September 29, 2010

Do INDIANS lack Art of Giving ??

Sometimes I wonder why Indians are so insensitive to the needs of the fellow countrymen. It makes me ponder if we really lack the compassion and empathy that we should have for the needy ones around us.

Having been part of two major fund raising Campaigns I noticed that people don't want to part ways with money even when it's the question of Life or Death for the other fellow Indian. While it's quite natural to be a bit possessive of what you have but I fail to understand why do people don't want to donate even some minimum amount of money for a cause when this can bring a ray of hope for someone's life. 
And though in this post I am talking more of donations, but this applies to other things too be it even devoting some time for a cause or spreading some time for promotion of a cause etc.

People spend money without much thinking on religious rituals and they even give money generously to religious trusts but ask them to donate some money for a social cause and they will give you a stern look as if you are out to loot his money. They just won't like to even hear you and if at all they listen to you then they will make a hundred queries regarding that. I don't imply that they should not inquire about it. I mean, I concede that when a person is giving a particular amount (howsoever little that be), then he has all the rights to inquire about it and ensure its accountability, but at the same time I want to point out the difference in the two cases.

Talking about our elite class whom common men see in high regard and expects to come out with some help, its no better there too. The rich Celebrities, Politicians(good ones), businessmen are all the same. We think they have lots of money, so they would help if the cause gets noticed by them, but its just a big illusion for us. They live in their posh bungalows, and never care for individual cases. Yes, they might be associated with a few NGOs in some cases, but rarely do they come out to help individuals. Some might argue that it might be due to high no. of cases coming to them. But then why can't they spare a little for every few Genuine cases coming there way. And if they feel it unable to help monetarily, then they can help in numerous other ways like by appealing to media, mentioning it on their blogs etc. But no, they just don't turn up with any significant help.

I am really unable to understand INDIANS' lack of empathy and concern for the fellow citizens. Why can't every Indian donate a small part of money for some genuine causes. A student can easily spare Rs 50-100 for saving someone's life and similarly a Celebrity can very easily donate a few thousands for such emergency, genuine causes. But nothing of this sort actually happens. Celebrities donate lacs of money to some famous temple's trust but they won't give a single rupee for such individual causes. Its as if, giving small amount would look demeaning for a person of their stature.

In short, everyone from Celebrities to famous Corporate honchos to the common people are to be blamed for this apathy. Compared to this, our western counterparts are far better. They are far more generous in giving away their wealth for noble causes. This leaves me wondering why we Indians are like this!! Well, I am no expert in this field so I invite you readers to give your opinions on this.
But anyway, here is my view as to why this difference in attitude is there between us and our western brothers.

First thing is that in Western Countries there is no legacy of leaving behind hugely amassed wealth for the coming generations. There, children start living independently (on their own expenses) early and parents get their minds off the worries to support their children. All this may be attributed mainly to the prevailing culture there and partly to the high employment rate.
In fact in the words of the Great philanthropist Warren Buffet-" I want to give my Kids enough so that they could feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing."

On the contrary, we in India have family values firmly engraved in our Culture. We remain connected to our siblings and elders forever. While this is very good culture but what happens is that this gives rise to a family-centric approach from the very childhood. So when we grow up, we are less likely to help someone outside our family. We fail to understand that though not blood relatives, but others too are our own brothers and sisters. And thus most of us rarely take trouble to come out and help other fellow Indians.

Another reason might be that Indians are generally quite religious in nature. Indians blindly believe in many religious things and practices without giving it much thought. The overall result is that we end up getting unfairly inclined towards religious acts than some much needed humane efforts. In my opinion, it's much more important to get indulged in some social, humane efforts than following some religious acts and rituals. I believe, GOD can't be made happier by doing anything else other than serving His own creatures. But it's really very sad to see few Indians actually believing  in this.

One more reason that must be accounted for is the financial status of the people. The financial status of the citizens of a country too determines the mentality of the people there. If there is a vast gap in economic status of two countries then it is bound to have some great differences in the thinking of the people too.

Apart from these, there may be so many other reasons and I hope to find them in the course of my Life. But  for now I just hope that the better sense prevails in our fellow Countrymen and they indulge in social causes significantly more than they do right now. I just hope that we INDIANS learn the Art of Giving and make it a part of our Life. CHEERS !!!

September 26, 2010

The Right Attitude leads to Empowerment

A young girl walks on the lonely street, unhappy with herself. She is not beautiful like others are. "My friends have boyfriends and I do not. They are happy. Since I am not beautiful, I have no boyfriend." 
A strong breeze blows against her face and her silky hair starts dancing. It says to her: "Be like me my child, go with the flow and you will glow." The breeze teaches her to have an attitude which will lift her beyond mere physical beauty.
The breeze is constantly moving; so to move with the vastness of life without getting stuck, be like it, constantly move. The breeze says to her: "I do not move for happiness but out of happiness. I do not dance for happiness but out of happiness. A youth should learn this art to operate from happiness and not for happiness. Happiness is an attitude. To be a winner in life is also an attitude." 

Your attitude is more important than facts for the right attitude can empower you. When you are empowered, you are bigger than a problem rather than a victim to a problem, and living in such a space makes you a winner. An easy task becomes difficult when you have a poor attitude. A difficult task becomes challenging when you have a good attitude. 
Change your body posture. A trainer talking to students on the subject of public speaking told them: "When you talk of heaven your face must be glowing and radiating joy. Your eyes must shine and lips should reflect heaven." "What about talking of hell?" asked the student. "Your normal face is enough," replied the trainer.

Change your mind. Always entertain healthy thoughts. Positive thoughts are a great asset. A pessimist sees difficulty in an opportunity and an optimist sees opportunity in a difficulty. Understand that when one door closes another opens. Trust life. Insecurity invites you to be alert and not worried. It tells you to be creative and not complain. One has to know how to take it easy and float in life and not fight with life. You can't fight with the waves but you can learn to float. 

Change your emotions. The quality of your life is the quality of your consistent emotion. When your emotion is low, just change it; think of a happy incident. Change your values. Have values that connect to goodness and connect to people. 

Follow these psychological exercises: Always stand and sit erect. "If you want to be a colonel, walk like a colonel," is an expression in the army. Keep the body posture like that of a winner. Fill your mind with positive thoughts. Keep your emotions on the top of the world. Exercise and keep the above alive in you; see and picture yourself doing this. 
Lots of people fear failure, death, insecurity and rejection. Come from a commitment that failure is only postponed success. Failure is the fertiliser for success. If you bring this energy into your life, it will give you methods of handling fear of failure. Also understand that fear is a movement of thought. Thought is nothing but a movement of the mental word. 
If you get identified with a fear which is actually just a thought, which again is just a word, then this identification makes you a prisoner of fear. Also, this thought-fear unconsciously pulls in the previous memories of fear and with the past fears, a snowballing effect happens. 
So when fear happens, just become totally aware and don't get identified with that thought. With wordless awareness, just watch. This watching will not allow the previous fears to have a snowballing effect. This is called objective watching. 

You feel insecure because you have a concept of what is security and from that concept you are seeing life. Anything that does not fit that concept makes you insecure.
If you have the spirit of adventure in you then insecurity is a great adventure for you to explore. You will have fun with that insecurity. Learn to trust that insecurity is inviting you to be creative.

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P.S.- The above thoughts are actually of Swami Sukhabodhananda. I had read this article a long time back in 'The Speaking Tree' column of TOI. The Original article can be found at

September 23, 2010

Cigarette's Smoke !!! The one thing I hate most....

Every time I go out, one thing that leaves me fuming is persons smoking here and there and me having to inhale that damn smoke. Cigarette's smoke is the one thing that I hate most and its just too repulsive for me. I just can't bear its smell. As soon as I smell someone near me smoking, I just feel like giving him a big punch on face and disfiguring his face so much that he doesn't dare smoke next time. I wish, I could get some superpower some time and thus could go around beating those smokers. 

I hate Cigarettes more for its smoke than for its health hazards. I hate it much more than liquor. Liquors have at least some medical benefits too but Cigarettes.... it is totally useless and fully harmful. More notable thing is that in Cigarettes, double harm is caused, both active and passive smokers are harmed by it. There is no such thing in Drinking and moreover, I have heard some kinds of Drinks have less repulsive smell. But whatever, right now I hate both things- Smoking and Drinking.

I am forced to write about Smoking because its almost daily that I get caught up in a situation where I find someone smoking near me and thus I have to move away farther from him so as to save myself from the unbearable situation. I get infuriated on facing these situations.

I fail to understand why does Govt. allows such things to thrive and prosper!!! If sale and possession of some drugs like Marijuana, Hashish have been made illegal then why not make the Cigarettes illegal too???? Are there some beneficial effects of Cigarettes that is stopping the Govt. from banning it completely???  I just fail to understand these legal intricacies.

Whatever, Smoking and the Cigarettes' smoke is one thing that I am sure, I am going to hate till eternity. I just hope that our fellow people gets some sense of mind and stops smoking, and one day, India gets totally Cigarette free. Hope this really comes true one day. CHEERS :) :)

September 17, 2010

Why ??

Sometimes  I wonder why bad things happen to good people only !!! No, I mean, I know that bad things happen to bad people too but then it seems like bad things happen more with nice people. I wonder why is it so. Well, I know it might be based on my limited vision of the world but when you see some nice people around you suffering so much, then such things are bound to haunt your mind.

When you see a little, innocent child suffering from acute pain, undergoing various kinds of complicated surgeries then you are bound to ask as to what had she done to deserve this much of pain at such a young age!!! When you see some of your nice friend's near n dear ones suffering a lot and so that person getting submerged into the Ocean of Grief, you are bound to ask such questions. When you see some nice people not getting what he deserves and in stead his crooked friends getting all the possible undue advantages, then you are bound to get disturbed and ask yourself such questions....

So, why is it so???? Is it because that Almighty, wants to put the nice persons to constant tests?? Or is it because nice persons are never meant to enjoy in his life?? Or is it because nice persons should sacrifice his happiness for the sake of others (some not-so-nice persons)?? I wonder why is it so....

Just have a look around yourself. You are bound to find so many examples of this. You can easily find  some  crooked and cunning persons getting things that they never deserved, very easily, and honest persons seldom getting what they long deserved. This does  go on to some extent because we know very well that honesty, and truthfulness is not an easy thing to follow, there are sufficient hardships involved in it. But then, many times it just crosses the limits, many times it just makes you so disheartened that you start pondering over such never-answerable questions. Cummoonnn... how can an innocent person be made to suffer so much for no fault of his own, how can an innocent child be made to undergo so many painful, physical trauma..... !!!!

Such kind of questions remain unanswered and comes haunting time and again...... I wonder if these kind of questions have some answer too, or they are better left unanswered only!!!

September 15, 2010

A Brother's Story

LET'S SHOW our love while we can, while people need us. That is something I learnt from an incident  in Bhopal. 

I used to see a little boy daily near the Hanuman temple, always in a red tee and black pants, with a small Hanuman pendant around his neck. He used to sit with a basket of fresh floral garlands. Be it at six in the morning or nine at night, he would try his very hardest to sell his wares.

I was a frequent temple goer and each time the boy would beg me earnestly to buy a garland. But somehow I never did. Even when I came out, he would follow me to my car, begging me to buy one at least.

Other boys sold flowers too, but none as persistently as he. I went back to the temple recently after a gap of some months.

The boy was there, seated exactly as before. I tried to avoid his gaze, assuming that he would follow me. But he did not budge.I went inside the temple and came back. But the boy made no effort to sell his garlands.

I thought he was angry or just showing his own self-respect.

I suddenly missed the communication. I always had with this unknown boy and went to him. He looked at me but did not speak.This was strange.

I gathered courage and asked: "Bhaiya, why are you not asking me to buy your garlands?"

He said, "Didi, why should I ask? You are rich but you can't spend five rupees on my garland. Anyway now I am not so desperate. My sister was suffering from cancer and I had to work for her medicines. My father had left us. My mother makes the garlands and I sell them. We used the money for my sister's medicines. She passed away two months ago. You can now take one for free."

I bought them all. But I felt so small. I still repent that I did not respond when he tried so hard.

P.S.- This story seems to have been originally written by Mrs. Vanita Srivastava, an HT journalist, though, despite my best efforts, I couldn't find its original version anywhere.