Sunday, November 29, 2009

Let your appreciation show!

Thanksgiving for this year is done and we are on to the holiday season. This year did go by fast, didn't it? Well, I don't know about you, but I say this every year! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Its about a lot of "F"s....Family, Friends, Food, Fun and of course...Football! I'm thankful for a lot of things and people God has blessed me with. My family, my friends and people I work with help me everyday in so many different ways. And sometimes, in the hustle & bustle of our daily grind, I overlook to say "Thank You." And I believe its so important to appreciate people who have touched our life in any way.

Is saying a simple "Thank You" difficult? Why is it that so many times, we find it so. Over a lifetime, a lot of people will do us favors, both big and small. Favors come in different shapes and sizes. The most significant are those which come without fanfare or preceding drum rolls. Then it's up to the person receiving the favor to recognize and appreciate it. People will quietly help us out, and most of them don't expect anything in return. There is no such thing as "Gratitude unexpressed." If it is unexpressed, it is simple, old-fashioned ingratitude. Feeling gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it!

So whenever we appreciate a gesture, there should be no hesitation in showing it. Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.

"Blessed are those who can give without remembering and receive without forgetting."


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Destiny...Luck....or just Hard work?

This past weekend I went to pick up some food from a nearby restaurant. As I was about to leave, the manager insisted that a waiter help me take the food out to my car. He gave the bags to a young man, about 20 years old, who accompanied me. It was a couple of minutes walk to my car.
"What's your name?" I asked him.
"Arthik, from Bangalore," he replied.
"How long have you been here?"
"About a year. I work here part-time to help with my tuition," he said. "I am doing my Masters."
"Masters?" I asked. "In what?"
"Computer sciences," he replied. By that time we had reached my car. "By the way sir, you have a very nice car," he continued, as he looked longingly at the vehicle.
I looked at him and smiled. "You'll have a better car than this in a few years, It's just a matter of time," I said.
"I will sir, if I'm lucky and if it's in my destiny," he replied.
"You keep on working hard, Arthik and you'll be amazed at how lucky you get," I said.

That conversation has lingered with me for the last few days. I hope this young, hard-working man achieves everything he dreams of. We all know the relationship between hard work and success. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. I haven't heard of anybody drowning in their own sweat. Hard work does spotlight character when it shows up in front of people-- some will turn up their sleeves, some will turn up their noses and some will not turn up at all.

Do you all believe in destiny? I do, but only to a certain extent. I think everything does happen for a reason. Sometimes we don't understand the reason, because only God is privy to the master plan. And what about being lucky? As Thomas Jefferson once said, "I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it!" Luck has a very strange habit of favoring those who don't depend on it.

"God gave us two ends-- one to sit on and one to think with. Success depends on which one you use. Heads you win, tails you lose!"

P.S.- Here's wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

"....but basically, he's a nice person."

At a party recently, a gentleman (and I use the term loosely!) had a little too many and was acting real obnoxious. That's the only way I can describe his behavior. "That guy is acting like a spoilt child," I remarked to one of my friends.
"Oh...he's drunk. But basically, he is a nice person," he replied.

But basically he's a nice person?! I hear this all the time. What in the heck does that mean, anyway? I'm more interested in what comes before the but! In my book, the story before the "but" decides whether the person is nice or not. A lot of times, people will say these words to give somebody a second chance, or to protect them. I think if a person is nice, he's always going to be nice, no matter what. So the statement -- "he's acting like a jerk now, but basically, he's a nice person" -- somehow doesn't ring true for me. He or she might be nice & kind on occasion, but being "basically nice"? ..... I don't know about that.

And for all you prominent personalities out there -- it's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice. It's always good to be ambitious, to have goals, to want to be good at what you do, but it's a terrible mistake to let drive and ambition get in the way of treating people with kindness & decency. Never look down on anybody unless you are helping that person up. Being kind and generous gives us the most satisfaction in life. Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out. And generosity is not about the sum given, it is about the manner in which it is given.

So if you want to be nice, be like that all the time, to everyone. Part-time "niceness" doesn't make one basically nice.

Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Life goes on......

About 2 weeks ago, one of our friend's father passed away. This weekend we gathered at her house to comfort her and to pay respect to the departed soul. It was a coming together of friends & family who care for our bereaved friend, who wanted to be with her to share her sorrow and to give her courage to keep going on this road of life.

I knew our friend's father fairly well. He was a bright, upstanding, gentle and a very generous individual. I really don't understand what happens to a person's soul after the earthly journey is completed. But if there is such a place called Heaven, I know for sure that's where he is now. He will live in the hearts of his family forever. When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.

A lot of tears were shed today. I think it's good to let tears flow sometimes. Tears are our holy water, they heal as they flow. But as Robert Frost once said-- "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on." And it really does. The sun will shine every morning, the stars will twinkle every night and the flowers will still blossom every spring. The world will tick along as usual, as it has from the beginning of time. Are we human beings on a spiritual journey or are we spiritual beings on a human journey?

"If tears could build a stairway,
And memories a lane,
I'd walk up to heaven,
And bring you home again."
~ author unknown