Saturday, February 6, 2016

Our Life, Our Goals and Our Relationships

For the last 5 years Rohit wanted to go to an onsite assignment from his company. Today when he got an opportunity, he does not want to go anymore. He does not feel the need any more to go. Why? Because, whenever he thinks about going, face of his newly born son comes to his mind – and he does not want to miss being together with him. It is a classic case of changing priorities. And I think there is nothing wrong in it. What appears important today, may not appear important enough tomorrow. So what do we do with this learning? Let us not be rigid about anything – this can be a good lesson.

One of the truths of life is that no goal is permanent. We all are taught in the childhood and younger days to be ‘focused’ towards our ‘goals’. But most of those ‘goals’ are not ‘our’ goals to begin with – those are the goals which our parents, family members and society have decided for us. When we are young, no one cares about what we want – because they don’t trust our instincts – and hence they write prescriptions for us based on what they think is best for us. But sometimes we get so much used-to with this prescriptive mode of decision making, that we waste a large part of our life in fulfilling others’ dreams rather than our own. Some of us even forget that we could have our own dreams.

Relationships are the most difficult stuff in this world. Because it is one area where you don’t have individual control over it – you depend on the other person or persons for doing anything. Sometimes I feel that to find someone who goes on nicely with you – is such a rare thing in this world! The other person need not be like you, or think like you, or do things the manner in which you would do it too, but that person’s thinking, way of doing things and being makes you ‘complete’ and ‘content’ – and that I think is the ultimate test of compatibility.

Even in the matters of relationships, I think our society has taken the easier path. They tend to find ‘equality’ most of the time – which may not be the same as ‘compatibility’. Most of the social conventions and norms are made with ‘simplicity’ and ‘practicality’ in mind, not specifically efficiency and effectiveness. This can be understood because it would not be possible for society to determine and guess things are a micro level. And hence they made rules at a macro level. It is up to us to remind us of these limitations while imitating what society has framed for us without customizing it according to our needs or situations.

The most unfortunate thing in life would be to lead a long life lived on others’ terms. For life is often judged by its outcomes and not on its insides or content – which again is due to limitations in social control. I think we ourselves are the best judges on our lives. There is no one else who knows us and our situations better than us; and hence it would not be possible for others to judge us and our life.

This is one subject where thinking and talking does not help. Everyone is constrained by a numerous things and hence for us to expect the other person to act or react in a particular fashion would be a wrong thing to do. But where does this leave us in the matter of relationships where we are forced to depend on the other person for its success? A lot of people either go into a shell or end up breaking the cord when faced with an intolerable prospect. It would be harsh to judge them – a principle we made and must follow. So where does it lead us to – can we conclude anything on relationships?

I think where it leads me to is the realization that it is a matter of great luck that we come across the ‘right’ person or persons. Having once found such persons, it is our responsibility to tread cautiously and ‘protect’ the relationship. But here again, it gets tricky. As someone said – relationships are like holding sand in our fist – if we put pressure, it escapes from the gaps of our fingers and if we hold on it too softly – it again is lost. So all that is in our control is to try and hope for the best.

So does Lord Krishna’s teaching on Karma comes best to our rescue? To do best that is in our hand and to leave the results to the Supreme? Well, it may be unexpected but it indeed seems so…

- Rahul Tiwary 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Innocence Can Move Mountains

Happened to watch a movie ‘Flipped’ on TV which is about teenage love or crushes. In the last scene, after having disappointed the girl a lot and since long, the boy decides to plant a tree in her garden, a kind of tree which she loved and one such was cut down in the neighborhood. It was truly a lovely gesture and heart touching. Apart from other things, what is clearly seen in this case is ‘innocence’ of both the kids.

I remembered my own childhood when I planted plants and trees; though in our own garden and not in some girl’s! I remembered how I decorated our home; though not to impress anyone else but to feel good myself. That pure innocence with which we built miniature clay houses, forest, pond – a whole world – with our own little hands! How we tried to make ourselves as ‘ideal’ human beings, not doing anything wrong and doing all things right. Oh, that innocence I doubt if I possess anymore!

That is how life is – the same person keeps evolving. I remember in childhood I had thought over how I would look like or what I would do when I grow old. I imagined myself till school days; even stretched my imagination to imagine how I would be when I join the college – perhaps taking inspirations from some others older guys I came across – but I had not been able to imagine how I would be after I take up a job or get married. My little world in my head could not stretch to imagine myself into things beyond a limit. I still remember that day when I concluded this. I asked myself if I agreed that I couldn’t imagine myself beyond that stage – and answered that I could not indeed. And see, here I am and I can look back into those days of childhood. While looking into future, we can’t go beyond a limit; but while looking into the past we can go as we please. But that limitation in my head – which made me say that I did not know beyond that limit – had to do something with innocence.

It occurred to me some time back that being all wise and all was not really an asset. When you know that something would not work; would you give your 100% to it? You won’t even try properly! May be if you did not know that it would not work you could have tried better and may be it could have turned out well, just for a change! So knowing too well has its negative side too!

One problem with life is that we can’t go back to some past stage of evolution. I remember what someone said once – if I tell you a fact, I can’t again tell you something which could negate the first learning you made. It is an irreversible process. So where does that leave us?

Having lost innocence once, we can’t go back to be innocent again. And that is some real precious loss I feel bad about…

- Rahul 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Who Takes Care of Fathers?

Sometime back I watched a movie where children of a rude father got really annoyed with the hard-headed manner in which they were treated. They complained that their father did not play with them, did not do anything to impress them; but just gave them orders and found faults in them. They said, “Our father is not nice”. One of their neighbors was listening to their complains and he decided to intervene. He said something like, “Have you ever realized that may be your father needs your help?” Children did not get it and asked “how”? The man went on to explain.

“As you know, you have your mother who takes care of you. Your mother has servants who take care of her. Everybody has someone or the other who takes care of them. But have you ever wondered who takes care of your father?”

The children were speechless.

“So if your father had a bad day at office, who can he complain to? If he is tired and exhausted or worried – it did not occur to you that he has no one who would take care of him! May be he needs help – did you ever try to help him out?”, the man continued.

The children were still speechless. But their faces told that they had got the point and they did not have something with them in protest.

Well, I am a young father and I do not claim to be experienced enough to have gained the wisdom, but I do remember the day my babies were born and I was alone in hospital with my wife and kids. It was their first night and mother was not strong enough to take care of them. My daughter would cry and I would try to make her calm down. After a while baby would do potty or susu and again cry. Then it would become hungry. At times the nurse would be too busy in other work and I would have to wait. I would hold the crying baby and try to make her stop crying. Once she stopped and starred into my eyes for a long time – as if trying to say something. Then as if her wait was over, she started crying all over again. I felt a sheer sense of helplessness for not being able to make her stop crying. She would cry and cry until I broke down. Silently I cried too – pained by my helplessness! People may say they are proud to be parents and all, but I know that more than anything, fatherhood has been the most ‘humbling’ experience I ever had…

Our society expects the man to be strong enough to face all problems. Women are labeled weak and any act of courage and achievement from them is seen as an exception and rewarded accordingly. But the poor man – he can’t make mistakes – he has no right to be emotional – he has to carry whole burden on his own shoulders and not even flinch his eyes. I don’t know if we ever stop and think what goes inside a man’s heart. May be we don’t realize that a man has a heart too. It is the same story in literature, art and movies.

I think it is time when we do a bit of re-balancing of the manner in which we judge men. Why re-balancing? Because times have changed. Today's world is no longer a "man's world". Today, a man is expected to do a lot of things earlier he was not. Today, things do not work like they worked before - where men could settle down matters in their "manly" ways. Today, almost every job that men do expects them to be "unlike" a typical male a hundred years ago. Men by design find it difficult to change. And they have in fact changed a lot, keeping with the time. But at times I think our over-expectations can create friction. 

I think we have been too harsh on men while judging them. We have been too unforgiving. We have taken their virtues for granted and punished them severely when they make mistakes. We set very high standards for them and expect them to act right every single time. At some point of time we forget that they have to climb a learning curve too. Most of the time, we forget, in the words of the man from the movie - that men often do not have anyone to take care of them. I think it is time we look at men with some "empathy" too. 

- Rahul [Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal.]

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Was Comedy Nights the Most Perverted Mass Show in India Ever?

Recently, one of India’s most popular TV shows ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’ which aired on ‘Colors’ has come to a closure. While reason behind its abrupt demise is controversial enough in itself; the show, in my opinion, was no less either. That this ‘perverted’ show (as the title of this article asserts) ran so long, is disturbingly surprising. I shall now try to express my opinion on different aspects of this show in the following paragraphs.

I remember how I came across this show for the first time. Kapil and his pet gesture ‘Baba Ji Ka Thullu’ had already gained mass popularity by the time I got to hear about them. And I did hear about them so many times – it was almost as if I was the only person not watching it. So I went ahead and watched the show. What was my reaction? I found it as horrifying as it was entertaining. Why horrifying? Let me ask you a question to begin with – do you know what Kapil’s almost patented phrase “Baba ji ka thullu” mean?

What Does ‘Baba Ji Ka Thullu’ Mean? Warning: This phrase is slang or a cuss word. You may skip following two paragraphs if you want to avoid its details.

You might have come across a phrase called ‘Baba Ji ka Ghanta’. In exact terms, it means ‘testicles of a Sadhu (sage)’. Since long there have been Sadhus or sages who do not wear any clothes, due to spiritual reasons (e.g. to discard materialism). Many times such Sadhus depended on common population to survive – they wandered and did not care about the hassles of cooking, so the common people fed them with regular meals to the extent possible. Some mischievous kind from the common masses cooked up this slang or cuss word – ‘baba ji ka ghanta’ where ‘ghanta’ meant the ‘hanging’ (like a bell) testicles of a Sadhu. When was this term used? It was used to discard or discount something. Just like a monk’s testicles are futile (since Sadhus practiced celibacy, their testicles were of no practical use), anything which is worthless or futile could deserve this slang. Kapil’s ‘Babaji ka Thullu’ improvised over it and it meant, well, ‘penis of a Sadhu (sage)’!

In the phrase ‘Baba ji ka thullu’, the relevance of ‘Baba ji’ is already explained above. What does ‘Thullu’ mean? Some of you may recall that ‘Tullu’ was a popular brand of ‘water pump’. Thullu is ‘Tullu’ in the general term that it stands for a ‘pump’. I hope I don’t need to explain why a ‘penis’ could be called ‘pump’ in slang? So the overall meaning of ‘Baba Ji Ka Thullu’ remains the same. Since a Sadhu practices celibacy, his penis is of no practical use when it comes to sex and hence it means “nothing”. How savage! Do you remember what Kapil said whenever anyone asked him what did “Baba ji ka thullu” mean? He said – “It means ‘nothing’”. Indeed, it means “nothing”. The devil is in the details.

If Kapil is responsible for doing mass corruption by bringing a sexual slang to everyday usage, other members of his ‘on-screen family’ were no saints either.

Daadi: There are few relations as pure as the one between children and grand parents. We could hold grudges against our parents for any reasons, but the love and affection our grandparents give to us is always so pure and so divine. When I first saw the kind of ‘daadi’ which was being played by a male Ali Asgar in the female costumes, I was disturbed merely at the sight of it. The grandmother ‘daadi’ drinks alcohol, openly salivates and jumps on male guests who come on the set and does other disgusting things like farting and smooching. I know that you would say – it was all for fun! Agreed, this is how I also saw it and survived without getting heart attacks watching Comedy Nights every weekend. But, in the end, no one can deny it that the character of ‘daadi’ was sexually perverted. And this show was supposed to be so called ‘family show’. Every time ‘daadi’ jumped and painted the cheeks of her male guests in red lipstick, the show became a cheap perverted comedy. There was no subtlety, no grace, but only crass fun. I think in the history of Indian television industry there has not been a grandmother as vulgar and disgusting as the one played by Ali Asgar.

Bua: The way society was at one time, unwed daughters were looked down at. I don’t need to be a feminist to see the role of unwed ‘Bua’ of ripen age being a blot on the face of all feminists. In almost every episode some ridicule was passed on her only because she was still unmarried. I know the same justification – “it was all for fun”. But you can’t deny that deep rooted behind all such “fun” was still the gross sexist ridicule which is heaped on the girls who don’t marry at the ‘right age’.

Wife-Bashing: There has been some constant themes on which Comedy Nights with Kapil was based. One such was "wife-bashing". The manner in which Kapil abused his on-screen wife at the stage was disgusting. He made fun of her in front of the guests on stage. His repetitive taunt was for her "lips" - again showing sexist side of the man. I have never seen such a "popular" male-chauvinist as Kapil. 

In my opinion, Comedy Nights with Kapil raised a very important question – why should we be forced to watch sick perverted comedy in the name of humor? I don’t agree if anyone says that ‘comedy’ is not possible without being expletive or sexist. Many people have done that – there have been wonderful writers and poets who produce so hilarious literature. But then, they fail to be a ‘mass product’ like Kapil. Why? Extreme popularity of Kapil’s show is a proof that our society is not exactly going the right way. We are just running behind whatever is served to us in attractive labels.

I think the mass popularity of Kapil’s show was one of the best marketing gimmicks of our time. I know of several people in personal life who have no humor whatsoever in them; but every time the discussion goes around Comedy Nights, they repeat, like a parrot, “Kapil is the best; there is no one like Kapil”. How this vulgar TV show of a “poker faced” man-next-door gained mass popularity is not a proof of his talent but also speaks poorly about our society which looks for social approval and lacks individualism in all fields. I am not a sociologist to understand it totally – but I do feel that lack of criticism for perverted shows like Comedy Nights speaks poorly about our society.

[Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal.]

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Modi Govt’s LED Bulbs

Collected 10 LED bulbs @ Rs 100 each from electricity office in Pune, which Govt is distributing for all. Sometime back I had bought some LED bulbs at a higher market price. Those were from Eveready which is an Indian company; but to my surprise the bulbs were "Made in China". So I looked for the make of government's LED bulbs and to my relief those are manufactured at Noida in UP. The contract manufacturer which makes them is a JV between an Indian company and a foreign firm.

Btw, below is a news item which tells about the benefit Modi Govt’s focus on LED bulbs is doing to our nation:

- Rahul 

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Today as soon as I took a turn in our lane on my bike, I found a small boy on his small bicycle talking to two little girls in their little frocks at the middle of the road. Now, as the small boy saw me approaching, he immediately paused his conversation, got off his bicycle, dragged it to the side of the lane and then raised his face to look at me so sincerely, as if expecting some reaction on my face.

I don't know if he did so because of good education given by his parents, or if he had learnt its importance after having a bad experience with some dare-devil speeding bikers. Whatever be the reason behind his gesture, it was so heart-warming!

I mean, honestly I have not received such kind of 'respect' in ages!

- Rahul 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Peshwa Bajirao I and the Movie 'Bajirao Mastani'

Full name of Peshwa Bajirao I is - Bajirao Ballal (Balaji) Bhat. He is also known as Thorale (Marathi for 'elder') Bajirao and with the nickname 'Rau' in Marathi. He lived from 18 August 1700 to 28 April 1740 and changed India's history forever. 

Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie 'Bajirao Mastani' is based on a Marathi Novel "Rau" authored by N.S. Inamdar which is a fictional story of love and relationship between Bajirao and his second wife Mastani. I shall watch this movie in a few days but in general I don't like fictitious stories written about historical figures.

Writers would pick a historical character for their fictitious novels because of many reasons. E.g. because of laziness (re-using historical setting saves lot of time), lack of courage (why take risk to create a new character when you can pick a popular one from the past), due to ego (writers feel like Lord Brahma, the Creator, when they write a book), or due to personal and mischievous reasons (we all have personal likes, dislikes and infatuations with historical figures). Above all, writing about a historical figure gives a bright chance to become part of history too. Any article written about the figure would include at least one line about the writer or filmmaker - "XYZ is a Hindi Bollywood film based on...". I think this must be most tempting to the seekers of fame.

On the other hand, even if they distort history (a fact every viewer knows these days except kids perhaps) they bring back historical figures into 'relevance'. Otherwise I or you won't be remembering Bajirao Peshwa these days. Due to this fact alone, I support even fictitious adaptations of historical figures or events. But as a society, we should care for real facts too. E.g. if one does not try to read anything from recorded history about a historical figure but only watches a fictitious epic movie, one is going to be misled.

When you read the real life story of Bajiwao and Mastani, you would realize that it is an epic in itself. I am not going to reveal it here but at the click of a button you can read about it on the net.

Btw, do you know that Peshwa Bajirao I - who is subject of soon-to-launch movie Bajirao Mastani, lived only for less than 40 years?

Young Bajirao was very popular among soldiers and his name was always taken with great honor. Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj (grandson of Chhatrapati Shivaji) appointed him as a Peshwa at a young age of only 20 years! Bajirwao fought over 41 major battles in his life and lost none! When Bajirao plundered Mughal controlled Delhi, the Mughal emperor had to hide to save himself.

Bajirao Peshwa was en route to Delhi with one lakh troops under his command near the city of Indore when he suffered from a sudden very high fever. I think in those days there were limited medical facilities. Bajirao Peshwa died on 28 April 1740, at an age of only 39. Still, for his immense contribution he is considered one of the chief architects of the great Maratha Empire!

One of the signature landmarks of Pune is Shaniwar Wada. Pune was the Capital City of the great Maratha Empire which ruled most of India for long. This fort was the seat of the Peshwa rulers. It was built by Peshwa Bajirao I. Most people visiting Pune for first time do make it a point to visit it. Today mainly the walls of the fort are remaining and the foundation of the palace inside it. The main palace and several buildings inside it were made of teak wood and got destroyed by a massive fire in year 1828 (legends tell that the British burned it).

Just in front of Shaniwar Wada stands a statue of Shrimant Bajirao Peshwa. It seems as if the Great Peshwa is still protecting his fort!

- Rahul 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Dear Brother's Wedding!

In the beginning of my childhood we lived as a joint family and hence bonding between members was too strong. We cousins, brothers and sisters grew up together. There is one special cousin about whom I want to write today.

I was one year older than him but we were always good 'friends' rather than elder brother and younger brother. Even our pet-names 'rhymed' together. People often took our names in one breath. We were so much together than once in childhood when I dreamed and saw myself as 'Prince Rama', I naturally saw him as 'Lakshmana' in my dream. Our natures complemented each other. I was shy and reserved while he was outgoing and bold. Therefore I cherish so many memories which may sound childish to you but are so special to me. I recollect two of these below.

Once in childhood I had been to a relative's place for the first time where he had been before. We were playing and I felt the need to pee. Being a shy boy I tried to control the urge until possible. But in the end it felt uncontrollable. I could not find courage to tell any other boy and ask where the toilet was. So I asked him and you know what he did? He quit the game then and there, and took me to a long way to the toilet. This may sound a small incident to you but I knew it mattered a lot to me. I still have very clear picture of walking with him in my mind. In the house celebrating a marriage, once he took me to a secret room where sweets were stored and we had big-big rosogullas! I can never forget it.

He was a very naughty child and always so bold, unlike me. One scene is frozen in my mind. Till UKG, I used to go to a school near to our home. One afternoon as the school ended, I saw him having arrived at my school riding our small kid's tricycle! The tricycle had a rider's seat and a pillion seat and he had brought the small tricycle so as to bring me back from school! I could never have dreamed to be able to do something so cute. Having done this, my dear brother was my 'hero'! I still have very clear picture of this special day.

Today, my this younger brother is going to get married! I wish you all the very best! You have been special to me, and you are still so very dear and wonderful like you were in childhood. My best wishes and love! May your new phase of life be filled with happiness and great joy always!

- Rahul

Friday, December 11, 2015

Do’s and Don’ts for the Mother of the Bride

Countless research articles have been written about the epic relationship between a bride and her mother-in-law. ‘Saas-Bahu’ relationship has been the subject of thousands of stories, movies, plays and folklores. In all these, saas, or the mother of the groom, has been especially painted all black with little shades of white, if any. Daughter-in-law is the ultimate tormented soul and mother-in-law is the ultimate villain or vamp. This notion has been fixed in our collective conscience for generations. A lot of help or self-help literature is available for the new bride. Do’s and don’ts on how to survive the ‘new life’ has been written by one and all. In all this clutter, there is one character which has remained in the shadows but still commands position of great power. In fact her power is hundred times more effective because of remaining away from the public attention. That, my dear friend, is the topic of my article - Mother of the Bride.

If you happen to be in the shoes of mother of the bride, it is important that you follow a few do’s and don’ts. Following these will not only help you but also your daughter who is so dear to your heart.

1. Realize Your Special Place in the Relationship Matrix

First of all, you must realize that your position is not to be taken casually. You hold a very special place in the heart of your child, your daughter, and you must tread carefully. Just like you have protected your child from the time she was a baby till the point of time when she is now married, you are going to keep playing a very important role till a very long time to come. Realizing this will not only give you comfort but also strength and stability which are going to prove all very important to you and your child.

2. Do Not get Insecure; Do Not Think You are Irrelevant

If you think that after your daughter has got married you are about to become irrelevant to her is only going to make you insecure and will harm both of you. If you allow such an insecurity to seep into your psyche, you are going to act in a variety of manners like being possessive, over-protective and intruding – all these can be harmful for the success of your daughter’s happy married life, as described in more detail below.

3. Give Your Daughter Time to Adjust to the New Environment

After marriage most probably your daughter is going to move to a new place either at her in-laws’ place or at her husband’s separate place of residence. She will take time to adjust to the new family members, to the new ‘parents’-in-law, and most importantly to the groom who is going to be her life-partner. Brides undergo a variety of emotions due to this change which may appear ‘abrupt’ or ‘forced’ to her. She will show an inclination to long for her old life and may crave to find pretext to go back to you. At this stage, you must realize that just like a sapling needs to remain rooted enough in the soil for it to grow, your daughter must spend enough time with her husband and in-laws in order for their mutual relationships to grow. Therefore, control your emotional urge to bring your daughter back to you as soon and as frequently as possible due to pretexts and excuses which may appear ‘important’ enough to your heart.

4. Do Not Criticize the Son-in-Law or His Parents

Especially in case of marriages where bride and grooms did not know each other for long enough before marriage, they are still in an exploration phase. They would continue to know and discover new things about each other. So would you most probably. In this phase, it is natural for your daughter to worry or be critical about a few things about her husband or her in-laws. When she shares her concerns with you, it is important that you maintain a fine balance while sharing your opinion. Control and stop your urge to speak your mind without thinking the impact your words would have on your daughter’s mind. My suggestion is that you should never be openly critical about your son-in-law or his parents. Because very often daughters look for a guidance and inspiration from mothers when they share their concerns and your criticism may compound your daughter’s negativity. All such negative emotions can only attract more negativity and make matters worse.

5. Do Not Intrude into your Daughter’s Life

At times you will have to control your urge to spoon-feed your daughter with advices and guidance which you might have gotten into habit to deliver to her. Realize that your daughter is now a grown-up woman and she needs to learn to stand tall by herself. She is not going to become all wise and strong merely by your advices. Let her try things out and learn from her mistakes. In the new environment she will sometimes need to make mistakes, take a step back and adjust. Your suggestions and daily doses of guidance may appear noble to you but those will harm your daughter’s prospects in the long term. I have used a harsh word ‘intrude’ to describe it for a purpose. Stop a temptation to pre-calibrate your daughter. It is much better to let her ask for help and then offer suggestions in an impartial manner which would be good both for your daughter and her new family.

6. Be Watchful But Maintain a Healthy Distance

While your daughter has been an inseparable part of you for her whole life and you feel the urge to keep watching out for her and protecting her, it is much better to control this urge a little after your daughter gets married. Maintain a healthy distance, a kind of ‘detached’ association in which you are watching your daughter but never crossing the line. Your over-protection would make your daughter come back to you on smallest pretexts and it won’t allow a strong ‘bond’ to develop between her and her in-laws. It is like if you keep feeding a baby with milk, the baby won’t ask for milk from anyone else. Similarly, if you keep filling whole of the emotional needs of your daughter, she is going to feel ‘filled’ always and she would never need to quench some of her emotional thirst by bonding with her husband or in-laws.

7. Let Her Cope Up With Difficult Times As Well

Like the way life is designed, there is going to be ‘good times’ and ‘bad times’. After her marriage, there will be a phase when your daughter will face some serious challenges. During such a phase it is important that she should ‘grow’ and rise up to the occasion. Therefore you must control your urge to be over-protective. Allow your daughter to face the tough times alongside her husband and her in-laws. The mutual love and respect they will develop while coping up with the tough times together are going to be ‘assets’ for her whole life.

8. Self Analyze Your Behavior and Keep Correcting

Life is such that at times we get overboard. Therefore it is important for you to do self-analysis every once in a while and answer for yourself if you are doing it well or not. You can have your own methods to know when to do this. For example, after every call your daughter makes to you to share some problem or concern, just pause and think in a detached manner. Due to what you have said to her, is she going to develop better relationship with her husband and her in-laws? If the answer is yes, you are a fabulous mother. If the answer is no and you think you have worsened your daughter’s problems, take corrective actions immediately. After a while this will come naturally to you.


Being a mother is perhaps the world’s greatest gift. But giving your child a healthy development is even greater in many aspects. When you realize that your behavior is going to impact rest of your daughter’s life, you are bound to be more careful. Remember that your daughter is going to spend more years with her husband than she has spent with you. But she is not going to learn ‘life-lessons’ again – she is going to act in the manner you have taught her. Therefore being a responsible mother, you must control yourself more than you try to control your daughter. A healthy and positive relationship between you and your daughter is very important for success of your daughter’s marriage.


[Disclaimer: This piece is written by Rahul Tiwary who is Not a Relationship Expert. Views expressed are his personal and do not reflect views of the organization he is professionally associated with.]

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Gods Playing Badminton

In our neighborhood park this evening, a father and a mother were seen playing Badminton. Mother was wearing a Saree which did not appear to be a hindrance to her movements. The most amusing part was their 'net'. Their little son was standing between them, serving as Badminton net. The kid was wearing full sweater which was complemented by a woolen cap of the same color; the kind of cap which gives babies appearance of a 'rabbit' or a 'kitten'.

The kid was definitely not happy with the arrangement. He alternately turned and looked at his father and then mother, and after finding both so engrossed in the 'game', it felt ignored. After a while, the kid just gave up and sat down on the ground. Still feeling ignored, it started playing with the grass by snatching it here and there.

In a way, the kid must be thinking that his parents were oblivious of him. If you looked at the scene, it would appear the same to you too. But obviously the parents were watching and being watchful. They were just not interfering with the kid.

I think that is how God treats us. Sometimes it would seem to us that God is not watching us and unaware of us. But God, like parents, does watch us. It is just that God does not always interfere.

- Rahul

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What If Salman Becomes A Frog?

Colleagues were discussing Salman Khan Hit-and-run case over afternoon tea in the office. Everyone was unanimous in saying that nothing bad will happen to Salman and he will be saved despite being guilty. Then I remarked that may be he would get punishment after he goes to meet God - may be he will become a frog in next life as a punishment. This is the way I understand it. Then one colleague gave a revolutionary answer which shattered my theory.

She said, "Even if Salman is reborn as a frog - he won't remember that he became a frog because of his bad work in last life. So he will once again enjoy life. In fact being a frog is good because he does not have to worry and take tensions like us."

This is very logical. A frog won't know if it got 'demoted' or 'promoted' by becoming a frog. Although even if this is true, I won't risk it fir myself. But I think being a 'bad guy' is always advantageous rather than being a 'good guy'. You won't have to play by the rules and your conscience does not trouble you so often. But what stops so many of us from becoming bad? Is it only 'inertia'; or do we really take a call in full awareness? 

What do you think?

- Rahul 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Political Artists as Conscience Keepers

Recently Oscar winner AR Rahman performed at a concert* organized on the occasion of Mulayam Singh's birthday. I am sure he would go even if Lalu invites him. Or if Lalit Modi or Rahul Gandhi invites him. And no one would raise an eyebrow. Why? Because apparently Rahman being an artist would be doing all these shows to "earn his bread". The fact that he would already be a millionaire and hence performing at each function where host is ready to pay should not really be counted as "earning bread" but can be seen as an attempt to keep the "rich and powerful on one's sides", could be ignored.

I think being an artist gives him the privilege of not being conscientious when it comes to grab money making opportunities. There can be some more professions like this. Doctors would treat any sick person no matter his/her background; lawyers can defend any accused if one pleads not guilty. Others are not so lucky. If you work in a firm which is considered doing unethical business or corrupt - it is often taken as a blemish on your character too.

Now, after becoming rich and powerful helped by keeping conscience locked in a closet for best part of life when one is young and energetic, if these artists or professionals suddenly start pretending to have a more genuine conscience than yours and mine, and being holier than the common man, what do we do? I discard such individuals and their claims as trash.

* The Concert:

- Rahul

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Why Facebook DP Change Only For France?

After terror attacks on France, Facebook gave an option to change our profile pictures in a way to show our support to France. If you noticed the pattern, initially people felt "good" when they were changing their profile pictures. Gradually I saw a trend - people were seen criticizing Facebook for being "selective" in its initiatives.

In order to prove their point, some people, pages, journalists etc started posting ghastly images of mass violence from African or Islamic countries and started asking - Why did not FB give an option to display support to "these" countries?

If you think about their reasoning, it appears "correct". Why did not Facebook do it right "every time"? Why "only now"? I think this is a classic case of seeing a glass as "half empty" instead of "half filled".

I think through the profile picture change option, Facebook was giving a harmless means to express grief and solidarity towards a victim nation. If it worked well, it would make sense for FB to do the same next time for other countries also. After all, such activities keep users engaged and it is good for business. But if FB gets mostly criticism and faces a negative campaign against it after this episode; it will not be encouraged to give such options in future all together!

In the event of a humanitarian crisis, if by changing display picture a user feels less burdened; it helps in 'healing'. It does something 'good' even if small or inconsequential in total impact. So I think our criticism for FB does more harm than benefit to this world. Instead of asking "Why only towards France" and in a way insulting French people, or "Why not towards Iraq" and in a way insulting Iraqi people, and spreading negativity at the time of a humanitarian crisis, we should choose constructive feedback like, "I like this feature and hope they give this option even in future."

- Rahul

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Swachh Bharat Cess

Recently Central Govt imposed a "Swachh Bharat cess". I read about it first in the newspaper-headlines as "Eating out, travelling and phone calls to get costlier from today". Naturally I got worried. The next day they wrote articles all over saying "Swachh Bharat Cess Is A Terrible Idea" etc. I got more worried. Then today after taking a taxi ride, I saw that I had to pay 38 paisa as "Swachh Bharat cess". 

I felt like "cheated"! After all, I was expecting this tax to really 'tax' me! Why should I be first made to believe that some grand injustice has been done in the name of Swachh Bharat and then in the end it should turn out to be just some coins?

I read that the funds collected through this cess will be used for construction of "toilets". Though the cess is only 0.5% of taxable services, Govt will get Rs 3700 crore through it this fiscal and around Rs 10000 crore in FY 2016-17. So it seems to be a very good idea. 

I can live without a few coins every once in a while in order to help make toilets in our country.

- Rahul

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Attack On Paris!

God could eliminate all the demons and terrorists merely by His wish. 
But He wants "us" to do it. 
Can we do it by guns and bombs? 
France and USA failed in that so far. 
Then how can we do it? 
We can do it by Courage and Faith.

- Rahul

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Happy Diwali!

Saw a man painting his house on Diwali. His was a humble one, if compared with his neighborhood. In fact only the front wall was in proper shape with a plaster on it. The man was painting the wall in blue - that blue which is used to give a shade different than regular whitewash. The man had climbed a ladder and his wife and son were holding the ladder and looking up at him with a concerned feeling.

The scene touched some cord. In one snapshot it told what a house means to a man; what a man means to his family and what a festival like Diwali means to people. Also I remembered something which a friend had said once - the kind of bonding you see in people with humble means can never be found in the rich families.

Wishing you all a very happy, prosperous and auspicious Diwali!

- Rahul

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Little Goat and A Little Girl

I want to tell you a story - or some little stories woven into one.

Our locality has a few shops selling meat. One goat is always tied to a tree trunk near the shop - perhaps it serves as 'safety stock'. One day a little girl was passing by - holding her grandmother by one finger. I could see that she had turned back and was making gestures with her other hand at the goat - as if trying to entertain it and gain its attention. She also spoke some cute words to the goat. The goat just stared at her.

Then outside a nearby chicken shop, that day only one white hen was seen in the cage. Perhaps the shop was soon to witness a stock-out situation - blame poor forecasting. Now a red cock was seen wandering on the ground. Perhaps it was a pet of someone and hence free. This big red cock looked at the solitary white hen in the cage - a damsel in distress - and made some sounds. The hen actually responded looking at the cock and spoke a few words. I think my heart skipped a few beats at the sight.

What to speak of dogs. With roads getting wider day by day and some dogs not learning how to cross roads safely - especially the newly recruited pups which popup in bunches some fine day - the situation is alarming. The only good thing is that perhaps the municipality is cleaning the roads soon enough for us. Or who knows, may be the fast vehicles do all the surface cleaning.

I had written about the fat cat in our neighborhood before - if you remember. A neighbor decided to steal one of her kittens to be raised as a pet and she religiously went to his house every evening and cried aloud. I can only update that this ritual went on for not less than a month after which either she got her baby back or else made some new ones to cope up with the situation.

On the way to morning walk, I find an unfamiliar noise coming out of a house whose doors and windows were still sleeping. Almost certain, it was a parrot making squeaky noises. Was it trying to wake up its owners? Oh, how I forget - it was responding to the call of nature. While we may find mornings lazy and uninvited, especially on working days of the week - birds find every morning worth celebrating. That parrot was acting like a bird - which I had to take time to come into terms with. So human like.

I think with cities growing high and wide, our earth is increasingly becoming unnatural for living beings which God designed to remain free and happy always. I don't count humans with these free-and-happy beings because I think we are too human to be these.

- Rahul [Views expressed are personal]

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Not Tolerating Intolerance

If you follow any mass media, you would be aware that India has become 'intolerant' very recently. Specifically Hindu groups and individuals have turned intolerant. The commotion that has been created around this 'news' is pervasive; to the extent that if you even dream of being an 'intellectual', you have no choice but to 'condemn' it in the most outrageous manner possible for your profession (is that why I am also writing about it?). What to tell of small time thugs and petty politicians; positions of real power and influence like the President himself have ranted about 'intolerance' in most serious expressions. Yesterday, a political party brought out a 'protest march' to condemn 'silence' of PM on rising intolerance. Till day before yesterday, in a way a protest march was symbol of 'intolerance' and silence was symbol of 'tolerance' - but not any longer. We can't tolerate intolerance - that is the bottom line.

So how did the transformation start? It was a man beaten up to death in a UP village which started all this. Such crimes happen daily. But this one started like a wild fire. First news media started reporting it; then politicians made that village a pilgrimage, then a chain of attention-seekers took it off: writers, sorry, award winning writers, then President, then filmmakers, historians, showmen, businessmen and ultimately none other than Moody's Corporation. Is this what is called Butterfly effect?

Since President has given lecture about pluralism and tolerance two times in October 2015, it is apparent that India has suddenly transformed into an intolerant nation; it has not been a gradual process. Since this change has happened very recently - around last 2 months - logically something should have happened during these two months which was not present earlier - and hence the change. So what is it? If you even start to think on these lines, you would remember the big event - Bihar Assembly Elections!

This whole crooked episode which so called intellectuals call 'rising intolerance' is just a natural rising of pitch during elections. And it happens everywhere. If Donand Trump makes a racist comment on the blacks; or if Obama appeases a communal group and so on - in the run up to US Presidential elections - is it because America has suddenly become racist/communal? Of course not. Then why Indian intellectuals are so foolish that they can't see the plot? May be, they were not really 'intellectuals' all along!

[Views expressed are personal]

Saturday, October 31, 2015


I looked at my savings bank account statement and it so happened that I saw a lot of figures which ended with "Cr.". Now for a moment it appeared like "Crores"! Certainly some "Credit" to such an imagination :)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Selected Sanskrit Shlokas With Meanings

एकं सद् विप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति।

- ऋग्वेद [१.१६४.४६]

सत्य तो एक ही है लेकिन विद्वतजन उसे बहुविध प्रकार से समझते हैं। / एक ही ब्रह्म है, जो विविध नामों से विख्यात है।

(There is a single Truth, which wise people describe differently.)


आयुर्नश्यति पश्यतां प्रतिदिनं याति क्षयं यौवनं
प्रत्यायान्ति गताः पुनर्न दिवसाः कालो जगद्भक्षकः।
लक्ष्मीस्तोयतरङ्गभङ्गचपला विद्युच्चलं जीवितं
तस्मान्मां शरणागतं शरणद त्वं रक्ष रक्षाधुना।।

- शिवापराधक्षमापनस्तोत्रम् [१३]

प्रतिदिन आयु नष्ट हो रही है, यौवन का क्षय हो रहा है।
बीता हुआ दिन फिर वापस नहीं आता, काल संसार का भक्षक है।
लक्ष्मी (धन-संपत्ति) जल की तरंग-भंग की भांति चपला है, जीवन विद्युत के समान क्षणभंगुर है।
इसलिए, आप जो सभी को शरण देते हैं, अब इस शरणागत की रक्षा कीजिए।

(Every day life is seen reducing and youthfulness decaying. Days that are gone never come back. Time is devourer of the world. Wealth is as fickle as the breaking of the waves of water, and life as transient as lightning. Therefore, you who gives refuge to all, protect me now who has come to you for refuge.)


ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्म हविः ब्रह्माग्नौ ब्रह्मणा हुतम्।
ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना ॥

- भागवत गीता [४.२४]

- जिस चम्मच से अग्नि में आहुति दी जाती है, वह ब्रह्म है। जिन (घी आदि) पदार्थों की आहुति दी जाती है, वे भी ब्रह्म हैं। जिस अग्नि में आहुति दी जाती है, वह भी ब्रह्म है। आहुति देने वाला भी ब्रह्म है। उस ब्रह्मरूपी कर्म में समाधि को प्राप्त योगी को मिलने वाला फल भी ब्रह्म ही है।

यद् बलानां बलं श्रेष्ठं तत् प्रज्ञाबलमुच्यते 

- विदुर / वेद व्यास [प्रजागरपर्व (उद्योगपर्व), महाभारत]

बुद्धिबल को समस्त बलों में श्रेष्ठ बल कहा जाता हैै। 

(Intelligence is called greatest of all powers.)


यद् भूतहितम् अत्यन्तम्।

- श्री कृष्ण [महाभारत]

जो समस्त प्राणियों का परम हित है, वही सत्य है।

(That which is in the greatest good for society, is Truth.)