Sunday, June 22, 2014

"K" is for 'Karma'

"Hey Doc," a patient said the other day, as she was leaving my office, with her young son. "I won $500 in the LOTTO."
"Alright!" I replied. "Good for you."
"It's all Karma, Mom," her son said.
I was taken a back. Maybe he said something else.
"Did you say Karma?" I asked.
"Yup," he was sure. "Karma," he repeated.
"How old are you?" I asked, very impressed.
"Eight," he said and looked at me with disapproval. "It means if you do good, something good will happen to you, and if you do bad things, something bad will happen to you," he explained, for my benefit.

If eight year-olds are talking about Karma, I thought I should learn more about it too, so that I don't get startled when a pre-teen talks to me about life's lessons. So let me start with the definition --

"The sum of a person's actions during this and previous state of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in this and future state of existence."

This is similar to the definition in Hinduism, Budhism, Sikhism and Jainism, from where this word is derived. The definition has evolved over a period of time, and generally pertains to the current existence alone. A basic straight up definition in the present day world is .. "What goes around, comes around!"

And we all see that in our day-to-day lives. Good things happen to nice people. And generally speaking, the not so nice people (constant complainers, the disgruntled, paranoid folks who constantly believe that the world is always conspiring against them etc. etc.) will always be unhappy, and gradually isolate themselves over a period of time.

Whether we believe in Karma or not, spiritually or on humanitarian grounds, it's always a good idea to evaluate our behavior as we go about our lives. We always have to be conscious of the effects our choices have on our family, friends and society in general. People who don't treat others well, who are insincere, better hope there is no Karma, because otherwise, it is likely to come back and bite them in the rear!

"How people treat you is their Karma. How you react is yours." ~ Wayne Dyer

And here are a couple of quotes explaining the lighter side of Karma -- 

Image detail for -karma, quotes about bad karma , funny quotes, good karma quotes, karma ...    Karma quotes

Here are some examples of INSTANT KARMA !

Road shoulder driver gets what he deserves--
Road Shoulder Driver Gets What’s Coming

Arrogance Karma --
Here Comes The Swagger

Chair kick instant karma --
Chair Kick Instant Karma

~ arvin chawla

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"J" is for "Jhappi" !!!!!

I know. I know. A very unusual title. But the letter 'J' was tough on me. I could have gone with 'Justice', but that was mundane. Then 'Jealousy' came to mind, but certain folks would think I am writing solely about them.

So then "Jhappi" came up. A panjabi word -- literally meaning "Hug". I'll take this as an opportunity to throw a spotlight on some fun aspects of "Panjabi culture". A lot of credit for this post goes to my cousin in India, who provided the details and the fun-facts!

First of all, the word in question -- 'Jhappi'. Actually the complete phrase is "Jhappi te Pappi"-- literal translation is "Hug & Kiss". And the kiss here generally means a peck on the cheek. This is the traditional way a panjabi would greet a dear friend. So expect a bone crushing hug. It is considered rude if you try to escape this loving death-embrace!

Another fun aspect of our culture is that for us, no celebratory event is small. So no matter what, we will be loud. The amount of alcohol that flows can probably fill up a small reservoir. And there is enough food to feed a small country. After a few rounds of drinks, everybody swarms to the dance floor for "Bhangra". The phrase "Burn the dance floor" was probably invented at some cocktail party in Batala!

We have originated our own slang. Some examples - Puls (police), Bult (bullet), Knayda (Canada), Nyoda (Noida), Kloney (colony) etc. And then of course our "repeat slang" -- Dinner-shinner, Party-sharty, Mutton-shutton, Daru-sharu, Joke-shoke and so on. 

But one thing we kept simple, and that is our names, lest there be any confusion! Jas, gur, preet, deep, har, prabh, inder, jeet, meet, pal, bir -- mix up this suffixes or prefixes in various permutations and combinations with some words, and you will have literally covered more than 90 percent of all panjabi names in existence.

Panjabis are also your 2 AM friends, probably because you are out with them at that time anyway, in their fully loaded, extended SUV, listening to songs at volumes that will rattle your ear-drums.

Jokes apart, Panjabis are a proud people -- energetic, boisterous and hard-working. And I am proud to be one. And I am sure everybody has stories and anecdotes unique to their own culture, and everyone is equally proud. Our heritage is the accumulation over generations, of beliefs and customs, that define our culture, and eventually us.

Why are we so drawn to our roots? Probably because to understand 'Today', sometimes we have to search 'Yesterday'.

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