Wednesday, April 30, 2014

No-Nonsense Chayaisms-Reading..Religion


Books gave me the idea there was life beyond my poor Mississippi home – Oprah. And we all know where she has reached! Even our homes, through the famed Oprah Winfrey show. Reading is the best habit one can cultivate as you are never lonely when you have a book in your hand. Books were my best companions when I grew up with my grandparents in Mysore. My school library had the best collection of ‘Noddy’ series which I devoured everyday and later graduated to the classics. My love for reading motivated me to do my Post graduation in English Literature and later, became a Lecturer, to teach what I enjoyed reading. The best gift I got was a Dictionary when I was ten years old and I would always carry it with me so I could look up words I did not understand. I remember a scene in Cleopatra when she vents her anger on Julius Caesar after she is told that the Library in Alexandria has been burned down by his troops. Her angry tirade against the act is the most moving tribute to books. It is important to choose the right kind of reading materials to get maximum benefit of the time spent on it. A good book is one that entertains, informs and educates. If it does all three, it is a great work. My advice to every man, woman and child-read. Make books a DEAR habit (Drop Everything And Read).

You may give tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be – I had a mother who read to me.

Every time you fill  a form, you are expected to fill the column, ‘religion’ and I am tempted to write ‘human’. The biggest human divide in today’s technology driven world, is religion. What was supposed to bring people together is tearing them apart and the sad part is that no one really understands the meaning of religion. I will go for this definition-any strongly held system of beliefs. This makes it a personal philosophy rather than a collective group ideology. I like what the Chinese believe-that religion is the relationship between Man and Nature and one person and another. If that is so, love, camaraderie and brotherhood should be everybody’s religion. Who or what one worships is not important as every human being has the right to his religion or belief. That means he has to respect the others right to the same. The tragedy of the world is that religion in its bigoted definition has crept into politics, education and even sports. It is the ‘opiate of the masses’ and also the power hungry.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

No-Nonsense Chayaisms-Pride..Peace...Rape


We are reminded that pride comes before a fall. Pride is considered contrary to the love of God. Pride is a result of building myriad illusions about who we are and what we are about. But I believe it is necessary to make you achieve something in life. I am talking about pride in ones work, in ones heritage, in ones family, for your country. Pride based on illusions is destructive but when it is based on a healthy respect for ones ability, it is perfectly valid. Unfortunately, we see more of the kind that stems from a large ego. How does pride manifest itself? Normally by belittling others to show off ones 3 Ps – prowess, power or position. Pride in its positive grab, is when you are grateful to those who have helped you get there, treat everything you have as gift from God and appreciating the bounties of Nature around you. If you are proud of your school/ college/ organization/ city/ country – you will contribute to its growth and prosperity; if you are proud of your heritage, you will uphold it and if you are proud of yourself-practice humility.  

What is the role that women can play in bringing peace on earth? If women were to rule, would there be less wars and no terrorism? If more women were at decision making levels in Government and Parliament, would we have more peaceful negotiations than conflicts? I think the answer lies in this statement made by an American peace lover who said Diplomacy requires skills of negotiating and conflict resolution, an ability to look at all sides of an issue, and an innate empathy for the understanding of our fellow humankind. Women possess these skills. If this is so, why are there so many broken homes and dysfunctional children? Since women ‘rule’ the household, there must be peace and harmony in every home as per the qualities women are supposed to possess. Quite often, women are the cause for conflicts in families. Instead of spreading peace; they instigate strife and goad men to break up perfectly harmonious relations. The innate empathy they are gifted with, fails to make them understand any point of view other than their own and what we have is a messed up society today. If women want to contribute to peace on earth, they must start from the hearth at home.


What a dastardly act. A rapist is the worst aberration of mankind. To subject women/ children to sexual assault is inhuman. The law should be merciless in punishing these perverts. Yet, it dilly dallies and the culprits go scot free thanks to equally perverted lawyers who take up for them despite knowing they are guilty. They are as much part of the crime. Parents of rapists spend a fortune to get them off the hook, not realizing the victim is some ones child too. Here is a suggestion to women. Please avoid situations which can get you into trouble-like walking/driving on lonely roads after traffic or movement on the road stops. Do not admit any man, even a relative, into the house if you are alone. Do not stay late in the office after working hours, unless accompanied by other women colleagues. Do not leave your girl child alone with any man-even a relative. Never drink anything a man gives you in a party unless you know the person well and never leave that drink on the table and come back to drink it later. School and colleges must introduce self defense classes as part of the curriculum. If a girl is raped, the entire family/ social circle, instead of ostracizing her, must give her the moral courage to report the crime and get justice. It is not her fault.

Monday, April 28, 2014

No-Nonsense Chayaisms-Patriotism..Power..Prayer


To me, Patriotism means being true to the world you live in and doing what is best for maintaining peace and harmony around. You don’t have to salute a flag to show your loyalty to it – you have to live for the ideals it stands for. You can be a patriotic Indian, by being non-violent in every aspect of your life, being broadminded about all religions, encouraging art and literature and being a good host. You could live anywhere in the world you live, you owe your loyalty to the law of the land and its culture. Holding a birth certificate or a citizenship does not geographically confine your patriotism to one land. True Patriotism is following the moral, ethical and legal norms of society and pledging your loyalty to mankind.   


What is power? In the movie Schindler’s List, Schindler describes it beautifully when he says that ‘power’ is when you don’t shoot your victim, in spite of having the authority – Not when you do. The ability to act with force – is how the word is defined; this force could be exerted on others or on oneself. I think the most powerful are those that ‘act with force’ on themselves. Power is also self determination; free-will-to choose the life you want. Exerting power over someone else is exploitative. We find this happening around us-in the family, socially and at work. Since power is in a way, energy-there is more negative and destructive energy than the positive and constructive kind. I would like to quote some interesting examples of power –
-          I exert my power by trying to stay positive
-          When you go on a critical patient call, you are basically God. You have the power to save someone.
-          Women are already powerful from the moment we’re born.
-          The best use for power is to show understanding and compassion.
-          The more I resist cynicism and meanness, the more powerful I am.
-          It’s powerful to have a small tribe of really honest friends.
-          People exercising their power collectively, that’s something powerful.


Prayer is the raising up of our minds and hearts to God, either to praise Him, or to thank Him, or to beg His grace, and therefore it is divided into Prayer of Praise, Prayer of Thanksgiving., and Prayer of Petition’ – what a lovely definition! I would put prayer of thanksgiving as the highest form. And devotion is the essence of prayer. I am thankful to my grandmother for introducing me to the strength that lies in praying. She taught me active praying which is doing my bit and seeking God’s grace in making it happen. Passive praying is that which makes you sit and wait for things to happen as a result of it. As the Pope said, ‘pray any way you like, so long as you do pray. You can pray the way your mother taught you’. The best prayer is one of surrender. As Krishna says in the Gita, do your duty to the best of your ability and leave the rest to Him.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

No-Nonsense Chayaisms-Neighbour...networking..old age


When Bible urges you to love thy neighbor, it is not all that easy to do so, if the neighbor is a nuisance. With more and more proximity due to small cages in flats and cheek to cheek houses, neighbourhood camaraderie has increased over the years as also the nuisance value. Barking dogs, loud music, verbal lashings, pollution…there is variety in your life. But it is not a good idea to antagonize your neighbours because they are the ones who come to your aid in times of trouble or emergency. It is important to be a member of ones residential area and get involved in activities like cleaning, greening and security of the neighbourhood. Extending this relationship to a larger context, it is a pity that our country has not had very cordial relations with our neighbour. This has nothing to do with the people of both countries-it is more a political game.   


The mantra of success is networking. I think women lack this skill and this could be one of the reasons why they do not get ahead as fast as they should. Men exchange visiting cards, meet up in Bars or on the golf course and clinch a deal. Most women do not even have a visiting card. They are too wrapped up in balancing home and career and have little time for networking. I also believe they are wary of each other and hesitate to help. There is a tinge of jealousy/envy that comes in the way of their networking. Networking is about sharing information, ideas and your vision with others so that you can grow faster and higher. Men have mastered this short cut to success mainly because they know how to share without feeling threatened. They also have the attitude of quid pro quo-I will scratch your back and you help me with mine-kind of philosophy. When I founded Guild of Women Achievers, it was with the intention of providing a network of women from different walks of life so they can access each others products/ services/talents/expertise through a membership mode. The response has been slow and steady as those who believe in it are reaping the benefit. It is useful for moms, working women, professionals and entrepreneurs, to form themselves into networks so they can bond and share. It gives them a collective voice to air their views.

             Old Age:
Youth I adore thee, Age I abhor thee

When Shakespeare wrote this 400 years ago, old age was not as exciting as it is today! I am looking forward to growing old. It has so many advantages. Firstly, how old is old? When I was 10, I thought my 15 years old cousin was old. Now I am 50 plus, I think, my neighbour at 60 old. So age is a relative term. You are so old as you think or behave. But there is the reality of chronological age and we cannot wish it away. We need not worry about it either.Old age is an event in ones life for which you have to do event management from young age. You don’t grow old overnight so you have ample time to prepare for what is bound to come. Change is the key word and adaptability to what it brings is the door it fits. One of the beautiful aspects of old age is that you don’t have to prove anything to anybody. You have done it all and now is the time to ponder and wonder-not regret! You can take each day as it comes and live it as you please. But hold on to those purse strings! When you are young-eat well, keep fit, think happy thoughts and save your money wisely- they will help you grow old gracefully!