Thursday, December 13, 2018

Evolution teaches Stress Therapy!

Evolution in its base sense translates to Continuous Improvement Process - How we improved from where we were in the age-old past to where we are in the present day.

We all as human beings, community, group, society, country, and the world continuously grow and improve. 

Growth is part of being. Continuous improvement is part of us!!

We have evolved (grown and improved) from the state of total innocence in the undated past to the state of information overload today.

One of the ‘like-it-or-not’ aspects of present-day information overload or its glorified synonym ‘exposure’, is the bringing up of a gamut of adjectives into our otherwise calm, simple, and happy minds. The phrases such as ‘successful’ growth, ‘significant’ improvement, and 'remarkable’ achievement are all conceived my man in his own balance scale, benchmarked by a known achievement of another man. 

With these adjectives, most people today aim to meet or exceed the mark made by another person in work and home fronts. The improvement aspect somewhere dies and competition sets in.  

This is by far the main cause of most problems in the minds of people, both young and old. Where do I stand in comparison with someone? What do I have to do to get to where the other person is?

There are grades, marks in schools that rank the best performing student. Then there comes the collegiate education where again grades and scores matter. Then comes the job scene where ranking plays a role and performance appraisal is everything. 

These practices get ingrained into human brains and it forgets that man by nature is meant to:
  • Continuously improve upon his own previous records 
  • Not stress over becoming the best in a lot aspiring or achieving another person’s feat
What does this stress do to us? 

We vibrate in stress like a rubber band does when stretched to its maximum. With all the vibrations:
  • It creates a multitude of emotions that make the mind believe becoming someone ‘like’ another is the KEY aspect of life.
  • It makes the body and mind work towards getting to that level. 
  • It gives a sense of achievement when we reach a goal, but also makes our mind refuse to accept anything less than the best. 
  • It also makes us want more, do more, work more, and expect more.. and there is no end to the MORE that we want and continue to want in life. 
  • It eventually attracts more stress which translates to a dysfunctional body and practically useless mind chords. 
  • It also creates a community of stretched rubber bands.

Stress brings us to a juncture where we do not know which thought will trigger what emotion in whom and lead to a disastrous mind state where we all are unhappy within, always!! What we understand as ‘happiness’ does not keep us happy - Money, Fame, Name, People, Emotions - Name anything and it does not make us feel thrilled. 

Everything seems flawed in a stressed mind.

What to do now?

Improve upon your own Yesterday! is the best therapy we must practice in keeping stress at bay!

That we have improved from our own yesterday’s record gives us joy untold, if we know how not to compare ourselves with our seemingly similar counterpart.

I say seemingly similar because no two people bring the SAME temperament, goals, purposes, experience, character, attitude, beliefs, situations, and values to this world. Similarities between two people is a possibility but never an exact match. If we get this correct, then we will stop comparing ourselves with another person on Earth. 

We have to keep up our own improvement targets on. What is yours will find its way to you when it should if you can just do your bit diligently and with the best of intentions! 

Essentially, if we are better by 0.1 percent from our yesterday’s records in anything - studies, work, habit, character, practice, sport, attitude, or temper, we are going strong and steady. Going by the meaning of evolution and its truth, we grow and improve! 

According to the ancient epics of India, there are three things a man should never wish/aim for:
  • Another man’s money
  • Another man’s land
  • Another man’s lady
I extend them as: 

Never wish/aim for:
  • Another man’s achievement 
  • Another man’s reward
  • Another man’s success 
None of us here needs to be striving for lives led by other people - some comparable and some others incomparable - if we know that we are walking life at our own pace and are here for different purposes. ‘Slow and Steady wins the race’ is a moral from the Kinder Garden story ‘The Hare and the Tortoise!’ - Wonder why we all forgot over the years?!?

Do not be afraid to live your life just ‘like’ yourself!!!

Is this article convincing enough to work towards de-stressing yourself? Do you think you have tried everything in your capability to get yourself out of the stress you are in with no gain?

Always remember that there are therapists who can connect with you online, get down to the root of your problem and help you gently out of your situation. 

Go on and click here to seek help!!! 

You are continuously improving even as you read this post. It is your LIFE and only yours to Live, Love, and Trust! 

Friday, December 07, 2018

Let Go!!!!

Ever been on an escalator?

Yes, am sure. On a recent such escalator experience with my children, I realised a hint to the big truth of life, as I would see it.

My son held the rails so strong for fear of falling off that he was standing at an angle for a few seconds before I hurriedly got him to loosen his grip on the side rails and straightened his panic mode to a gentle smile!

We safely stepped out, and it was such a huge ordeal for me, coming to think of it.


Think of life’s timeline as an escalator with side rails. Let’s say each passing moment is a step in the escalator. The timeline keeps moving the Moments in perfect routine and it is always a forward movement. This escalator stops only on your Last working day on Earth!

Now, what will happen if we hold on to the side rail and refuse to let go of our grip?? We’ll fall, while the escalator continues to move. 

That’s exactly what happens to most of us most times, when we refuse to let go of the past. We are holding the side rail of a moment (past) so strong on the timeline escalator. 

We do not understand: 
We are on an escalator. 
It is continuing to move. 
We must let go of the grip on the past and slide our hands easy on the side rails (Move on).

For those of us, deeply affected (both happy memories and sad memories) by an incident, person, place, or thing of the past, this phrase ‘Move on’ may sound, impossible, unfair, unbelievable, or even disheartening.

However, it is important to know that the memories  HAVE to take a form for the rest of the journey, by the Law of Creation. Anything that happens, MUST have a reason - tangible or intangible. Nothing happens by Chance.

Memories take the form of an intangible happiness record or sadness record in our minds.

If we hold a past bitterness so strong, chances are we will see a small problem of the present to be monstrous. Let me tell why. The mind has the tendency to recall the strongest emotionally impacted moments in its list. It tries to draw a parallel of the present simple problem with the past’s bitter memory and makes you relive the feeling from the past. This makes you reach a consensus you have known a similar situation earlier and how it goofed up your life. There is a well-known adage - Experience makes a man perfect!! Going by that, your experience of bitterness aligns your mind so well to the present situation and you cannot believe in anything but the worse.

Therefore, we often hear people say: I had a tougher past, or It has always been hard for me.

May be the current situation is simpler than the past instance that gave you the bitter memory. Instead of thinking how to resolve the challenge of the present, the mind is fixed on the anchor of sadness from the past, leaving little or no time and motivation to work on the present case in hand. The circumstances are usually never exactly same, so chances are, if addressed correctly, the solution may be in sight for the present challenge. If only the past allowed you to think!!

If we hold to the past joy so strong, chances are we can never appreciate a present joyous happening. The mind tries to draw a parallel between the present joy and the strongest emotionally impacted joy of the past from its database. It makes you relive the feeling from the past that has been so strongly imprinted in your mind. It also tries to compare the current happy moment you are in and would naturally conclude that this is nothing compared to the joy of the past.  

Therefore, we often hear people say: This is nothing man!, the place had better recipes when we used to eat here every Sunday evening as a child. 

May be the chef changed, and the taste has deteriorated genuinely but in most cases, it is the mind. As a child, may be the mind enjoyed the company of people it went with, the things they spoke, the taste difference it had from that of the home-cooked meals and the leisure time it offered from the school or college routines. As a grown-up, now the same mind has outgrown all these situations but the feeling of ‘connection’ that made the mind comfortable back in the past has not left. So at present, the mind is not able to appreciate the same place, same food and possibly same people and same Sunday evening.  

In both these happy and sad situations, if we carefully think through, Happy memories do not allow you to appreciate the current joys. Sad memories do not allow you to believe “Today is doable”.

Now, I am wondering if memory power is great, except for the academic examinations and recalling a special day?

With more and more people realizing this truth and the importance of mental health, living the moment and letting go of the past also becomes a subject of discussion. 

Past is not a thing to just drop off from your hand.. Wish it was!!! But frankly it is not.

It needs help. 

Sometimes self-driven, sometimes inspired by something or someone, sometimes motivated by a book or a reading, and sometimes educated by someone who has been there and seen through that.

If you are holding on to something too strongly from the past and are convinced that you must move on, then you are already on the path to happiness.

If you are convinced that you must let go of the past but do not know how, you can seek help from expert counsellors who have studied psychology and can understand the tricks of the mind!! 

Bottom line: In the escalator of life, there is only forward movement. 

Thoughts to inscribe: 

Thanks to the Law of Creation. 
The memories of the past HAVE to take a form for the rest of the journey, by the Law of Creation. 

The Past makes you Believe. 
How much you want to believe in something (either happy or sad) is defined by how strongly you want to hold on to your past.

The Past is History.
It does not happen again unless you have failed to learn from it and pass on what you learnt to the world! 

Share your Experience!
The best way to handle the memories, both bitter and sweet, is to ensure you share your experience with one or many people who may need it. 

Nothing happens by Chance!
That includes this reading you are doing now. Go on! Make the most of your take away! Have a good day!

Friday, November 09, 2018

Is it because we forgot the word 'Contentment'??

  • There is so much people have to say, about everything under the sun. Why?
  • There is so much people want to know about everything under the sun. Why?
  • There is so much people want to do at all times whether they have the potential or not. Why?
  • There is so much money people want to make and consequently spend too. Why?
  • There is so much fame people are after and struggle to keep up. Why?
  • There is so much of highs as much as lows in one’s mind. Why?
Is it normal?? Was the world like this before? I agree about the evolution, intelligence and the need for making more and more of everything, but so also we must be aware that too much of anything is good for nothing!

There have been constructive stupendous advancements in science and technology, engineering and medicine, spending power and buying power, earning and investments - No doubt.

So also, there is a lot of stress over having all of the best things including the natives and often neglected peace of mind, happiness and satisfaction. It does not always happen. Why??
  • Is it because we are aiming too high?
  • Is it because we are depleting in our energy and enthusiasm levels?
  • Is it because we are dependent too much on materialistic things for happiness?
  • Is it because we are moving away from spirituality?
  • Is it because we do not understand life’s miracles as much as we understand the science in it?
  • Is it because we want to understand everything to believe it??
  • Is it because we no longer can differentiate needs from wants?
  • Is it because we are conditioned to be judgmental and resistant than being open-minded and accepting?
  • Is it because we forgot our original self?
  • Is it because we never really accepted that we are unique and need not be like someone else?
  • Is it because we want to feel accomplished all the time?
  • Is it because we are over confident about our abilities?
  • Is it because of our ego?
  • Is it because of peer pressure?
  • Is it because we have no idea how to live?
  • Is it because we no longer understand the real meaning of happiness, love, peace, and satisfaction?
  • Is it because we forgot the word called Contentment??
Somewhere, I read : Always be content with what you have, never with what you are!!!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Perfection in Diversity

That's really hard!! This is a random attempt at the thought lines around the subject of how diverse population can make their contribution to a decision in an organization or any focus group for that matter.

When we think about any situation or circumstance at work or anywhere for that matter, the decisions will fall into one of the following categories or will be based on one of these categories:
  1. Rational : Unbiased and reasonable enough to not cause damage
  2. Logical : Has enough parameters to help arrive at a conclusive decision
  3. Factual : What you see is all that it is. Cannot be expected to have rational and logical thinking to be the only drivers. There may be external known or unknown parameters that drive these decisions.
Decisions have a direct dependency on the Mind which thinks based on:
  1. Feeling/Intuition from a Past Experience 
  2. Motivation to make the decision
  3. Emotional need of the hour - One of these may be the wants - Peace, Success, Importance, Achievement, Self-appraisal, Control, Proof of Knowledge, Acknowledgement
  4. Inherent Strength  - Creative, Analytical, Logical, Random
The personality traits that we have all gathered over time based on different experiences at varied points in time can have a big influence on the way we decide, besides altering our thinking pattern too:
  1. Go-getter - Goes that extra mile and finds it out.
  2. Self-starter - Does the bit of work needed to make it happen without being instructed.
  3. Manager - Has the command and balance of mind to see things through and get it done as appropriate.
  4. Implementer - Can make things work with just in time fixes, however hard it may seem at the outset.
  5. Follower - Can follow your instructions to the last full stop.
  6. Instructor - Can teach people to the greatest detail of what must be done.
  7. Designer - Can imagine things through based on the details available.
  8. Critic - Can find what is missing in what seems a complete and correct piece of solved problem.

Now that we have understood this much, we also know that a lot of studies have shown that men and women are wired to think differently.

Men are good at keeping focus better than women. 

The compartmentalized brains of a man makes it easy for him to just focus on the task at hand more meticulously than a woman’s heavily inter-networked brain which is able to quickly connect dots between the task at hand and a similar/related thing from yesterday’s newspaper.

Men say 'I don’t know' easily than women. 

Men must know the details to make a decision unlike a woman who will try to go that extra mile to get the information before making the decision. Saying 'I don’t know' to her is much harder than actually taking the effort to find out.

Men say ‘I can’t’ more easily than women.

Men have a clear picture of the implication of a said word and done deed than women do. When they say, they can’t, that is exactly what they mean. They are not worried about what the opponent will think of them when they say No, because they have already figured it out and know that this No in front of this audience will not mean much harm. 

Men are not great at multi-tasking. Women are. Give a man five assignments and be sure only one will  progress and will progress very well. Give a woman five tasks and be sure that all of them will move forward albeit slowly but steadily to see them all Green.

The traits, the minds, the decisions that were discussed earlier in this article also are largely dependent on how differently a man and woman thinks and what mean the most to each gender by and large. Also, in general, we all tend to feed the feel-good quotient wherever/whenever we need it. 

Given this complexity, and the complexity of any given situation, we will need a mix of both men and women in any focus group to see success:

Men are for : Focus, Assertiveness, Execution, Facts, Rationale, Delegation, Learner, Comprehension.
Women are for :  Advocating, Multi-tasking, Managing, Researching, Instructing, Listening, Forgetting.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - A Psychiatrist knows better!

  • A wardrobe full of white clothes - All of them kept sparkling white and neatly pressed!
  • All clothes are clean, devoid of every last bit of dust or stain, folded neatly, and well in place to find them when you need!
  • Clean hands, disinfected from all the bacteria, all day!
  • Everything in the room is symmetrically arranged at all times of the day and rearranged every time a little change happens in the order.
  • The Coffee should,taste this way, be served this way, at this time of the day and have this shade of brown!
  • Everything should be in perfect order and consistency in keeping tidy is an absolute must!
Now all these, at the outset are perfectly acceptable practises, habits and interests to have. Aren’t they??

What if I tell you, that these habits and many more like these become rulers of our psychic at times, deteriorating our quality of life, slowly and steadily in a big way!!! In short, they become Obsessions!

Each of us may have one or more practises that we absolutely cannot allow deviation. The thought/sight of deviation becomes a compelling need to act upon or ‘correct' immediately. ‘Compulsive' need that makes people drop all priorities and attend to this one thing in particular, which often does not figure in the bigger priority list of the day.

Over the years of complete acknowledgement and the rarely-objected-to or un-objected freedom to be able to feed the obsession, it becomes a ‘Disorder' on its own. 

The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) of things, practises, interests, habits, and routines slowly become a hindrance to normal life, disturb the quality of life, and eat away plenty of resourceful time! In extreme cases, the rest of the group around the person gets affected too because of the person’s compelling need to ‘correct’ the ‘skew’. 

This is one of the many disorders of the mind that we ALL have in general. As long as mind disorders are well-within acceptable limits, there is no cause of concern because there is no OCD.

How do you know if your interests/preferences/tastes/habits have reached a point of OCD?
  • You cannot live without seeing it perfect.
  • You believe only you are responsible for the action on behalf of the world around you.
  • You put your health behind and do all it takes to feed the obsession.
  • Once you are done with the correction of the perceived ‘skew’, you feel elated, happy and tired.
  • You arrange everything that is even slightly out of place from the way you saw it the night before.
  • You cannot focus on anything else if your 'pet project’ of tidiness, cleanliness, disinfection, orderliness is undone.
  • You feel hyperactive when it comes to keeping your obsessive self happy and are always ready to take-on the challenge of sticking to your diligent routine in the process.
  • You are upset/angry if you are unable to do the work your way to keep it in order.
  • You do not want to connect with people about your mind as you do not like to listen to opinions.
  • You feel that just no one understands how important your task at hand is and for the life of you cannot figure out why the others have a problem with your way!
One or more of these signs on a grown-up individual is a sure shot way to the path of OCD.

The following are some of the tips that I have heard/read/understood from many sources to reduce OCD:
  • Spend time usefully outside of the obsessive practice.
  • Have a hobby.
  • Meditate everyday in a serene environment.
  • Believe that you are not the final authority to sign-off on your habit/practice.
  • Learn to let go once in a while! 
In spite of all these, when OCD hinders our day-to-day lives, then it calls for a psychiatric intervention. 

Psychiatrists are people who:

  • Listen to what we say.
  • Elicit the right answers that are buried deep down within ourselves for most of our life situations.
  • Do not know us from within the family.
  • Remain unaffected in any way by the situation.
  • Help our minds beat its unspoken barriers/constraints/needs.
For anyone interested in learning more about psychiatrists as an integral support to our mental wellness, here is a simple reason to seek help from a psychiatrist for OCD and many other mental discomforts that we may face from time to time:

We can trust psychiatrists with what we need to speak almost always. 

We do not have to worry about the impression we may make to the doctor whose goal is to get our minds collected and improve our quality of mental wellness.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

A fresh look at Marriage and Matching!

I was working on Environmental Studies Homework with my six year old daughter. ( Oh yes, it is nice to study some things again with a little student friend as long as it is not Algebra and Geometry, I can confidently say!)

"My Family" was the first lesson. The text read:

Tina is six years old. Her father is a doctor. Her mother is a teacher. She has a little brother. She likes to go for a walk with her grandparents. Tina has a pet dog. She loves to play with her dog. Her mother teaches her. Tina helps her father clean the living room on Sunday.

The lesson had pictures illustrating the whole scene in the house so the children understand how Tina was related to each of the family members, their roles in her life and how others in the family connect with Tina.

Beautifully done, I thought!...

The next day, my son brings a book from his Kindergarten class. The Homework for the week was to match the capital letters and the corresponding small letters. The next page had a list of pictures ( Example: Pencil) that had to be matched with the related things ( Example: Notebook).

Interesting again!!! The mind maps/matches things that the children know about, with the things that they can relate to in some way.

After all these homework books, a serious technical document or an article (even my own writing) seemed so uninteresting to my mind. How beautifully the kids are being taught some concepts! May be we learned the same way too, but the same concepts make a better sense today with a deeper meaning.

Later that evening, after the children's "End of Day", I was musing over the evening's homework, still amazed at how the concept of "Matching" was being taught in schools, and how 'matching' lesson has been the oldest, most effective, and the real lesson that has deeply affected/effected each of us in our social, personal, professional lives at large!

The mind that tried to match/map small letters to capital letters first, then learns to relate or connect stuff learned in Maths, Language, Bio-science, Social science, History and Geography over the years of schooling. Once out of school, the same mind (now over 17 years of age) in most schooling boards world-wide, is ready to map/match the people with their names, relationships, professions, roles, emotions, behaviours, attitudes, characters, traits and anything else I may have missed out, as it grows up in age.

These mapping/matching probably gives a sense of understanding to the brain that there is a certain unchanged connection, typical behaviour, expected result, relationship between the "left hand side of things" and the "right hand side of things or to put it simply 'two things/people/ideas/concepts'.

A pause here.... On a seeming digression for the moment, my mind asked "Could marriage also match with this theory of 'matching' given that 'matching-making' is a popular phrase in Indian households where 'arranged marriages' still happen!?" The marriage match-making websites serve as a platform to make available profiles that can be matched to preferences. The years of matching exercise finally has come to effective use - the idea of matching/mapping people for life!!!. May be 'Match the following' question is the single most important lesson in the entire school curriculum after all!

Don't you agree??

Matching is everything!! Trying to arrive at a 'Relationship' is the only way to match anything at all. From the first 'a' to 'A' lesson to 'Pencil:Notebook' lesson, we have come a long way in learning relationships.

Left hand joins the right hand in a 'Namaste', the traditional, Indian way of greeting people. The hands have to match in position at the chest level with eyes looking at the person in front. The receiver usually returns the 'Namaste' gesture in acknowledgement. The relationship between the two parties need not be a defined name. They may just have got acquainted or they may have known each other for ages!!! It is a mark of respect and the inner sense of 'knowing' the other person. There is no effort required here except to be aware of the courtesy.

In formal or informal handshake greetings, one of the hands brought forward has to be 'associated' with another hand brought forward to accept the greeting. If you shake hands with some one, the simplest relationship could be that of an acquaintance. There is no effort required here except that it is mark of respect to return a handshake.

Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, Uncle, Aunt, Grandma, Grandpa, Friend are all relationships that we learn without having to really struggle hard to relate, love, believe, and respect.

Since all of these relationships in life seem a very natural bond, over the years, the word 'Relationship' must have suddenly changed colloquial synonym to "The bond between a man and a woman in romantic love within or outside the marriage."

In the new meaning of relationships, suddenly the 'Matching' becomes crucial. A sudden realisation that dawns in most relationships is that our minds continually try to join dots, match attitudes, draw meanings, resolve differences to keep the relationship going.  We either let go or keep ego, forgive or assume that we forgive, expect or give, respect or disrespect, love or drift, make or break!!!!

In the school exam's question, there were things and we mapped them according to their relationship. In the real life's question, there are relationships and we are trying to change ourselves.We are changing the question to suit the answer!!! Exactly why the concept of marriage/relationship sounds complex. "So, do we have to change for the relationship really?" is the next big question that crops up!

Now, there are some relationships where the parties that form the part of the question - the man and the woman - do not want to change anything for the relationship. They call their relationship to be based on what is assumed as ' freedom ', 'understanding', 'accepting', 'broad-minded' and 'love-intrinsic' foundation. Very good, I would say. However, the fact remains that this does not live to see success for a long time in most marriages/relationships. The reason : The institution of marriage is such that it brings into your life the big word 'Responsibility'. With 'Responsibility' comes a parade of emotions/restrictions/differences/anxiety/challenges.

If you do not give up anything, learn anything from, accommodate anything new, tolerate anything at all, then what exactly are you doing for the relationship?? That seems a very emotional question, may be, but if you love someone, mean it and show it in a way that it really is felt. Now, that is what is going to keep the relationship going, in my opinion. Applies to all relationships, but very closely relatable to marriages, I would say. "Now, do we have to?" is the next question!

All the relationships that we are surrounded with do not need as much of a promise ( so much of grandeur, so much of over-expressed joy, so much of noise, so much of expectation, so much of glow, so much of emotions) as the one called "Marriage" does.

So, we don't want all of that to be blown off in thin air right?? May be all the excitement is because we match a relationship between two growing people who have come from different backgrounds and it is not an ordinary happenstance that it is seems to be(Everyday thousands of people get married!).

If you think about it, this real-time "matching" translates to dealing with variable things ( the man and the woman ) with varying moods ( we all know it!) and various mind sets ( Opinions change Morning, Noon, and Night) for which we are trying to draw a constant relationship line.

Its like the "Pencil: Notebook" getting changed to "Penquin: Notebook" suddenly!!! The word just got longer, but means different!! Penguin cannot match in anyway with Notebook! But we drew the matching line when it was still 'Pencil' and the answer was correct!!

When the Left hand side shows a changed thing, the relationship which we strive to keep constant ,no longer seems to match perfectly with the thing on the Right hand side.  In the real life situation, all of us in the relationship keep changing with various experiences!!! Change is constant. How are we going to explain our change and yet keep the relationship line constant with the changing other person too??

Exactly why the whole idea of marriage often needs a re-shuffle of thoughts, re-work in love, re-alignment of priorities, and re-affirmation of the purpose. Easier said than done, I think!!.

Deep-down, I believe that we must do all it takes to keep the relationship line steady in Marriage, as in life, the rule is to "Do". But, if we are interested in really knowing more about how to keep the relationship going, there are numerous sensible write-ups online and great marriage counseling help available too!

With sincere wishes and prayers that everyone who reads this is constantly working sincerely to keep their relationship lines constant and bright,


Thursday, June 07, 2018

A Mixer Jar’s story

I am new here today. The family is excited to run the Mixer for the first time. I am the eldest of the three jars. I am taller, my blades are broader but not as sharp and I can hold about 1.5 litres of stuff. I have a handle and a lid and South Indian households typically use me to make vegetable soups, batters of various  kinds for their dosa and many spice blends for their half a dozen varieties of sambhar.

I am sparkling clean and have this squeaky shine on me today. I am generally very happy and designed to be useful.

Here, the lady opens the lid and puts in about a kilo of some pulse mix in. Closes the lid as quickly and turns the mixer knob to full speed. My blades do the job of the grind and before I can even begin to understand what was the spice mix I just spent time grinding, she puts a spoon inside and ruffles the mix a bit. Another churn and I guess she is happy that the mix came out to her expectation. There seems to be a contented look on her face. Looks like it is Sambhar mix, as she immediately put a heap of it into whatever was cooking on the stove top.

She seems busy, so my lid is back on my head and I am left to sit in a corner of the kitchen table watching the scene of the house.

I see this woman walking in and out of the kitchen, and could hear the little children’s hustle and bustle , a distant bus horn and a noisy morning traffic too. Suddenly it all came to a sudden stop. I went off to sleep too.

I have been thinking about a quick wash after the sambhar powder business, but it didn’t happen. 
In the evening or probably around the time when I heard the vessels being washed in the kitchen, I was hoping that I would also be taken off for a quick wash. Another lady, quite a machine at her business of cleaning, picked me up gently and placed it in another corner of the kitchen table. I waited and waited and waited.

It was dusk I guess. I could hear the kids again. The lady of the house was busy walking in and out of the kitchen. She picked me up twice I recall, only to place me in a different pedestal. Wonder why these South Indian homes are always so busy making food!!!

Suddenly, the lights went out and I looked around to see that the little patch of sky that I could see from the window pane had turned dark too. Which can only mean it was night and that I am not getting the most needed wash today!.

I decided to sleep it off.

In the morning or I assume it was, because the sky patch was still dark and the lady of the house was already in the kitchen. She must be having an early start, I guessed. Otherwise why would she work like a night owl in the kitchen at eerie hours!!. It should be the wee hours of morning! She was not making too much noise, so I thought I could just sleep a little longer.

Suddenly I saw my lid being opened and the contents checked.  By the way, I forgot that somewhere during the mid-day yesterday, someone came by and emptied my jar and left me back in the same place!! and this lady had no clue too.

This lady was kind enough to ensure that I got a wash today. She put me in the kitchen sink with the other utensil friends of mine, so I got a few minutes of networking time!. The maid came by and washed me clean and I feel quite fresh now.

What is funny in the whole episode is that, people thought there was something inside my jar and kept moving it places on the kitchen table but no one ever bothered opening to check. When I was emptied, I wished that I could get a wash but was put aside too, only to be moved further by others in the house thinking I had something in!!!.

It seems a practice in this house to keep the kitchen utensils colander outside for some sunshine!. It feels good too!

"Good morning, Merry Sunshine!!! I sang”

Just like the Mixer jar being moved from one place to another assuming there was something in it, we all misunderstand/assume things about ourselves and people. We keep moving the thoughts, brushing aside the concerns, repositioning the emotions, dragging the problems, postponing the confrontations, and avoiding the realities.

It takes an effort to open the lids to the people’s mind ( mixer jar ) with their willingness, but it is definitely worth your time. Sometimes, all it takes to feel good is emptying of the mind’s contents, a good rejuvenating scrub of the mind with new perspectives, thoughts, healing touch/talk/words and few introspecting moments that can bring out the shine in our minds. 

Is your mixer jar clean and empty to churn again? Think about it!

Friday, June 01, 2018

Outstanding Grade - A Quick Counseling

On a conversation with a friend, I got to know that the Class 10 results are out and a common friend’s daughter was upset because she scored just a 95%. Apparently, she expected to top the class and missed it by 2%.

Yes, 2% is lot in Indian schools. A hundred people may have scored over-and-above your score. 

With three cheers to this obsessive compulsive disorder of worrying about scores ( I have once been there too!, I must confess.. in June 1996).

I am writing the following list of thoughts that flash in my mind:
  • Ask the value of a nanosecond to a Olympic runner. What matters is being the winner. The fact that someone ran faster in the race by 30 seconds, is a big 'Lost or Won’, number!!
  • Between 11:59 P.M and 12:01 A.M is just two minutes on the clock but two different dates, which means a lot when it comes to an admission in an extra-ordinary pre-school that admits kids born on or before 31st July, and your tiny tot was born on 12:01 A.M on 1st August!!! One year delay is too much and means ‘In or Out’ of the admission list for the school year.
  • Old Uncle around the corner of the street got delayed by five minutes in traffic on the way to hospital, and died just the minute his stretcher was taken through the Emergency Door!! Five minutes means 'Life or Death’ sometimes!!
Coming to think of these common place incidents (Yes, they are common place incidents and there may be many more such incidents that you can think of too!!!).

Are these really the fault of anyone??

  • Did the Olympic runner aim to lose by 30 seconds? 
  • Did the baby decide to come out at the transitioning hour of the calendar??
  • Did the old Uncle die just because of the traffic?

The answer to all of these questions is 'NO'.

The reason for these incidents is simply “It happened because it was meant to be that way!!

Now, let’s do a retake:
  • It is grand to have got a chance to run an Olympic race. A lot of people do not even cross the finish line in the school running race.
  • It is a blessing to have given birth to a baby. A lot of people are awaiting the blessing, even as we read this text.
  • It was good that people could do their bit to get an ambulance for the old Uncle. What if old Uncle had died in his sleep?

Just like these incidents, the most common place happenstance of an academic examination should be evaluated at its ‘face value’ which is just as an incident that happens in one’s life. 

The candidate scored 95% is a fact. There is no other significance attached to this number as far as the admission into Class 11 in school or Pre-University College matters, as it IS a score given by the evaluators.

Is it the child’s fault to have missed out on the 2%??? Definitely Not.

The reason for this incident is simply “It happened because it was meant to be that way!!

Now, let’s do a retake:

That she was able to study well, was able to write well, was able to score well matters!! There are people who do not clear the paper in spite of having done it well. There are others who are not even fortunate to write the exam for a hundred reasons!

Dear Child, Parent, and Teacher,

A 95% is an Outstanding score.

Class 10 board exams is a milestone which every school student has to cross. Sincere Effort (Hard work, Smart work), Sound Mind in a Sound Body, and Best Intent are the three things the parents and school have to instill in the children.

Can we get the parents and children and teachers to understand that scoring Rank 1 may mean ‘OUTSTANDING’ in some sense, but does not necessarily mean an ‘OUTSTANDING’ performer in Life?!!!!

It is just really okay to shrug off a class 10 exam score, if the basic responsibilities have been taken care of by the child/parent/teacher: Effort, Health and Intention

All parameters of the day (Sleep, Hunger, Fear, Stress,Score Anxiety, Peer Pressure, Health, Parents, Teachers, Home) define what a child can possibly write on the answer paper. Score is a MERE number that rates what is being written in the paper on a set date

Score is a number that does not :
  • say anything about the intelligence of the student
  • measure the teacher’s skill to teach
  • evaluate the mental health quotient of the student,parent and teacher
  • consider the hunger and sleep of the student, parent and teacher
  • rate the stress that the exam itself may have caused to the clan - student, teacher, parent
  • care about the student’s interest in the subject

And let’s stop giving too much hype to this little snippet of life (Class tenth board exams) that happens in most students' life.

After all, life is more than a school board exam! Life in itself is a bigger exam that needs a lot of your love and understanding showered on your children, giving them reassurance that ‘Its going to be okay’!. How many times you may have to say this to your child, is a number you may not even be able to keep a count of!!! But, yes, that is the real scoring sentence which will help your child live an ‘OUTSTANDING’ life.

If this read does not sound convincing, it is high time we sought the help of counseling services and counselors who will help us come out of the obsession on examination scores, thereby helping the:
- parents to avert stress
- children to retain their sanity  
- teachers to keep up their passion for teaching.

Seriously, think about it, dear parents!! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Mini Mind Theatre: Movie - Just in time

On a casual conversation today, I mentioned to a friend:
"It is like am watching a thriller movie, all scary, and the movie is starring me!!!”

Coming to think of it, it's nice to imagine ourselves sitting alone in a movie theatre, munching popcorn or chips and watching our own situations being screened as a movie.

I think it may be interesting in many ways:
  • There is no prior review of the movie that you can read, as it is your life and running live. You are the only spectator.
  • There is no need to get stressed, as it is just a movie and you are free to emote based on the story, and still be assured it is not happening in the ‘Now’.
  • You can clearly see the responses and reactions of the actors in the story because you are sitting in the audience side and can understand what is working well and what does not.
  • You can be your own critic.
  • The movie will not fetch money, so in essence it is just done as an expressive artwork just for your eyes. The movie does not have to please anyone else except yourself.
  • You do not know the story and hence it is an interesting watch.
  • You hang on to the edge of the seat and want to know how your character is story-boarded in the movie. It is just unbelievable what all you can do in the wake of circumstances. Truly amazing you are!
  • You can read your own facial expressions and see how skewed it can look to the others under various moods.
  • It is interesting to see that so many people like you, hate you, adore you, admire you, love you, trust you, want you and believe you.
  • It is the only movie that is being screened just for you in your mind and so unlike the rest of the real-life cinema.

I think it is a nice step-back trick that we could all use in our every day life to take a quick break from wherever we are in our minds. 

Think about this situation: 

You are stuck in traffic. You are angry because of the unreasonable delay to meet your appointment. You look around dismayed because there is no alternate way to wade through the traffic, except to wait. You feel helpless and hence are upset.

Now, imagine the same scene playing on the movie screen (you are the hero, remember)

Mini Mind Theatre: 
Movie: Just in time, starring YOU. 
Rated A/U/R 
Genre: All categories

You are watching the show all by yourself with the popcorn or chips to munch. You can add a cool drink or coffee per your choice, to make it an interesting watch!
  • Do you see the pointlessness in your hero’s temper?
  • Do you like the facial expression?
  • Did the other drivers react the same way too?
  • Do you see that the traffic is a problem that is worth so much stress?
  • Did you notice the road-block that caused the traffic?
  • Did you see the beautiful flower on the tree lining the road?
  • Did you know that the new toy shop you read about in the news was right there where you are held up?
  • Do you see that the bike needs a quick shine?
  • Did you see that the truck driver behind is trying to hit your hero’s bike and the accident got averted in a quick stroke of luck?

Do you see how much you notice about the same situation by just being an audience to your own storyline??

Goes to say: 

Take a break. It is your life, agreed. Exactly why, watching the play of your own life story matters. 

In the face of extraordinary situations in life, it is best to quickly decor up the mind theatre( including the seating, foot light, screen cover and the Exit/Entry signposts), and start watching the present shot before acting, reacting, or responding to the storyboard, which the situation presents to you.
You are only playing your role in the whole play. Give your best attempt to do it well. To do that, you must take a step back and be a spectator to the situation/scene in your life, every once in a while.

All the world’s a Stage - William Shakespeare. 


With new opportunities also comes to fear and self-doubt. How can we navigate these very strong forces in order to reach our fulfillment...