Question to my answer

When the garage guy told me that the service will take an hour and half, I decided to visit the landmark book store in  forum mall, which was  nearby, a 10 minute walk.

I went around the book stall  from one section to another picking up, reading the extracts, selecting a few, going forward ,returning to put back some, finally deciding to buy two of them and come back later for others. As I was moving out of the counter, a young man, said “excuse me, Sir, can I have some time with you “

“Are you trying to sell some thing to me ? “, I asked.

Looking at the books in my hand he continued “ you have two books, adventures in human being and in the name of GOD”.

‘I am a confused person, I want to talk to you and need your advise”, he said.

“What is your name “, I asked him

“Pradeep”, he answered

At that moment, I get a call from the garage, “ This is Mahesh, during the check up we noticed your car’s reverse light switch is not working, we have to replace that, it will take time and there is a lunch break, please come at 3 – 3.30 to collect your vehicle.” I said “OK”.

Here, I have two hours of time with me and I thought lets give some of it to this young man.

“Come , let us find some place to sit” I said and we found one nearby, all this while wondering, what is in store.

I opened the conversation “what is your confusion ?”

“I do not know where to start “, he said.

“You do not know where to start, what to ask, what to do, how to go forward, what you want to do, what to believe, whom to believe, what is the meaning of your life, to commit suicide and get out of the meaningless life etc , right” I said.

I said “You have lost your job , you are feeling bad about it and you think you have reached the end of your life ”.

“I cannot believe, that we do not know each other and you have agreed to spend time with me, I am feeling happy about it “ he said.

“ I am giving you the most precious thing I have, my time and  am happy for that. We have grown up by picking all the negative things in life, people are bad, don’t trust them, be selfish. That is why you cannot believe, a stranger is giving his time to you. There are more good people than evil. Not exactly evil, changeable. We have been told and taught what to believe, by people from their learning which has come from what they have heard. You may think, that all you have learnt is right, whereas others may not agree since they have grown in another environment. We are programmed , our thoughts and opinions are borrowed, not our own”

“You are wondering, what is the meaning of things happening  around you ? Well, it may be different for all of us because we are giving a meaning to everything. You have lost your job. You can be upset. Another person may think it as an opportunity to find a better one. Last month, a friend of mine had to leave a job for personal reasons. She took up a job of teaching for a lower take home pay. We discussed and gave a good meaning to her new job, when others were critical about her accepting a job with lesser salary. She loves teaching, which will make her do a good job. Its near to her home, walking distance, that’s more energy for the family due to reduced travel stress (better than one hour through the heavy traffic), improvement of health being in a happy state of mind, no corporate competition, larger social contribution and other  tangential benefits . ”

“ Similarly, you can give a meaning to your situation. You have heard the story of the man who found his house on fire when he returned from a tour, upset him. His son comes and tells him not to worry, he has sold the house to some one, now that made him happy. Another son comes to him and tells him, its not sold yet, only advance has been collected. There he goes, upset again. Then the new purchaser comes and tells him, since he had agreed to buy it they can assume it as sold. There was  joy again. You see the house is on fire, look at the changing reactions.”

All of a sudden, I realised, he has not asked me any question and here I am rattling away like a politician, I don’t care what your question is, this is my answer. Very recently a politician was addressing crowd and mixed up his words and said, what is the question to the answer.

“Do you believe in GOD, is there a GOD ?” he asked, looking at the book in my hand, in the name of GOD”. That book was a fiction, a detective story, with the background of a famous temple in South of india.

“What do you mean by GOD ?” I asked him.

“No, I don’t believe he exists. If, yes where is he ? “ he asked.

“ Like success, GOD has different meaning for different people “, I said.

“Do you believe in him, if yes, why, can’t you see him ?” he asked.

“The truth is, I know nothing and so are many others who think they know everything”, I said, emphatically.”If there is a GOD, I don’t know what he or she looks like, and do you know how he looks like, will you be able to recognise him?” “ You are asking, why cant you see him ,where is he ?  that’s why I am asking you, will you be able to recognise him if you see him

He was quiet.

“We all have a belief system, a set of beliefs and we follow it. I kept changing mine, as I grew up. Different times, different  belief system.”

“All the GODs, Brahma, Jesus (son of GOD), Allah were part of my belief system. I was told, pray to them for everything, they are listening.” “Later, ok, they are there, let them be, I have nothing to do anything with them because I did not need them, at the same time I was afraid not to believe in their existence ”.”GODs were getting defined, expected them to be proved in the science laboratory .””The religious and spiritual gurus kept talking about them and we accepted , they had proof which we did not understand. Science rejected it, some one got a noble prize for discovering “GOD particle” (Higgs boson)”

“Einstein theory says energy equal mass multiplied by square of speed of light. I don’t understand it, and some of science gurus have accepted the proof and told us ordinary guys, its OK. And I have accepted it as part of my belief system. Similarly, why can’t you accept GOD’s existence and add it to your belief system. It may get disputed, even Einstein’s theories are getting challenged.”

“Later, I changed my definition of GOD. You may not be able to see GOD with your eyes. When I sweat, a breeze dries them out and I experience a pleasure in the whole process. I cannot see the breeze, so can I deny it’s existence, so is the flow of electrons that lights the bulb is invisible, can I. “Show me GOD” do not prove or disprove anything.

The Sun’s energy and light is GOD for me. The breath that keeps me alive is GOD for me. Any help, I get is an act of goodness and I am grateful. Assistance comes to me in various FORMS and they are GOD for me. Hence I believe in GOD in million forms and grateful to them.

I love to go to temples, not for praying, just to experience the energy and feel thankful, also to churches to sit on those benches and feel the quietness. Once I go to these places, I would like to keep the decorum intact and follow the rules, since I am there, not to challenge what I do not know.” “I stand in the crowd with folded hands, not knowing what to say”.

“These days, I am reading and thinking of Karma, which says what you sow, so you reap”.”What you experience, is the reaction of your actions.” This theory will help people, who believe, destiny is in your hands and you are the creator of your fortunes. The fruits of your actions may not be immediate. You may be in jail for something you did not do. You are a good person and bad thing happens to you and you ask why ? Well, you may be paying a price for something you did and you cannot remember, when or what ? May be in the previous life. There you are, to accept that, you have to add rebirth into your belief system.

Like your body needs to lean on some support, so does your mind requires an anchor, a belief system helps.” “I wonder what an atheist does, may be depends on EGO.” “Erasing God Out.”

“If you are not getting what you want, get interested in what you get. Anything that comes your way, deal with it.” “You may not get the job that you are passionate about, the first time or the second time, it may be the Nth one”. “If you want money, car, house etc that also in millions or crores , a Merc, a palace, then passion may not get you that, you have to find a job that can give all those.”

“You can be an entrepreneur”. “ You may have  passion for cooking or love for animals, going into hotel business or opening a zoo will not get you anywhere.” “Passion is good as a hobby, check what you are good at, it may be public relations or communication or what ever. You may have passed your engineering, not necessary you are good in it and may not get a job of your liking.”” You can start a band, be an actor, a trainer, a coach, a radio jockey, a reporter, a writer, a singer, NGO worker, a tuition master, travel, automobile, oceanography, it is an end less list”. Those who have lived their passion and made a living are exceptions. Do not regret, if you did not.

Do not go in search of God, they are in millions of forms,  find HIM in the breeze, light, water, trees, air, Sun, flowers, nature, love, feel grateful to everything that takes care of your life.

“Identify your spark, get trained, if necessary, and go for it. “ Keep reading and listening

“Build your knowledge, develop your skill, add one or two if you can.

“Try to work your way up, don’t dream of getting millions on day one, if you know some one has got it, do not make him your role model”

“ Many over night success, have years of toil behind it” A Ussain bolt became famous in less than 10 seconds, he must have run more than 10,000 , 100 metres before that”

“Respect others views and time, you need not know everything, you do not”

“Your attitude and intention matters”

“Arrogance is the  first visitor, during the first sign of success, be aware of it”

“Integrity, confidence and patience will take you places.  Best wishes”.

Look out and understand the need of the crowd, may be you can  develop an application or get one developed and market it.

Make a CV, which shows how you overcame the obstacles of successes and the learning from failures. Many will reject you for your failures, be happy you are not with them, others will appreciate your experience which comes from failures, be with them.

There I go again, answers, no question.

When my phone rang and the voice said your car is ready, you can take it, we shook hands and went our way.

I felt like a salesman trying to sell something that no body wants.

Hair Promise

The joy I experience , eating in road side dhabas, hair cut in barber shops , travelling in buses, in ordinary class in trains once in a while, is beyond one , I get in my comfort zone.  One friend thinks, I am a man of poor taste who will not grow.

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I am in Mandi, to be more precise in Kamand, Himachal on a few weeks stay with my daughter and her family. The rain drenched green hilly picturesque terrain, which gets illuminated by the sun, caressed by pure white clouds is a  spectacular sight  and delight to the heart.

IIT campus, where I am staying is situated in the midst of this phenomenal surroundings and to stroll around at leisure is a blessing.

I had many reminders from my well wishers, for a hair cut . Looking for excuses to postpone a haircut is a practice right from  childhood.. It is still on. Once in the barber shop, I am fine, it is the inertia of the decision that I have to put up with.

If there is an urge for hair cut, it must be Tuesday.

And on that day the barbers have a holiday and the shop is closed. The project gets postponed and  the next date waits. Meanwhile it grow s and grows, making the onlookers uncomfortable.. I did not have any attractive hairstyle (though in childhood, a hopeless attempt of Devanand style),  it was that a lot of them was there capping my head. For  a long time, it was black in colour, when most among my contemporaries had greyed and others lost most of it. A lady friend once could not hold on and asked me upfront  ” which dye, do you use ?”. I hesitated , looked at  her husband’s head and  told her its Godrej. She looked quite relieved.  A lie to make someone happy is a good karma.

My brother-in-law, Gopi says, when you grow old you have to dye (pun intended).

 

I have taken  my hair on my head for granted and realise its value, when I hear comments from friends and relatives, who had to part with some or most of them. The Sun can almost boil the head, rinsing of  the kerchief  to remove the sweat , rain can play bongo till it hurts, other’s looking for their reflections on some one else’s bald head, bang the head and get a popup, cannot hide a cut and keep batting the question “what happened “ and so on.

Once in the barber shop, even waiting for your turn can be fun, earlier times there were  radio or news paper, today some of them have TV. You need not be part of the conversation, listening itself can get you happy returns of the day. The topic, right from cricket, to corruption to anything is possible. The trigger can be the radio, these days TV, news paper or someone sitting on the bench, who has simply dropped in to say hi to the barber. There may be two or three chairs in action, serving.

I walked up to the village nearby, decided to get the hair cut. Saw a shop, with a board in hindi and one line in English which said Hari Cut. I thought of my friend, Hari Kumar’s hair style. Well, his style did not call for branding like a Dhoni or Ronaldinho style. That was a flash, its a spelling mistake for hair, no big deal, here people do not care for English and it makes no difference to his business. You know, what, the shop is closed. No wonder,  I had the urge for hair cut, it is Tuesday.

However, I walked up the next day, 3 kilo meters and it was open .A two seater, both the chairs had  work in progress, they greet me with a smile and points towards a bench. I interrupted their conversation for 5 seconds and they continued.

They were talking in a local lingo, it’s called mandiyali.
I keep watching the hair falling and resting in piece, in one of the chairs  and my mind travels into a hairy world, googles hair industry.
Hair style, hair do,  hair weave, hair colouring, wigs, and what nots, hair industry is a trillion dollar stuff.

I am sure the hair promise industry, with the help of growth oils and creams, must be handling billions.

Remembered a talk session of Sadhguru, where a lady asks him , why do Sadhus grow hair and beard. His reply was why do you remove them. It’s nature’s gift, why should you cut them, it is there for a purpose like all other parts.

A thought ,  what about our nails on our hands and feet ?

My turn , the barber beats the chair with a towel  three times and turns it quarter  circle and tells me with a smile, come. I loved it.

His boss tells me, he is new, knows his job.

I said, I have no issues and allowed him to do his internship on my head, with nothing to lose, except my hair.
This time, I did not understand their conversation because of the lingo, until towards the end, a guy walks in and in Hariyanvi language asks his barber friend, I heard adhaar card will affect our private parts ( that particular word in English ). Ke h private part (what is private part).
The barber friend could not tell him.
I took the opportunity to pitch in. It is privacy, in Hindi, it is gopiniyatha. You have to worry only if you have any secrets. Government can know your bank balance,  property details and track all your activities. Don’t involve in any shady deals, no problem.
Shall I give you a massage, he asked me after the haircut. Ok, I said. What oil, navrathna or mustard ? Looked up and around, did not know what to say, when the boss ordered, navrathan. He worked on my head, hands ,shoulder and neck. At the end, I asked him how much ? He said  seventy rupees. I gave him a hundred, thanked him and told him to keep the change. He was charging me for the haircut and massage, missed on the joy part.
I flew back home, feeling light.

Interdependence day

 

 

indian-flag

What did Mahathma Gandhi’s hard work give India on August 15th ?

A holiday.

Today anything can be interpreted the way you did not mean, that’s the freedom many have. You are standing in attention to the national anthem, it itches somewhere and you scratch and a camera picks it up, you can be gone. An over enthusiast can act against you to show how serious they are of patriotism. For some if you talk against terrorist, you can be anti national, for others if you talk for, you can be anti national. Politically national.

You are in a democratic country which got independence from the white British in 1947 and continued to be a slave of Brown coloured  babus. It is the 20% who made the 80% toil for them and lived

The right to freedom is there, not for you, you ordinary blokes, it is there for a selected few. There is freedom to protest for the unlawful, the terrorists and the anti nationals. There is human right activists to take care of their rights.

There is freedom to kill in the name of religion. There is freedom to question the freedom and the methods of the defence forces to protect the country. There is freedom to throw stones at the army and destroy public properties. There is freedom to break the country to protect your political title. There is freedom to shut the voices of the weak and the protesting.

There is freedom to build  wealth for you, your family  and many a next generation. There is freedom to ruin your country with the help of your enemy country. There is freedom to put aside irritants and push disputes for immediate gains, under the carpet.

70 years and people are fighting to be backward to go forward. Every political party becomes irresponsible when in opposition. Corruption stops development, development can stop corruption.

At mid night , we the travelers in a KSRTC bus to Mookambika temple in Kolloor, were awakened by someone talking loudly. Some passengers were annoyed for being disturbed and shouted at the conductor, what the hell.” Sir, today is the 50th anniversary of our independence, Jai hind”, he said and started distributing chocolates, which he had bought with his money, to every one in the bus. All the irritations in the bus turned into shame for disrespecting a patriot whom no body knew.  Murthy was and still is his name, it got etched into my memory, to stay for ever. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary, my remembrance and salute to him on every 15th August, since the 50th.

Freedom, that will take us above poverty level, access to  education, health and welfare, when the head of the state can walk freely on the street along with the common man, calls for celebration.

Music, art, culture, sports, development unites us, where as Religion, ego divides us.  Once some one is elected, give them a free hand  to rule.  Opposition is not putting obstacles, it should be constructive criticism and guidance.The need is to keep the country secular, not at the cost of individual’s freedom,  every religion should respect each other and go forward hand in hand with a common national law. Country first, then religion or state or language, any order.

In spite of the sorry state, India is among the great, we highlight the negatives.  Dr Abdul kalam says.

” 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 “

I am sure we are on our way to get every individual above the poverty level, have access to education, health and wellness, with a roof above their head.

I do not achieve anything on my own neither you. We are living and achieving together. We are all dependent on each other.  Call it independence day, celebrate  interdependence day.

Some of the forwards I received :

National anthem,  word by word meaning..

Jana            = People

Gana            = Group

Mana           = Mind

Adhinayaka= Leader

Jaya He      = Victory

Bharata       = India

Bhagya       = Destiny

Vidhata      = Disposer

Punjaba     = Punjab

Sindhu       = Indus

Gujarata    = Gujarat

Maratha    = Marathi Maharashtra

Dravida      = South

Utkala        = Orissa

Banga        = Bengal

Vindhya     =Vindhyas

Himachal   =Himalay

Yamuna     = Yamuna

Ganga        = Ganges

Uchchhala = Moving

Jaladhi      = Ocean

Taranga    = Waves

Tava          = Your

Shubh    =Auspicious

Naame = name

Jage     = Awaken

Tava     = Your

Shubha      = Auspicious

Aashisha = Blessings

Maage     = Ask

Gaahe      = Sing

Tava        = Your

Jaya        = Victory

Gatha      = Song

Jana       = People

Gana      = Group

Mangala = Fortune

Dayaka   = Giver

Jay He    = Victory Be

Bharata  = India

Bhagya  = Destiny

Vidhata = Dispenser

Jay He, Jay He, Jay He, Jay Jay Jay Jay He = Victory, Victory, Victory, Victory Forever…

 

 

Lady Luck

During my travel to Cochin from Bangalore, my destination ticket is either to Ernakulam junction or Ernakulam town, also known as Ernakulam south or Ernakulam north, depending on the availability

It was one of the demonetised days, month of November 2016, when most of the ATM would say thanks for coming, sorry  no cash and the ones that worked would spit out 2000 rupees note

I love the tea from the roadside tea stalls in Kerala. I stop at a tea stall and ask for tea. ” you have change ? “. I said ‘no’, no tea for me.

One lady standing under a tree, said “Saaray,  buy a ticket, draw is today, its only 50 rupees”.

I stopped and said I would have bought, I have a 2000 note. She said ” take this ticket, I will give you change”.

‘The change is a lottery for me”

Lottery tickets runs a lot of families in Kerala, not the prize, the commission they get by selling them

” How much do you make in this lottery business ?” I asked.

” Enough for me” she said.

” How old are you”, I asked

” Its 9 years since I touched 70.”

That was an interesting answer, shy to say 79 or late seventies

Where are your family members ?

They are all there, 2 sons 1 daughter, sister, her family. But I live alone.

I am happy. Guruvayurappan’s s grace, health is ok.

You are nearly 80 and you may require help.

God will take care of me. I am confident he will take me without troubling anyone.

What’s your name ?

Vasanthi.

Where are your children, why are you not with them.

They all have a life to live with their own responsibilities, why be a burden.

I said children should look after you.

She asked, who told you ?

Was there annoyance in her voice ? I wondered.

They call me to stay with them. Its I who have decided to be with myself. They are nice children. I can go and live with them whenever I want. I meet them often.

One is there in kakanad, the other at elamana and daughter in mattanchery.

That’s good, I said. However your age is on the increase, you will need someone.

God is kind to me, he will take me the moment I fall sick. I will not trouble anyone.

” How many tickets you want, this one, the draw is today in the after noon , this one is tomorrow and this the day after” she said pointing to each one of them.

” I said, give me one of each”

” Take four, she said, accounting will be easy”

She gave me the tickets and 1800 change.

I said Vasanthi ammay, you keep these tickets.

if there is a winner among them, you can keep the money.

No no, she said.

I do not want to win anything big. I am happy and secure with the commission I get. More money, more unhappiness. Somebody will kill me. Anything you have more than enough, will bring you sorrow. For my life style, this is fine.

You can give your children, I said.

And make them fight ? She asked.

They are healthy, let them earn their living.

I said, you keep the tickets, if we win, you call me.

We will give that money to the orphanage and old age home.

That’s a good idea, she said.

She noted down my name and number in a cute little book.

Saaray, why do you trust me ? I don’t have to tell you the result, you will not know what happened”.

“We, both, do not want the money, where is the problem ” I said.

That is true.

Every third trip to cochin I would meet her because it will be the north station, I would get down.

One day she called  to tell me, the last four digits have won Rs 1000. She does not have a phone, called from a shop.

I told her to keep it. She said no, she will not have any. I said then buy four tickets ( that way she can earn some commission) and the rest , give it to some one, she thinks, will be of help.

She agreed. Later she told me, she bought a few text books for some kids.

This time, I reached north station around 8.30 in the morning. Looked around for her, on my way to the bus stop which is a ten minute walk. I did not see her. May be next time, I thought. Kept debating, should I look for her. When I reached the bus stop, I turned, something kept telling me, lets meet her. I walk  back to the station, do not find her, saw a guy walking around selling lottery tickets. I asked him, “there is a Vasanthi who sells lottery tickets, know her ?”.

AYYO Ssaray, that aged lady ? She died last week. She complained about a chest pain and died , 10 minutes after reaching the hospital. That day was her birthday, he added.  He said something more, it did not register.

I said ok and walked away with a lump in my throat. She completed ten years after her seventieth birthday, remembered her confidence to leave without troubling any one, happened the way she wanted.

A short and sweet chapter in my life came to an end. There isn’t anything to look forward to, in Ernakulam north station for me

. “anything you have more than enough, brings you sorrow…” the words kept ringing

Film Crazy

My friend called me for a malayalam movie. I said , I am on a fast against Malayalam movies for the next six months. That is my style of  protest against what’s happening in that industry, an industry that has given us some fine movies and great artistes from all disciplines, part of an entertainment of our life. The noise of the din is high enough to keep me away from following the truths, untruths and the daily updates. The law should take its own course and justice prevail.

I believe a celebrity has been harassed, it has to be true,  it is not possible for some one to stand up and lie to the world, on such matters. It is regretful , she had to undergo a personal tragedy, an inflicted one, at the same time, her response to stand up and fight, makes her a role model to show the way to thousands and thousands of unfortunate victims of similar situations, across the globe. It is wrong and wrong and wrong. The cultural conditioning and the dominant bias of the society (males, mothers and aunts included) has made the female to react as victims. Once you decide you are a victim, you cannot fight. You can resist an assault against the wolves, a rape may be inevitable but the fight is not over. Change the mindset, that if some one forces their way into you, its end of the world or life. It is not, think of it as an injury in a fight and hit back. You may not be able to hit back physically, there are many other ways. Try to change your  emotion from fear to anger. Easier said than done, however try it, hope no body encounters such situations. They are sick guys and they need “third degree” treatment..

The lions who roars under the cover of media and social media in anger, sympathy and ridicule, the wise after the event, may be the first one to scoot from a real life situation, however today they make the authorities to act. Most of us grow up and gets conditioned to be in flight mode than fight. Unless it is your sister, mother or love under attack (hmmm, not sure of the percentage here), not many will fight for strangers and that is inhuman.

These are crimes we cannot eradicate, even by capital punishment. A criminal mind gets blinded of its consequences of it’s action and goes ahead with his plans, at times unplanned.  This type of crime happens due to sexual desire or EGO’s desire for revenge and attack. The superior attitude of guys is part of the virtual structure of the society. The work to change this attitude has to start right from the first day of learning in life. Respect for human beings,  sex (when they become conscious of it)  is not a tool to attack or destroy someone, to act courageously in every field of life and other values can be a daily mantra of every one’s life, not just a one time lecture,  an everyday  ritual for mind cleansing like having a bath. This suggestion, an ancient wisdom (in form of prayer) may sound stupid to many, any other way, you know ?

Staying away from films to show your protest until the murkiness is cleared is a good way to teach the stars that it is you who made them. The tragedy of this style of protest is, it may not affect the rich and the famous though we cannot bracket all of them with the criminals, the poor support staff making a living and their families may suffer.

I  stand a chance of being boycotted by my film crazy relatives for taking this step of protest because film going  is an addiction for many.

Dame in the cab

The young man got out of the office cab in the layout and said “good morning”.

“Good morning, you coming from the office ?” I asked.

“Yes, I am late today “.

“What’s your shift timing?”

“ I leave home at 4.30 in the evening for office and return around 4.30 in the morning “

I looked at the time and said its 6, what happened ?

“Well, we had this girl in the cab, who was busy texting on her whatsapp,  missed to tell  the driver, the direction to her drop point, he kept driving, when she realised they traveled quite a distance towards electronic city and lost their way .”

“ Was he a new driver ?”

“Yes, we have different drivers, they are not the same everyday”

“That’s irresponsible  on her part”, I said.

He continued, “yes, and she did not know the way to her house from there. It took us a while to retract the lost route and to find the house”.

“Where is the place “ I asked

“ I do not know the exact place, its somewhere near HSR layout”, he said

“HSR ?, How come you are still in the vehicle when it is going this way to HSR layout ?” I asked.

“Oh, we have a policy for transport, that says the woman in a cab should not be the last person to be dropped, security reason, so I have to travel extra, few days in a week” he said.

I asked him “what’s the idea, are you the security ?”

“Well, last guy in the cab has that role. In this particular case, the lady has to be escorted home from her drop point since there is no approach road that can accommodate the Van to her house, at  dawn, when it is dark” he said,

“ the driver escorted her on foot, while I waited in the van.”

“while I was waiting, a police patrol stopped near  our vehicle and the cop asked me what am I here for, at this hour “.

Oh my, I did not want to interrupt him, a thriller was on its way and I was hoping no damage has happened.

“ I told him that I am waiting for the driver who is escorting a lady home on foot” he said.

“The cop raised his voice, what the hell is this, we have been dealing with crimes in company cabs and issues with drivers and here you say, a driver is escorting a lady, what’s your name, number and the company address”

“What a situation to be in, and then ? “ I asked.

“They waited for the driver to be back, and we had to take the shouting for no fault of ours. They left the scene, grumbling that they will take up with the company”.

We have heard of rapes and murders, in the company cabs. When they happened, lot of companies, held meetings and drew transport and security policies to prevent similar disasters. One of the security measure is no lady will be the last one to be dropped home. There should be at least one male employee, even he has to detour a few extra miles to reach his destination, to see the lady home safe. He is expected to be as heroic as a Rajnikanth or Salman Khan, to tackle four or five attackers and save a lady in distress, worse, even get killed, if that is the best he can do.

Many companies have good security measures, like GPS tracking, acknowledgement of safe reaching, accompaniment of professional security, background check of the transport staff members and others, however, many do not and some among the many may have policies documented, not implemented seriously.

There is another danger,  which you may not find a mention of,  anywhere, the overworked drivers dozing off while driving and  the possible consequences.

Do not wait until the next happening, take a lead and check with your company transport system, periodically review and ensure that the security measures are in place and the process is working.

 

Rowling stone

J.K. Rowling. I recognised the name, authoress of the bestselling Harry potter series. I have not read any of her Potter books .  “very good lives”, written by her, is a commencement address at Harvard university to the graduating students.

I liked the cover ( I generally fall for the cover), it says the fringe benefits of failure and the importance of imagination.

“ Your qualification, your CV are not your life. Life is difficult and complicated and beyond anyone’s total control and the humility to know that will enable you to survive”

“We are driven by the fear of failure or desire of success”

“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision which is not and therefore the fount of all the invention and innovation, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared”

“How would it feel to be born other than they are ?”

“what we achieve inwardly will change outer reality”

“We touch other people lives simply by existing”

The above is my take away from the book. She is finally a successful lady after a lot of failures and you cannot argue with success.

It set me thinking about my failures and successes.  If I had a problem, I would tell myself, I have a situation to deal with. It substituted my fear by anxiety , which helped to improve my focus.

Another lesson I learned is I can decide about my actions, my plans, the outcomes, and I can give you a guarantee if you insist, it can be a hit or I can miss, like it happens in cricket.  Every time we are doing our best at that moment, though we are capable of doing better at other times. Here the emphasis is at that moment. That realisation can reduce our emotional effect, it can be anger, regret, depression or whatever.

I  have studied in 7 schools before I entered college. My father got a transfer from Rourkela to Ranchi, then in Bihar, now in Jharkhand and the place Ranchi is made  famous by M.S. Dhoni. The school in Ranchi had a pretty high standard compared to the one I was in Rourkela and  was asked to take admission a class lower, which would have put me behind by one year.” The standard of English is very high here and you will not be able to cope”, the Principal said. My father and I assured  him that we will catch up with extra hard work, blah, blah and got admitted to the class, I  deserved to be in, so I thought. At the end of the year the principal calls me to his room and gives me my report card and tells me you have to repeat, in other words, I failed in English, history, do not remember which other subject and he had an I told you look. There was a stamp on my face, failed, when I came to repeat the class. An year gone, father’s money gone, humiliation, embarrassment, what else is there in a failure, all that. What was the fringe benefit of that failure ?

Well, a whole set of new friends for the next three years. With a bit of luck, got admission to the engineering college, REC, now called NIT, may be the previous year I would not have got. Passed out of the Engineering college, almost same time my father retired which helped me get a job in the company he was in. Life went on, with an annual salary increase with promotion once in every five years, got married and had two smart daughters and was cosy in the comfort zone. Not sure, what would have been different, if I had not failed.

After working for 10 years in the electrical department, I get a call from my boss to his room. “ Sit down, the system (computer) department wants an Electrical engineer, would you like to go “. I hated that department, rather I had a fear of computer and avoided visiting the computer room which had just one remote terminal to the Indian Institute of Science and the field was at nascent stage. I said “YES” in a tone to take the bull by the horns. The boss said “easy, you can tell me tomorrow, you know how is that department and the people there”. I said “ I know, if I have to reply tomorrow, my answer will be no.”

I did not know anything about computers except it’s spelling. Later, came to know there was whole lot of guys talking behind me, wondering what magic I did or whom did I know to get into this bogie, since they have been trying every trick to get into this prestigious department because it was the in thing and future. And here I was like Charlie Chaplain, the great comedian, losing his way into, now known as IT. If you do not change direction, you will end up where you are heading for. I would have trudged along in the electrical section, added some years to my age and retired, if I had not said  “Yes” on that day and stepped into the unknown. I did not do any serious study in my school or college. In the middle of my life, here I am in  the computer nursery starting from A,B, C studying, reading, eating, sleeping  computers. Those were the days, you had to teach a computer how to work. Even a little knowledge of computer put you ahead of the rest of the folks . What drove me, the fear of failure or desire to succeed ? Desire to succeed.

Looking back, what made me say yes at that moment, jumping into the deep waters when you did not know swimming. The guy who do not say no when he does not want to say yes is considered a goner.  I am a yes man and love it. When you say yes, there is action. Every action has a reaction, something or the other will happen and  can be exciting.

When my name is being called , I turn in that direction and goes. It can be for a picnic or a favour. I would pick up any thing that came my way and worked, to do it the best way, my best way. One day, my cousin (his pet name, vava) on a vacation to India, with good intention said, “ come to dubai, there are lot of opportunities. I will send you a  visa”. Being a yes man, I went. This was nearly 25 years ago. The opportunities for me were like the  carrot on a stick in front of a donkey, tied to his neck, out of reach. I was jobless, however,  looked after well by vava.

While I was jobless, the hotel boy brought tea for me, I stood up, felt a great respect for him and took the tea. The thought was he is earning and at this moment I am not. I did not want to pity me nor anybody else , just kept telling me, it is a matter of time, this down time will pass. I was becoming stronger,it was a good thing that was happening, made me think differently.

A coaching institute, with no computer section, opened an avenue for me. Gave them an offer to run a training centre for computers, in partnership and I will be my boss. Done. A one eyed was being a king among the blind. Programming in C and Pascal, Autocad, windows, word, excel, to students and office goers at their convenience was my offer. “what are you doing ?” I was asked and “ you should not be doing this”, some said. “well, this is the best I am doing at this moment”, many of them did not understand. Fringe benefit of the situation, learn a few life skills, gain in confidence, change your thinking to change your life, every thing is in your mind. When the earning started, the confidence grew, felt good.

My friend Abraham visited me and I told him this is a make shift arrangement until I get a job, so my heart is not fully into it. He said, do not think it as temporary, whatever you  do put your full heart into it and do it well.

A friend of mine went through a miserable time, when he left a high paying job and a top position found himself literally on the street. He invested a lot in a promising opportunity which collapsed.

Sometimes, having assets will not help, they do not get converted into cash in time of need and we do not have an explanations for such situations. I could have helped, interestingly we did not come across each other and I did know his situation. The  easiest thing is to blame the  stars. How ever everything will pass is true. After 3 years of struggle, he got a small opening and things changed for him and now he is flying.

I have brought up all these situations because many are going through something similar out there. Sometime we can be jobless in life for inexplainable reasons. It can be a cancellation of project, downsizing in a company, a war situation in a foreign country where you are working, a Tsunami, myriads of uncontrollable reasons. Do not blame yourself. All this will pass.

Coming back to my story, I know you are interested, since you are here and still reading, I came back to India, to be with my family .To cut a long story short, I got into an IT company (there is a story there how I got it, credit the stars for it) and everything was rosy from there. In the next fifteen years when I was asked were there any point of failures, I said I don’t know because there were only situations to be dealt with. My success in the job was opportunities to make a difference in other’s lives.

Now after being out of active service, I have started experiencing failure, for me success is being able to help others. Many of my old acquaintances and team members trusts me to help them find a job for them, It is not working and they are withdrawing themselves from my life, blame it on the stars ?.

Before I end, I have a sad news to share, my dear cousin vava, who changed the direction of my life for my better, passed away in U.A.E and the cremation is at 2.30 pm today, 18 June 2017 at  AL Ain. RIP