The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Sunday, 31 January 2010


Life has been familiarly strange yet so clear at the real drops from a mirage in the woods..

Something happened this January almost similar to what had happened in the March, three years ago. Real life characters were different. Places were different. Characters were playing almost the same role. I was the common figure in these two. Then I was in two worlds. This time the other world was like the evaporated one and I feel I needed it much ago. Probably my conscious built on this foundation that I started inculcating during the last incident.

I had expected that day to be just another good sitting with professors Sameer Prasad and Jerry Gosen like my last meeting with them. It started and followed the same until the last leg. We spent sometime in IIT’s main guest house discussing and debating. Then we took a brisk walk of the campus before finding a place to sit and talk. We again singled out the market complex in front of the main gate of IIT. We decided on a deserts and chocolate shop this time to have something while talking. This time we had an agenda. I had to discuss one of my ongoing studies. And here something happened that made that evening an imprint that could never be washed out and certainly for good. I was looking for another meaningful conversation with Sameer and Jerry but what I went through was very subtle and refined for my senses.

We ordered some usual stuff and were looking for a place to sit. We could locate a table just out of the shop with an old lady, probably in her late 70’s, sitting there alone. We were discussing what to do when she made an offer to share the table with some additional chair. We thanked her for her gesture. We started talking on my project. During the course of conversation, Jerry again raised the point of me joining Columbia or some other university for a PhD for my study though I had ruled out this option in my earlier meeting. They were of the opinion that my study had the potential and could get sponsors. I have my family, my people here. I cannot leave India. A higher study like a PhD would take around 3-5 years and I may not be able to have more than one to two home visits during the period. Besides, I never have believed in institutional education and do not want to restrict my studies in some framework when I am gaining confidence in my abilities. These are my reservations that I feel attached to and both of them were agreed when we first discussed all these things. So this mention again and subsequent discussion in our second meeting was just in passing references.

But these words caught attention of the old lady, my prospects of going abroad and an American and an NRI discussing the same with me and agreeing to my reasons. She said somewhat in a bitter tone that her sons were settled in US. They were well to do and had huge mansions but they did not visit her anymore and she stayed here alone. These lined were a rude shock and suddenly brought us back to listening to her but she didn’t say much after this. We found us drawn to this lady, an elegant looking motherly figure. The way she kept herself and was speaking, we could infer she was probably a retired faculty member from IIT. It touched and disturbed all three of us. It firmed my opinion of not going away. It firmed Sameer’s opinion and need to visit her mother regularly in Ghaziabad. It made Jerry, who’s in late 60’s, to say again I should stay back here and work. We didn’t discuss my project afterward.

We kept on talking but now everything was in backdrop of words of the old lady. Suddenly she asked me for Rs 10. At first I could not grasp it as I thought how could have she asked for it and I asked her again. She repeated saying she would buy a patty for it. We all were hit by another shockwave, in fact we felt speechless this time. Somehow, I came back from our inertia and I requested her to buy it myself. She insisted she would go inside and have it and we should continue with our discussion. I did that reluctantly.

After a while she came out murmuring some words looking upset and angry. When we asked about it, she said they would not give her anything for 10 bucks and how they mistreated her. I insisted I would find why and would buy her one. She couldn’t say yes but I didn’t wait for her nod. I went inside the shop and ordered for the patty. When I asked why the lady was mistreated, the shop owner said she deserved it. He said she used to sit there daily and would ask for something like this and would create scene. In fact her children left visiting her because of this nature.

It made me feel sick. I felt ashamed of myself, not because I was sitting with two Americans; not because such a thing was happening at an up-market place; not because I felt exposed and let-down. I felt ashamed on the extreme low that we can we go on our values. How debased can we be to deem them irrelevant who brought us to this world. All I could think was how they could not think these might be the very reasons for her behaving like this. Someone who needs an absolute support at this stage of life has been abstained from it. An emotional connect, the need of people who can listen to you at this age, there was no one around this lady to extend this fundamental duty. I don’t know why the lady could not go and stay with her sons but nothing can justify it. But all this quickly revived my memories of something defining in my life, now I can admit.

I was in a similar situation almost 3 years ago. We were in a group leaving on a tour. As we were about to enter the destination to board, we faced a lady, in tattered state, lying on the floor crying from the acute pain and was saying she had not eaten for a long time. All of us in the group reacted differently. One went rushing to buy something while I approached the picket police so that the lady could be sent to hospital. I felt upset not because of the indifferent attitude of the policeman but because of what he had said. The policeman said it was usual practice by this lady to make easy money. She would do it daily, all the day. I was not sure whether I believed his words but I said why he was sitting there if she was doing this con. I forced him to come with me to check whether she was genuine and needed hospitalization or to take some action in case she was manipulating things to cheat others. He came along with me.

Meanwhile, the group member who had gone to buy something to eat was back and I saw morsel in hand and the old lady in lap if my memory still works. It made the lady quiet. I could read the satisfaction on the face of the group member, as well as on the face of the lady. It touched somewhere. Later on, we had discussion about it; about my reservation after the policeman’s version and the group member’s approach to the situation. The person was of the opinion that the primary requirement in that situation was to extend whatever help that was possible. There was a situation when someone needed help and we needed to do that irrespective of the nitty-gritty of the debate of right and wrong. In a small time, we could perceive and do this much only. The lady might or might not be feigning. A small help wouldn’t alter our course of life but can work for the person seeking it if the requirement was genuine, in this the old lady lying on the floor in a public place. These were some of core words of our long discussion. For most part, I kept on listening, for I had reasons to believe in those words; reason I was not aware of. Even I could have read the face of the lady when we left the spot to our boarding destination and that might be one. I knew before long that what we discussed was going to stay with me but I could not feel it manifest itself so transparently until this time. It was a realization that gave me some solace in all the gloom and disturbance that I found myself trapped into that evening. Three years ago, I didn’t know how deep it was, but it echoed somewhere, now I can feel the depth.

It was like a quick flashback and words spontaneously came out of me; words reasoning the shop owner and helpers amidst my thoughts of gloom and disappointment. Didn’t they have the sense to talk someone so old? Why couldn’t they think her bitterness might be out of the anger that her children’s absence would naturally inculcate? But who cares. I had started feeling low and nervous. Nothing could justify the situation the old lady was forced to stay in. I reacted and rushed out of the shop with my order served. I could only say think of elderly in your families. When I proceeded to offer, the old lady accepted the patty hesitantly but I felt a known satisfaction after a long time. After this, we didn’t stay there for long as Jerry had some work. He left early and we followed him after some moments. During all this while we didn’t talk much. We took a brisk walk of the campus before I bade them goodbye. They had their flights next day.

Since then, this incident is doing rounds in my thoughts with consistent chaos of its implications aligned with my thoughts of the incident three years ago. Then and now, the incidents were really sad and pathetic. There was a sea-change in how I felt after them. I could connect to the last incident but there was an element of reason in that. This time, there was no such element and my thought process moved spontaneously. I felt more at one with me this time. There were not so many questions then. There are questions and questions now. Why do we exist? I could not accept incidents of that evening. How could such a grilling be there? But it is happening. Many of us are doing this to our older generation. I am ashamed that I just can think but cannot do anything for that motherly figure. There is just one solace. I could act without reason and now I know why I could accept those words last time after going through this feeling this time. At least on certain counts, I didn’t fail this time. Thank YOU.

सोचा के जरा बेजां हो लूँ

जरा दो पल के लिए
बेजां हो लूँ
उन पलों से
जहाँ गूँज इन पलों की
ले जा सके मुझे पार
उन ख़यालों से
इन पलों में
जहाँ बेबसी थी
न होने की
तुम्हारे उन पलों की
पर उन पलों ने
बेजां कर दिया फिर से
मेरे इन ख्यालों को
तुम्हारी नर्म फाहों जैसी
उन यादों ने
जो मुझे ले जाती हैं
इन ख्यालों से
यादें उन पलों की
फिर से आ गयीं
मुझे ये बताने
वे तो कहीं गयी ही नहीं थीं

Thursday, 28 January 2010


We feel life moves on. We are made to feel life moves on. If we do not feel it is moving on, we compel us to think it moves on. But do we know what do we mean when we say ‘life moves on’? Are we aware of the orientation; of the direction that every passing moment, pushes us to.

The moments have a timeline. Their chronology gets updated and mind you that is the only consistent development that can happen to anyone, at least on the living geographical mass of this Earth. But is life just a collection of moments? For me that is not. A life is driven by certain core values, some inseparable voices, and interweaved, intrinsic memories. We go on adding to what we have. We go on editing what we have. Many of us are efficient editors. Some are rarely poor in this talent. Thankfully I inhabit the later fulcrum. The moments move on, characterized by memories or events, or just as plain physical entities. There may or may not be life in these passing moments. We may or may not pick the beads here and there. Our life may not ‘move on’ or may retrograde based on the moments that we choose to ponder on. The accumulation may be considerable in terms of effects and tenacity that for a long time, we remain there, from the moment we last picked up, taking nothing from those coming and going later on. So the moments move on. But the life doesn’t. But we live the ‘life’ in those static moments. Many of us pick the beads consistently to preserve the thread, playing it safe. Do they live their life or just pass it?

We are closest to us when we feel lost and alone, aligning us to the intertwined memories. When should we feel we are moving on or when should we feel we better be static? At times, when we felt the life moved on, we came to know, suddenly, at a passing fine moment that everything moved back. Most of the time we feel otherwise. But all this is truly enigmatic. Moving in the name of movement. Moving for the sake of abandonment. Moving with the wheels of anomalies. Moving away of the spokes of harmonies. Moving to be part of the pragmatic mass. Moving to be a loner. Moving to be a survivor. Moving to be a crusader. Moving for the cause of finding you. Moving in the name of forgetting you. Moving in the name of proving you. Moving in the name on obliterating you. Moving in the name of ‘life moves on’.

There are some lives that remain static in terms of passing of moments, for, they are left somewhere by the life forces, that had started defining their moments, deeming them unfit projections. They do not find newer horizons; they do not want to. Instead, they have the rarest of the opportunity, to find the inner horizons that have gradually receded to the last in the value scale. Many of us move on, find new horizons, and define us in a different way, making happy endings of the moments, irrespective of whether there was life in all of those passing moments. But that is also a way of life, in fact, the largely accepted one. But the debate arises. Who lives the moments fully?

Probably one who doesn’t go to justify it? Sifting the moments that define your core values and the inseparable memories, remaining there, static, to maintain the harmony with your inner-self, defines the constant you.

When do we feel at one with us? These are the moments, when we can fix the different pallets of our existence into one uniform identity that we first aspired to have, crude, bare, and certainly the purest one. Their lives are said to be static but they get what they are looking for. They grow up with their values. They get the opportunity to refine what was crude once. They may or may not succeed, but they live the process. They live their life to define them, certainly a battle of the life time.

They grow up remaining the same. Life is just not about moving on. It is about identifying and building on those moments that define you. It is about being static with those moments and growing up with your crude values and interspersed memories, always on a path of refinement. It is always there. You need to see it. Here it comes.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994


Rule One:
You will receive a body. You may love it or hate it, but it will be yours for the duration of your life on Earth.

Rule Two:
You will be presented with lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called 'life.' Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or hate them, but you have designed them as part of your curriculum.

Rule Three:
There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation, a series of trials, errors, and occasional victories. The failed experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that work.

Rule Four:
A lesson is repeated until learned. Lessons will be repeated to you in various forms until you have learned them. When you have learned them, you can then go on to the next lesson.

Rule Five:
Learning does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

Rule Six:
'There' is no better than 'here'. When your 'there' has become a 'here,' you will simply obtain a 'there' that will look better to you than your present 'here'.

Rule Seven:
Others are only mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.

Rule Eight:
What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you.

Rule Nine:
Your answers lie inside of you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

Rule Ten:
You will forget all of this at birth. You can remember it if you want by unravelling the double helix of inner knowing.

Cherie Carter-Scott

Thursday, 21 January 2010


‘Voice of the Nation’ is a leading media house of the country. Headquartered in Mumbai, the company is in its 40th year of operation. The company has a good presence in print media, electronic media, e-papers and multimedia. Its turnover was around Rs. 1000 crore in the last fiscal. It got a foreign equity partner, ‘Anderson Media’, in 2005 with a very good valuation.

Back in the year 2000, the company felt the need to expand. It identified the boom in the Hindi newspaper market and decided to enter it in Northern India in the wave of media boom in the country that started with the post-1991 economic liberalizations. It decided to launch the Hindi newspaper, ‘Rashtra Vani’ starting from the national capital in the first phase and then taking it to the important cities of UP and Bihar, the heartland of Hindi in the second phase. It came out successfully in the pilot run in the national capital with a second largest market share. It did well in UP and Bihar too with cornering the second largest market share.

But, in one of the largest cities of UP, when it got a potentially rewarding chance of dethroning the largest read daily, ‘Awaaz’, in the year 2004, it couldn’t cash it. It is to be noted that ‘Awaaz’ is the market leader as per the circulation figures of Hindi newspapers in the country. This city operation was launched in the year 2001 with outsourcing the production to a local business house. Gradually it became the second important player by the end of the year 2003. The gap narrowed in the year 2004 and ultimately in the later half of the year 2004; it had the golden chance to become the most significant player in the city.

But it couldn’t happen. The top management of the company did not allow the increase in the production of number of copies. Cost constraint was quoted as the underlying reason. Local operations of the company have to pay Re. 1 for each copy to the press owner in addition to the paper-prints and the ink. It led the company to adopt a tight policy to reduce the wastage in the form of copies and also to keep a check on the budget allocation for the production for a particular year.

By the end of the year 2004, local operations were reaching to the level of the stipulated budget for the city edition. But, at some points in the later half of the year 2004, when the demand of circulation figures reached a new high surpassing the market leader, the top management didn’t approve the demand of the local management to have more number of copies as costs involved in it (increasing the production, i.e., the number of copies) were making it significantly higher than the stipulated resources allocation for the city operations in that fiscal. The company was not in the mood of having a balance sheet showing loss on any account in view of getting a good valuation by a good equity partner.

But, by doing so the company has lost possible advantages that it could have got. The biggest one was of the getting psychological advantage (high employee morale) like if it could be done at one center (an important center), it was possible to replicate it in the other centers too. Also, it would certainly have increased the advertising performance of the Hindi operations of the company as getting the advertising is directly linked with the circulation figure, especially in the case of local advertising in addition to the national advertising. Now even after five years the company has not been able to replicate its performance of the year 2004 and back (which at that time, seemed to be on a sustainable track keeping in mind the overall performance of the Hindi operations of the ‘Voice of the Nation’). To make the things worse, in the last quarter, the city edition has seen a decline in the circulation figures.

  • What is the possible reason behind the recent decline in the circulation figures?
  • Was it a right move to not to allow the increase in production on the part of the top management? If yes, how, if no, why not?
  • Have the long-term gains been sacrificed in this case? (What could be the possible long-term gains?)
  • Does it question the production outsourcing in print operations? If yes, how, if no, why not?
  • What inferences can be drawn in regard to the delegation and decentralization of the decision-making process in this case?

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


If we could literally reach into you and remove all your fears – every one of them – how different would your life be? Think about it. If nothing stopped you from following your dreams, your life would probably be very different. This is what the dying learn. Dying makes our worst fears come forward to be faced directly. It helps us see the different life that is possible, and in that vision, takes the rest of our fears away.

Unfortunately, by the time the dear is gone most of us are too sick or too old to do those things we would have done before, had we not been afraid. Thus, one lesson becomes clear: we must transcend our fears while we can still do those things we dream of.

To transcend fear though, we must move somewhere else emotionally; we must move into love.

Happiness, anxiety, joy, resentment -- we have many words for the many emotions we experience in our lifetimes. But deep down, at our cores, there are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt.

It's true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it's more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They're opposites. If we're in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we're in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear. Can you think of a time when you've been in both love and fear? It's impossible.

We have to make a decision to be in one place or the other. There is no neutrality in this. If you don't actively choose love, you will find yourself in a place of either fear or one of its component feelings. Every moment offers the choice to choose one or the other. And we must continually make these choices, especially in difficult circumstances when our commitment to love, instead of fear, is challenged.

Having chosen love, doesn't mean you will never fear again. In fact it means that many of your fears will come up to finally be healed. This is an ongoing process. Remember that you will become fearful after you've chosen love, just as we become hungry after we eat. We must continually choose love in order to nourish our souls and drive away fear, just as we eat to nourish our bodies and drive away hunger.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross & David Kessler

Monday, 18 January 2010


To hell in a handcart. That's what's happening to the dead at the Grande Cemetiere de Port-au-Prince, a few blocks from the Presidential Palace, where funeral parties spent yesterday carrying makeshift coffin after makeshift coffin past decaying bodies that were lying by tombs, being casually pecked by chickens in the afternoon sunshine.

Every few minutes, another group of mourners arrived at the gates of central Haiti's most prominent burial ground, seeking to give loved ones a dignified burial. But dignity is a scarce commodity when half-open caskets, and corpses wrapped in rags and bloody clothes, litter the paths that lead around the 400-square-yard compound.

A crew of armed guards stood at the gate, making sure new arrivals at the cemetery were entitled to use one of the family tombs which fill it, and had paid the US $5 burial fee. A gatekeeper checked off their names against a list, which revealed that in the past three days, some 210 fresh corpses have been deposited there.

The real figure is far higher, though, since scores of dead people have been illegally dumped, their relations too impoverished to pay the fee. They now lie abandoned, and rotting. Some of them are in half open coffins; others are wrapped in rags that are now covered in swarms of flies. The really bad ones were left in the clothes they died in.

“Dumping is out of hand. That's why we've had to put guards here,” said Cherie Bigard, who is manning the gate on behalf of the local Mayor's office. “People don't have money to pay, so are just leaving them. So we need to stop more arriving. This is supposed to be a cemetery, with tombs, not an outdoor grave."

Bigard estimated that 150 “illegal” bodies were simply rotting in the sunshine in the heavily damaged graveyard. Walking through the gate, it was easy to believe him. I watched appalled as three cockerels scratched among a pile of six now-bloated corpses, and pecked at the entrails of one of the deceased, a middle-aged man.

Just behind me, a party of eight walked in, carrying a coffin that had been made from plastic, with a lid that kept falling off. They were followed by a pick-up truck bearing a body wrapped in a white sheet. It ran over a dismembered foot, before pausing next to a tomb whose entrance was blocked by a pile of nine bodies. Their skin was falling off, revealing orange fatty flesh underneath.

This is the business of death, and it is utterly foul. The smell? I won't even try to describe it. Once you get a whiff, it stays with you for hours. It's one reason why the people of Port-au-Prince have begun smearing toothpaste on their upper lips, if they are unable to get hold of a surgical mask.

As you walk up the path to the centre of the cemetery, there's a fresh piece of awfulness every few yards. A handcart that was driven fifty yards in was simply left standing, containing six bodies, of men and women. One was wearing a black armband; another had his trousers round his ankles. Flies swarmed around his bowels.

Several tombs appeared to have been smashed open with sledgehammers, so new bodies could be laid inside. One contained a damaged coffin and a bunch of plastic flowers. A sign in spray paint above it said “reparation,” signifying, it seemed, that it had been left there as part of some awful, obscure act of revenge.

Outside the broken tomb, a truck stopped. A girl of 14 was under a white sheet in the back. The men inside said they were planning to bury her there, and close the entrance to the broken tomb with breeze blocks lying next to it. First, though, they had to find money to pay for it. “We need five dollars,” they said.

You might wonder why people would bring their dead to a place this awful. But the simple truth is that they have no alternative, except to leave them to rot in the street - where they will eventually be picked up and dumped in mass graves on the outskirts of town.

One mourner, Jean Pierre Alcindor, said the Grand Cemetiere was the only place left to take the bodies of his 63-year-old sister, Marie Eve, and 32-year-old niece, Sarah. They were buried in a family tomb that has been virtually demolished by Tuesday's quake.

“We'd left them for five days, and we couldn't leave them any longer,” he said. “This was our only option. My sister lives in the US, in Forest Hills, New York, and had come to visit family on holiday. We wanted to fly her home, but there was just no way. The airport is obviously completely blocked.

“Her children are devastated that it has come to this. But we can't leave her in the morgue any longer: there is no electricity, so it is not refrigerated, and most are so full that bodies are being left outside to decompose, just like they are in the rest of the streets.”

Alcindor was wearing a silver ring of a skull and crossbones, and carrying a pile of twigs, which he said he planned to lay in the tomb yesterday afternoon alongside Marie Eve and Sarah, according to a religious custom that pervades in Haitian culture which intermixes Catholic and Voodoo traditions.

Despite the grisly and chaotic scenes at the cemetery, death is one of the only industries that is still thriving in Haiti. For families of victims, the tragedy after the tragedy of their sudden deaths often comes when they visit morgues, where corruptible staff are charging “release fees” of several hundred dollars for the bodies of their loved ones

The shortage of coffins means that they are also changing hands at inflated prices. Yesterday, my interpreter, George, who has lost his niece and two cousins, said they were being asked for $400 to get their bodies out of the morgue. They don't have enough money for a proper coffin, so will attempt, like many other people whose handiwork is on display at the cemetery, to fashion a DIY one out of plywood.

On my way out of the Grand Cemetiere, a woman rushed past me and, sickened by what she had seen, vomited in the street. At the gates behind her was a quotation from a poem by Victor Hugo: “Je dis que le tombeau qui sur les morts se ferme / Ouvre le firmament; / Et que ce qu'ici-bas nous prenons pour le terme / Est le commencement.”

Loosely translated, it means that what we think of as death is often a beginning. And for Haiti, the problems really are only just beginning.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


In the first moment of seeing something or hearing a sound -- and more so if it is unfamiliar -- before the mind names or interprets what you see or hear there is usually a gap of alert attention in which the perception occurs. That is the inner space. Its duration differs from person to person. It is easy to miss because in many people those spaces are extremely short, perhaps only a second or less.

This is what happens: a new sight or sound arises, and in the first moment of perception, there is a brief cessation in the habitual stream of thinking. Consciousness is diverted away from thought because it is required for sense perception. A very unusual sight or sound may leave you "speechless" -- even inside, that is to say, bring about a longer gap.

The frequency and duration of those spaces determine your ability to enjoy life, to feel an inner connectedness with other human beings as well as nature. It also determines the degree to which you are free of ego because ego implies complete unawareness of the dimension of space.

When you become conscious of these brief spaces as they happen naturally, they will lengthen, and as they do, you will experience with increasing frequency the joy of perceiving with little or no interference of thinking.

Inner space also arises whenever you let go of the need to emphasize your form-identity. That need is of the ego. It is not a true need.

Here are some ways in which people unconsciously try to emphasize their form-identity. If you are alert enough, you may be able to detect some of these unconscious patterns within yourself: demanding recognition for something you did and getting angry or upset if you don’t get it; trying to get attention by talking about your problems, the story of your illness, or making a scene, giving your opinion when nobody has asked for it and it makes no difference to the situation; being more concerned with how the other person sees you than with the other person, which is to say using other people for egoic reflection or as ego enhancers taking things personally, feeling offended; making yourself right and others wrong through futile mental complaining; wanting to be seen, or appear important.

Once you have detected such a pattern within yourself, I suggest that you conduct an experiment, Find out what it feels like and what happens if you let go of that pattern. Just drop it and see what happens.

De-emphasizing who you are on the level of form is another way of generating consciousness. Discover the enormous power that flows through you into the world when you stop emphasizing your form identity.

Eckhart Tolle

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


If you observe nature at work, you will see that least effort is expended. Grass doesn't try to grow, it just grows. Fish don't try to swim, they just swim. Flowers don't try to bloom, they bloom. Birds don't try to fly, they fly. This is their intrinsic nature. The earth doesn't try to spin on its own axis; it is the nature of the earth to spin with dizzying speed and to hurtle through space. It is the nature of babies to be in bliss. It is the nature of the sun to shine. It is the nature of the stars to glitter and sparkle. And it is human nature to make our dreams manifest into physical form, easily and effortlessly.

In Vedic Science, the age-old philosophy of India, this principle is known as the principle of economy of effort, or "do less and accomplish more." Ultimately you come to the state where you do nothing and accomplish everything. This means that there is just a faint idea, and then the manifestation of the idea comes about effortlessly. What is commonly called a "miracle" is actually an expression of the Law of Least Effort.

Nature's intelligence functions effortlessly, frictionlessly, spontaneously. It is non-linear; it is intuitive, holistic, and nourishing. And when you are in harmony with nature, when you are established in the knowledge of your true Self, you can make use of the Law of Least Effort.

Least effort is expended when your actions are motivated by love, because nature is held together by the energy of love. When you seek power and control over other people, you waste energy. When you seek money or power for the sake of the ego, you spend energy chasing the illusion of happiness instead of enjoying happiness in the moment. When you seek money for personal gain only, you cut off the flow of energy to yourself, and interfere with the expression of nature's intelligence. But when your actions are motivated by love, there is no waste of energy. When your actions are motivated by love, your energy multiplies and accumulates.

Deepak Chopra

Sunday, 3 January 2010


When I was a little bitty kiddy, about five, my Dad began a process …
anytime somebody came and said something to us, my dad would say, "You
remember what he said, honey girl?" I would tell my father what the
person said until I got so good at it that I could repeat verbatim
even long presentations of what the person had said.

And he did this all the time.

Finally, one day there was this old gentleman, Richard Thompson. I
still remember his name, he lived across the street. And every time
my Dad started to mow the lawn, there came Mr. Thompson. And so I
would stand out there.

Dad says, "You might come and listen to this man, honey girl. He's
pretty interesting." And so I listened to him, and then my dad would
say, "What did you hear him say?" And I would tell him.

Well, eventually I was repeating all the stories he liked to share
with my dad verbatim. I knew them all by heart.

And my Dad says, "You're getting pretty good at that. But did you
hear his heart?" And I thought, what? So I went around for days with
my ear to people's chest trying to hear their hearts.

Finally my Dad created another learning situation for me by asking my
mother to read an article from the newspaper. He says "Well, I guess
if you want to understand that article, you have to read between the

I thought, "Oh, read between the lines. Hear between the words."

So the next time I listened to Mr. Thompson's stories, I tried to
listen between the words. My Dad said, "I know you know his story,
but did you hear his heart?" And I said, "Yes. He is very lonely and
comes and shares his memories with you again and again because he's
asking you to keep him company in his memories."

It just came out of me. In other words, my heart echoed his heart.

And when you can listen at that level, then you can hear not only the
people. If you really pay attention, you can hear what the Universe is

Paula Underwood

Friday, 1 January 2010


Despair that I felt
Was in the air again
Something went wrong, terribly wrong
As I could not see the fault
Though I left the cleft wide open
Revisiting my earlier wrongs
I could not find words, words with soul
That could tell me here you went wrong
And drift me away of the jolt again
Jolts that have been there as true pals
In my demanding moments
When the voids had ruled the whole

Containment that I could have felt
Like always and peacefully
When the jolts would fail to pull me back
In the world, a world of mine
At times marred with a crisis
That underlines the futility
A futility of following the voices other than the soul
And utility of the word ‘inhibition’
My mates, the jolts would pull me back
Again pushing me to realize the fragility of such thoughts

This time, I slipped into the abeyance
Where the cleft found itself to be marred by the crack
The chorus is growing larger
Why I am not realizing my fault
Going away again taking the fault to go near you again
Wide and farther
I again needed a reason to reason me wrong again
That could push me away from the jolts
Even for a temporary pause
When I could be pushed to the thinking
Aligning along the less traveled, less jolted
More reverberated moments of cruising along with you
Quiet and convincing

But alas! That seems to have gone?
To its own abeyance
Sending my thinking to the trance
Taking me again there
To those true pals, my jolts
Away from the recently known harmony
When the despair and the containment
Had learnt to give them chance
You, too, could not come to take the call
When it was needed the most
The time when I started the journey to the lost
You, too, could not make the call
That was probably all, hitting me to the wall
Pushing the voids up the frost
A horizon that seems to have lost


Media doesn’t operate in isolation. Yes, it is a matter of debate who is the agenda setter and so all the bohemian debates that which one is the manipulating agency. But clearly there has been one development that seems to send some sort of reconciliation in botched confines of the socializing, tabooing and moralizing on part of the communicators.

The way Ruchika case has evolved into a greater national issue and has created a debate that is extending to the people affecting on the street, though in metros and major urban settlements, as clear from voices of different victims now coming out from different parts of the country, gives a reason to the associating alignment of media and therefore its role in the most pragmatic lesson of life, fighting to live with dignity not allowing the perpetrators who inflicted the pain to go away freely and easily.

So today we have voices being raised by victim relatives of a forest department clerk who was molested by the then Conservator of Forests in 1994 in Panchkula when the fellow pulled the lady towards him and tried to kiss her. That was 1994 and in 2009, the case has somewhat similar developments as that of Ruchika before this month’s hearing and subsequent developments for justice to Ruchika's soul. Another case getting much media glare is of confinement and rape of a constable’s wife by a DIG in Rajasthan. That educated goon kept tribal wife of his junior-most colleague handcuffed for days in his Noida house and raped her, and again that was in 1997. Here the case was a little different as the goon ran away after the case surfaced but never a serious effort was made to bring him behind the bar. He is still at large. The case has only picked up after media campaign in Ruchika case and involvement of an influential tribal politician of Rajasthan.

Then there is yet another 11 year old case of Gujarat, where, this time, the right to justice has been made to suffer under influence of a politician. A 13 year old Dalit girl was allegedly gangraped by a relative and a friend of an MLA on next day of Holi in Vadodra, way back in 1998. After the horror, the injustice took place in the usual manner, justice - delayed and delayed; still the matter is in court and who know for how long it will be dragged on.

There are cases and cases. A case has surfaced in Nepal where the government is trying to hush up the proceedings in an alleged gangrape case. Here again an official establishment, police services is under the dock, for six male policemen reportedly gangraped their female colleague and that too in the police station on September 27 last year. The police establishment of the country tried everything to suppress voices and assassinate the character of the victim. Things were their way until the media started raising the issue and now an intense media campaign is under the sun to extend the shine even to the moon. Kavita, a young lecturer, mysteriously disappeared from Meerut in 2006 and is still untraced amidst allegations that a powerful UP minister got her killed. Shashi, another Dalit girl and Law student from Faizabad got killed and another UP minister Anand Sen was taken-in for the case, but, for heinous crime like murder, he has met nothing more that a mosquito bite. Similar are the cases of Amar Mani Tripathi and RS Sharma, two names, that got another two victim names, Madhumita and Shivani Bhatnagar, wiped out.

We need to know here that we should not expect a great change as far as punishment to these burdens is concerned, for, experts feel even SPS Rathore would continue to flash his shameless face as evidence available in Ruchika case is not sufficient enough for a long term punishment, in spite of all the media pressure. Other cases which are being dragged-on for years are bound to have the similar outcomes. Around 2.5 million cases, that are waiting to see some positive in our court-rooms, would have how many more Ruchikas, who knows? Adding to it, is the jitter that, though we look towards judiciary for final respite from corrupt clutches of bureaucracy, diplomacy, polity and administration, our judicial system, too, ranks as one of the most corrupt services sectors in India.

There are cases and cases and no one seem to reach a logical and valid conclusion, yes, except very few. S Manzunath’s killers got their due only this month. We all know how the convicts of cases like Jessica Lall, Priyadarshini Mattoo, Manoj Dubey, Satyendra Dubey and many faceless names are treated.

So what is new? We all, almost know all these.

Nothing! Except for the debate that Ruchika case helped to develop.