Tuesday, June 15, 2021

When you mean no...

When you say you are going to call, Call.

When you say you are going to turn up, Turn up. 

When you say you will get it done, Get it done. 

Trust is built in small actions.

When you consistently break your promises, people start to question the integrity in your words. They trust you less and feel that they can not rely on you.

 Say yes when you mean yes, and no when you mean no. 

The best man

 

I could write a whole book on my father, baba as I call him, so I am finding it hard to confine it to a blog post. I am trying my best to keep it short.

He was one of the eight kids in a poor family who lived in a small village. My grandfather died when my dad was still in school. My grandmother worked as a maid in people's houses. Baba worked as a typist at a lawyer's office during his college days and then got a job in a bank after his graduation. He had just one shirt and pant to wear that he would wash in the evening and wear the same thing next day. He never wears his clothes without ironing them.

He always told me that never be dressed up but always be well dressed (poshakh kara pan poshakhi nasa), I never wear clothes without ironing them too. He bought most of my clothes when I was in school/ college. He has a great choice in clothes. He remains the most well dressed man that at least I have seen. Simple and tidy with well done hair and always clean shaved.

There are a lot of great things about him. The first and foremost that I can think of is the zest and enthusiasm with which he lived his life. He had passion to do every other thing. He made huge and beautiful rangolis in our front yard on the occasion on diwali, he has done innumerable superb embroidery pieces, he played excellent badminton/ table tennis/ chess and carrom, he solved Rubik's cube within seconds, he loved solving puzzles and crosswords. He played instruments like banjolele and harmonium. He read a lot, not anything and everything but just the quality, he always had a book that he was reading. He loved movies, old hindi songs and sung beautifully. He loved perfumes (attar) and collected many. He has a diploma in homeopathy and practiced it for many years.

He exercised every single day and had one of these sculpted bodies, he is still not bad considering his old age.

When he came home from work he taught me English and Math, then fed me, massaged my head with oil each night and put me to bed. He stayed by my bedside in each of my sickness. He did almost all household chores except actual cooking. I find it weird when people tell me that their dads never helped out. I did not know there is such thing as gender bias or duties based on gender roles until I saw the outside world.

He treats my mother with utmost respect and love. I have never ever seen them quarrel, hard to believe but it is true. I find it weird when I see men disrespecting women.

He never told what I should be doing and not doing, what I should wear and not wear or who I should be meeting or not meeting. I can not survive in environments where I am told what needs to be done. Freedom of choice is the best gift I got from him or rather from both my parents. He always told me 'aikave janache karave manache' - hear what people have to say but do what your heart says and he also gave me the liberty to follow it.

He also said so many other beautiful philosophical things that I could write a booklet on it, he did not just say them but always followed it with his actions. He is a strong believer but he never ever forced me to be one. People find it weird that I am an atheist born to fervent believers. Again, freedom of choice.

If I had to ever ask for anyone's advice or would happily listen to one then it would be his, but again he would say the same, do what 'you' want to do, make mistakes learn from them, never regret, this by the way also shows immense amount of trust in the child.

People say he talks less, but he talked a lot at home with my mother and us kids. But here is one interesting thing about him, he never ever said a single bad word about anyone or anything to anyone. Never. Not even with my mother. He always said people who talk about people are third grade people (he used a Sanskrit phrase for it and I don't remember it now). One time when I asked him why he didn't tell me a certain important thing about my family history, he said because it is history, is it impacting you in any way in the present?. This is how he always has been, engrossed in activities, doing intellectual things and being positive and spiritual (in it's true sense).

On a side note, I have six aunts and one uncle and one commonality amongst all Mahabals that I have observed over the years is no one talks about each other or any other person, unless they have something good to say like 'oh so and so sings so well', apart from that no one talks about people. Period. They play, laugh, talk non stop but about events and happenings. And the same trait has perforated in the next generation and I hope the Mahabal gene takes over and remains dominant in this area for generations to come.

Baba could sleep anywhere, eat anything, sometimes he would finish his dinner and then the mother would find out that she forgot to put salt in the sabji, but he didn't complain. What's the big deal, he said. I have never seen Baba complain about a single thing in life and he has been through hell, and yet not a single word about it. I wish he never had to go through hell, but then shit happens, he has accepted it graciously, I haven't. Because I feel bad things happen to good people while the bad ones keep on living heartily, unfair. All I can say is Karma is a flop concept.

He is one gem of a person who might not have given us a huge house to live in but our small house was and is always filled with positivity, enthusiasm, creativity, simplicity, activity, freedom, love, support and respect. He is an ideal example of 'simple living high thinking'. If I had to select the best man that I met in my life then by far it is Baba.

If I live to be even half of the person that Baba is then I will consider my life a success story...

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Carl Sagan

 

A couple announced to a group of people present at their house that they were expecting their first child. Everyone was happy but one man in the group said 'I checked your horoscope with my astrologer and he told me there is NO chance until next year'.

 

There are millions of people like the man in this scene who are satisfying their curiosities and spreading ignorance. The couple was obviously stressed during all the months of pregnancy thinking 'what if the astrologer was right'. Well, they have healthy kids now and they produced them without checking with any astrologer. 

 

I wonder how can anyone predict sperm count, suitable conditions of the womb and free time that the couple was going to find to make babies! How can the faraway planets play a role in anything? It is quite pompous of humans to think that the planets are aware of our individual existence and have nothing better to do than to affect our futures.

 

It is funny that a lot of people refer to astrology as Science. Astrology is not a science, its an art. Art of selling dreams. Everyone needs emotional support and astrologers take advantage of it. They just not sell dreams, but they make people emotionally and intellectually handicap. People start relying on astrologers on almost everything. For marriage, business transactions, the birth of children, names of their babies and everything under the sky. Unfortunately, astrology is more popular in India than astronomy.

 

A few years back a lady on a road asked me to give her money when I denied she said 'My goddess will curse you, bad things will happen to you'. I found it ironical, if there was a goddess cursing or blessing someone and this lady had control over the goddess then why was she herself begging on the road? I left the scene but from a distance, I could see many people giving her money. Reason? Simple - Fear of unknown. 

 

Every single person is scared of the unknown, be it the future, entering a dark room or the reason for our existence. Out of our fears, demons are born they are nothing but superstitions. 

 

There is a movie called 'Little Boy', someone tells the little boy in the movie that he has the power to move land. Then this boy tries to move land all the time. One fine day there is an earthquake at the same time when he is trying to move land - the game of probability! And then everyone starts calling him a miracle, that is how superstitions are spread.

 

In India, there are many such miracle people, the babas, Maharaj or whatever you want to call them with millions of followers. People, irrespective of how much educated they are, believe in things like Maharaj and black magic. 

 

I wasn’t born with any superstitions, I don’t think any of us is, but the world makes sure that we learn them. Carl Sagan’s book The demon-haunted world helped me get rid of my superstitions and it feels quite liberated to live without any.

I wish every single person in the world reads it.

 

Cosmos 

Cosmos is a thoroughly enthralling read that takes you on a breath-taking journey from the inception of the Universe to futures that may never be and allows us to ponder what it truly means to be human and what our place, our purpose, is in the vast expanse of "this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky" I also highly recommend the show called Cosmos by Neil Degrasse Tyson, which is available on Netflix instant.

 

Pale Blue Dot 

 

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. Reading this book was the most humbling and character-building experience for me. 

 

These are my recommendations of Carl’s Sagan’s books, I hope you like them.

 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Equal treatment

My parents treated me as an equal to their sons. Since I experienced equality I know when I am not being treated as an equal. What about females who have never experienced equality? Do they accept it as a way of life? 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Perfection

Are we ourselves perfect in every particular? Doing the perfect actions, making the perfect choices? We have no reason to demand perfection of others before accepting them.


Saturday, June 5, 2021

Thought of the day



  1. Start exercising today, don't wait until everything is just right, things are never just right. Start and put things right as you go.
  2. Our problems are not because of our mother, the ecology, or the president. We write our own destiny.
  3. I learned a long time ago never to wrestle with a pig, you get dirty and besides the pig likes it!
  4. A person who doesn't read is not better off than a person who can't read ;-)
  5. There are some who are enthusiastic, work hard, and struggle for the betterment of others. There is no politics, show-business, or any greed for awards or fame. They are devoid of any ounce of jealousy or hatred. They blossom like the wildflowers and live cheerfully. When I meet such people I feel Yes! there is a beautiful reason to live in this world.


Friday, June 4, 2021

Bring in the change

How do we make people treat us neither as deities nor as doormats? How do we bring about the change? Are we waiting for a savior to come and help us? Some are strong enough to raise their opinions. What about those who understand the unequal behavior but can never manage to express their expectation of being treated as an equal?

Have you heard anyone saying 'It is so nice that her husband /brother/father let her do it', I have heard it many times and I am not even talking about uneducated people, some of them happen to be from my own family. If we want to bring a change we don't even need to go out, it needs to start with our own family. Raising daughters as an equal and never asking sons 'Are you a girl to cry'!