give to others.

Whenever you take an action, ask yourself this question: Am I giving fair value for the wages or money I hope to make? Honesty and dishonesty become a habit. Some people practice dishonesty and can lie with a straight face. Others lie so much that they don't even know what the truth is anymore. But who are they deceiving? Themselves. More than anyone else.


Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam's speech

These are the words of Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, unarguably one of the most noble Presidents of India, as he gave a speech in Hyderabad. I am really glad I could get its written version to post here. It is for such thoughts that he will always remain an inspiration to his countrymen and the world outside.

Why is the media here so negative?

Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognize our own strengths, our achievements? We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them. Why?

We are the first in milk production.
We are number one in Remote sensing satellites.
We are the second largest producer of wheat.
We are the second largest producer of rice.

Look at Dr. Sudarshan , he has transferred the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self-driving unit. There are millions of such achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and failures and disasters. I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried among other news.

In India we only read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime. Why are we so negative? Another question: Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things? We want foreign TVs, we want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology.

Why this obsession with everything imported. Do we not realize that self-respect comes with self-reliance? I was in Hyderabad giving this lecture, when a 14 year old girl asked me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal In life is. She replied: I want to live in a developed India. For her, you and I will have to build this developed India . You must proclaim. India is not an under-developed nation; it is a highly developed nation. Do you have 10 minutes? Allow me to come back with a vengeance.

Got 10 minutes for your country? If yes, then read; otherwise, choice is yours.

You say that our government is inefficient.
You say that our laws are too old.
You say that the municipality does not pick up the garbage.
You say that the phones don't work, the railways are a joke,
The airline is the worst in the world, mails never reach their destination.
You say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits.

You say, say and say. What do You do about it?

Take a person on his way to Singapore . Give him a name--Yours. Give him a face--Yours. Your walk out of the airport and you are at your international best. In Singapore you don't throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores. You are as proud of their underground links as they are. You pay $5 (approx. Rs. 60) to drive through Orchard Road (equivalent of Mahim Causeway or Pedder Road ) between 5 PM and 8 PM. You come back to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have over stayed in a restaurant or a shopping mall irrespective of your status identity... In Singapore you don't say anything, do you? You wouldn't dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in Dubai . You would not dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah . You would not dare to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (Rs.650) a month to, 'see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to someone else.' You would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in Washington and then tell the traffic cop, 'Jaanta hai main kaun hoon (Do you know who I am?). I am so and so's son. Take your two bucks and get lost.' You wouldn't chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand.

Why don't you spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo? Why don't you use examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston? We are still talking of the same you. You who can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries but cannot in your own. You who will throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same here in India?

Once in an interview, the famous ex-municipal commissioner of Bombay, Mr. Tinaikar, had a point to make. 'Rich people's dogs are walked on the streets to leave their affluent droppings all over the place,' he said. 'And then the same people turn around to criticize and blame the authorities for inefficiency and dirty pavements. What do they expect the officers to do? Go down with a broom every time their dog feels the pressure in his bowels? In America every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan. Will the Indian citizen do that here?' He's right. We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility. We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stop to pick a up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms. We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity.

This applies even to the staff who is known not to pass on the service to the public. When it comes to burning social issues like those related to women, dowry, girl child and others, we make loud drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our excuse?' It's the whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone forego my sons' rights to a dowry.' So who's going to change the system?

What does a system consist of? Very conveniently for us it consists of our neighbors, other households, other cities, other communities and the government. But definitely not me and You. When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr. Clean to come along & work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away.

Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure we run to England . When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money.

Dear Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls for a great deal of introspection and pricks one's conscience too.... I am echoing J. F. Kennedy 's words to his fellow Americans to relate to Indians: 'Ask what we can do for India, and do what what has to be done to make India what America and other countries are today.'

Lets do what India needs from us.

Thank you,
Dr. Abdul Kalam


The king without the thumb

The story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, "This is good!"

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off.

Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, "This is good!"

To which the king replied, "No, this is not good" and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took them to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake.

As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way!

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend.

"You were right," he said, "it was good that my thumb was blown off." And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. "And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this."

"No," his friend replied, "This is good!"

"What do you mean, 'This is good'? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?"

"If I had not been in jail, I would have been with you!"

Situations may not always seem pleasant while we experience them, but it depends the way you see them.

The choice is yours.


That morning at McDonald's

This is one true story that's worth reading word by word till the very end. Hope you will appreciate the simple lesson it brings to life so lovingly:

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology. The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with.

Her last project of the term was called "Smile." The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway, so, I thought this would be a piece of cake, literally.

Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son. We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did.

I did not move an inch... an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved. As I turned around I smelled a horrible "dirty body" smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men.

As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was "smiling". His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God's Light as he searched for acceptance. He said, "Good day" as he counted the few coins he had been clutching.

The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation.

I held my tears as I stood there with them. The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, "Coffee is all Miss" because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).

Then I really felt it--the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes. That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action. I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray.

I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman's cold hand.

He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Thank you."

I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, "I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope."

I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son. When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, "That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope." We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give. We are not church goers, but we are believers. That day showed me the pure Light of God's sweet love.

I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. I turned in "my project" and the instructor read it.

Then she looked up at me and said, "Can I share this?"

I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class.

She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part of God share this need to heal people and to be healed. In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald's, my husband, son, instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student.

I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn: Unconditional acceptance.

Much love and compassion is sent to each and every person who may read this and learn how to love people and use things... not to use people and love things.

An angel wrote: Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Monkeys in the cold shower

This is an amazing research finding that'll put before you the power of paradigms, and how they act as roadblocks in way of our success!

A group of scientists placed 5 monkeys in a cage and in the middle, a ladder with bananas on the top. Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with cold water.

After a while, every time a monkey went up the ladder, the others beat up the one on the ladder!

After some time, no monkey dare to go up the ladder regardless of the temptation.

Scientists then decided to substitute one of the monkeys. The 1st thing this new monkey did was to go up the ladder. Immediately the other monkeys beat him up.

After several beatings, the new member learned not to climb the ladder even though never knew why.

A 2nd monkey was substituted and the same occurred. The 1st monkey participated on the beating for the 2nd monkey. A 3rd monkey was changed and the same beating was repeated. The 4th was substituted and the beating was repeated and finally the 5th monkey was replaced.

Now what was left was a group of 5 monkeys that even though never received a cold shower, continued to beat up any monkey who attempted to climb the ladder!

If it was possible to ask the monkeys why they would beat up all those who attempted to go up the ladder, I bet you the answer would be:

“I don’t know–that’s how things are done around here!”

Does it sounds familiar?

Get out of your paradigms, whatever they are. Learn to question. Learn to tread your own path of success instead of merely joining the crowd of leg-pullers out there.

Only two things are infinite: The universe and human stupidity. And I am not so sure about the former--Albert Einstein


Thursday, July 19, 2007

The watermelon patch

Do threats, lies and deceit work in the real world as well? Well, the short answer was 'no' in past, and it is still 'no' in the present. But here's a story that illustrates why:

There was a farmer who grew watermelons. He was doing pretty well, but he was disturbed by some local kids who would sneak into his watermelon patch at night and eat his watermelons. After some careful thought, he came up with a clever idea that he thought would scare the kids away for sure.

He made up a sign and posted it in the field. The next day, the kids showed up and they saw the sign which reads, "Warning! One of the watermelons in this field has been injected with cyanide."

The kids ran off, made up their own sign and posted it next to the farmer's sign. When the farmer returned, he surveyed the field. He noticed that no watermelons were missing, but the sign next to his reads, "Now there are two!"

In the short term you are tempted to take solicit of deceit because of the quick results that it promises. But please remember: life isn't a reel life movie where a villain gets to smile till the very end. Usually, what goes around... comes around.


How to ask a question

Jack and Max are walking from religious service. Jack wonders whether it would be all right to smoke while praying.

Max replies, "Why don't you ask the Priest?"

So Jack goes up to the Priest and asks, " Father, may I smoke while I pray?"

The Priest replies, "No, my son, you may not! That's utter disrespect to our religion."

Jack goes back to his friend and tells him what the good Priest told him.

Max says, "I'm not surprised. You asked the wrong question. Let me try."

And so Max goes up to the Priest and asks, "Father, may I pray while I smoke ?"

To which the Priest eagerly replies, "By all means, my son. By all means. You can always pray whenever you want to."

Moral of the story is: The reply you get depends on the question you ask. For example, if you want a vacation when still working on a project don't ask for the holiday, rather ask "Can I keep working on this project while I'm on vacation?"

So you see, its not the question that is as important... its the way you ask that really matters!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ant and the grasshopper

This is one classic example of how things transform over time. Just read how this good old ant and grasshopper story gives a complete new moral due to the unfortunate times we face today. Although the story is set in Indian context but I am sure you will relate to it nonetheless..

Old version

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

Modern version

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

NDTV, BBC, CNN show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house. Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other grasshoppers demanding that grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter. Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the grasshopper. The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance). Opposition MP's stage a walkout. Left parties call for "Bharat Bandh" in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry. CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among ants and grasshoppers.

Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the 'Grasshopper Rath'.

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act [POTAGA]", with effect from the beginning of the winter.

Arjun Singh makes Special Reservation for Grass Hopper in educational Insititutions & in Govt Services.

The ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV.

Arundhati Roy calls it 'a triumph of justice'. Lalu calls it 'Socialistic Justice'. CPM calls it the 'revolutionary resurgence of the downtrodden' Koffi Annan invites the grasshopper to address the UN General assembly.

Many years later... the ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi billion dollar company in silicon valley.100s of grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere in India.

And as a result of loosing lot of hard working ants and feeding the grasshoppers... ours is still a developing country.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rich & Poor

One day the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad."

"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.

"Oh yeah, said the son."

"So, tell me, what you learned from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered, "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden; they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond sight. We have servants who serve us; but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them."

The boy's father was speechless.

"Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are" was all his son said to him in the end.

Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don't have.

From today, appreciate every single thing you have.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Bhagavad Geeta

An old farmer lived on a farm in the mountains with his young grandson. Each morning Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading his Bhagavad Geeta. His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way he could.

One day the grandson asked, "Grandpa! I try to read the Bhagawad Geeta just like you but I don't understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bhagawad Geeta do?"

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and replied, "Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water."

The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, "You'll have to move a little faster next time," and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead. The old man said, "I don't want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You're just not trying hard enough," and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house.

The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, "See Grandpa, it's useless!"

"So you think it is useless?" The old man said, "Look at the basket."

The boy looked at the basket and for the first time realized that the basket was different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket and was now clean, inside and out!

"Son, that's what happens when you read the Bhagavad Geeta. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, you will be changed, inside and out."

There are situations, on job or in our lives, where we may have to do things which we feel have no value. But at the end of the task, we are transformed in some way or the other.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Rope

The story tells about a mountain climber, who wanted to climb the highest mountain. He begun his adventure after many years of preparation, but since he wanted the glory just for himself, he decided to climb the mountain alone.

He started to climb but it begun to get very late, and instead of preparing his tent to camp, he kept climbing until it got very dark.

The night felt heavy in the heights of the mountain, and the man could not see anything. All was black. Zero visibility, and the moon and the stars were covered by the clouds.

As he was climbing, only a few feet away from the top of the mountain, he slipped and fell into the air, falling at a great speed. The climber could only see black spots as he went down, and the terrible sensation of being sucked by gravity. He kept falling, and in those moments of great fear, it came to his mind all the good and bad episodes of his life.

He was thinking now about how close death was getting, when all of a sudden he felt the rope tied to his waist pull him very hard.

Now his body was hanging in the air. And only the rope was holding him, and in that moment of stillness he had no other choice but to scream: Help me God!

All of a sudden, a deep voice coming from the sky answered:

"What do you want me to do?"

"Save me God!"

"Do you really think I can save you?"

"Of course I believe You can."

"Then cut the rope tied to your waist."

There was a moment of silence; and the man was puzzled. Finally he decided not to listen to this voice and to hold on to the rope with all his strength.

The rescue team tells, that the next day a climber was found dead and frozen, his body hanging from a rope... and his hands holding tight to it--only 10 feet away from the ground!

And you? How attached are you to your rope? Will you let go?


Saturday, July 7, 2007

The law of the seed

Take a look at an apple tree.

There might be five hundred apples on the tree and each apple has ten seeds. That's a lot of seeds! We might ask, "Why would you need so many seeds to grow just a few more apple trees?"

Well, nature has something to teach us here. It's telling us: “Not all seeds grow. In life, most seeds never grow. So if you really want to make something happen, you had better try more than once."

This might mean:
- You'll attend twenty interviews to get one job.
- You'll interview forty people to find one good employee.
- You'll talk to fifty people to sell one house, one car, one vacuum cleaner, one insurance policy, or a business idea.
- And you might meet a hundred acquaintances just to find one special friend.

When we understand the "Law of the Seed", we don't get so disappointed. We stop feeling like victims. We learn how to deal with things that happen to us. Laws of nature are not things to take personally. We just need to understand them, and work with them.

In a nutshell, successful people fail more often. But they plant more seeds.

When things are beyond your control, here's something that you must not do so as to avoid misery in your life:
- You must not decide how you think the world should be
- You must not make rules for how everyone should behave

Then, when the world doesn't obey your rules, you get angry. That's what miserable people do!

On the other hand, let's say you expect that:
- Friends should return favours
- People should appreciate you
- Planes should arrive on time
- Everyone should be honest
- Your husband or best friend should remember your birthday

These expectations may sound reasonable. But often, these things won't happen! So you end up frustrated and disappointed. There's a better strategy:

Demand less, and instead, have preferences!

For things that are beyond your control, tell yourself: "I would prefer this, but if that happens, it’s ok too!" This is really a change in mindset. It is a shift in attitude, and it gives you more peace of mind. You prefer that people are polite... but when they are rude, it doesn't ruin your day. You prefer sunshine... but if it rains, it is ok too!

To become happier, we either need to:
a) Change the world, or
b) Change our thinking

It is usually easier to change our thinking.


If a dog was your teacher

If a dog were our teacher, these are some of the lessons we will surely have learned!

  1. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them
  2. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  3. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy
  4. When it's in your best interest practice obedience
  5. Let others know when they've invaded your territory
  6. Take naps and stretch before rising
  7. Run romp and play daily
  8. Thrive on attention and let people touch you
  9. Avoid biting, when a simple growl will do
  10. On warm days stop to lie on your back on the grass
  11. On hot days drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree
  12. When you're happy dance around and wag your entire body
  13. No matter how often you're scolded don't buy into the guilt thing and pout run right back and make friends
  14. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk
  15. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm
  16. Stop when you have had enough
  17. Be loyal
  18. Never pretend to be something you're not
  19. If what you want lies buried dig until you find it
  20. When someone is having a bad day be silent
  21. Sit close by and nuzzle them gently


Friday, July 6, 2007

Put your glass down

A professor began his class by holding up a glass with some water in it. He held it up for all to see & asked the students, 'How much do you think this glass weighs?'

'50gms' .... '100gms' ...'125gms' ..the students answered.

'I really don't know unless I weigh it,' said the professor, 'but, my question is: What would happen if I held it up like this for a few minutes?'

'Nothing' the students said.

'Ok what would happen if I held it up like this for an hour?' the professor asked.

'Your arm would begin to ache' said one of the student.

'You're right, now what would happen if I held it for a day?'

'Your arm could go numb, you might have severe muscle stress & paralysis & have to go to hospital for sure!' ventured another student & all the students laughed.

'Very good. But during all this, did the weight of the glass change?‘ asked the professor.


'Then what caused the arm ache & the muscle stress?' The students were puzzled.

'Holding the glass up' said one of the students.

'Exactly!' said the professor.'Life's problems are something like this. Hold it for a few minutes in your head & they seem fine. Think of them for a long time & they begin to ache. Hold it even longer & they begin to paralyze you. You will not be able to do anything.

It's important to think of the challenges (problems) in your life, but even more important is to 'put them down' at the end of every day before you go to sleep. That way, you are not stressed, you wake up every day fresh & strong & can handle any issue, any challenge that comes your way.'

Put your glass down for a while today.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Big John doesn't pay

One fine day, a bus driver went to the bus garage, started his bus, and drove off along the route. No problems for the first few stops - a few people got on, a few got off, and things went generally well. At the next stop, however, a big hulk of a guy got on. Six feet eight, built like a wrestler, arms hanging down to the ground. He glared at the driver and said, “Big John doesn't pay" and sat down at the back!

Did I mention that the driver was five feet three, thin, and basically meek?

Well, he was.

Naturally, he didn't argue with Big John, but he wasn't happy about it. The next day the same thing happened - Big John got on again, made a show of refusing to pay, and sat down. And the next day, and the next. This grated on the bus driver, who started losing sleep over the way Big John was taking advantage of him.

Finally he could stand it no longer. He signed up for body building courses, karate, judo, and all that good stuff.By the end of the summer, he had become quite strong; what's more, he felt really good about himself.

So on the next Monday, when Big John once again got on the bus and said, “Big John doesn't pay." The driver stood up, glared back at the passenger, and screamed,

“And why not???"

With a surprised look on his face, Big John replied, “Big John has a bus pass."

Be sure there is a problem in the first place before working hard to solve one!


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A Cab Ride

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy's life, a life for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn't realize was that it was also a ministry.

Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh and weep.

But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night. I was responding to a call from a small brick four-plex in a quiet part of town.

I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, and then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened.

A small woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knick- knacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, and then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. "It's nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way would want my mother treated".

"Oh, you're such a good boy", she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"

"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.

"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice."

I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long."

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.

"Nothing," I said.

"You have to make a living," she answered.

"There are other passengers," I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. "You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said, "Thank you."

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?

What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.


Monday, July 2, 2007

The defective idol

A gentleman was once visiting a temple under construction. In the temple premises, he saw a sculptor making an idol of God. Suddenly he saw, just a few meters away, another identical idol was lying. Surprised he asked the sculptor, "do you need two statutes of the same idol?". "No" said the sculptor, "we need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last stage." The gentleman examined the sculptor. No apparent damage was visible.

"Where is the damage?" asked the gentleman.

"There is a scratch on the nose of the idol."

"Where are you going to keep the idol?" he inquired further.

The sculptor replied that it will be installed on a pillar 20 feet high.

"When the idol will be 20 feet away from the eyes of the beholder, who is going to know that there is scratch on the nose?!" The gentleman asked with surprise.

The sculptor looked at the gentleman, smiled and said, "The God knows it, and I know it too."

The desire to excel should be exclusive of the fact whether someone appreciates it or not. Excellence is a drive from inside, not outside.