Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Autobiography of Disability - Part 1

Dear all,

I am disability. Now, before you close the internet browser window, please understand, I am not a ‘disabled person’ – but I am disability myself. I am different from the person possessing me. I have my own identity. Most often, people confuse me with that person. But then, I consider that as an insult to my individuality. It is as if a woman wearing a make-up, owns all the beauty she has, because of the make-up ! How unfairly does the world give credits ! Anyways, enough is enough. I need my value to be recognized. So today, i thought, i will speak out to the world. I thought i will give my side of the story to the people. I thought i will clarify a few things. And hence, this is my autobiography.

Honestly friends, i must first tell you all, the person possessing me – has no influence on me. He has no reason to live with me. You want to know why ? Well, for that, you need to understand my birth. So, let us go there first. I came to the world to live with some people. It is not because such people are 'special'. It is not because they are 'differently-abled'. It is certainly not because God wanted me to spend some time with those people, because of their past actions. It is not even because of nature’s biological defection on the person. Honestly, it is because of sheer bad luck. Yes, bad luck. Do you know him ? He’s my elder brother. Like how he meets you all, every now and then, taking your life into unknown zones - he made me meet with the person i got. More on my brother later though.

Coming back to my birth, my presence makes people wonder about the person I am with. Even with no understanding of me, people seem to think I am an eternal curse to that person. How mean of you all to judge me ! And worse, some are immediately sympathetic. Many are even scared. But most hurt I am, when the parents of the person I am born to, are ill-treated attitudinally. I wonder what was their fault, for my existence ! Just because I have come to exist with a person, does it mean that his/her parents have to be attitudinally ostracized ? Sometimes, I wish my elder brother curses such people for behaving so !

Anyways, back again to my birth. As you see, my birth in itself creates the first big problem. And the problem is that people seem to judge me. Worse, they seem to judge me, even without knowing me. They do not even want to give an opportunity to know me.

And then, without knowing me, without any understanding of my nature, without any attempt to understand my nature – people want to confine me and the person I am with – into a room. They seem to think I will be happier in a room. Do you think I was born for that reason ? I have heard that in that country called America, children are confined to a room as punishment. So, are you punishing me ? Shame on you ! What right do you have to confine me to four walls ? You did not even give me a fair trial ! It angers me. But then, what can I do with that anger ? I cannot even express. Anyways, let me tell something to you all. I am here in the world, for a purpose. And until that purpose is met, I cannot go away. I will not go away. No matter what you do. No matter how much you ignore me.

So, do you all want to know what that purpose is ? Then you have to come with me, into my life’s journey. You have to come with me into my past, my present and my future.

- To be continued -

Monday, April 16, 2012

Of Choices & Regrets

There are moments in your life, you always want to re-live. There are moments in your life, you always want to take back. That night, my heart was oscillating in the memories of many such varying moments.

27 years of life, and the one eternal truth I learnt is that everyone encounters difficulties. Everyone makes choices. And everyone regrets. That is the truth of life. While idealism promotes that life is a choice between good and bad, while it says that a person encountered with such choice, must always choose good – reality infact is something totally different.

In reality, life is never a choice between the good and the bad ! That is too easy to make. In reality, life is a choice between greater of the two goods or lesser of the two bads. It presents us a choice in ways that any decision, will only eventually lead to regret. For instance, when a young son of poor parents, has to choose between ambitiously pursuing his passion or financially supporting his parents – either decision leaves him with regret. When a wonderful daughter of a sweet family has to choose between spending her time earning abroad, or settling with her family here in India –either decision leaves her with regret. When a middle-aged father, has to choose between loving his own family or bring in his biased relatives – either decision leaves him with regret. When an old mother, has to choose between letting her sons go and live independently or protect them till the end with her own possessive love, either decision fills her with regret.

Choices in real life, are never easy. It is as if they always come free with a regret. And add to it our own sense of morals, society’s rules, perception of others, the weariness of the years that will follow, our past experiences, loved ones’ opinions, the occasional loneliness and the endless emptiness arising out of missing what we didn’t choose – life travels into misery over time. It leaves us a tendency, where a burning desire to experience life burns out. It happens to everyone. There is no escape. Or so I thought, until that night.

That night, I thought of God. I wondered if he really existed. If he was a real physical presence, who watched over planet earth and its countless beings forever. I wondered what would he have to say on the decisions I have made. What would he say on regrets ? How different would his choices be ? Does he have any regrets ? I smiled at myself. That night, my heart answered.

It said, ‘Sai, why are you so worried about regrets ? Why are you constantly feeding them ? I understand they hurt you. I understand you are unable to get over it. I understand you are missing the life of the other decision. I understand you will be haunted all life by it. But then, they are nothing more than your shadows. The real you is the choices you have made. Why are you not happy for the real you ?’

‘hmm, may be. But I see that I could have been way better if only I made the other choice !’, asked my mind.

‘Well then, you have time don’t you ? To the one who relentlessly hopes, there will always be an opportunity to redeem himself’, said my heart.

‘That’s a philosophical non-sense which never works in reality. Sometimes, things just go too far and there is no turning back’, said my mind.

‘Hmm. That’s true dear. That’s a philosophical non-sense. And sometimes there is no turning back. But nothing stops you from hoping and working does it ? Would you hope only if there is a chance of things coming true ? How selfish !’, said my heart.

‘But why would i hope if there is no chance ? Infact, in life, how do I ever know what should I hope for ? Whenever think of my past or my future choices, at any point, both my choices seem right and both my choices seem wrong !’, said my mind.

‘hmm. Well, then. We have to see the larger picture – don’t we ? Sai, all of your life, you have made decisions you have made decisions under the impression that it is easy to gain forgiveness than to gain permission. That it is better to risk and be ruined, than regret and live yearning. But now, if you aren’t happy with choices out of them, there is only one way out’, said my heart.

‘What is it ?’, asked my mind.
‘You have to answer the three questions’, said my heart.
‘What are they ?’, asked my mind.

‘The first, what choice would you have made, if it is given that no one in the world will praise or criticize it ? No one will have any opinion on it. No one will even bother about it. What choice will you make, if no one in the world existed at all to know it ?’, said my heart.

‘Why should I think of it ?’, asked my mind.

‘Because that removes the effect of unnecessary attachments, wrong beliefs, peer pressure and societal attitudes ! That just leaves you and me. And since i am one feeling regrets, i believe you should ask only me.’, said my heart.

‘hmm, what is the second question ?’, asked my mind.

‘What choice would you make if you know you were going to die today ?’, said my heart.

‘And why that ?’, asked my mind.

‘Because, one day you certainly will. And you don’t want to die with me regretting then’, said my heart.

‘hmm, and what is the last question ?’, asked my mind.

‘Can you live with a hopeless hope of your choice coming true ?’ said my heart.

‘huh ? A hopeless hope ? What does that mean ?’, asked my mind.

‘Dear, it means a mad desire for life. It means a blind belief that things will go your way one day. It means an arrogant attitude that you will not let your past wear you down. It means that you will stand up for your decisions, take responsibility for them and work hard to become better. It means creating yourself in a way, that you care not for what else you could be', said my heart.

‘And how would I do that ?’, asked my mind.

‘By believing Sai. By believing that, what you are now is of little importance, when compared to what you must be in future. By understanding that you are not just choices and regret, but are work and results. By knowing that you breathe every moment, not for the past, but for the future. By trusting that the universe always gives the worthy, a life to be proud about’, said my heart.

‘So, that approach will give me a life that I could have lived ?’, asked my mind.

‘It may or may not. But that’s your only chance. Don’t you want to take it ?’, said my heart.

‘hmm, I am not sure’, said my mind.

‘There is no need to be sure dear. Life is not about being sure with events, but about being comfortable with yourself. And you must be comfortable to think of your past. To love your present. And to live for the future. The regrets then will automatically give way to a beautiful story of life, that even god above will be proud of’, said my heart.

‘hmm’, said my mind.

That remainder of the night, my regrets and memories were silent.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hurting love or Hurting Sacrifice ?

The days seem long. Yet, the years are short. The memories of the past haunt me everyday. Yet, the craving for the future, never fades. It was another night, another time and the same feeling – The feeling of helplessness. Helplessness, arising out of my inability to express why I love, what I most dearly love.

It is the toughest challenge in the world. To explain reasons for your feelings. To convince people on why your life is worth it. To seek others’ approval for what you most dearly want to do. To tell them how you will succeed. I have faced this challenge on many occasions. I have also seen people taking different ways to do it.

Some people live the quote - ‘I am what I am. For the rest, I care a damn’. They follow their heart and are not afraid of the consequences. I am not one of those. I am what I am. And I do care, what others think of me. Especially, my loved ones. I do care, for what they’d feel, about things that I do.

Some others live the approach –‘Sometimes, to do what is good for everyone, you have to sacrifice a few things – and this includes things you most love’. I am not one of those people either. Of all feelings in the world, the one I hate the most is Sacrifice. Because when you sacrifice what you most want, you are only giving up your actions to attain it and not, your very love for it. You kill your feelings, with your thoughts. You whip your heart into becoming a feelingless creature. I cannot bear that either.

So, what is the right approach then ? When hurting your loved ones is painful, and hurting yourself is unbearable too, which of the two involves lesser suffering ? That night, I was madly in search of the answer. And I eventually looked upto my trusted friend.

‘Hey Dear, what do you feel ? What is the right approach ?’, asked my mind.
‘Hmm, what do you think ?’, asked my heart back.
‘I do not know yaar. This is a matter of feelings. So, it is upto you to take the call. The question is whose feelings are you intending to hurt – yours or others ?’, said my mind.
‘What do you think is right dear?’, said my heart.

‘Well, if you ask me, I think you should sacrifice Sai. Frankly, it is better if you are hurt, than your loved ones feel unhappy. It’d be selfish and mean otherwise. To keep your loved ones happy is the first and foremost duty of yours. Isn’t that what you are supposed to do Sai ? Feel for others ? Keep them happy ? Isn’t that what life taught us ?’, said my mind.

‘Hmm’, my heart sighed.

‘Ohh.. What happened ? Do you not agree ?’, asked my mind.

‘How does it matter ?’, asked my heart.

‘What do you mean by how does it matter ?’, asked my mind.

‘Well dear, in the name of others’ love, you ask me to kill my feelings. And worse, you want my approval for it today ? You make it sound as if giving up what I most want, is a virtue and use life’s teachings against me. So, what do you expect me to respond with ?’, asked my heart.

‘Hmm, Is not giving up what you most want for the sake of other’s happiness a virtue ?’, said my mind.

‘Ohh.. Is it a virtue even when you know that what you most want is probably the right thing to do ?’, asked my heart.

‘Hmm.. I'd say yes. It is a right thing to give up your love, if it can keep more people happy, peaceful and without troubles. It is a right thing to give up, if it prevents more people from unhappiness, shame and guilt of failure’, said my mind.

‘How can it be Dear ? In that case, why do we not give up God ? If there were no god, so many people would remain guilt free, without fear of the past, without fear of future, without confusion. People would remain frank, honest, straight forward, crazy and do things that they most love and enjoy. Why then do we not sacrifice God ?’

‘Hmm, do not talk stupid things. We are deviating from our topic. I asked you what do you feel is the right approach. Do you follow your love for your joy or sacrificing it for the greater good ?’, asked my mind.

‘Dear, do you really want to know my truth of what is the right decision’, asked my heart.

‘Yes’, said my mind.

‘Then listen to it. I feel that living up to one’s own love than for your loved ones is the better of two approaches’, said my heart.

‘And why is that so ?’, asked my mind.

‘Because of four other feelings’, said my heart.

‘And what are they?’, asked my mind.

‘Firstly, when my life ends, I do not want to hold animosity towards anyone who opposed my love. I do not especially want to feel that my dearest ones never understood what I madly craved for. I do not want to become hypocritical, wherein I remain unhappy within me, but falsely smile for others. That is robbing them of my true self.’, said my heart.

‘Hmm, not a valid enough reason. But go on’, said my mind.

‘Dear, feelings have neither validity nor an expiration date. They live with me forever.’, said my heart.

‘Hmm, I said go on’, said my mind.

‘Secondly, people change over time. That is the only eternal truth. Loved ones become indifferent to you. Indifferent ones start loving you. Friends loose touch. Unknown ones become friends. And for such transitory people, whose feelings and attitudes are never permanent, I can never give up what I truly love. I’d rather let Sai follow his love, make him work hard and convince his loved ones through his effort, how genuinely beautiful his love is and why they need to be happy about it. I would convince others into being happy through my love, than keep them happy by sacrificing what I most want’, said my heart.

‘Hmm. And what if you fail in convincing them ?’, said my mind.

‘Then I’d still be happy. I’d be happy that I atleast stood up for something in my life. I’d be happy, that I had the conviction to follow my feelings. The courage to put effort for the sake of myself. The feeling that I could trust my loved ones into understanding me someday’, said my heart.

‘Hmm, go on’, said my mind

‘Thirdly, feelings have no reasons dear. And reasons no know feelings. So, one must never judge feelings as right or wrong and others’ reasons as good or bad. One must just explore one’s life instinctively. One must try everything one righteously wants and triumph in whatever is possible’, said my heart.

‘Philosophical, but impractical. And what is your final reason ?’, said my mind.

‘Dear, finally and most importantly, I live only once. And I do not want it to be second rate. I want to dream shamelessly, hope foolishly, believe arrogantly, fail miserably and may be even succeed historically. I want to be someone who at the end of life thinks – Sai, you did everything humanly possible to live in a way that made you and your loved ones feel happy for you. You worked hard to follow your love and make your loved ones feel proud of you and feel the love within you’, said my heart

‘Even if it means others are hurt forever, if you fail in such a love ?’, said my mind.

‘I have to take that chance dear. It is a question of risking happiness versus accepting fate. It is a question of living wildly versus getting domesticated. It is a question of being a human versus becoming a tool in other’s hands. It is a question of giving people the true me or giving them a fake happiness that they never realized was false. And as a heart, I'd rather be temporarily hated for what i truly am and even as i live, than be permanently loved for what i am not and after my feelings have been killed’, said my heart.

'Hmm', said my mind. That night, my mind did not speak further.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Philospher's Peace Or A Warrior's Death.. ?

There are times, when for no specific reason, you feel empty in life. You feel, as if, you are punished for a mistake you never knew you committed. You feel as if, you have to silently bear everything that comes your way and express your nobility by not reacting to it. You feel as if, suffering is your only birthright and you will get your daily dose of it. And it was one such night for me. It was a night where my entire life was in front of me and it began asking its age old question – “Why did you have to choose the latter Sai ? Why did you have to choose the latter ?”

I believe, at one point in everyone’s life, there comes a moment - when a person has to choose between the philosophy of peace and the glory of a warrior. One path takes him to a state of eternal calm, bliss and a life of no troubles. The other path takes him through darkness, wildness, adventure, madness, fame, pride, passion, love, hurt, hate and a possible eventual happiness. When that moment of choice came in my life, I chose the latter. I had my reasons.

Unlike the peaceful philosopher, I preferred to achieve things that I wanted, than wanting things that I had. Unlike the peaceful philosopher, I considered desires as the source of creation, growth and achievement than consider them as the source of destruction. Unlike the peaceful philosopher, I considered emotions as horses that will take me to my destiny than consider them as wild, uncontrollable and hurting. Unlike the peaceful philosopher, I preferred possessing attachment to my work, having passion for my world and expecting love from my people. And unlike the peaceful philosopher, I never cared for peace.

And today, years after beginning the journey, as I suffer each minute in the path i have taken, my life was reminding me of the choice I made. It reminded me of how I had neglected peace, for being a warrior. It was taunting me repeatedly. It questioned me relentlessly until I wanted to reply back. It hurt me until I wanted to ask, “Oh life, what is peace anyways ? To do nothing, get nothing, be nothing and therefore, not be in trouble for anything ? If that is called peace, then what is a waste of life ? Why, in the name of peace and settlement, are you forcing me into ‘stagnation’ till death ?”. But given my past experiences with life, I had no courage to speak back. And anyways, who am I to ask such a question ? I am just a warrior. I’d probably not even know what peace really means.

When I was a child, my mother told me that life is a mortal opportunity to create for yourself, an immortal name. When I was a student, my teacher told me that I must create a world that is a better place for at least a few people to live in. When I was young, I dreamed of living in a way that, when I die, life itself misses me. And today, i dream of nothing but building a world, far better than it was when i arrived. All life, I was born to be a warrior. I was raised to be a warrior. I dreamt of being a warrior. And yet, when I start behaving like one, the question of peace within life arises ! People put in me a fear, before I try. They put in me, a warning against my love. A mockery at my attempts. A lack of respect against my past. An indifference against my present. A hatred for my future.

And when I think of all these, I only want to ask “Oh people who have found peace in your life, what have you made out of your peace ? You all believe not wanting anything in this life will lead you to happiness. Not attaching yourself to anyone will keep away from suffering. Not expecting anything out of yourself will keep you out of troubles. You all teach me to just exist in the moment, having no desires, no expectations and no wants. But oh peace lovers, is that not how an animal lives ? Why are you trying to convert me into society’s, my family’s and God’s pet animal ? In the end, what reasons will anyone truly love me for ? You all say that true love needs no reasons. And since god and family’s love is true love, they’d need no reasons to love me ! But oh peace seekers, this reasoning too has always surprised me. It has left me stunned everytime I hear it. Can love exist for no reason ? Haven’t everyone in the world secretly, but truly experienced that a love that begins for no reason, a love that exists for no reason – will also become a love that ends for no reason ? Oh peace seekers, even a mother cannot love all children of the world, in the same way as she does her own child. Why then are you forcing me to take the gamble, renounce every creation of God as an illusion and hope that he will love me for no reason ?’

“Oh peace lovers, what can I say of your philosophies ? I wish I could be like you all. But then, no matter how hard I try, I cannot. In fact, I will not. I can neither refuse to see the fallacy in your own arguments nor can act as if I don’t want to see it. Oh peace lovers, I tell you all something openly and honestly today. I tell you all that - although I am a warrior who is afraid of what uncertainties life will take me into, although I am a warrior who will suffer due to unimportant things, although I am a warrior who is constantly doubting the very way of my life, although I am a warrior who says ‘yes’ to life, when the world wants me to scream ‘No’, although I am a warrior who will be fought against, defeated and hurt in the end, although I am a warrior who will be insulted by everyone for trying, lied to -for loving, hurt to -for trusting and although I am a warrior who will never have peace in my heart – I am fine with it ! But I want to be a warrior. I want to try things in life. Try what I most want. I want to be loved for a reason. A reason I created. A purpose I achieved. I want people’s love to inspire me and help me create a world of mine. That is how I define its trueness.”

“Oh peace lovers, I want to be a warrior who believes in accepting the gift of life that God presented me whole heartedly. In accepting that gift with desires, thanking it with celebrations, loving it with worldly attachments, and in the end gift it back to him after adding more beauty and love to it, through my actions. I want to be a warrior who plays, celebrates and attempts to win this game of life, God threw me into. I want to be a warrior who lived, loved and left life like God’s proud son, treating the world as a family. I want to be a warrior who attempted to make God’s creations on this planet better than it was when I arrived. I want to live like the child he created me, like his child. I want to live intensely, madly, happily and crazily. And if in the process, I have to encounter your countless insults, I will accept them. If I have to be laughed at, so be it. If I cannot feel peace, I don’t want it. But then, through all these, I will continue to keep wanting things, expecting love, working hard, getting hurt, living hard, celebrating harder- and most importantly keep trying forever. I will be a warrior who attempted to create a heaven here, now and in my own life. A heaven for myself, my family, my people and for God. And regardless of whether I succeed in doing it, what I know is that my attempt to do so in itself is definitely better than your peace, which insults life as something useless, attempts to mock expectations as hurting, attachments as a sin, puts a fear towards change, and punishment for trying. Oh philosphers of the world, I hereby swear that till the end of my life and thereafter, I seek to love life with the actions of a warrior, than to just exist as life in the name of peace.’ Strangely, that night, having answered life back in its own language, I slept in peace.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The King & The Kingmaker !

Sometimes, an entire life boils down to one decision. Happiness shall never be a part of life from thereon. There shall be no joys in your smile, no comfort in anything you do. You look insane in the eyes of others and feel crazy in your own heart. How can you take life from thereon ? To what avail, shall you live life from thereon ?

Laugh, but cry
Live, but die
Life is a dream, we are dreaming
Day by day
I find my way
Look for my love and its meaning
( Then you look at me – by Celine Dion )

As the painfully beautiful song continued to play in my iPod again, I realized that ‘they’ were there by my side. It was a queasy feeling. I did not want them there. Not again ! Yet, I knew i could do nothing about it. I was at their mercy. I tried ignoring them, by trying to read a novel.

But then, it was another of those ungodly hours on a restless night. Just as the dark clouds were robbing the moon’s light -my mind’s thoughts were robbing my heart’s peace. As minutes passed and as I flipped through the novel’s pages, I knew I had no option but to surrender to those three. I knew I had to respond to those three. I knew I had to fight those three. I knew 'those three' awaited my fight.

Those three personalities – the three personalities I am most scared of. The three personalities that I spend most of my time with. The three personalities that I most care for. The three personalities who are with me all the time. The three personalities called - My past, My present and My future. They were there that night, by my side, waiting to hear from me.

For those who are strangers to them, my past is a personality I am never comfortable with and probably will never be comfortable with too. She has this mysterious face, which is very difficult to describe. Her eyes feel beautiful, cold and tough – all at the same time. She reminds me of my decisions, my mistakes and my guilt. I try to see beauty and joy in her, but fail. I try to see goodness in her, but feel an indifference. I attempt to see happiness in her, but get a sharp pain. I believe that she is like a seductive mermaid, who tempts me into being with her and then punishes me for having given in. She leaves me tempted for joy, and suffering in pain.

On the other hand, my present is like my little child. She is someone whom I love to be with all the time. She is pure, innocent, but prone to hurt. She constantly endures my cruel past, yet foolishly believes in coming out victorious someday. She does not have the power to stand on her own, but imagines to rule the world with her love. Inspiration and pity- that is what I feel whenever I am with my present.

My future though, is what I believe in the most. She is my best friend. Although, only god is aware of her nature totally – I feel she is loveable, truthful and hopeful. My heart lives for her. My mind slogs for her. My work is dedicated to her. And most importantly, my life trusts her. She is one and probably the only reason, which keeps me going.

‘You can never get over me, can you?’, asked my past teasingly as if she were undeservingly punishing me for some wrong again.

‘Ignore her and focus on your novel Sai. Increase the volume of your iPod’, said my future.

‘Ohh honey, if he could have ignored me, he would have ignored me. And we would not be having this discussion now !’, said my past to my future in a voice of arrogance.

My present was already feeling troubled. I was feeling anxious. It was going to be a tough night.

‘Sai, trust me - what the world says is all a lie’, my past said.
‘Hmm, what is that lie ?’, I asked finally giving in to her temptation.
‘The things they say about people and time dear. About how people change. About how time heals everything ! It is all a lie’, my past said.

‘Hmm’, i replied.
‘Time heals nothing. In fact, it only makes things worse. You know it’, she said.

‘Hmm’, I said.

‘Just look at me. I am your past. Day after day, I have grown stronger and stronger. I have become a tougher and tougher burden to carry ! I have only been hurting you more. I have given you nights like these every time’, she continued.

‘Hmm’, I said.

‘I feed of your thoughts for me. Your thoughts keep me alive. Your feelings give me the strength. Your little child called present gives me the soul’, my past continued.

‘hmm’, I said.

‘You wouldn’t give me up. You cannot get over me. You are a slave to me and cannot live your life without me !’, my past said.

‘That is true’, I said.

‘And you know what Sai ? Someday, I would leave you with nothing more than a stinking guilt, pain and suffering. I would have killed both your present and your future. I would have scarred your life.’, said my past.

‘hmm.. May be ! But I believe you are just flattering yourself’, I said raising my voice against her for the first time.

‘What do you mean?’, my past asked.
‘Well, I mean what I said’, I said.

‘Explain yourself’, my past commanded.

‘Hmm, I do not know where to start. But then dear, for far too long, you have overestimated your ability to control me. For far too long, you have believed that I am your slave and listen to you more than anyone else. For far too long, you have been blind to things I believe in and things that keep me going’, I said.

‘What are you trying to imply ?’, my past asked.

‘You see dear, you are my past. You were born out of my decisions. Decisions I took in the situations, life threw me into. Decisions, which I took out of my own knowledge, ability and skills. Decisions, which I took out of my passion, attitude and love. Decisions, whose results were always going to be uncertain. Decisions taken out of reasons. Decisions taken out of emotions. But most importantly decisions, whose results I was always ready to bear’, I said.

‘hmm’, my past said.

‘So, even before you were born, I knew of your nature. I knew you would sting. I knew what I was creating out of my decisions’, I said.

‘hmm’, my past said.

‘And sometimes, I was into situations, when my entire life boiled down to just one decision - I knew happiness shall never be a part of life from thereon. I knew there shall be no joys in my smiles, no peace in my heart, no comfort in anything i do from thereon. I knew I would look insane in the eyes of others and feel crazy in my own eyes if things went wrong’, I said.

‘Then, why did you make those decisions ?’, my past asked.

‘You see my dear past, some people live life, as if it were a test. You haunt them when they fail. Some people live life, as if it were a game. You haunt them when they loose. Some live life, as if it were a purpose to achieve. You haunt them till they find it. Some live life, as if it were principles to defend. You haunt them when they give in. Some live life, as if it were a wait to the end. You haunt them forever. So, you haunt everyone anyways.' I said.

‘hmm’, my past said.

‘So, my only chance at getting rid of you was by living for someone else -which means living for my present and living for my future ’, I said.

'hmm', my past said.

'The day you were born, the first time you hurt me -I preferred to live for my present and for my future. I preferred to live life like a celebration. That way, you still exist, but you cannot haunt me. You can grow in my thoughts. But, my passion for life will outgrow you. You can hurt my feelings. But my future will comfort me. You can make me suffer every night, but I shall live to build memories every day. You can live with me forever, but under the realization that i would live only for my present and for my future. And for their sake, I am ready to take on any amount of guilt, past, suffering you can throw at me for any number of nights.’

‘hmm, if that is the case, why do you even live with me ? Why do you not just forget me and move on ? Why do you suffer with me so much ?’, asked my past.

‘hmm.. Because dear, I love you and you are a part of me. You are a proof that I existed. A proof that I have tried things in life. A proof that I have made decisions. Followed passions. Created situations. Lived ambitions. To deny you, is to denied my existence. You are the sole price I will to pay, for keeping the life I want to celebrate. The pain you give, adds value to my love. The suffering you put me through, keeps me humble. The thoughts you remind, inspire me to try harder. The lessons you teach, force me to work like never before. The nights I live with you, makes me want the days ahead even more. And dear, while you boast around feeling that you rule my life, just remember – yes, you are the king of my life. You rule my thoughts and feelings. But as someone who had taken the decision to celebrate every moment of my life, celebrate every decision, celebrate every activity, celebrate every work of mine, celebrate my present and celebrate my future - just remember dear, I am the kingmaker. You can hurt me, but I possess the choice to either feel that hurt or transform that hurt into encouragement for my work. You can make me suffer, but I possess the choice to choose that suffering or transform that suffering into an inspiration to live more. You exist, because I choose you exist and i accept your existence as an inspiration, i said.

'hmm', my past said.

'Unfortunately, some people choose your existence, but they forget the reasons for your existence. They forget to give you a purpose for existing. They forget to celebrate a life that is ahead of them ! You took advantage of such people and ruin them into misery. I so very wish that they are released from your stranglehold too’, I said.

'That is none of your business to comment', my past said.

And although i remained awake for the rest of that night, my past no longer spoke. The ipod continued to play that beautiful song, as i remained awaiting a new dawn -a dawn that gives me an opportunity to create a beautiful present, a wonderful future and a lovable past.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pseudo Secularism - My Best Friend's take

Friends, who know me well, know that I do not have a political ideology nor a religious fervor. Yet, on a lovely Sunday morning, when I read the below e-mail from one of my best friends, I could not hold back. Avinash’s take on pseudo-secularism is an unbiased, logical, thought-provoking, honest and crisp write-up on the real state of our country. While asking some seething questions, it raises a bigger issue that everyone of us have turned our backs onto !

Avi, I will save the below writing as a special work all life :)
Never read and I guess I will never read anything better on that topic.. I am taking the liberty to share it with my friends on my blog :) It deserves to be read by everyone who is interested.. !


Dear Sai,

Finally, I relented to the strong desire to write on it. Finally, I did take out the time to write. And finally, i feel the necessity to breach the border of what our people call a sensitive topic -"Pseudo-secularism".

10 years ago, I was apolitical. For that matter I was too young to have political inclination towards any Party. Starting 2004, I started understanding the manifestos, ideologies of different political parties.

Back in school, We were taught the meaning of "Secularism" and I thought I knew the meaning of it, But I was wrong,

Political parties re-defined Secularism. I was in a dilemma as to which Political party is secular?

2 big national parties Congress and BJP were at the Fore-front with Congress men accusing BJP of being a Communal force. BJP always said it believed in Hindutva idea logy but never denied that it was Non-secular. Congress on the other was always seen as pro-minority party. India has many religions, but 2 of them were always at war with each other.

One of them was a Majority in this country and other was a Minority.

Last few years as I saw political parties from close quarters, I felt sad at the way Hindus were treated in India. Anyone who supported Hinduism were treated as Communal forces. Everyone knew that Godhra incident was a planned conspiracy by Muslims, the Banerjee Panel appointed by a Pseudo secularist Laloo Prasad yadav submitted a report on the eve of Bihar elections that Godhra incident was an accident which resulted out of cooking being carried within the carriage, and ruled out the possibility of fire having resulted out of any external attack.

Why have the so called (Pseudo) secularists stoop to such level for Minority votes?

Narendra Modi who was the chief minister during Godhra riots(in which both Hindus and Muslims died) will be questioned by pseudo secular media even after 7 years.

The same media does not question Farookh Abdulla or his Son who allegedly carried out the carnage on thousands of Kashmiri Pandits for years. Why is this discrimination? If Mr. Narendra Modi has done a mistake, then Mr.Farookh Abdulla has also done a mistake, a bigger mistake.

Congress has its allies in MIM(which is a hardcore Muslim party), MIM leaders give hate speeches in Hyderabad Mosques about Babri Masjid incident. Babri Masjid is not in Andhrapradesh, but still every Dec 6th, hyderabad is surrounded by Police to stop miscreants.

If BJP is a communal party, then definitely Congress is also a communal party for being pro-minority. Congress is wearing a mask of secularism, No other Political party has insulted and cheated the Hindus as Congress did.

A leading lady editor from NDTV conducted a debate on Terrorism, one of the speakers said "Countries should come together to stop Islamic Terrorism". She was quick to say "Please do not prefix Islam before terrorism, Terrorists do not have any religion". I was impressed with her.

The same lady when conducted a debate on Malegoan blasts asks the speaker "Isn't Saffron Terrorism on the rise in India". I was shocked, All my respect for her was gone. She was involved in the Radia tapes controversy recently.

Today I am surrounded with Pseudo secular Media, Pseudo secular Congress and it allies. My religion is in Danger, I have never felt the need of a savior for my religion as I did today. As I write this, Congress spokesperson says "We are the biggest secular party in this country". I felt all the ghosts of Godhra train accident were laughing at his statement.

Avinash Gajula

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Squirrel, The Monkey, The Bear & The Guru !

This blog post has had its birth in my offensive mood. So, just in case it offends someone’s sensitivities, I firstly apologize for the hurt. However, not in the wildest of imaginations, shall I apologize for the content following this. I stand by every word written in it and i mean everything that I wrote. It is probably my way of expressing love for a person who changed my life.

It was like any other day. It was like any other place. But, nature though had suddenly and silently shaken the world of faith that moment. Time put three diametrically different feelings - love, hatred and indifference - at swords with each other. It made faith, doubt and silence battle out each other. And it was all happening on the banks of a small river.

Virgil, the squirrel was silently crying. A few hours ago, it had received the news of its spiritual Guru’s passing away. It was a pain, that would need years of mourning. Rafiki, the monkey, though was more happy than ever before. He never had any appreciation for the Guru, although given his monkey mind, he would, from time to time, appreciate the humanitarian works done. And Barry -the bear, couldn’t care for anything. He was a sort of atheist by birth and never believed in the principle of Gurus. He thought that the whole concept of divinity, miracles, followers was too foolish to be followed and too insignificant experienced.

It had been four hours since a word was spoken among them. A small, howling wind had just picked up and it swayed the branches of the tree on which Virgil and Rafiki sat. Barry was comfortably resting his back against the trunks of the tree.

Rafiki ( The Monkey ) : Barry, why don’t you say something ? The silence is too eerie.
Barry ( The Bear ) : Say what ?
Rafiki ( The Monkey ) : Well, anything. Just don’t be silent. Something big has happened today. How can you keep quiet ?
Barry ( The Bear ) : Oh.. Rafiki, Just because something big has happened doesn’t mean I poke my nose into it ! And by the way, I know that our friend Virgil believes in the Guru. So, let’s not hurt his feelings.
Rafiki ( The Monkey ) : Oh Virgil, you wouldn’t mind, would you ? I know you wouldn’t. I have always been curious about knowing whether the Guru was really Divine. I personally doubt it. You know, when you see all the videos, hear the rumours, read all the articles, see the BBC news clippings, the commentaries and other happenings – anyone would. In a perfectly rational world, I cannot accept it without doubt.

Virgil was silent in response.

Rafiki (The Monkey ) : So, Barry, now that Virgil doesn’t mind, what do you think of the Guru ?
Barry (The Bear ) : Hmm Rafiki, I don’t know & I don’t care. Personally, I believe that God has no right to exist on earth. I mean you see all this suffering around you. And people say that God is silently witnessing everything. I ask, why should he even witness ? A silent witness to all the suffering happening on the planet deserves more punishment than anything else. If at all there is a true God, he is not doing what is expected of him and what is..

“What do you want Rafiki ?”, interrupted Virgil and speaking for the first time.
“Oh Virgil, you all right ?”, asked Rafiki hearing the almost choked voice of Virgil.
“I asked, What do you want ? Why this discussion ?”, asked virgil.
“Hmm, well, lets say i want the truth”, said Rafiki sensing the seriousness in virgil's voice.

Virgil : What truth ?
Rafiki : Whether your guru is a godman or a conman ! A miracle worker or a cheat !
Virgil : So, how do you know that what I shall say will be the truth ?
Rafiki : Well I do not. But I just want to know your perspectives.
Virgil : But since why do you care for my perspectives ? And why of all days, today ?
Rafiki : Its not out of care you see. Its more out of a need for rationality. Besides, there are thousands of crores of rupees at stake. And one has been hearing so much about the trust and other things.
Virgil : Rafiki, I am too small and too insignificant to discuss it all. I do not wish to speak. Can we all stop this discussion ?
Rafiki : Oh come on Virgil ! Who, if not you ? You have been born and brought up in Guru’s faith all life. So, why shy away now ?
Virgil : I am not shying away.
Rafiki : Then why are you not answering my question ?
Virgil : What question ?
Rafiki : The question of whether your guru is a godman or a conman ?
Virgil : hmm, what answer do you want to hear Rafiki ?
Rafiki : Your answer.
Virgil : Well Rafiki, you said ‘your’ guru. So, its already clear where your allegiances are and what your perspective is. So, I do not want to loose a friend by speaking my side.
Rafiki : Oh come on Virgil, be a sport. You know I wouldn’t mind.
Virgil : That’s the point. Of what use is my perspective, when it cannot cause your perfectly reasoning, rational thoughts to mind it ?

At this moment, Barry the bear got impatient.
Barry : Virgil, why don’t you speak it out, just so that this monkey can shut up and we all can sleep peacefully !
Rafiki : Sleep ? Oh Barry ! How can you think of sleep ? I mean, I know you are an atheist. But sleeping ? Not today ! Especially when our friend Virgil is sad !
Virgil : Well, Rafiki, honestly what is that you really want want ?
Rafiki : To hear you and your perspectives of the alleged happenings within the Guru’s ashram. Of the trust. Of what the media has to say. Of how will you carry yourself from now on ?
Virgil : What else ?
Rafiki : That is it !
Virgil : No, that is not it. There is something more.
Rafiki : Naa, that is it.
Virgil : So, what is your motive behind trying to know of the incidents, happenings and rumours ?
Rafiki : Well, there is no motive. I just want to know.
Virgil : Ahh, I know you have a monkey mind. But I have never seen you act without a motive. So, what really is your motive ?
Rafiki : Well, if that’s the case, then let us assume that my motive is prove your faith wrong.

“hahaha.. There you go ! I love you Rafiki. You are so very caring about me”, said Virgil with a hint of sarcasm.
“Well, I believe that we were not discussing your acknowledgement of my ability to care”, said Rafiki.
“Hmm”, said Virgil.

Rafiki : Come on Virgil, speak up ! Do you still hold onto your faith ? After all that has happened over the past few days !
Virgil : Hmm Rafiki. Yes, I still hold onto my faith. Infact more stronger than ever. Rafiki, unlike a rational world, where people love those who they consider trustworthy, faith in spirituality is born out of love. An unconditional, selfless, blind love. And faith born out of such love is blind too. So your attempt to break my blind faith using reasons, is like an attempt to break a hard stone using a loud voice – It wouldn’t make any difference.

Rafiki : But isn’t it wrong ? I mean to bow yourself in devotion out of faith to someone, who isn’t truly divine ?

Virgil : What is wrong in it Rafiki ? I am not seeking anything, but his love. I am craving away for his affection. I am learning to be selfless. I am giving away my wealth out of detachment. I am living for him. So, what is your problem ?

Rafiki : But he is not God !
Virgil : What has that got to do with my devotion and what i do ?
Rafiki : If he is not God, how can you be devoted to him ? If he is not God, he cannot change your lives. All his miracles are cheap tricks.
Virgil : My devotion has got nothing to do with his ability to do miracles. I do not want a miracle that can change my life forever.
Rafiki : Well, its not right ! He’s fooling your intellect and toying with you.
Virgil : And he is doing that with my permission.
Rafiki : That makes it all the worse !
Virgil : Why are you scared of it ?
Rafiki : I am not scared. But it is not right !
Virgil : What is not right ?
Rafiki : I don’t know ! But something is certainly not right !
Virgil : What is that something ?
Rafiki : I don’t know.
Virgil : haha.. you see Rafiki, that is the problem ! You don’t know what you want out of this discussion. The simple truth is that for too long, your monkey-natured human mind been too selfish and too self-protective. It is scared of hurt. It has been trained to be so. It trusts only those who can never hurt. And at the first instance of hurt, it goes into a shell and shall never trust anyone, anymore.

Rafiki : What do you want to say now ?
Virgil : I want to say now what you don’t want to hear. I want to say that I shamelessly believe in the messages of my Guru. I trust him because I trust his principles. I trust him because I have seen him stand by his principles and seen him execute his principles. I have myself received education, healthcare and potable water facilities because of him. All of his activities were love executed in action. All of which built my faith in him. All of which miraculously transformed my life.
Rafiki : But that doesn’t make him a god !
Virgil : Rafiki, who, for you, is a God ? A person who at the wave of a hand can miraculously produce something for your astonishment or A person who can provide food to the hungry, medicine to the diseased and education to the illiterate ? A person who has been a life giving support for millions of people – building their hope, support, affection, love and trust for each other ?

Rafiki : That makes him a great human being. Not God.

Virgil : For me, that is enough to treat him as a God.
Rafiki : Hmm, you say that you would consider him a God even if he does not perform miracles. Then why do them at all ? Why have the videos and the slander against you when you can calmly do your work ?
Virgil : Yes, I would consider him a God even if he does not perform miracles. And at the videos, slander and all the articles, I am happy for them.It helps separate my faith out of love from their faith out of expectations. Rafiki, to love God just because he can perform miracles is like loving a woman just because she is beautiful. It is nothing more than lust. My faith and love though is dependent on an unconditional, infinite trust. And such trust can never be broken.
Rafiki : Speaking of trust, what do you think of the activities of his trust and the thousands of crores of rupees ?
Virgil : Rafiki, such a monkey you are ! Anyways, why would I even need to think of the trust and all such things ?
Rafiki : Don’t you think its your responsibility ?
Virgil : Don’t you see my faith has got nothing to do with the trust’s money and the humans controlling it now ? My faith is more on the message, the principles and the service happening around ?
Rafiki : You have become a brainwashed, idiotic blind fool Virgil ! Hasn’t he barry ?
Barry : Rafiki, I said “I don’t care” for what he is ! I want to sleep. I am tired. So, will you stop all this non-sense ? And neither you nor virgil nor any fool is ever going to change mind out of all this discussion.
Virgil : Barry is right. I am a fool. And someday, if my faith is proved wrong, I will die a fool. But Rafiki, what about you ? Not that I care, but just incase, through a remotest chance, my faith is proved right, what would happen to you ? Wouldn’t you have lived a life of doubt, slander and libel ? Aren’t you already living on the hope that he is not god and that you’d not have to atone for the guilt of having spoken bad ?
Rafiki : Hmm, let’s not talk about it.
Virgil : Ok. As you wish. I would shut up.

“And that's what i have been saying. Shut up guys ! And I hope the media shuts up too !”, said Barry drawing the discussion to a close on an evening, where the sun never seemed like setting down.

Monday, April 11, 2011

An open letter to the discouraged & criticized

If you had ever taken your father’s 30 year hard-earned money and lived through guilty feelings by investing it in something that shall take decades to repay, welcome to my world.

If you had ever sat infront of a banker, with not many collateral documents on hand and yet an intense desire to make a dream come true, welcome to this blog !

If you had ever wanted to try something that you wanted with all your heart and were criticized by a nobody for no reason, then welcome again.

And if you ever had a dream, but were shunned, criticized, scared into not following it - Then welcome to reading this open letter to the discouraged, scared, criticized and pessimists.


Dear all,

Firstly, this letter is not against any person. Secondly, this is not meant to create a radical change in anyone. And thirdly, this letter is definitely not a wish of how I want people around me transformed.

I, well and truly understand that the world around me is made up of all kinds of people. Just like the different colored threads of a dress is what gives it, its beauty, layers and design - different attitudes of people are needed for a person to make him/her understand various perspectives to life.

But then, when I look back at the 25 years of my life – there was a time I was tired. There was a time, I was getting fed up. There was a time, when i was getting irritated at how most people are in a default mode to kill others’ dreams. Of how they used words, looks, gossipy comments, an uneasy silence and ultimately sheer indifference to signal what they think of dreamy pursuits. I was fuming at the thought of how others smirk and derive sadistic pleasure in portraying the sense of impossibility in another person’s desires. I felt like screaming at how people could scare a family and confine them to within houses for the thought of risking peace in life. I felt like a sinner for having an attitude to go beyond what others’ thought was my limit.

But what can a powerless, lower middle-class Indian like me do in such situations ? Shouting back with words would mean “I am arrogant and headstrong”. Giving up would mean “killing a part of life within me”. Asking them to give me the time to prove myself would mean “facing skepticism” till I achieve it. And avoiding them would mean “living like an outcast”.

Any of the above options would only end up with me being hurt and demotivated. It would leave me feeling discouraged, scared, criticized and pessimistic. So, what is the way out of all this ? In fact, is there a way out ?

A simple and straight forward answer to it is “NO, THERE IS NO WAY OUT OF THIS !”

Honestly, after years of arroganly trying to follow my heart, I realize that it is none of other people’s business to support you blindly. It is wrong of you to even expect it. It is too much to expect people to unconditionally offer you kind words, encouragement, time and means for you to progress. It is impossible to make them stop talking about their skeptical perspectives of what you are doing. Also, societies do not tolerate people who run the risk of trying to be different while disturbing the harmony within themselves, their family and of people around them.

Then, how do we go about managing such trying times ? How do we dream, be crazy to go after our dreams and yet not run the risk of attracting evil attention ?

In my view, the best way to live life is to not counter but expect evils to live with you for every step and forever. In fact, I would treat them as necessary ! That is what shall add value to your efforts in the long run. People’s expression of your dreams’ impossibility and your striving to make your dreams a reality is what will make a meaningful life and the inspiring story. Life, nature and actions all live in duality. For every dream, there shall and must be an opposition. It is your responsibility to expect it, respect it and not give up in front of it. It is your responsibility to fight it, live with it and travel the distance. It is your responsibility to go take the past scars, present wounds and future hurt in order to live your dreams. It is the price you pay for attempting to be different from people and selfishly live for what your heart wants.

So, the next time, when people say you are wasting time in doing unnecessary things in life, just remember “When you are doing what your heart truly wants, you are never ever wasting time !”

When people say “you are just being arrogant, careless and egoistic”, just remember “When you are doing what your heart wants, you are living life in the way you want and for the purpose you want. It is not being egoistic. It is caring for the only soul who’d always be with you – your heart”

When people say “When you can be calm and peaceful as the person you are, why do you take risks and be troubled”, just remember, “Risks bring immediate troubles. Troubles, when triumphed or even when failed, bring meaning to life. And the ultimate purpose of life is to add meaning to the time we have been given. Not to just remain peaceful. If being peaceful is the only purpose of life, even the lazy sloth is calm and peaceful. That does not mean the insect has led the best life on the planet !”

When people say “I foretold you would fail and see I was right”, just remember “It is never a question of others being right or wrong. It is a question of you being human ! Of listening to your heart. Of living for it. Of telling times and people to come that you lived life on your terms. Of telling yourself that you have faith in what your voice has to say. Of telling god that you never underestimated the ability of his creation.”

And finally, regardless of what people have to say, just remember, when you are heart screams for you to go after your dreams, you better go after it ! People will have a lot of things to say. That is their job. But your heart has only one thing to say. It is your job !

With affectionate regards,

A fellow trier in making my dreams come true,

Sai Prasad Vishwanathan.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Suffering pain OR Surrendering love..

“When you have undergone a great deal of suffering, each additional pain is either unbearable or just cannot be felt”, said my heart.


It was one of those nights again. My head had hit the pillow, but my eyes hadn’t hit sleep. My mind was happy for the day, but my heart kept longing. My thoughts craved for peace, but my feelings were restlessly cruel to me.

“Hey dear, I want to ask you something”, said my heart.
“Please sleep Sai ! It is almost 2:30 a.m. in the night”, said my mind.

“Should this entire life of mine suffer for my love or Should it suffer trying to forget my love – that is the question”, asked my heart ignoring what my mind had just said.

“Hmm Sai, I said sleep !”, reminded my mind.

“You have not answered my question dear”, said my heart. “Surrendering life to your love or killing your love to celebrate life – Which of the two involves lesser suffering?”, it continued.

“Well, why do you do it to yourself Sai ? Why do you do it again and again ? Your friend was right. You never let go. You just cannot move on. And anyways, why do you ask me about suffering ? What do I know of it ? Suffering is a feeling. And all feelings emanate from you and because of you”, said my mind.

“Yes, suffering certainly emanates from me. It also emanates because of me. But today, I want to reason out. I want to know as to why people suffer”, said my heart.

“Hmm, what would I know ? You ask me as if I am a scholar in suffering. All I believe is that no one wants to suffer. It just happens out of foolishness or fate.”, said my mind.

“Ohh, how interesting !”, said my heart.

“Huh ? Interesting ? What is interesting ?”,asked my mind.

“The fact that no one wants to suffer !”, said my heart.
“What is so interesting about it ?”, asked my mind.

“I felt it was the contrary. In fact, I feel people wantedly suffer. They seek suffering – day in and day out”, said my heart.

“No ways ! Unless they are crazy as you, they wouldn’t. I mean, who on earth would seek suffering and for what reasons ?”, asked my mind.

“Everyone !”, said my heart.
“Prove it !”, said my mind.

“Well dear, every day, I see parents give up their happiness to keep children happy. Every day, I see children give up their dreams to please their parents. People go to work and suffer there, not for personal fulfillment – but for the good of their family. A wife starves not for her own happiness, but to show her husband how devoted she is in her pursuit to keeping him happy. Old people suffer everyday in old age homes, not out of desire to accomplish great things in the world, but to ensure that the honour and peace of family be protected. In fact, there is suffering in everything and anything we do. Ever since the birth of humanity, pain and suffering has existed. And strangely, they have existed just for one reason”, said my heart.

“Hmm, and what is that reason ?”, asked my mind.
“Well dear, Suffering and pain existed only for one reason. They have existed as a means to express our love”, said my heart.

“What ? Pain is a means to express our love ? But why only pain and suffering ? There are other ways to express love too !”, said my mind.

“Yes dear, there are other ways too. But pain and suffering exist solely for love. If not for love, there shall be no pain nor suffering. And if not for pain or suffering, there shall be no love”, replied my heart.

“Hmm, so you say that the reason people suffer is because they love a lot ?”, said my mind.

“Yes. And remember dear, whenever you ask me to stop suffering, I just cannot. To run away from suffering is to run away from my very love itself. To give up because of pain, is to give up my true self. To stop feeling pain, is to stop existing myself”, said my heart.

“Ohh hmm, but then are you not afraid ? Does it not hurt too much ?”, asked my mind.

“Hmm, that is true. It does hurt. And i am afraid of pain. In fact, many are. Pain makes us person stop eating, sleeping, working, feeling at peace. A lot of people are frightened because, when it appears, it destroys everything that was in order before. That is why a lot of people try to stay away from pain.”, said my heart.

“Hmm, so what is the way out ?”, said my mind.

“Well, i would say that the best way to tackle pain is to think exactly the opposite. It is to surrender yourself to pain without a second thought”, said my heart.

“And what happens when you surrender yourself to such pain?”, asked my mind.

“Well, by surrendering to pain, i do not live in the constant fear of protecting myself against something unexpected. I do not keep judging people. I do not make others responsible for my happiness or blame them for my possible unhappiness. I am neither euphoric because something marvelous has happened nor depressed because something unexpected has just ruined everything. I am just carrying on my journey – forever and ever.”

“And what happens at the end of the journey ?”, asked my mind.
“I wish I knew dear !”, said my heart. “All I know is that when you have suffered a great deal, each additional pain is either unbearable or just cannot be felt. And I hope that day does not come, when I do not feel pain for my love. It means I have ceased to exist for a cause anymore”, replied my heart.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Dream Begins - First Moments At I.S.B.

Blood was rushing through my veins in excitement. And I had the widest and happiest smile on my face. That morning, it was a sweet dream come true ! I was witnessing years of my dreaming becoming real right infront of my eyes !

24 years into my life, on 26th April, 2010, at 8 A.M. on a bright sunny morning, I was sitting in a class. A class of India’s brightest and best engineers, chartered accountants, police officers, army officers, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and an actress ! Life had just begun !

“Howdy !”, she said with a voice that was bubbling with energy while commanding a reply.
The widest smile on my face was now stretching towards a world record.

“Howdy !”, the class replied back.
“Well, I’m MaryLea McAnally. My parents named me so because my grandparents were named Mary and Lea. I’m a Canadian and i did my Ph D in financial accounting from Stanford University. And now, I am here in this beautiful country to teach you all accounting.”, She said.

“Ph D !! And Stanford ! Woww !”, my heart thought.

For the next 15 minutes, the sheer privilege of sitting in the class overpowered me ! It is not everyday in life that you sit among the India’s finest people, in the best of infrastructural facilities, surrounded by greatest works of art and technology and taught by a legend in the subject ! I was smiling and enjoying every moment of life in the class. And looking back at the day, I’d only say that I’m not sure if there exists a heaven after life, but then sitting in the first row and in a remote left corner of the class and witnessing a legend teaching financial accounting was worth living a whole life ! It was as exhilarating as it can get !

“Accounting is the language of business !”, she said fifteen minutes into the class.
“Language of business ?”, my mind had started its blabbering.

“That is to say, if business were to be a person, would he/she be speaking accounting ?”, my mind asked myself.

I wanted to ask the professor about it, but then, I did not want to become a certified and confirmed idiot. As such, I was one of the least experienced in the class and this question would only stamp my inexperience in business and portray me as a stupid guy unworthy of an I.S.B. admit infront of her.

“But Sai, would the language of business be accounting ? !!”, asked my mind again.

“Certainly not ! Accounting is just a record of financial activities that has happened as a result of business. It is the diary of business. Infact it is the life history of business. But certainly not the language of business”, my heart said.

“So, then what could be the language of business ?”, my mind asked.

“Well, imagine again. If business were to be a person, then what would he/she be speaking ?”, asked my heart.

“I’m not sure”, said my mind.

“Well Sai, the whole purpose of any business is to earn money and earn money by creating a value to the customer. And this earned money is, in my view, classified under ACCOUNTING !”, said my heart.

“Hmm..”, said my mind.

“But then earning money happens through speaking a language that adds value to the customer. And Sai, that language of business, in my view, is MARKETING !”, said my heart.

“Hmm.. Go on”, said my mind.

“And to speak that language again which the customer wants to hear, you need to think. And this thinking is called STRATEGY ! It tells you what to speak, how to speak, where to speak and when to speak. It is the ‘mind’ of the business”, said my heart.
“Is that all ?”, said my mind.

“Well not really dear ! To think of the right way and for the right results, you need to be fearless, uncluttered, take calculated risks and not worry about end results. It is ENTREPRENUERSHIP. And that is me – The HEART of the business”, finished my heart.

“Ohh.. Well, Mr.Genius if you know so much about business then what are you doing here in this class ? You should be out there doing real business !”, my mind teasingly said trying to shame my heart.

“Well dear, I’m CONSULTING ! That’s what I.S.B. is famous for !”, my heart said. And I could feel a warm and happy giggle over that thought.

“Ok ok.. Enough of your operations research and trying to optimize business definitions ! Listen to the class now ! You have paid 20 Lakhs to the consultant and you better hear what she has to say !”, said my mind.

And that day, as the first class ended, I felt amazing. I wanted to go to the professor and ask her a lot of questions on business. But then, I decided, I would not insult her genius by asking stupid questions and raising useless thoughts.

“I will rather blog one day and ask her view on it”, my mind said.
“Ya, that’s much better”, said my heart too.

And as the class moved out to attend the next class, I was still sitting in the remote left corner of the first row. I was sitting there with just one feeling.

“One day and hopefully very soon I will come up with a thought, a truly original thought – A thought that would revolutionalize the way all businesses run ! It will integrate the language, mind, heart and the consultant’s views to ensure that the life history and power of business is enhanced to meet the needs of the society. And I will not rest till I do it”, said my heart.

“Ya ya.. But first better take care of your grades. You have a loan on your head and you are competing with India’s top C.A.s, C.F.As, I.I.T.ians, Lawyers, Doctors, Entrepreneurs, Business Managers and Technology leads for jobs in January”, reminded my mind.

I took my bag and began to move out of the class. And as I left my heart said again “Someday, I will come up with a thought – A truly original thought that would revolutionalize business work forever and that day, I will thank my professor Mary Lea McAnally for having given a stunner of a first day at the B-School”

P.S : This blog is totally dedicated to Professor MaryLea McAnally whose classes at I.S.B. left me craving and passionate for business knowledge. It is my humble way of offering thanks to the wonderful person who has set and determined my thought flow process about the business world.