Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lesson from a Train Journey


I recently read Subroto Bagchi's 'Go, Kiss the World!'. I think it was one of the most inspiring books I have ever come across. The story of Bagchi and the journey he made from small town Orissa to corporate America is truly remarkable. What I found most touching was the title of the book itself. Bagchi's mother was on her deathbed and he went to visit her one last time, before heading back to work on the other side of the globe. He kissed her on the forehead, to which she replied, 'Why are you kissing me? Go, kiss the world!'

In one of the chapters, Bagchi writes about how his life was transformed by certain 'personal angels'. These 'angels' come in the form of ordinary people, but they make a profound impact on your life, due to what you 'take' from them. One might come across them anywhere and anytime; it's up to us to take the lesson and implement it in our lives.

I came across one of my 'personal angels' two weeks ago. My family and I were traveling to Bangalore for my cousin's wedding. It was a jolly trip, filled with raucous singing and teasing and much laughter. We had all gotten together after a very long time, so it was a very enjoyable journey indeed. As the train pulled into a small station, Amma jolted me from my nap. She said that there was someone selling earrings! Now, I simply love these trinkets and I eagerly nodded, waiting for them in anticipation.

To my surprise, I saw two young lads, no more than eleven, moving around the compartment selling earrings and other trinkets. When they approached us, we began speaking to them. I learnt that they were brothers, and were working during their vacations, so that they could get a little more money to take home to their mother. At first, I felt a stroke of sympathy- To be working like this at such a young age! Oh, the horror of it all! But as I chatted with them, I realized that they weren't feeling sorry for themselves at all. In fact, they were proud of what they were doing, and their eyes glowed with glee when we purchased a few of their lovely accessories. In one word, these 'angels' taught me perseverance. Yes, they were in a tough position, circumstances that cannot be explained. Appa calls them 'accidents of birth'. I am born into a family of wealth. Is it due to my merit? On the other hand, if I am born into poverty, is that also my fault? One might answer these questions by referring to karma in past lives, but really, isn't birth an accident? You might well have been born into the other side!

But I digress. The essence of the anecdote is that these two brothers, Sarat and Prashant, didn't let circumstances dominate their determination and will to win in life. They will certainly make it. And as Bagchi says, they will not only 'make it big, but also make it good'!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Stop Pretending

People pretending to be someone they aren't. You'll find them everywhere. I certainly do not exclude myself from this list. I have fallen prey to the pressures of trying to be popular, by pretending. Pretending to enjoy talking about stuff I inwardly detest, pretending to be a totally different person.I have, however, realized that this pretense cannot carry you long.

As a university student, I probably do not fall into the 'cool' category. I would rather read an interesting book than go out clubbing. I prefer to watch Vivek/Vadivel comedy on Sun TV than the latest season of How I Met Your Mother. I would listen to AR Rahman and Kollywood dappankuthu any day over Western musicians whose names I have to google. I like discussing religion, politics and books. I like going to temples. I don't have a boyfriend. At least, not yet :P And yes, I do attend lectures and study. ('Oh you study? *gasp* Oh My God!' Erm, yes I actually study, at least 24 hours before the semester exams. I'm sure my Appa didn't send me 1807 miles away from home just so I could sleep and enjoy life. If I sound self righteous I don't apologize.) If this qualifies me to be a 'nerd' I'd rather be one. That's the way I am made, and there are probably others who appreciate me for being who I am. I live my life the way I want to, and not according to the whims and fancies of others. Anyway I cannot pretend forever.

So I have realized that the best way to happiness is just to be yourself. Don't feel like going somewhere? Have the guts to say no! Don't feel like following your friends? Please stick to your own self, you won't regret it later. Have too much work and don't want to go get drunk? Please listen to that little voice inside your mind.

I understand there are times when you simply have to pretend. For instance, at the workplace or in a group meeting. Now those are unavoidable circumstances. But there are many times, when we willfully pretend, when there is absolutely no need to. Simply put, pretentious people come across as shallow- and everyone knows that it's just a pretense. It's similar to the scenario where a person smiles, but you can tell whether it's genuine or not.

I am reminded of this story where a man recently got a promotion. He was eager to impress upon everyone the power he exuded with the new post. So when a man knocked at his door, he pretended to be busy on the phone. He used a lot of technical jargon and spoke in a tone of authority. After a few minutes, he hung up and asked the man briskly what he wanted. The man, stifling a chuckle, said 'I'm here to fix your telephone!'

So why pretend? It's futile and meaningless. Have the courage to be yourself. And most importantly 'Take pride in how far you have come; Have faith in how far you can go.' I believe therein lies the key to happiness.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lesson from a Train Journey


I recently read Subroto Bagchi's 'Go, Kiss the World!'. I think it was one of the most inspiring books I have ever come across. The story of Bagchi and the journey he made from small town Orissa to corporate America is truly remarkable. What I found most touching was the title of the book itself. Bagchi's mother was on her deathbed and he went to visit her one last time, before heading back to work on the other side of the globe. He kissed her on the forehead, to which she replied, 'Why are you kissing me? Go, kiss the world!'

In one of the chapters, Bagchi writes about how his life was transformed by certain 'personal angels'. These 'angels' come in the form of ordinary people, but they make a profound impact on your life, due to what you 'take' from them. One might come across them anywhere and anytime; it's up to us to take the lesson and implement it in our lives.

I came across one of my 'personal angels' two weeks ago. My family and I were traveling to Bangalore for my cousin's wedding. It was a jolly trip, filled with raucous singing and teasing and much laughter. We had all gotten together after a very long time, so it was a very enjoyable journey indeed. As the train pulled into a small station, Amma jolted me from my nap. She said that there was someone selling earrings! Now, I simply love these trinkets and I eagerly nodded, waiting for them in anticipation.

To my surprise, I saw two young lads, no more than eleven, moving around the compartment selling earrings and other trinkets. When they approached us, we began speaking to them. I learnt that they were brothers, and were working during their vacations, so that they could get a little more money to take home to their mother. At first, I felt a stroke of sympathy- To be working like this at such a young age! Oh, the horror of it all! But as I chatted with them, I realized that they weren't feeling sorry for themselves at all. In fact, they were proud of what they were doing, and their eyes glowed with glee when we purchased a few of their lovely accessories. In one word, these 'angels' taught me perseverance. Yes, they were in a tough position, circumstances that cannot be explained. Appa calls them 'accidents of birth'. I am born into a family of wealth. Is it due to my merit? On the other hand, if I am born into poverty, is that also my fault? One might answer these questions by referring to karma in past lives, but really, isn't birth an accident? You might well have been born into the other side!

But I digress. The essence of the anecdote is that these two brothers, Sarat and Prashant, didn't let circumstances dominate their determination and will to win in life. They will certainly make it. And as Bagchi says, they will not only 'make it big, but also make it good'!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Stop Pretending

People pretending to be someone they aren't. You'll find them everywhere. I certainly do not exclude myself from this list. I have fallen prey to the pressures of trying to be popular, by pretending. Pretending to enjoy talking about stuff I inwardly detest, pretending to be a totally different person.I have, however, realized that this pretense cannot carry you long.

As a university student, I probably do not fall into the 'cool' category. I would rather read an interesting book than go out clubbing. I prefer to watch Vivek/Vadivel comedy on Sun TV than the latest season of How I Met Your Mother. I would listen to AR Rahman and Kollywood dappankuthu any day over Western musicians whose names I have to google. I like discussing religion, politics and books. I like going to temples. I don't have a boyfriend. At least, not yet :P And yes, I do attend lectures and study. ('Oh you study? *gasp* Oh My God!' Erm, yes I actually study, at least 24 hours before the semester exams. I'm sure my Appa didn't send me 1807 miles away from home just so I could sleep and enjoy life. If I sound self righteous I don't apologize.) If this qualifies me to be a 'nerd' I'd rather be one. That's the way I am made, and there are probably others who appreciate me for being who I am. I live my life the way I want to, and not according to the whims and fancies of others. Anyway I cannot pretend forever.

So I have realized that the best way to happiness is just to be yourself. Don't feel like going somewhere? Have the guts to say no! Don't feel like following your friends? Please stick to your own self, you won't regret it later. Have too much work and don't want to go get drunk? Please listen to that little voice inside your mind.

I understand there are times when you simply have to pretend. For instance, at the workplace or in a group meeting. Now those are unavoidable circumstances. But there are many times, when we willfully pretend, when there is absolutely no need to. Simply put, pretentious people come across as shallow- and everyone knows that it's just a pretense. It's similar to the scenario where a person smiles, but you can tell whether it's genuine or not.

I am reminded of this story where a man recently got a promotion. He was eager to impress upon everyone the power he exuded with the new post. So when a man knocked at his door, he pretended to be busy on the phone. He used a lot of technical jargon and spoke in a tone of authority. After a few minutes, he hung up and asked the man briskly what he wanted. The man, stifling a chuckle, said 'I'm here to fix your telephone!'

So why pretend? It's futile and meaningless. Have the courage to be yourself. And most importantly 'Take pride in how far you have come; Have faith in how far you can go.' I believe therein lies the key to happiness.