Birthday dash

Today is 7th of March, my birthday and I am 65. Thank you for the greetings. Don’t bother about the gifts, I have the best gift of my life, I am breathing and a man in no hurry. Today I am the youngest, I ever will be.
An extract from a poem titled “ Live your dash” by Linda Ellis-

The line etched into a headstone
Between the dates of birth and death
Represents each step we take on earth
… and every single breath
To many, it is but a hyphen…
Marking time between the years
But in that little dash, is a lifetime
Of laughter, love and tears..

Time steals our days and hours
Before we recognise the theft
And we live each day not knowing
how much of our dash is left

Last year on my birthday a friend commented, Raj, do you realise you are growing old. I told him its better than dying young.

So far its been an unplanned and happy life. Life is full of options, just picked one whenever I had to and kept going. Decided to be happy whenever I wanted to, never tried to be a perfectionist, it can be stressful and a waste of time. Aimed for excellence, most of the time ended up scoring good, at times very good and many flops, which were blessings in disguise.

Never bothered whether plate is half full or half empty, adjusted the appetite with whatever available and felt full.

Going back to school days, I did not like any subject except maths . Exams, elocution, mugging were all stressful. Earliest dream was to be a postman on a bicycle, then a steam engine driver with an handkerchief tied around the forehead shovelling coal into the boiler. In the engineering college I had a secret desire to be a taxi driver, a long distant one and by final year, a marine engineer standing on the deck playing mandolin in the deep seas. As luck would have it, all of them flopped.
What I enjoyed in school and college, are cricket, tennis, table tennis and friends and one big secret. I shall let it out now, even my nearest one do not know. In places like Ranchi and Rourkela, there were many tribals, I used to spend my time, teaching them to read and write and gifted crudely assembled radios (by my friends ) for them to listen to songs and news.

Never had any personal goals. Change in designations, increase in salary happened along the way , did not count them. Making differences to other people’s lives were accomplishments. There were stages in life worked 18 hour a days for weeks together and enjoyed it. Questions were raised about wok life balance. No need, interfered less with children’s affairs and gave them freedom to grow. Give them space , you don’t have to be with them every time. Shortcomings may have been there, they have not complained yet. And then you don’t have to score cent percent everywhere.

One change I am experiencing now is that I have stopped going in search of people and forcibly helping them whether they need or not. You remember , the scout master, at the end of the day asked his pupils, whats the good thing they did ? Three of them stood up and said , we helped an old lady cross the road. Why the three of you ?
She did not want to cross.

Today, somebody wants something, they will find me and I go all out for them, though the outcome is not guaranteed
The blessings in my life are my wonderful parents, sibling family, children, relatives, friends, team and colleagues. They have taken care of me in times of need. I am thinking hard to find a name to complain about. Sorry, none.

A youngster, the other day, told me that I am his role model, he wants to be me.

I told him, NO, a big NO.
You should be you.
We are all unique and do not try to be someone else.
Create your own path.
Just work, to do something good, big, great.
Have habits that suits you, what matters is attitude.
Never stop learning , add to skills learn to respond and not react, find a candle to light when there is a power failure instead of cursing.
Understand everybody is unique and respect the differences.
Measure your strength by what you can give, not by what you get.
What you do with your knowledge is more important than just knowing.
Compete with yourself.
Take responsibility, do not blame others
Nothing happens before its time, patience

Take the example of cricket, a ball driven by Tendulkar through the covers, would have been flicked with elegance through midwicket by Lakshman, straight driven by Dravid for four. Same philosophy of uniqueness works in life.
Care, share and give with love , everything else will fall in place.

Somebody after hearing one of my lecture told me I should have gone higher in life !! . I told him I never practiced all that I preached and if they practiced, it will do them good.
Since I am a man of few words and lazy, I am posting my 2 paged draft auto biography as final.

Employee permanent, Job temporary

Recession or no recession, here onwards stop depending on a single company or a single specialized skill. You may have just collected the best employee award and given the impression that without you the company cannot breathe. However within no time you are called in and told that we do not know what we will do without you, due to some compulsion, we have to learn to live without you… or to some such effect. In short, it is the boot.

General crib of the corporate, no loyalty and the response, you want loyalty, get a dog. A wee bit funny, many companies have team dedicated for retention, attend international seminars on how to deal with attrition, employ engagement, career path and what else ?  Simple solution, love your employee, they will take care of you.

Corporations once built to last like pyramids are now more like tent..you can’t design your life around a temporary organisation says the management guru, Peter Drucker.

Be prepared, let this be not an issue in life. One way is to force a percentage of your salary into some saving. Earn, save and spend is a better sequence. This may be an old school of thought. I am not going to argue about this but it is valid for all generations A to Z. Take it or leave it.

The other day someone called  to thank me to say how grateful  he is for the advise. I am happy, he took it because he was without a job for 3 months and the savings saw him through. And he is employed now.

Morgan Witzel says in ten years time managers will travel lesser than they do now, will see the end of silos, male work dominated workplace will vanish, managers will rely less on data and more on intelligence and thinking. With the advancement of technology video conferencing and teleconferencing (especially in cell phones, smartphones and tablets) will help reduce the necessities of  travel, reduce carbon footprints and increase the effectiveness of the managers time. The present vertical organizational structure will be replaced by fast, flexible, integrated teams. More and more women will rise to higher positions.

Just check, besides the skill you have for your current job, what other interests you have ? The other day I met a guy who is a chartered accountant, a professional cook g and a food writer. And another one who is a developer, trainer and singer (member of a musical brand). Then there is this Lady, a professional golfer, associated with the Financial Sector as a Freelance Trainer for Soft Skill development, part of an NGO  which works in areas of Empowerment of Women, Child Education,  Environment and Heritage Conservation through Performing Arts.

Swachh layout-royal residency

Thanks to a great initiative by Dr Bhanudev Bhatt with other association members Mr Dinesh Mr. Annayya,  Mr P Jaltare,  Mr. Nagaraj, Mrs Nagaraj, Mr Simha, Prof Havaldar, Mr B. Hegde, Mr U Joisa, Mr Kumar,  to keep the layout clean, was put into action, as Swachh RR program.  I was living with a feeling of guilt, since I was out of town, unable to participate, whenever it was happening. A weak excuse though, I could have done it any other day,  whenever I was in town. Swachatha should be our motive, not who is watching.

Finally, I made it, participated in last Sunday’s  program.  A take away for me besides an enjoyable participation , was meeting some community service minded people of our  layout, for the first time and I have been living here since last eight years. It is a matter of time, I am going to be on first name terms with the above mentioned Mr and Mrs.

We formed groups and took charge of cross streets, picked up waste plastic, bottles and  papers lying  around into waste bags for the corporation vehicle to pick it up. There were lot of “bend ,pick up and walk” to do, a good test of wellness of my back. It was a feel good activity, go for it you will enjoy it.

I am sure, many are watching from their windows, hesitating to participate in the movement. If every family decides to keep their surroundings clean, it will add up to the whole country ending up being clean. A clean environment, a healthy environment.

During one of the cleaning operations, the team requested the owner of a car, parked in front of this house, to move it , to clean the area. Well he obliged, moved the car, went back home and closed the door. That was a joke because he was supposed to take the hint and participate.

There was a guy who said I did not throw that garbage which was in front of his house.Mr Udaya Joisa, remarked, when a crow shits on your shirt do you expect it to clean it for you.  This is similar to the chap in Bangalore  who threw the skin on the road after eating a banana, was told  by a bystander “ keep your city clean”. Pat came the reply “Oye, my city is Patiala”

Mr Hegde saw a lady, from the neighbouring layout,  bring her dog to  litter in our colony.

Meanwhile, Vidya Rajesh, went around the colony , to educate, how to segregate waste for easy handling and disposal. The system is a s follows:

Every residence should segregate the household waste into :

– WET WASTE  consisting of kitchen waste and biodegradable items.

– DRY WASTE consisting of paper, plastic, washed and dried milk packets, tetra packs

and any other RECYCLABLE items

– OTHER WASTE consisting of sanitary wastes, soiled diapers, soiled tissues, anything

that may contain human tissues/germs.

Make segregation a habit.

Further, she has been sharing her knowledge on composting with us. She has sent us the link torthe blog, which has many informative articles on composting.

http://savitahiremath.com/2014/11/10/community-composting-method-3-byobins-these-two-make-a-right-pair/

Thank you madam, your efforts and services are commendable.

DR Bhatt wrote to us about the potential damage of how burning any type of plastic releases toxic and potential cancer-causing chemicals into the air, which can be inhaled by humans and animals and deposited in soil and surface water and on plants.

The other day I saw a video wherein, a few people threw around  some crap and started cleaning the place and that was for the camera.

Right now it is a mass movement , hopefully it will motivate the rest to take care of their own surrounding. It is an appeal, not just to the people of royal residency layout, it is to all my countrymen.

Any of you would like to understand more about the activities of RR layout, kindly contact me.  At the same time you are requested to share your  community experiences  and activities with us.

Your mood, mind it

moodI saw a friend’s status in skype ‘in the mood’. He means you can call him, he is in the mood to talk, that is why he is online. That’s it, you need a mood to act. Procrastination happens because you are not in a mood.
Shall we go for a movie ? Not today, I am not in a mood. People going to meet their bosses, asks his secretary, “How is the mood”. She will tell them, not good. In that case shall come later and they leave.
Entire day, this word mood pops up in almost everybody’s mind some time or the other. And not many are aware of it. For every positive action you need the right mood,that is what it means.
If things are not happening, why not ? You have the talent, skill, attitude, right emotions, health to perform, yet you are stuck, it is the mood and it is not right. Think about the variations in your mood during the day. If you are not feeling like doing something you want or have to do, check your mood. Change your mood, make it right for the job in hand.
Depression is a mood, so is anxiety. Both of them affect our performance. Being calm or a desire for action can help us move forward.
For me there are no problems, only situations to deal with. I am not able to convince others to have that view point. They say life is full of problems, just shut up.
Your mood can be low if you have a problem. All your problems can fall under one of these categories and they are health, finance, job and relationship. Please tell me another category which I may be missing, may be security. If you can categorize all your problems, you will start feeling light and your mood will improve.
A simple cold can affect your mood, so can a shortage of money, a wrong job and an affected relationship.
What can change the mood ? Once you become aware of your mood, from a walk to dance, sing, a book, call a friend , music, a beautiful scene outside your window, a sunset, meditation, help to someone, breathing exercise, anything that works for you, can uplift your mood.
Just stand up, straighten yourself, hold your chin up and lift your hands above your head. There you are, there is a change in your mood. Go, do, what you wanted to.
However, taking the help of cola, cigarettes, drugs, drinks, caffeine are just short term energy provider and a long term disaster.
Words like magnificent, glorious can uplift your mood and serene, tranquil can change into a calm mood.
Mood may sound insignificant, try the exercise of being aware of your mood for just one day, and do things that can uplift it and experience the transformation.
Get into your car, roll up the windows, shut the world out, mute the music, sit quietly, close your eyes to the silence and a calmness settles inside you. I love this.
If the mood is not changing for the better, don’t worry, befriend it, it will leave on its own.

Since you are here, kindly visit 13 year old Sookthi’s treasure http://sookthisbooknook.wordpress.com/

What problem, no problem

I could hear the ticket collector’s loud voice and his laughter.. He seems to be finding great joy in his work, for many, a very monotonous job. What is he doing, I have a problem here with my seat and at this rate he will not reach me tonight. I walked up to him and said ‘I have a problem….’, before I could complete he guffawed, ha ha… don’t call it a prablem saar, only aappartunities..’ I said, you can call it what you want, there is a lady sleeping in the berth allotted to me, number 60 and I am travelling to Bangalore. Everybody around laughed and my anxiety simply melted away.
He came to my seat, bend down and exchanged some whispers with the lady, turned towards me and said ‘Saar, you are young and strong, you can easily occupy the upper berth, the lady is not well’. I was holding a senior citizen concessional ticket and with joint pains and a boosted spirit, I went up with silent oohs, aahs and ouches.
This joally man converted a problematic (my perspective) situation to an opportunity to serve a lady who needed help.
Give it a thought, what is a so called problem ? As long as life is there, there is a solution to every situation, quite often many. Once there is a solution, it is no more a problem. The end situation in life is death. Once we die, there goes the problem, what ever.
A manager walked into my room. “Sir, I have problem with my mother in law’. By the way, the manager is a female.
“please sit and what is the problem?”
“she gets very angry when I return home, late”
“why do you return home late”
“I stay back in the office, an extra hour or two, to meet our schedule”
“Why cant you complete the job in time, after all you are the one who is scheduling it”
“Still, sir, sometimes, it happens”
“Have you told your mother in law the reason for the late coming”
“yes, she says she does not care, be home early”
“Are you ok to stop working”
“no, Sir”
“why”
“ I need the money, after all I have my husband’s mother, father and college going sister at home and single member salary will not suffice”
“Tell your mother in law, you will have to give up the job”
“She says you can leave the job, no coming late, she cannot tolerate me coming home late”
“In that case you leave the job and please your mother in law”
“No. sir”
“Go home and tell your MIL that I have asked you to stop coming to office from next week, that is from the first and you stay back home tomorrow and tell her you have decided to leave with immediate effect. Buy something nice for her and gift it from me and tell her I lectured you about the importance of giving priority to look after old people.”
The mother in law was touched by the gift and my concern for her, what worked was her non acceptance of being bracketed into the old age group. She came to the office the next day with her daughter in law and I said ‘wow, she is your mother in law, she looks younger than you”.
The daughter in law continues to work till date, while I have moved out.
The treatment will vary from mother in law to mother in law.
There are no problems, only situations to deal with. Accept the reality as it is, stop whinnng, do not resist. All our stresses are the result of resistance to reality. Respond, not react to a situation, take action. You cannot undo anything in life, you can only redo.

Life is beautiful

I can’t find free time. Life has become hectic.

Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you free.

Why has life become complicated now?

Stop analyzing life.. It makes it complicated. Just live it.

Why are we then constantly unhappy?

Worrying has become your habit. That’s why you are not happy.

Why do good people always suffer?

Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don’t suffer.
With that experience their life becomes better, not bitter.

You mean to say such experience is useful?
Yes. In every term, Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.

Because of so many problems, we don’t know where we are heading…

If you look outside you will not know where you are heading. Look inside. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides the way.

Does failure hurt more than moving in the right direction?

Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you.

In tough times, how do you stay motivated?

Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.

What surprises you about people?

When they suffer they ask, “why me?” When they prosper, they never ask “Why me?”

How can I get the best out of life?

Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.

One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.

There are no unanswered prayers. Keep the faith and drop the fear. Life is a mystery to solve, not a problem to resolve. Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live.

A rare conversation between Ramkrishna Paramahansa & Swami Vivekanand, sent by Gaurav Rajput