Sunday, December 19, 2010

Feeling responsible, by association!

It happened to me again today. I went shopping and my shopping cart developed a squeal that made heads turn! This has happened to me so many times that sometimes I feel as if there is a conspiracy against me. Anyway, I felt embarrassed and had to change my cart.

So why did I feel embarrassed? The cart belongs to the store, its not my personal driving machine. Everybody knows that I just picked it up as I walked into the store. So is there a reason for me to feel the way I did? Maybe there is. I can only define it as "Responsibility by association." When I picked the cart as I came in, it was mine for the period of time I was in the store. Now extrapolate this to a social situation. If a person starts behaving like a jerk at a party, his or her friends feel embarrassed. In the same token, we feel proud when our friends achieve success. (Well, most people do. Except for the small minority who are always competing with their "friends"!) That's because we assume responsibility of persons associated with us. The closer the association with an individual, the more responsible we feel. So why is that?

Our character is a complex interplay of our mannerisms, our nature and education, among many other things. But it is also affected by our associations. We therefore, cannot afford to be indifferent as to who or what our friends are. Every man becomes, to a certain degree, what the people he hangs out with are.

"A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people!" ~ Will Rogers

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

A salute to a life well lived

Most of you know that I am a practicing physician. One of the practices that we run was bought from a retiring physician. He became a patient of our practice and I have known him for the last 10 years. Three months ago, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He came to the office two weeks ago.
"Hey Arvin," he said. "How's the family?"
"Good, sir," I replied. "And how are you?"
"You know the damn cancer is spreading. I don't think I'll be able to beat this darn thing," he said, and a sad smile touched his face.
"Keep on with the chemo and you never know what might happen....." My voice trailed off. I didn't sound convincing, even to myself. This guy was a physician, he knew about the disease process and prognosis.
"I know exactly what's going on and what's going to happen. Just came to say good bye, Arvin. You have been very good to me," he said and held out his hand.
I took his hand. The grip was still very firm.
"You still have time. I'll see you next month for your blood work," I said, feeling down. I really didn't know what else to say.
"Oh I know.... I know. I 'm still around for a few months. But with the illness I have, things can go downhill in a jiffy. And I never miss out on thanking people...never."
"I appreciate that, but the pleasure has been all mine." And I really meant it.

Here was this upstanding gentleman, who knew he was almost at the end of his earthly journey, thanking people who had touched his life one way or the other. That in itself, spoke volumes about his character. He believed that "silent gratitude" is of no use to anyone.

Exactly 2 weeks from the day of that conversation, I got news that he passed on peacefully.

Hats off to him for a life well lived. And I thank him for reinforcing one of life's lessons, which I hope I never forget -----

"Feeling Gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and never giving it."

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rules and common sense!

The other day I went a local electronics store. As I was checking out, the cashier, who was a polite young man, asked me few questions.
"Can I have your name sir?"
I gave him my name.
"Can I have your address sir?"
I did that too.
"Can I have your date of birth sir?"
I was getting a little annoyed now. "What's the next question? My favorite color?!"
The young man got a little flustered. "We just like to know our customers very well, sir," he replied.
"I think I really feel very close to you already with the info I gave you," I smiled, taking the sting out of my words.
He smiled nervously. "May I ask you one last one question, sir?"
"Sure. Go ahead, I know you are just doing your job," I said.
"Would you like to buy warranty for the product you are planning to buy today?"
I couldn't help smiling as I held up the "product" I was planning to buy -- A pack of AAA batteries!

The young man that day was just doing his job, as trained by his superiors. But don't you think that the corporate culture in our society sometimes takes this "Doing my job" & "Just following rules" too far? Its good to follow rules, but a touch of reality check now & then, is not a bad idea. With the new Airport security rules, a full body pat down for an eighty-year-old grandma from Kansas can definitely be modified with a pinch of common sense thrown in.

With all the rules, regulations, stipulations and impersonal computers, common sense will die a slow death if not used commonly. Common sense is seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.

"Common sense and sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing!" ~ William James
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P.S.--Here's wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving!!

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Of 'smart' people, and their 'smarter' phones....

This is a familiar scenario at many get togethers I happen to be at ---- There's a discussion on some topic, followed by a mild argument about certain facts & figures. And in a flash, everyone whips out their smart phones and starts tapping wildly to prove their side of the argument. And then somebody will say "Got it!" a couple of seconds before the others chime in with their "Got its." But the moment belongs to the person who was first as he beams and explains about the latest 'App' he has in his smart phone, and therefore "his smart phone is the best and a couple of seconds faster than all the others in the room!"

This is generally followed by a chorus of protests from other smart phone users present and there follows another discussion about whose phone is faster and better. The logistics always amaze me. People will argue for five minutes about whose phone is faster by 2 seconds!! I haven't seen people talk of their kids as proudly as they do of their smart phones.

And then the other day, I saw two friends discussing about the flashlight on their phones. One of them said, very proudly --"My phone has a flashlight on both sides. One flashes forward and the other flashes back at me."
"Both sides! Wow...!" the other person was suitably impressed.
And I thought to myself --So when is he going to use the light that flashes straight back at him? When he's looking for himself?

These days smart phones are a national obsession. Don't get me wrong. Smart phones are a great innovation and eventually all our connectivity to the world of information and entertainment is going to be through these hand held devices. But I think a lot of people take their infatuation too far. Some folks are more connected to their gadgets than to their partners!
Favorite Techno-geek line ---

"Some things Man was never meant to know. For everything else, there's Google!"


P. S. --"WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY DIWALI !!"

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

When life turns 'Topsy-turvy'.....

A happy couple, with two grown-up handsome boys, doing well financially.....and then one fateful day, 5 -years ago, the 21-year old elder son had an aneurysmal stroke that left him handicapped.....and the outlook on life for that particular family changed in an instant.

I had a long discussion with the father sometime last week. I could see the sadness in the depth of his eyes. The wrinkles on his face were more pronounced since I last saw him, brought on by the constant worry about his son. But he never complains.
"It's all God's will," he said. "We are still trying to adjust to the new normal in our lives. You never know when life throws you a twister."

I have believed over a long time that everything happens for a reason and it is generally for the best. Fate and Destiny have as many definitions as the number of people you ask. But I am hard pressed to find a positive spin on the young man's predicament. So I don't know whether I can believe the phrase "Everything happens for the best."

On the other hand, maybe there is more to events in our lives than what we can see or realize right now. We try to plan our lives but maybe there is a master plan, that God alone knows. A lot of times, I have ended up in places where I needed to be, not necessarily where I wanted to be. We can't control our destiny, but we can definitely shape it by making the right choices in moments of decision.

"Sometimes, perhaps, we are allowed to get lost, so that we may find the right person to ask directions from." ~ Robert Brault

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

The glass should always be half-full......

A blur of driving to and fro from the hospital, tubes, IVs and ventilators -- that's been the last two weeks for me. But in a different role. I was not the physician this time, instead my role was of a family member caring for a very sick patient. At times, the prospects looked grim and the prognosis grave. But the wonderful physicians, nurses and the paramedical staff at Loudoun Hospital Center, especially the ICU, kept the hope alive. The glass was always half-full to them. The patience and perseverance was phenomenal. There were always encouraging words, a soft smile and a steely resolve to try to make the patient better.

Their optimism was contagious and eventually seeped into me and rest of the family. So it was then a question of "when" my mother would get better, not "if". Hope and optimism can do amazing things to a person's psyche. Hope never abandons us, we lose sight of it sometimes. And being an optimist results in a positive life cycle. All the great inventors and explorers had to have a very strong streak of optimism. Without that, I am sure Christopher Columbus would never have set sail in uncharted waters.

A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds and worries; a realist sees both sides and shrugs; an optimist doesn't see the clouds at all - he's walking on them! But as is the rule of life, nature finds a way to balance everything. We do need both pessimists and optimists in life -- one to invent airplanes and the other to invent parachutes.

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start being an optimist and work towards a new ending." ~ Maria Robinson

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Living in the moment

A couple of weeks ago, I saw an elderly gentleman in my office. He had started getting short term memory loss. He is a well-educated person, and he realized he suffered from early Alzheimer's Dementia. That's always the toughest stage to deal with emotionally. That's because the patient knows his memory is slipping and he realizes where he's headed.

"I know I'm headed towards the dark side," he said, with a sad smile.
"I'm sorry," I said, pulling a chair next to him. I didn't know what else to say. "Seeing a specialist might help."
"I'll see the specialist, doc," he said. "But I know it won't help much. But I'm okay. I'm dealing with it."
"How are you dealing with it?" I couldn't help asking.
"I can't remember what happened this morning. But I know what's happening right now. I don't know how long this is going to last, but as long as it does, I am going to live in the moment."
"Live in the moment?" I asked.
"Yes, doc. Should have done this a long time ago. Most of my life I lived in the past and worried about the future."

The conversation was inspiring for me. There was a lesson for me here. Life does unfold in the present. I want to go on vacation when I'm at work and I worry about work piling up when I'm on vacation. Our social lives weave a web of relationships around us. How intricate or complicated we want this web to be depends solely on ourselves. A mind that bounces from thought to thought, ruminates in the past and worries about the future, cannot live in the present. The past is a good place to visit, but try not to live there.

"Don't let your yesterdays use up too much of your todays." ~ Cherokee Indian proverb

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

"As soon as I can..."

A few weeks ago, I was at a 50th wedding anniversary of our friends parents. The 'groom' let us in on a secret. You see, 50 years ago, when he proposed to her, he couldn't afford a ring. So, instead of a ring, he got her something 'appropriate'. He promised his bride-to-be that he would get her a ring, in his words -- "as soon as I can". Well, they married and life got busy. They had a daughter and time flew. And before they knew it, it was their 50th wedding Anniversary. Never forgetting the promise he had made, he gave her a ring that day in front of about a 100 guests, apologizing that his "soon as I can" took 50 years!

The lady of the evening said she really didn't care, that the ring was just an accessory with the main package (the groom!). I've known this couple for more than a decade. I don't know how much money or property they have, but without a doubt, they are the happiest couple I know. They visit me in the office once in a while and whenever they come into our office, our staff lights up and just can't stop smiling.

So I guess happiness in a relationship depends on a lot of things. How we prioritize our values as couples would vary among different people. Materialistic things do tend to lose their shine & glitter after some time. How about love, understanding, tolerance and trust? Does their luster get less bright with time? Probably not, and the opposite is actually true. These grow with time. No amount of glitter & jazz can match the wealth of a trusting relationship.

"No man is truly married until he understands every word his wife is NOT saying!" ~ Author unknown







Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cherishing our "Heritage"

A gentleman came to meet me this past Friday and informed me about a "Punjabi Mela" (fair) he and his friends were organizing. His philosophy was to bring together people from a similar background and to cherish the "Punjabi" heritage. I was struck by his sincerity for the cause and to make this event a success.

Our roots, our heritage is the accumulation over generations, of beliefs and customs that define our culture. Sometimes certain customs defy logic, but they do have a history behind them. In our formative years, we develop certain ideas, ideals and standards. This code defines us as adults---morals and principles we live by and teach our children. Over a period of time, things do change with the flow of time, and we should too. That's called being flexible, as opposed to being rigid. But at the same time, we all do make a conscious effort to preserve traditions that have stood the test of time. Traditions that define a part of us and provide us a glimpse of our ancestral history.

So why are we all so drawn to our roots? Probably because to understand Today, sometimes we have to search Yesterday. Its a desire to find out where we belong, to find out our moorings. How will our children know who they are, if they don't know where they came from? Our past, our culture, our traditions have had an important role to bring us where ever we are today.

"Remember your history. To forget is not to belong." ~ Charlotte A. Black

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P.S. - Check out the "Punjabi Mela" on 8/14/10, at the Bull Run regional park in Manassas, from 11 am to 8 pm, for a day of family fun!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Proving your (in)sanity....!

I heard an interesting news essay on NPR recently. About a decade ago, an 18-year old young man got arrested in some part of England for violently beating up an old, defenseless and homeless man. As his case went to trial, some of his friends suggested he should act crazy or mentally unstable to escape a jail term. That way, his friends told him, he would go to a psychiatric institution for a few months and avoid a jail term. Well, he did exactly that. He acted out, behaved and talked inappropriately and convinced the jury & psychiatrists that he was mentally unstable. So what happened next?

He avoided the jail term and was admitted to the (in)famous Broadmoor mental institution in Berkshire. Now the next step? To try to convince the psychiatrists at the institution that he was sane or normal. So that he could get out of there. Its been 12 years, and he's still trying!

Before we jump to conclusions, the psychiatrists at Broadmoor say that this patient is a sociopath and is manipulative. That his story about acting abnormal initially was not really acting, that was really him. And that his normal behavior now is acting!

So that set me thinking a bit. Is it easier to convince people that you are insane than otherwise? But the fact that somebody's sanity is in question in the first place -- that in itself is not a good sign!

In our day to day lives, a pinch of insanity here and there is almost normal. We are all allowed a few sparks of madness in our lifetime. As long as these moments are few & remain just sparks and don't start a fire, life stays interesting (and entertaining!)

"The statistics on sanity are that one of every four people is suffering from some sort of mental illness (however mild it may be). Now think of your three best friends. If they are okay, then its you!" ~ Rita Mae Brown

Sunday, July 4, 2010

"Don't worry, be happy...."

The song "Don't worry, be happy!" by Bobby McFerrin was an overnight hit in 1988. Not many people know that the song was inspired by an original quote of Meher Baba, an Indian mystic and spiritual leader in the 1950's and 60's. The original quote was "Do your best. Then don't worry, be happy."

Why do we worry so much? Well, not all of us, but a lot of us do. There are different aspects of life we worry about, depending on our personalities. We worry about our jobs, finances, children, people we care about..... the list is never ending.

When we worry excessively, does it help any situation, in any way? It's human nature to be anxious. And its normal to worry, to a certain point. Beyond that point, its fruitless. Worries are like people -- they grow bigger if you nurse them. Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere. We all have problems or obstacles in our lives. That is life. Each person is an individual, with a unique way of tackling each problem. A lot of the issues in our lives are little. Worrying about these little things gives them a big shadow.

The problem is not that there are no solutions to our obstacles. There are always options. The problem is that we sometimes don't like the solutions that life offers us. We just have to strive on, with a clear goal in mind. Success loves hard work and vice-versa. You just can't keep these two apart. Excessive worrying just creates detours on the road to success. Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night!

Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. ~Author Unknown

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

An 'En'-lightning strike!!

About ten days ago, our house was struck by lightning. Thankfully, the damage was not severe apart from some appliances and circuit boards that got fried with the enormous voltage surge that invariably accompanies these events. We lost the TV signal, land line phone and the internet.
"No TV?" my son exclaimed. "There's an NBA game tonight!"
"No internet?" groaned my daughter. "We've been thrown back into the dark ages!"
"Well," I said. "Maybe we can all sit and play some board games---"
"Sure, dad", "Whatever", "Yeah rite!" are a few of the less than enthusiastic responses that I got!

Dark ages?!! Are we that dependent on the technology of the 21st century? The short answer -- YES! And some are more hooked than others. So how did life move about 15 years ago when we all were not this blessed with the gadgetry and for the most part --hold your breath--- no cell phones!! Even I have a tough time imagining life without mobile phones, which seem to be an extension of our bodies now. And all these technological wonders do come with a tremendous advantage of giving us the ability to connect to friends and family at virtually any time.

But to be fair, our kids were great during the mini crisis. We were all able to connect to each other a little more. But I think the fact that they still had their cell phones helped a lot! The texting intensity and frequency noticeably increased. The speed at which these kids text makes me dizzy!

Sometimes its hard to remember that it is okay to take a minute to relax and not to be plugged in all the time. Maybe we all should try, for a few minutes each day, to disconnect from the world and to reconnect with ourselves.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Trust, Trusting & Trustworthy

We recently helped our daughter move back home from UVA after her semester finished. So we parked our cars next to the dorm and moved stuff. It was a lot of back and forth from the cars to the dorm. And her room being on the fourth floor didn't help! But I noticed something interesting that day. I locked my car every time I would go into the dorm to get more stuff. So did some of the other parents there, but some didn't.

"You don't have to lock the car when you go in, dad," my daughter said to me, when she noticed that.
"But your TV, your laptop is in the car, Neety," I replied.
"Chill, dad. Nobody's going to take anything," she said.
I reluctantly did not lock the car after that. And then I looked around. I noticed something even more interesting. People who looked to be from my kind of background (I mean who grew up in third world countries) were locking their cars. People who seemed to be from here originally, were not locking their cars each time. I know I am making a vast generalization, but that was the trend of about the ten - fifteen cars there at the time. Why was that?

To me the answer was simple. Nobody leaves cars and homes unlocked where I grew up. That's not to say that that we don't have crime here, but there is a big difference. So that has percolated into my personality. Our kids have grown up here, so they are more trusting of people. And when you are more trusting, you also become more trustworthy. And the cycle goes on.

But the opposite is also true. We all get upset if somebody breaks our trust, but what's more upsetting is that we will generally have a tough time trusting that individual again. And this cycle also goes on.

I think the environment we grow up in has a lot to do with how trusting we are. If we are surrounded with a healthy social fabric in our formative years, our character is infused with a trusting nature. In the not so well to do countries, corruption and nepotism are rife. And because of that, people who grew up in those times, trusting does not come easy.

"Trust actions. Life happens at the level of actions and movement, not words or intentions. Trust only actions." ~ Khalil Gibran

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

A step backwards?

Yesterday, my teenage son was getting ready to go to the mall to 'hang out'.
"You got some money, Simar?" I asked. "And keep your phone with you, just in case."
He nodded affirmative to both and off he went. After a bit I watched a discussion on TV regarding the new Arizona Immigration law. And that started me thinking. If I was in Arizona, would my son need to carry some sort of Government issued ID too? He doesn't have a license yet, so he really does not have any sort of official ID. But he is brown skinned, like me and he's going to stay that way.

As per the new law, you could be asked for identification, if the police official suspects you to be an illegal alien. And you don't have to be on the wrong side of the law to be asked to prove your resident status. Now I know that 99 per cent of the police officers and other officials will not stop people on the streets for IDs, but they do have the authority to do that if they so desire. And by just looking at an individual, who would they suspect to be an illegal resident? A person with white skin and blond hair? Or somebody with darker skin?

If somebody asks me for my ID to prove my resident status, I really would be okay with it. I grew up in a third world country, where the politicians, police and most of the bureaucracy is corrupt. So I am more tolerant of the whims and quirks of those in power. But our children are not. They grew up in this great country, where freedom and liberty are the essence of life. They have been taught from kindergarten that the color of your skin does not matter. So how will our teenage son or daughter react if someone asks them for an ID, just because they have brown skin? Not well, I'm sure.

These are my personal views, and a lot of you might not agree. I know there is a problem with illegal immigrants. But is this the right way to tackle it? The focus should be on our borders and/or on people who hire illegal residents. But as a people, if we see something that does not seem right, we should speak up.

"Fate and destiny do not look kindly on those who stay neutral at times of injustice." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Life is tough!".....Is it really?

I was talking to a friend on a busy day at the office and I said to her "I'm so busy. God, life is tough!"
She just smiled back at me and replied "Hey, you know life is a gift, right? Maybe you are not living it right!"

And that statement of hers has stuck with me for the last few days. And she is right. Life is indeed a gift, and being in the situation I am in, I have no right to complain. How tough I make my life is entirely and solely up to me. I am busy because I make myself so. I do have to work hard to pay for the lifestyle I chose. Now that's not to say that we shouldn't work hard. We should and all of us do, but then I have no business complaining!

I can understand if people in areas ravaged by famine, natural calamities and war complain about life. I guess they have a reason to. But not me. I always have the choice to move to a smaller house, to cut my expenses if life seems hard. But like many others, people (including me) tend to spread themselves too thin. Bigger homes, fancier cars, exotic vacations....the list never ends. Sometimes it's real tough to have a sensible balance between wants and needs. Depending on which way that balance tilts, will decide how much we have to work!

Sometimes the present seems hard because the past seems better than it was and the future looks tougher than what it probably will be. Sometimes we think ourselves to the brink of anxiety. Life is like school, with one difference.

In school, you are taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you are given a test that teaches you a lesson. ~ Tom Bodett

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Withdrawal symptoms of a "special" kind!!

A few days ago we celebrated the 25th wedding anniversary of a wonderful couple. It was a great party and I got to meet a lot of friends I hadn't seen in a while. Well, now the party is over and I'm going through a withdrawal. And along with me and my wife, are 5 other couples going through the same thing.

Let me explain. The six couples in question performed a little dance sequence at the party (which actually turned out pretty good!). The reason it turned out the way it did was that all of us got together to practice, starting about fifteen days before the event. Now let me rephrase that to tell you the truth. To practice was just an excuse to get together. So for about 5 or 6 times before the big occasion, we had so called "practice sessions", which we all knew were actually mini-parties. The dance practice would generally last a grand total of 15 minutes, and the other 3 hrs and 45 minutes would be......(you guessed it)....partying!!!! So that's the withdrawal I am going through. From a get-together almost every third day to just one party a week!! So these days when we meet, we all are looking for excuses for others to throw a party!

So why is it that we don't get tired of seeing the same people over and over again? I guess that could be a definition of friendship. No matter how often or frequently friends meet, the laughter that invariably envelops every person is fresh and genuine. Friendship is never defined by one big thing, its about thousands of those "little" things.

"We make friends not for who they are, but for how they make us feel."

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sometimes a "No" means a "Yes"!

I think its a cultural thing. A 'no' doesn't always mean that. I'm from India and back there, when you are invited somewhere, you never accept food the first time its offered to you. If you do say 'yes' the first time, its sometimes considered impolite. The host is persistent if you say 'no' and then you relent. That's how I grew up. And then I came to the United States!

The first few weeks in America, whenever I visited somebody's home, and I was offered food, I would politely say 'no'. And then wait for the host to offer me food again. And sometimes that never happened. I do remember, on occasion, I would return home....hungry! Then a dilemma crept up. Whenever I was at an Indian-American gathering, what was I supposed to do? "Yes" at the first instance..or a polite "No" at first and then take my chances?!! Well, over the next few years I could judge the "Americanization" of people fairly well and didn't return home hungry!

So that set me thinking, why do we sometimes say "no" in a situation like that. Is it being polite? Good manners? I don't think so. But that's my opinion. You could argue either way. I think the initial 'no' is ingrained in us during our formative years. Its the culture we grow up in. Living in the United States, we are exposed to different cultures. Every culture, every tradition and custom has its own character, its own weakness and strength. A lot of traditions in different cultures defy logic. But they do have a history behind them. Traditions and customs are windows through which we can look back and relive a little bit of the history of our culture.

So never forget the traditions that have been handed down to us by generations, because they are links to our past. Some customs might not always make sense, but they do give us a glimpse of history. They do give us an insight to our roots.

"It takes an endless amount of history to create the tiniest of traditions."

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Admitting a mistake!!

I saw something very nice on television last night. At the beginning of the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, the Canadian Olympic Committee made fun of the glitch that occurred on the opening ceremonies, when one of the four columns that was to hold the Olympic flame failed to rise. By making fun of their own mistake, they accomplished two things. Firstly, they admitted making a mistake and secondly, they accepted the shortcoming in their planning.

So how often does one see that in our day-to-day life? Not enough. We all make mistakes. Some of them we realize, others we don't. Its a part of life. I probably make a few before I leave the house each morning! And like many others, I too hesitate to admit to them. I think the world would be a lot more happier and less complicated if people admitted to their mistakes. That's the only way we can get better and improve ourselves.

Mistakes are painful when we make them. But down the years, a collection of mistakes is called "Experience." Thinking we know, when in fact we don't, is a common error in judgment, to which we are all prone. It is the highest form of self-respect to admit to our shortcomings and make amends for them. We should learn from the mistakes of others because we won't live long enough to make them all ourselves!

"There's no bigger mistake than that of thinking we have never made one!"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Valentine questions!!

Well, yesterday was Valenine's day. For a lot of men, its like an exam or a tough interview! They have to come through with their "thoughtfulness"and/or "sensitivity", and believe me, that's no easy task. I though I did pretty well and passed the exam.....till the party in the evening!

Now don't get me wrong, the Valentine party was great. It was hosted by one of the nicest couples I know. The party was going well till the hosts separated the men and women. Both groups were given questionnaires. The men were asked to fill out likes and dislikes, and favorite things about their wives. The wives were supposed to fill out similar matching questions. The scene on the men's side was fascinating. There was an undercurrent of tension running through the room and suddenly the boisterous men were very quiet. Although most men tried to cover up their nervousness with not-so-funny jokes, you could see the faint beads of perspiration, the shaky hands and the nervous tics on the faces of all the so-called "macho" men. And I was one of them! Some men, after reading the questions, headed to the bar to get some "liquid courage".

Devastating thoughts like "What if I don't get even one question right?" raced through my mind. One of the questions was "Who is your wife's favorite designer?" The only name that came to my mind was "Toll Brothers"! Another one asked about her favorite color, still another about her favorite restaurant. Then there was a question -- "What about you annoys or upsets her?" God, I thought to myself, where do I start? This paper is too small for that answer! But like most other men in the room, I crossed my fingers, praised the Lord and answered the questions.

The Gods were kind to me and I got a few questions right. What a relief that was! I could see a few men being "talked to" by stern looking wives. But the dancing later dissolved all the petulance and all was well again......I think! All in all, it was a great party and hours we spent there sped by fast.

"I've learned that only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. First, let her think she's having her own way. And second, let her have it." ~ Lyndon B. Johnson

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blame game!!

Although a bit delayed, it was still refreshing to hear President Obama say -- "The buck stops with me." This was in response to the attempted bombing of a commercial airliner near Detroit, about month ago. But prior to this statement, there was a lot of finger pointing in Washington. The various national security agencies blamed each other for letting the alleged bomber acquire an American Visa, then slip through airport security inspite of being on the "Watch list" with an explosive strapped to his leg!

We see similar scenarios of "passing the buck" all the time in our day to day lives. Its not only the politicians. Blame is passed around, and nobody wants to accept responsibility. Here's how we should NOT define Responsibility-- "A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, fate, fortune, luck or one's neighbor!"

There have been times in my life when I have tried to shirk responsibility. But then I realized I could dodge my responsibility, but its tough to dodge the consequences of dodging the responsibility. When we take charge of our own lives, there's one terrible thing that happens -- "There's no one to blame!" Wherever we are today, at whatever juncture we are in life, is a result of the choices we made. At some point or another in our lives, we all have made a decision that we would love to take back. But unfortunately, there is no "rewind" in real life. So its best, in my opinion, to accept the consequences of that decision and move on. Life is a constant learning experience. Its up to us to imbibe the lessons we get everyday and apply them in our day to day life.

In real life scenarios, "I must do something" always gets more results than "Something must be done!!"
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