Tag Archives: Life

A Race Of One!

vide Gopalakrishna Sunderrajan

🍂

I was jogging this morning and I noticed a person about half a km ahead.

I could guess he was running a little slower than me and that made me feel good.

I said to myself I will try catch up with him. So I started running faster and faster. Every block, I was gaining on him a little bit. After just a few minutes I was only about 100 feet behind him, so I really picked up the pace and pushed myself. I was determined to catch up with him. Finally, I did it! I caught up and passed him.

Inwardly I felt very good. *I beat him*. Of course, he didn’t even know we were racing.

After I passed him, I realized I had been so focused on competing against him that … I had missed my turn to my house. I had missed the focus on my inner peace. I missed to see the beauty of greenery around. I missed to do my inner soul searching meditation and in the needless hurry stumbled and slipped twice or thrice and might have hit the sidewalk and broken a limb.

It then dawned on me, isn’t that what happens in life when we focus on competing with co-workers, neighbours, friends, family, trying to outdo them or trying to prove that we are more successful or more important and in the bargain we miss on our happiness within our own surroundings? We spend our time and energy running after them and We miss out on our own paths to our given destination. The problem with unhealthy competition is that it’s a never ending cycle. There will always be somebody ahead of you, someone with a better job, nicer car, more money in the bank, more education, a prettier wife, a more handsome husband, better behaved children, better circumstances and better conditions etc.

But one important realisation is that you can be the best that you can be, when you are not competing with anyone. Some people are insecure because they pay too much attention to what others are, where others are going, wearing and driving, what others are talking. Take whatever you have, the height, the weight and personality. Accept it and realize, that you are Blessed, that you are Unique. Stay focused and live a healthy life. There is no competition in Destiny. Each has his own. Comparison and Competition are the thieves of JOY. It kills the Joy of Living your Own Life. Run your own Race that leads to Peaceful, Happy Steady Life. 😊

**

Unfortunately our kids hear the race-start shot early in their lives, thanks to our education system where only the fierce among the ‘Seekers’ become ‘Finders’. Joy of Learning – what’s that? Years pass before comprehension dawns, if at all, life goes by a different set of rules. A positive development today is kids are not afraid of exploring and pursuing career options other than engineering or medicine.

End

Faithful Or Faithless?

It is a practice started since last few months, of doing one’s bit in this lockdown period.

Of the many street vendors, there was this man selling flutes. The flutes were mounted on a central support which he hoisted on his shoulder.  As he went around, he would announce himself to the flat-dwellers by playing some popular tune on his flute. It was once a week or in ten days.

Times are tough. Buyers, mainly children, were not exactly flocking. Feeling sorry for him, it became my routine to go down hurriedly to catch him before he moved away and thrust the money into his hands. Initially I had to explain to him. Not anymore. He knows I’m not buying anything. We would exchange namaste with a smile and be done. With an act that might dent the self-respect even a wee-bit of a man who was putting in honest work to earn a living – wasn’t a alms seeker – it was embarrassing to prolong the interaction beyond the minimum. Also it couldn’t be more substantial than what it was.

So, it was a couple of days ago. I heard him – I mean his tune – and rushed down.  Finding the rupees from one of those half a dozen purses lying around, most of them empty, then putting on the face-mask and then carrying my bulk down the stairs, panting thru the mask, took a little while. By then, he had moved. It was not a problem without remedy – I could always call out to him. But this time from where I stood, I could see he was not my regular, but a new guy wearing a characteristic lungi.  I came away. I did not want to begin servicing a queue of new guys besides the regular. For, I had plans to spread out my meager resources over more regulars in the beat.

‘So what? You should have given him something, may be not as much as you give your regular,’ my wife said.

So, I grabbed a fifty and went down again. He had moved even farther down. A watchman of the building (apartment complex) opposite ours knew my routine – he let out a high-decibel shout, getting the flute-seller’s attention.

He turned around and slowly made his way to me. He was an old man, his teeth hopelessly paan-stained. I gave him the rupees I carried adding a short explanation. He recovered quickly and blessed me in the name of all-kind Allah. And, looking at me clad in southie-style dhoti and only a towel covering my upper torso – remember, I came down in a hurry? – he hastened to add ‘Jai Shri Ram.’

Given my strong leanings, I should have been thrilled. Somehow I was not. That he felt compelled to say left me strangely sad. Was I imagining? I was also kicking myself for not having carried the usual hundred. Hope he lets me make amends in the days ahead.

A voice in me said Shri Ram approves.

End

Shining Star

Thought of You, Dear S!

© Anon

Published: January 2012

The angels looked down from heaven one night.
They searched for miles afar,
And deep within the distance
They could see a shining star.

They knew that very instant
That the star was theirs to gain,
So they took you up to heaven,
Forever to remain.

Look down on us from heaven.
Keep us free from hurt and pain.
You’ll always be within my heart
Until we meet again.

Source: family/friend poems

End

The Wedding Passbook

From Funny (funnnyfunny.com)

She married him today.

At the end of the wedding party, her mother gave her a newly opened bank savings passbook, with $1000 deposited in it.

She told her, “My dear daughter, take this passbook. Keep it as a record of your married life. Whenever something happy and memorable happens in your new life, put some money in. Write down what it’s about next to the amount. The more memorable the event is, the more money you can put in. I’ve done the first one for you today. Do the others with your husband. When you look back after years, you will know how much happiness you’ve both shared.”

She shared this with him after getting home.

Both of them thought it was a great idea and couldn’t wait to make the next deposit!

This is what the passbook looked like after a while:

7 Feb: $100, his first birthday celebration after marriage

1 Mar: $300, she gets a salary raise

20 Mar: $200, vacation to Bali 15 Apr: $2000, She’s pregnant!

1 Jun: $1000, He gets the big promotion and so on…

However, as the years went by, they began fighting and arguing over trivial things. They didn’t talk much. They regretted that they had married the most nasty person in the world…There was no more love.

One day she talked to her Mother. “Mom, we can’t stand it anymore. We have decided to divorce. I can’t imagine how I decided to marry this guy!”

Her mother replied, “Sure, that’s no big deal. Just do whatever you want, if you really can’t stand it. But before that, do one thing. Remember the savings passbook I gave you on your wedding day? Take out all money and spend it first. You shouldn’t keep any record of such a poor marriage.”

She agreed with her. So she went to the bank, and was waiting in the queue to cancel the account. While she was waiting, she took a look at the passbook record. She looked, and looked, and looked. Then the memory of all the previous joyful moments came back to her. Her eyes were filled with tears. She left and went home.

When she got home, she handed the passbook to him and asked him to spend the money before getting divorced.

So the next day, he went to the bank, and was waiting in the queue to cancel the account. While he was waiting, he took a look at the passbook record. He looked, and looked, and looked. Then the memory of all the previous joyful moments came back to him. His eyes were filled with tears. He left and went home. He gave the passbook back to her.

She found a new deposit of $5000. And a line next to the record: ”This is the day I realized how much I’ve loved you throughout all these years. How much happiness you’ve brought me.”

They hugged and cried, putting the passbook back into the safe.

“When you fall in any way, don’t see the place where you fell, instead see the place from where you slipped. Life is about correcting mistakes.”

End

Happiness In Life

Conversation with SR continued from here: The Higher Purpose In Life.

SE had a follow-up question (a lightly edited extract):

…I have a question on tour analogy you given. I have similar experiences in multiple group tours and I had wondered why do these group tours create happiness which is not found in our normal day to day life journey? I tried to analyze and had identify certain attributes of these tours; noting them down here:

1. When we go on a tour, for those few days, we take a break from day-to-day life and let go our thoughts of past and future for duration of the tour.

2. During the tour, because we are in different environment and with new people, most of the time we stay in present experience. All the time alert, watching, experiencing, interacting so that we do not miss even a bit of the tour. 

3. Because we know we will not see these people again in life after this tour we are more friendly and accommodating than normal. Also we do not feel that bad when these people say or do something not matching with our expectation.

4. Inner state during these tours is relaxed. After all we are on break and came on tour to relax and enjoy.

Those are few of the critical differences between tour analogy and day-to-day life journey….

**

Loved the question. Set me off thinking about it.

My two-bits in response:

Before attempting to project the experience of a tour and the camaraderie/happiness enjoyed therein onto the larger canvas of our life, it’s useful to look at some other experiences too and recognize underlying similarities. Note some of them could be more towards alleviating grief/trouble leading to satisfying outcomes than generating raw happiness per se.

In these cases, we create and inhabit a small world of experiences shared with a few others bound by a common purpose, more to do with mundane living than exalted, such as enjoying the sights, company and amenities in a group tour, travelling to the destination safely on any kind of mass transport, being in a hospital ward with other patients to get treated during sickness, providing as a team, relief to disaster victims…

The ‘small’ ensures homogeneity  and congruence of purpose.  Membership to this world is one of low on maintenance and short-lived only for the duration of the experience (also a reason for low maintenance, besides the smallness). Note nishkama karma too, is low on maintenance not expecting anything in return!

Now, going from the tour to life looks simple!! For happiness and satisfaction, the solution, to think aloud, may well be: Fill your life – at least some part of it – with these worlds, as many, as varied, as frequently and as long as possible!

Well, not so fast and simple😊 Of course, life is more complex with its share of high-maintenance groups and their activities one cannot shy away: employment in an organization, a competitive team sport, etc. And not to forget, the Family and Friends!

End

The Higher Purpose In Life

An ex-colleague of mine, SR, popped up this question after sending me birthday wishes:

…Last time when we had email conversations, you mentioned that person needs to have a purpose to get going. I have a query on that. How to know or find a right purpose? Earning money, taking care of family is the purpose with everyone. How to know or find higher purpose to make best of this human birth and remaining life?

A few words about him. He worked with me in our Software unit. Qualified in Textile Engineering from a premier technical institute in Mumbai, he was easily the best OO designer I had seen in sometime among the good many that passed through my hands. When I was down and under after a serious heart ailment and a major surgery, this young man would take a break from his project, come up into my cabin, chat with me about this and that simply to pep me up!!! Not just once. Absolutely unforgettable. Have been in touch with him on and off. And now here he is…

With a question people spend a life time to find an answer:-)))

Will share my views on the subject.

Many believe living is doing what gives one happiness. After all there’s just one life to live. Everything else like karma, rebirth….is a conjecture. To be happy is the key to life.

Intuitively we know there’s much more to life than happiness which is a state of mind, largely a  function of the present, hence evanescent.

Brought up in our tradition, we all know life is to live the role we assume as per the prescribed dharma withstanding the challenges encountered on the way. For example, a parentis required, among other things, to bring up the kid to become a good citizen in the society. Happiness is nothing more than a by-product generated in the process of fulfilling the demands of the role taken.

While this may be the basic purpose in life – to play the role well – what then is a higher purpose in life? The original question.

For the spiritually inclined, the question is easy to answer. For example, in the system of belief’s I belong to, the highest purpose of life is salvation, freedom from rebirths that one achieves when one has discharged all karmic debts (bad karma) and, yes, credits (good karma) too! In this state the jeeva (Self) goes back to its natural state of oneness with the paramathma (Supreme). In its framework, the theory holds together good and it’s difficult to pick holes. And how does one go about working towards it? Well, it’s said: “Lead a life as per prescribed dharma and, as one matures, engage more in meditating upon the Supreme in progressive renunciation of this world.

The specific system I belong to says more on the subject. Will not dilate beyond summing it up as: The karmic load is not easy to be reduced to nil. Requires innumerable janma’s (births) of high merit. An easier and a quicker way is to completely surrender oneself to the Supreme and dedicate all thoughts and actions in its service. Prapatti proposed by Ramanuja versus Karma, Gyana and Bakthi yoga’s enunciated in Gita .

Am sure the various faiths under the umbrella of Hinduism likewise have their own theories on the subject. And other religions too. 

What about those not deep into spirituality? Answers are many.

Picking on one, let me cite the example of our ten-days tour of Egypt and Jordan three years ago. My cousin got us to join. As families, we are similar and different in what we enjoy, our need for private/shared spaces, our eating habits, etc. Likewise there were another 10 to 15 families with us on this tour. We had such an enjoyable time on this trip being together with my cousin and others.  Happiness shared was happiness multiplied in a group tour far outweighing the convenience of a private tour!!

Life is no different, a journey shared with many close/known to us and the multitude out there each fighting his own battle. Can we make the journey a wee bit better in some manner for each other?  At the lowest point of altruism, someone suggested, costing nothing, why not greet with a sunny smile 5 perfect strangers we see in a day? Could be as easy as that.

An employee in an org, for instance, through his work, touches the lives of his employer, colleagues and customers. Opportunities unlimited! It’s not too difficult to imagine ways he could do a bit of good in his line of duty going beyond its call!  An interesting implication: In order to serve them best, it is incumbent on him to operates at the peak or near-peak of his efficiency and up-to-date knowledge and skills!

Not to be left out, Artists, Scientists, Professionals…all have their own ways of threading a higher purpose into their lives and their work.

And that’s what makes life worth living, even enjoyable, regardless of one’s station in life, each new day loaded with opportunities.

End

In Celebration Of Life…

Forwarding few lines that I enjoyed reading, lightly edited subjectively:


Sometimes I feel I want to go back in time… Not to change things, but to feel a couple of things twice…

Sometimes I wish I was a baby for a while… Not to be walked in the pram but to see my mother’s smile!

Some times I wish I could go back to school… Not to become a child but to spend  more time with those friends I never met after school!

Sometimes I wish I could be back in college… Not to be a rebel but to really understand what I studied!

Sometimes I wish I was a fresher at my work… Not to do less work but to recall the joy of making myself useful and being paid for it!

Sometimes I wish I could marry again all over… Not to change the partner but to enjoy her companionship more deeply!

Sometimes I wish my kids were younger…. Not because they grew fast but to tell them more stories…

Sometimes I wish I was more expressive…Not to pursue prose or poetry but to to say thanks to my kith and kin.

Sometimes I feel I still had some more time to live… Not to have a longer life but to know and do things differently…

Since the times that are gone can never come back, let’s enjoy the moments as we live them from now on, to the fullest…doing what we could and celebrate our everyday life*

🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁