Posted in Life Gyan

The “Special” Ordinary People

Yes, that is a weird sounding title but let me explain in a jiffy…
Try answering the below questions…
1. Name the 5 Wealthiest People in the world
2. Name the Last 5 winners of Ms. Universe
3. Name the Last 10 People Who the Nobel prize

How Did You Do?

The point is, none of us remembers the headlines of yesterday.
Even though these people must be the best in their fields. Applause dies, awards are tarnished and achievements are forgotten!!

Here’s another quiz…Let’s see how this one goes:

1. Name 5 Teachers Who Added to Your Journey Through School
2. Name 5 Friends Who Helped You Thru Difficult Times
3. Name 5 People Who Taught You Something Worthwhile
4. Name 5 People Who Make You Feel Special
5. Name 5 People who You Enjoy Spending Time with


The people who make a difference in your life are NOT the ones with most awards…Life is full of ordinary people who have made the world a better place for you!

Cherish them!
Hold them tight! And Thank them for making a difference in your life.
Perhaps sometimes its “special” to be ordinary!

Posted in Life Gyan

Who is Your Fallback?

A fall back is the go-to person(s) who we reach out to in times of confusion, chaos, dilemma or so to our weaker times.

Life is full of ups and downs and even though we all have our own strengths, yet there are times in everyone’s life where we are faced with new challenges or some major life changing decisions where our mind is filled with self-doubt, confusion, sadness or ambiguities. During such times, we fall back on to our close friends or mentors who are our confidantes in the hope that they will understand our situation and may help clear the clouds from our thinking to enable us to choose wisely and take the right decision.

Thus it is very important to choose our fall backs wisely as they are the people who can have a big influence over the way we think and perceive the situation and the decisions we take at those times and can change the course/ direction of our lives. 

Let us reflect on two important characters from Mahabharata – Duryodhan & Arjun. 

Duryodhan was a person of very high intelligence, power, and knowledge. He had the knowledge about what is right and wrong, yet he couldn’t prevent himself from taking the wrong path and decisions. His fall back was his uncle Shakuni, who had vested interests of his own. He manipulated Duryodhan during his confused state by massaging his ego, and always blaming the other for the situation which was surrounding Duryodhan. Shakuni made Duryodhan dependent on him gradually for all important or smaller decisions.

However, Arjun’s fall back was Krishna who presented him with facts, higher truths of life and allowed Arjun to make his own choices and decisions. Krishna accepted and honed Arjun to be a brave leader. Krishna empowered him to make his own choices and be responsible for the choices he makes. Krishna never manipulated him. This enabled Arjun and rest of the Pandavas to choose their own path wisely and follow their Dharma.

The rest as we say is history. Though we cannot ignore the influence both Shakuni and Krishna had on their protégé yet both Duryodhan and Arjun were eventually responsible for their own actions. And that is why the right fallback or mentor or counsel is so important in life. 

Consider a drop of pure water falling from the sky.
If it lands on flowers or leaves, it becomes a dew drop.
If it falls on a hot surface, then it loses its identity and vanishes.
If the same drop lands in an oyster, it gets converted into a pearl…

Reflect on who is your fallback? Does he or she massage your ego in those confused situations, or do they provide comfort and assurance and help you see the light within and choose your own path wisely. Our fallbacks might not necessarily be as extreme as Shakuni or Krishna but if we take a step back and reflect we can still gauge which ways they tend towards.

Also, reflect upon how you play your role as a fallback. When others fall back on you when they are confused, do you hold the space for them, or do you unconsciously get your own stories mixed up with theirs.

Do you assist the person see his own wisdom and see the truth or manipulate him/her to believe that they are the victim and the other person/situation is the perpetrator?

Do you meditate or contemplate the situation without judgments or you unconsciously get your vested interests fulfilled through the situation?

We all play fallbacks to other people in our lives, especially as a spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend, relative or colleague. Let us be mindful of our energies and emotions so that when someone comes to us in their turbulent times, we are able to empathise with them, yet stay neutral and help them reflect their true essence just as a true mirror would do. 

Realise the role of your community, your companions, your friends and family and how they can influence the direction of your journey of life in a profound way.

Choose your fallbacks wisely and be an empathetic yet honest fallback to someone else.

Posted in Life Gyan

Shapeless Rotis

Not only does India need more of such mother-in-laws who are more accepting of their daughter-in-laws and more understanding but also they need to remember their journey and ensure that the new bride does not go through the same struggles that she had to.

A mother writes a heartfelt letter to her son, on why he should  laugh at his wife’s shapeless rotis. And in the process shares some valuable lessons and insights for all couples and in-laws.

Dear Son,
Hope this letter finds you in the best of spirits and health.

You might be surprised to find an email from your mom. Something told me to write to you; that you need to hear from me today.

It was indeed one of the best evenings that your father and I spent when you visited us with your new wife yesterday. Rest assured, we liked her immensely. I could see that both of you are very much in love and that makes me happy. May your love grow every moment!

Now let me get to the reason for writing this letter. I don’t know whether you remember, but during dinner, you cracked a joke about the shapeless rotis that Lavanya makes. We all laughed and your father laughed the loudest. There were tears of laughter in your father’s eyes and there were tears in your wife’s eyes too. I can assure you that her tears were not of mirth; they were tears of mortification, of shame brought about by the innocuous joke that you cracked.

I guess that joke was the reason why we heard raised voices coming from your room yesterday night and the reason why Lavanya appeared puffy eyed in the morning. Maybe she cried all night.

Son, I want to tell you something. I love shapeless rotis. They bring back many fond memories. They remind me of the shapeless rotis made by my father on certain Saturday mornings when my mother had extra duty at her office. They often lacked salt, were hard like rock and were shaped like various continents. But his love for us compensated for all that it lacked.

Shapeless rotis also bring memories of those days when your father turned into my cook. It was during those early days of pregnancy while I was carrying you. I couldn’t bear the smell of spices or rice or anything cooking. Your father would churn out shapeless rotis and experimental curries, which tasted quite good because he wanted to provide home cooked food for his wife and unborn child. His care and affection made those rotis priceless.

Do you remember how you used to insist on helping me while I prepared rotis when you were around four years old? You would play with the dough and create various shapes that you wanted to be cooked and served to all. I can tell you, those were the tastiest rotis that I ever ate.

Words can create a world full of love. Yet, a thoughtless word is enough to destroy that world.

Lavanya and you are equally qualified; you both earn equally well too. You have both spent an equal number of years educating yourself to be the professionals that you are. But you expect Lavanya to become the perfect cook and home-maker from the moment you married her! How unreasonable is that?

Rahul, no new wife wants to be ridiculed in front of her in-laws. Trust me, I can tell you that. Been there, done that. She craves to be loved by them and she expects her husband’s support in her effort at endearing herself to them.

Teething troubles in marriages are often capable of draining out the love you have for each other. Be there for her while she adapts herself to your world. A small token of appreciation and open support is all that she will need.

You are my beloved son and I know you have learned to see the brighter side of things. Value love more than any other thing because son, perfectly round rotis are often machine made. They lack the most essential ingredient; Love.

Wishing you a world of love,
Yours loving mother

Posted in Life Gyan

Assume Positive Intent

Once a person was traveling across the countryside in his car and unfortunately somewhere on the outskirts of a village his car get a flat Tyre. When he gets down to replace the tyre he realizes that he forgot the jack in his own garage. He gets very upset at his own stupidity and kicks the flat tyre in disappointment. He looks around for help but there is no one to be seen. He looks around once more pondering at the alternatives when he notices a car parked in the courtyard of one of the houses in the distance across the fields. He chuckled at the sight of the car and decides to ask the owner of the car, probably a farmer, if he could borrow his jack. 

So he starts walking towards the farmer’s house. While walking he starts to mentally prepare his narration that he would tell the farmer which would convince him to lend the jack in the easiest and quickest possible manner. He thinks if I say this the farmer may respond like this and then this is what I am going to tell him. If he offers me tea/coffee I am going to say this and so on. During his mental dialogues he also thinks what if the farmer makes an excuse and refuses to lend the jack. Then he prepares his reasons to convince the farmer but what if the farmer does not relent – he tries harder but what if the farmer does not trust strangers. 

The dialogues in his head continue to get more and more intense as he keeps walking towards the farmer’s house. By the time he knocks on the farmer’s door he is completely agitated and enraged with the arguments going on in his head. And the moment the farmer opens the door the person is so angry that he punches the farmer…

This story may not be very different from what we too face in our day to day lives. Wherever the favorable outcome of a situation is extremely important to us, our emotions get attached to the outcome.  Doubt, anxiety and negative thoughts then start creeping into our mind. And the mental conversations begins. As these situations play out in our head, we start looking suspiciously at all the other characters in the play as if everyone has just one motto – how to jeopardize the outcome we desire so badly. Just like the person with the flat tyre in the story, we start mixing our mental conversations with the real world interactions and start “punching” (read behaving rudely, sulking, stop responding, deliberately avoid helping, using sarcastic language) the various characters who are none other than our family members, friends and colleagues. 

To prevent ourselves from getting trapped into such behaviors and to make our own lives and that of others around us blissful, here is a simple, powerful and very effective concept. All you need to do is to repeat this phrase to yourself whenever you are faced with doubt, anxiety or negative thoughts about a person or a situation and your faith starts to falter.


The beauty of this simple thought is that it applies equally well to all situations whether you are at home, at work or with friends. Whenever you are tempted to think negatively of a situation or the person causing it – pause a moment and remember the phrase “Assume Positive Intent“. These three simple words will direct your mind to look at the same situation by assuming positive intentions of the people involved. Rather than looking at the negative reasons for someone’s behavior you start to think of positive intentions behind people’s behavior. By doing this you are willing to give the benefit of doubt to your friends or family, even if it is for that moment. 

The moment you change your point of view, everything related to it changes, including how you respond to it. It takes the stress out of the entire event and preserves the health of your relationship as you start visualizing people having positive intentions towards you. By adopting a positive view, you not only make your life stress free but also start influencing the others around you with your positive attitude. 

Once you start practicing this in your day to day interactions, you will be tempted to take a print out of these three words and stick it to your desk. These simple words, if practiced consistently can take the heartburn out of so many situations and save many relationships from going stale. 

Posted in Life Gyan

Build Relationships, Not Just Contacts

In the material world where we focus on goals like financial growth, better health, professional growth and success, let’s also add one for our relationships.

The year was 1990.  I was returning from Delhi by flight with a monk of the RamaKrishna Mission. A  journalist from Chile was there with us . He started interviewing  the monk, as had been decided earlier.

Journalist – Dear Sir , in your last lecture, you  told about Jogajog (contact) &  Sanjog (connection ). It’s really confusing. Can you explain it to me ?

The Monk smiled a little but apparently deviating from the question,  he asked the journalist: Are you from Chile ?

Journalist( J ) – Yeh…

Monk ( M ) – Who are there at home ?

The Journalist felt that the  Monk was trying to avoid answering his question since  this was a very personal and unwarranted question. Yet the  journalist  said: “Mother has expired. Father is there. Three brothers and one sister. All are married…”

The Monk, a smile on his  face, asked next: – “Do you talk to your father?” Now the  journalist looked visibly annoyed…

The Monk  – “When did you talk to him last?”

The journalist suppressing his annoyance said:  “May be a month back.”

The Monk:  “Do you brothers and sisters meet often ? When did you last meet as a family together?”

At this point, I saw  sweat on the journalist’s  fore head. I wondered who was taking whose interview. It seemed that the Monk was taking the interview of the journalist.

With a sigh , the journalist said: “We met last at Christmas two  years ago.”

The Monk: ” How many days did you all stay together ?”

The journalist ( wiping the sweat on his brow) : “Three days…”

Monk: “How much time did you  spend with your Father, sitting right  beside him ?”

I saw the journalist looking  perplexed and embarrassed and scribbling something on a paper…

The Monk:  “Did you have breakfast or lunch or dinner together ? Did you ask how he was? Did you ask how his days are passing after your mother’s death ?”

I saw the journalist’s eyes sadden.

The Monk placed his hand on the journalist’s hand and said: “don’t be embrassed or upset or sad. I am sorry if I have hurt you unknowingly… But this is basically the answer to your question about “contact and connection ( jogajog and Sanjog)”.  You have ‘contact’  with your father but you don’t have ‘connection’ with him. You are not connected to him.

Connection is between heart and heart… sitting together , sharing meals , caring for & hugging each other. Touch , shaking hands, having eye contact,  spending some time together…Your  brothers and sisters have ‘contact’ with each  but you have no  ‘connection’ with each other….”

The journalist wiped his eyes and said : “Thanks for teaching me a fine and unforgettable lesson”

This is the reality today. Whether at home, in society and elsewhere everybody has lots and lots of contacts but there is no connection. No communication…   . Everybody is in a his or her own world.
Let’s not be well “contacted” – let’s be well “connected”,  with each other …… caring , sharing , touching , hugging , spending time together with all  our near and dear ones, and other co-passengers in our life travels.