Live LIFE, one chance to LIVE

There are three triggers for me to capture this photo and post.

One – I chose to replace my cell phone with a new one and my son-in-law ordered through net for one going on discount. Two – a pigeon intruded into my space in the drawing room on the seventh floor through a small slit on the open window. Third weather forecast predicted seasonal rains are almost over, I chose to clean cobwebs and glass frames. Yeah and a fourth one – a forwarded video clip of cine star Simi interviewing Dev Anand and asking him “what do you do when you become old”?

The first incident made me aware that everything has a shelf life and all things in this universe are temporary. Second one reminded me that anyone can occupy your space if you do not live your life. And the third of course was harsh in statement that memoirs are rich if life is lived well? Simi’s question had sprung another question in me – what if I become old? I am just around 73, though!

Now the photo, as I do not really see that photo often though hung on the wall, the cob web cleaner in me took it out wiped the glasses on the frame and was about to hang it all over again. I could hardly believe and was in disguise, and so cleaned the spectacle glasses with lens cleaner and had a re-look at it. Wow – that is me and my sweet heart up in Himalayas (not for our first honey moon, we do that often anyway) in Gulmarg.

A little later I called her up in Mumbai and asked her – Do you still remember our trip to Himalayas in 1980? She said yes, “how can I forget”?

With struggles we encountered like a death in sight case with her in a tubectomy case, a near death case of mine with TM (transverse myelitis) and problems with inadequate funds that stopped but we managed to take our children on yearly picnics etc.; I lived my life with those gaps of need and greed – Gaps that remain as challenges and learning curves.

The sum and substance of this short story is that – Live life; only one chance to live.

Let the weather be unpredictable, we venture out. Let cob webs spring in but clean up our thoughts and recharge. Like those pigeons someone else may live for us if we remain comparing others. So adapt to new things like the cell phone in order to be touch with old friends and people who helped us laugh and had fun with.

And Dev Sab was right: we do not become old, we mature.

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Rocks, Stones and Pebbles

You and I love to walk on the sea shore or on the river side once in a way. Who does not? At times, may be when a small sand particle gets into our foot ware, we think of that tiny pebble. Otherwise why we spent time thinking of non-interesting sand that is essentially pulverized, weathered rock that toss up by the waves. Sand is basically a material made of breakdown of rocks over thousands and millions of years.

My wife and daughters have been collecting small pebbles of rocks wherever we went in India or abroad and at times request friends who go places, to bring a small pebble or rock. The idea being “DHARTHI EK HAI” – world is one. As we collect we appreciate the world we live in. We understand the limit of our world as we look at cosmos. As we look at we individuals as a tiny molecule in the huge canvas of cosmos, that makes it sensible. We have a life span of restricted time period. Compare that short period to the tiny sand particles that took millions of years to form?

The highest peak in the world is Mount Everest at 29035 feet above sea level. But that is not the tallest. The tallest mountain is Mauna Kea in the islands of Hawaii. Mauna Kea stands 13796 feet above sea level and extends 19796 feet below Pacific Ocean.

At times we say we touched rock bottom of our lives, it seems a comparison. We say hidden are most of our feelings; like that of Mauna Kea. At times we burry our feelings that burden us like Mauna Kea submerged in the sea. At such times we need to reflect of what Sir Edmund Hillary said “It is not the mountain we conquer; but ourselves”.

In our lives we often climb big rocks, small stones that we trip and fall and sands where we make footprints during our journey of life. We need to remember then of millions of years that rocks take to become sand as water cuts rocks on a dimension of time. Do we overestimate the turmoil we consider as huge in comparison?

It says “River water cuts rocks not because of its strength but by its persistence”. We had a chance to kayaking on the river Sutlej that emanates beyond Indian borders and pass through Shimla. Remembered sitting on the banks on a sea of pebble stones. Close to that place was a hot spring on the banks of Sutlej River that was extremely cold. That spring was hot and was unbearable for hand touch. It is such phenomena that we witness to understand that co-existing as in nature is a lesson to learn for social existence. These lessons help us to build our attitude and thus our character.

It was in Cairo where I and my wife went on a camel back to see pyramids. We chose to walk the distance on a camel back to adapt to that place. Sure it was an amazing experience. Most of us know the way pyramids are built and a lot is unknown. The size of mammoth stones that shaped the angles is a sight that we can imagine. Irregular and equally charming are the rocks and mountains in Rampura en-route to Bangalore. That was a locale movie SHOLAY was shot, Shaped into an array of elegance Sippy chose that place for Shoal to be shot. Jorge Luis Borges was apt in saying – “Nothing is built on stone; all is built on sand. But we must build as if sand were stone”. The story of Hampy is another study of rocks. It took time for those monumental structures to be created, but they last a long time.

In my professional life there were umpteen enquiries with nature between official engagements. One such was a visit to Bora caves away from Visakhapatnam. The Gosthani River, originates close to these caves and flows between the solidified stalactites and stalagmites in the karstic lime stones formation. Water percolating from the roof of the caves dissolves limestone and trickle drop by drop to form stalactites of the cave and drip down to the ground. These deposits have developed into interesting forms and structures inside the caves. These shapes have captured the imagination of tourists. Excavations carried out in the caves by archeologist unearthed stone tools of middle Paleolithic culture dating back 30,000 to 50,000 years, which confirmed human habitation. A similar kind of rock formation as a cave is there near Krabi islands in Thailand. During that visit my wife looked above as she had a droplet of water on her head. While she looked above I was looking down as I spotted a plant growing in that underground environment. That is nature. With the need of water for organic growth drop by drop a plant can grow in that ambience. Marvelous indeed I captured a photo of her standing near that plant. Anything is a possibility to grow and flourish, provided we seek the luck in an opportunity at right time. This study is beyond geology and research into historical evidences that create rocks into caves.

Here we differ and think is it right to quote “A rolling stone gathers nothing?”. The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way we use them. Both are rock formations are in our thoughts. We need to differentiate. After all our thoughts are mental blocks; attitudinal issues. That’s why we need to think out of the box. Parallel thinking patterns. Resolving conflicts, in relationships and moving ahead stepping on stumbling blocks of rocks that appear as mountainous terrains. A drop of water with persistence can give life to the plant and a drop of water can cut rocks with less power than the hugeness of the problems we foresee.

Rocks at times are illusionary clouded in colours of blue, like Alps. Such formations provide us with patterns to dream. We climb and achieve success; we compete with self rather than the surroundings and environment. It is not the peak of Everest that we reach but knowing the strength and capabilities of our minds.

Like the rock, the strongest muscle is our heart and the worst enemy is our mind. Understanding this we avoid unwanted thoughts and manipulations. Pass through beautiful caves inside mountains and take a dip to find submerged Mauna Kea.

Fjord – What’s that?

“Fjord” – I read in news paper as I passed through an article.
My God!

I having passed through a Malayalam medium high school with limited knowledge of English spelling wondered and peeped into Webster Comprehensive Dictionary. Wow, the word exists that lead me to look at the word “fiord”. There it comes, and says see even “fyord”, they are synonyms for the meaning – a long and narrow arm of the sea with high rocky banks. Then remembered a trip to Krabi Islands with my wife on our 35th wedding anniversary where there were such landscapes but never thought to check the word, then. That was 8 years ago. That shows we tend to forget small things, though they make up a lot for our hearts.

That made me curious enough to look at things that I did not know, with a pair of progressive spectacles that I recently bought. Revisit and refocus through that new lens. Yes, stumbled upon glass. Between most of us and glass there is something or other, a love affair either to toast or to buy a crystal or a tinted glass painting.

Some people amongst us are settling down, some are settling and some refuse to settle like butterflies. When life gets confused we need to adjust our focus. Vision improves when we see what is invisible. When you look at things differently, things we look at change. I see these with my new spectacle,
Long back in a program at Kolkata, I made a presentation. I never used a pair of glasses as a youngster, but later used a spectacle and a bi-focal. And at times I used a microscope for dissection to get into details and a telescope for distant viewing to look into future. Having used all those glassed items, what I loved was the use of a cheap toy on earth – Kaleidoscope, made out of broken glass pieces. A tilt and a new picture emerge; a new perspective, objective, new idea that are fresh and glowing a glittery pattern for every tilt.
Our minds should think out of the box and look differences and align patterns in our thought processes that enhance our relationships.

Glass brings back a story most of you may have heard. A newlywed wife on her first few days looks through her window across to see other side. She tells her husband that her neighbor washed clothes that were not as clean as hers. But her husband cleans the glass panes and shows that it was her window glass that was not clean. Perspectives change with introspection. We cannot assign the world dirty unless we clean own glasses. Our perception of others actually is a reflection of ours. Extending glass to stained glass windows it is said: they sparkle and shine when sun sets; true beauty is in darkness with the light WITHIN (us).

Let me turn the page of glass to mirror. In a mirror, we look for effects of time on us but cannot watch our effects on others. Mirror in a way is a true
friend of ours as it does not lie. When we are happy it shows and does not show sadness. There is a story about mirror. Someone sent his son to clean the mirror and repeatedly advised him to do so every day. He did but asked why? Father answers: “This is actually the case with the mind. Clean it every moment, because every moment, just by its nature, dust goes on gathering.” “We will be able to see God on the day on which our heart becomes like a mirror” said Osho. We can see ourselves better, when dust on the surface of mirror gets cleaned. It is the dust of our actions, ego, thoughts, desires and feelings. We need to cleanse to get right refraction of splitting white colour to its magnificent seven that forms like a splendid rainbow. After all, all of us deserve to be beautiful, to self and others. Who does not want to be?

“It is better to conquer yourself than win a thousand” – Buddha.
Mirror yourself, better, more beautiful.

MUSIC in our lives …

It was an evening where an audience without age barriers christened at the Calicut Town Hall. Lovely is the minimum that many expressed who watched the program from an overcrowded hall. Sure that was. Nostalgic melodies of Latha Mankeshkar and the rich voice of Mohammed Rafi were reverberating, sung by the two stalwarts in music – Rahamath and Firoz. The song presenter recollected the music of late 1950’s to the audiences. Years gone by; but shelf life of those songs has not perished.

I was watching that Sunday noon show on Television where latest movie on Dhoni was shown on StarPlus. Compare the epics of yesteryears in cinema and that of the recent ones. The movie is produced to cross the magic numbers of 100 and 200 crores and soon thereafter we forget about the movie.

What gets registered is stored as memoirs. We are flooded with a huge amount of alternatives and choices. Cell phone that costs a lot is replaced once a new brand comes up. Apps and Appo’s provide a variety beyond practical needs but we dispose off and life of the costly apparatus becomes redundant. Shelves in the show rooms get a refill, with more modern equipments.

That probably is due to a fact that our mind’s IN BOX is crowded with thoughts that clutter. We have in store more than what we can chew. This was not the case some years back. Number of e-mails, Whats App messages and Likes on Face Book are accountable for the crowded transaction of thoughts that obstruct a leaner positive chain of thoughts. That of course reduces the shelf life of our thoughts and thus our positive action. We then have an issue of time created by our mindset. That time we lose does not nourish quality time. We lose relationships. We cannot even relax.

We need to think what we do? Why we do? And when we do? – Otherwise we miss and end up in losing some good friends.

It is said that our body is the servant of our mind. Undesirable thoughts that invade constantly in our minds put our body into sicknesses created by mental and physical tension. And we succumb to deceases and wild pressures including monitory issues. The delicate body tissues surrender to the penchant bad thoughts and become ill. We see street urchins playful, and rich ones with tough exteriors.

Bring peace within yourself by avoiding jealousy, ill-will, judgment, comparison, evaluation, criticism, doubt and cynicism, suspicion and envy. It’s we who create peace within us.

When we are happy and positioned with love and forgiveness we tend to be happier and smiling at issues that once we felt were un-surmountable.  Forget and forgive and use the dust bin in your mind and brain, to re-invent spaces where slowly good things tend to flourish. “Understand the flaws to appreciate the perfection of the Universe” – Ka Chinery.

As me and my wife listened to the music that eve, the song had a silent sequence of a few milliseconds. That was a dip in the rhythm, a split second of solitude in isolation. I thought then we need to listen and be silent more than we speak. Pythagorus wrote: “Learn to be silent. Let your quieter mind listen and absorb”.

Silence settles our mind. That allows us to think what we are thinking. But most of us do multi-tasking, loosing focus and attention. We drive and we speak on phone at the same time. We risk our lives and we reduce the shelf life of others in accidents.

As the cell phones need re-charge our minds do need a re-charge of re-vitalizing doses of happiness. We have given away the power to control our mind. It was one of my friends who said – I will chose to pick the phone and the caller cannot enter and interrupt my flow of transactions and thoughts. Surely I will respond to the call.

Innumerable SMS, BBM, WhatsApp, IMO call tunes, and the times we enjoy in LIKEs on Face Book columns distract and enter our solitude and privacy. We allow the world – professional, social and digital space influence the way we live and interact.

I think we need to reflect and live. Live the way we want to live. Not the way others want our lives to be defined.

It’s then when music to the ears becomes soothing. It’s then when we tend to listen to the tunes, the flimsy voices of birds and start thinking that our lives with limited shelf life need to be enjoyed.

 

 

 

Fear of the unknown

2016, we are almost close to changing the calendar. In front of us lie 365 days of uncertainty. I looked into the fear of unknown that hangs in some of our minds, on how the year is or going to be. After all this moment is a dot in the straight line of what unfolded and the next split second is an extension on the same straight line.

Steve job at the age of 20 started a company with two people at his parent’s garage and became a two billion dollar company in ten years. S he was fired he started new ventures NEXT and PIXAR. Steve was back. Rest is history. Heaviness of success he said replaced the lightness of the beginner in him.

In his last words before he succumbed he said: “Aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life. At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death.

Now I know, when we have accumulated sufficient wealth to last our lifetime, we should pursue other matters that are unrelated to wealth: Perhaps relationships, art, and a dream from younger days. Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me. God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth. The wealth I have I cannot take. What I can is only memories precipitated by love. That’s the true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on.”

Does it ring a bell in your mind?

Fear is within the human existence. It’s part of us. But in this context of the variety of fears what we confront is the risk of failure. We are afraid to try because we expect failure. However, if we reduce the cost of attempt, by experimenting, we reduce the cost of failure. Remember, every experiment has a perspective. The value of the opportunity if we succeed – the value of the people or situations we meet in the experiment and the exit value, value of the knowledge one gain in the process that may be applied elsewhere. Failures make us learn and add value to our asset – Knowledge.

“We do NOT fear the unknown, we fear what we think we know of the unknown” – Teal Swan.  We give meanings for the unknown. It is better to fall in love with uncertainty and be with it. Resist the fear of uncertainty and we lose all what we have. When we are born we are endorsed with what we call love. But as we progress we learn and mature with fear. Unlearning fear and relearning love in abundance is the transformation Steve spoke about.

Concern and curiosity provide us with answers that charge our minds with courage. Handle fear of unknown. Worrying actually reduces our capability to take decisions provided by uncertainty. It impairs judgments. As we are closer to the new 2017, let us open up our minds without fear and with courage based on decisive actions to deal with those unknown to us.

Isn’t our expectation and desires that takes us forward. Gaps between those and real are stressed situations. Handling uncertain moments is easy if our expectations are positive, that propel inner magnetic vibrations reflect energy. Ambition should be based on ability to do the best every moment.

Imagination is innovative. Visualize the best to happen. Let the mind and heart get thrilled with the elixir of imagination. Then we can resolve jigsaw puzzles of uncertainty and create a map for progress as we pass through 2017. Falling is easy getting up tougher. Wake up, bless and love and share what we can, as nothing belongs to us. Trust instincts; faith brings miracles.

It is unpredictability that provides options. Difficult times produce better results as we innovate and think better. It is a happy year ahead.

Be aware. Be blessed. Enjoy the new year – 2017.

One Night STAND; a future shock!

word Press - ONS

Actually I stood up from my bed at about 12.30 a.m. like when the word Eureka was coined in history.

It’s about IDEAS that change the world we live. Long ago I wrote a blog when I read in news about the government banning the good old bullock carts plying on the modern roads. That was about the past and now I am dwelled in thought on the future – unseen, but imagined.

I lived when bullock carts and horse driven carriages were on the streets of Calicut, Kerala. So I thought I may not be able to imagine what is in store for us. My second daughter sent me a text on my Whats App that night and all that triggered made me stand up that night.

I went to the wash room and seeing the soap in a tube remembered the good old “Hama am” and “Lux” soaps and some of the old brands like Scissors in cigarettes. When I passed SSLC, I spent two hours daily at a type writing institute, but where is that item? Only the location of the alphabets has not changed in the cell phone. I worked for a company whose organizational Logo and Name changed many times in acquisitions. Old is sold!

Look at Kodak, in 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. In a few years, their business model disappeared and they got bankrupt. Like KODAK many companies would close down in the next few years. Did we think in 1998 that 3 years later we would never take pictures on paper film again? We are in the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution and the Exponential Age.

Computers become exponentially better in understanding the way we want to be doing things in future. Facebook now have a “Pattern recognition software” that can recognize faces better than humans. Already computers are more intelligent than humans. These only help us chose and not help us decide.
Software will rotate 360 degrees in design and can see future into a virtual reality.

Uber is just a software tool, and are the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.

In 2018 the first self driving cars is expected in market place. Automobiles will change the way we see now. . You may not own a car anymore. You will make a call on your cell and a car will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and will be driver-less. Our kids need not go and test drive for a driving license. Pollution will come down when we reduce use of cars now in cities. We transform parking space into parks. Imagine about 1.2 million people die each year in traffic accidents worldwide. Driver-less cars along with Uber like companies can save a million lives each year.
Tesla- Apple- Google shall revolutionise changes and build a computer on wheels. Insurance companies will have massive trouble because without accidents, the insurance will become 100 times cheaper. Their Car insurance business model will …?

“Work from home” scenario is already spreading fast. Location is not an issue. And so Real estate prices will crumble. If your home is workplace then people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood. You do not shop in stores, stores deliver at home.

Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can only now see the impact. Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil. The price for solar will drop so much that all coal companies will be out of business by 2025.Saudi Arabia’s new economic ideas have already shifted from fossil fuel based economy. Price per barrel of crude oil is to be seen. When solar power comes cheap and desalination cost will be down scarcity of water in most places will not be there. One can have as much clean water as he wants.

Agricultural robots will run our paddy fields and no more bullock wielding farmers. Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces are ploughed by cows. There are several startups that will bring insect protein to the market shortly. It contains more protein than meat. It will be labeled as “alternative protein source”. I have heard that china imports chicken wastes and other animal wastes to produce alternate proteins.

There is an app called “moodies” which can already tell in which mood you are. Soon there will be apps that can tell by your facial expressions if you are lying, and that will trigger relationship issues like love affairs and one night stands! The mood will be “CLEARER” with those Apps.

Life span has improved over a period of time. From now on with medical diagnosis with tests from your breath and not from your blood will reduce cost of diagnosis. Medication costs will also come down as changed life styles without stress begin to appear. Thus life span increases by 3 months per year. Life span around 70-75 years increase itself and by 2036, there will be an increase of one year per year. Then nostalgia will talk about historical memories of more than 90 years, when people speak. Stories will overwhelmingly rotate and change.
Because wrongs can be seen as right, and tomorrow’s concepts will change the way we look at things, the scenario will definitely be unthinkable as of now.

Change is everything, they say – and when I stood up that night, I really understood the way things are going to change. ROBOT s without feelings and emotions, will be “next-Gen” children?

As in that era there will not be any patent registrations, with the speed of changes, when I said “eureka” – as I stood up, I was crystal clear, that I was not dreaming.

Hide & Seek

 

As I un-wrapped a packet of “Hide & Seek” biscuit this morning after a walk at Sarovaram Park, I got myself engrossed to wrap up in thoughts.

This is not about the biscuits but about the varied thoughts that enter our mind when we are awake and per dreams in our sub-conscious minds when we are asleep. I am told that on an average more than 50,000 thoughts come across as we pass the day.

I walked through the park with Sujit my friend’s son who works in US and we spoke about the thoughts that matter. In that circle of 50,000 thoughts, a few handfuls of them may be called as areas of influence and the rest are areas of concern where we have nothing to do. But that’s the area where we spend our energies most, is that right? A bird sang songs as we were in the discussions. The sun was rising up for the day. On the sides of the narrow path where we walked, fallen leaves like those who completed their terms of life’s journey reminded me of the short period that we are here on the surface of earth.

Asked myself – why do we get mood swings? Let’s come CLOSER to undersatnd. We undergo change in our moods as feelings affect us through thoughts both positive and negative. Unfortunate it is that there appears no filter is in our minds, to get positive thoughts always. We need to understand this and witness the more than 50,000 thoughts that flow past our minds. Someone said – thoughts come as visitors, let them come and go.

Long back my colleague Shaik Iqbal in Saudi Arabia spoke about Lean concept. Later I learnt Six Sigma Lean concept. These are approaches that make things simple, less complicated, more productive and value added. “Minimalism” probably connotes the same where we tend to be minimalistic in our materialistic desires.

Probably the silence as we walked around made me think with a back drop of natural surroundings on a chill atmosphere of January morning.

I also looked at the variances between desire that leads to pleasure and need that leads to action. It transgresses in our minds and lay out a channel that needs probing. I also tried to pick up threads on values that relate to others and karma that relates specifically to our-self.

In a multiplex world with changing social behaviors our minds pass through multiplex levels of thoughts to understand and judge good and bad or right and wrong. We tend to sit in judgment with the balance hanging in front, on each of those 50,000 thoughts and corrupt our valuable time to wasteful paths. After all who are we to judge and conclude the righteousness of each and individual episode? We did not create most of it and so be it.

Let us get across to areas of influence where our effort may find a solution to us and others involved. Are those areas of influences anything more than two or three in a day? May be may not be. But a mathematical evaluation can prove that we spend most of our time where we do not satisfy ourselves. We lose to see the current, the NOW part of our journey called life. With less than 65 years of a standard life estimated we hardly have just about 23,000 days. If we consider the best part that we can utilize we have about 15,000 days. If we give ourselves a rough cut we hardly have productive days as 10,000. On a LEAN concept, if our minimalism ideas were to work out during these 10,000 days multiplied by 50,000 thoughts we need to still handle nearly 50 Crore thoughts of wasteful energy. Look at that number that we may have to handle if we consider 10,000 days and a maximum of 3 thoughts of influence it still amounts to 30,000 thoughts! Imagine if we do not re-set our desires to need based action we clog our minds with thoughts that spoil our days. I would never have heard the singing of birds or located the fallen leaves and had a second look at the rising sun and its HIDE & SEEK that makes up our good and bad days.

Most of the things we desire are expensive, but most of what makes us happy are available free – like love and share, giving and forgiving, or for that matter the song of the birds or a breeze in the air. We need to keep calm, as nothing including these thoughts last forever. We need to be aware of our mood swings and ensure we do not mix our words with moods as we communicate. Moods change but words cannot be erased. We need to live and enjoy and be happy with our lives and not just EXIST. With a purpose driven life, direction is also important otherwise we wander without reaching our goals.

In the name of pretext we HIDE many things and SEEK many even if we really are not in need. We mostly tend to pass through black and white and not see the rainbows of colors that exist at the reach of our minds.

Let’s come closer to the facts that drive us. Let’s find the direction we are leading to achieve our goals. Let’s re-visit priorities that set us to enjoy the limited days in our lives to be happy and make others happier.

For this let us peep into the past by the click of reverse button and find – did we attempt to do what makes us happy? As William Faulkner said – “Past is never dead, it is not even PAST”.

Each of us may find a new clue and a new key that opens up corridors of happiness in our hearts and around us with a surge to open windows of yet another chance to be happy.