Category: What we only see

Should we tolerate the intolerant?

Should we tolerate the intolerant?

Since the beginning of time intolerance has always been not tolerated. In Mahabharata, Pandavas had chosen to war against Kauravas as their behaviour towards Drapaudi was not tolerated. Oath-Bound Bheeshma sat in the court while Kauravas were stripping Draupadi in the court. Just to set the premise, Pandavas lost to Kauravas and had to give away Draupadi to be a dasi to Kauravas. So, they did what they deemed fit with her.

I want to highlight the two sets of people here. One who tolerated the shameful act done by Kauravas. It included Bheeshma, known as the most powerful and respected man at that time. And the other set were those who did not tolerate this act and protected her when she was being stripped.  As per the games honour code, Pandavas could not do anything about it, but Krishna was one such person who saved her during the situation. Here there two sets of people each choosing their side. Either to tolerate or not. If they chose not to, the great battle of Mahabharata would have been avoided. But the fight against intolerance was fought and won by the Pandavas.

After the battle, the ones that tolerated the act were all killed, and the people that chose to sides with these intolerant Kauravas also met their demise. Many among the killed included Pandavas cousins, gurus, friends and other relatives. All of them knew they were on the wrong side and yet they chose to side with Kauravas and fight against their most loved Pandavas.

What should have been the ideal scenario? In the ideal situation, this act should not have been tolerated at all by anyone. A lot of family members life would be saved if only the Kauravas were punished. But a battle has to be fought to punish the offenders and those who chose their side. With this perspective, the intolerant were punished and those who sided with them too.

In another instance much before Mahabharata, Krishna tolerated 100 mistakes of Shihupal which was the son of Krishna’s aunt. But the 101st mistake was not tolerated, and he punished by death immediately. Another perspective where the offender was not tolerated.

Both the stories one thing in common the intolerant were not tolerated even if they were family members. By now it’s already established that it’s easy to tolerate the fanatics acts. Which brings out the following questions:-

  • What level of tolerance should we show to our family members?
  • Should we show our intolerance to a behaviour immediately or provide them with a chance to correct?
  • Who are we to tolerate other people(does not include fanatics) behaviours?
  • Do you know about your behaviour that probably others are tolerating which should not be the case? Or do you think you are always right and all of your “behaviour” have an explanation or have a hidden agenda to fix the other person? Or you may call it an act of self-acclaimed method with an explanation that should be tolerated by the other person?

Perhaps, the line between tolerance and acceptance is so blurred that it’s mostly absent. And it is in its absence, that most often, the justification for everything starts. Tolerance and Acceptance are not of binary values to be a zero or one. It’s not black or white. It’s a combination of both, which heavily depends on the subject. For, after all, the shades of grey only depended on how much black and how much white was in it. For it was never composed of its own.

I appreciate the perspective of Yonatan brings out in his article on Intolerance who in the list of top 50 writers in Politics. But, I would go the quote written by Charles Colson, who President Nixon’s “hatchet man” and has also written many books. After all, tolerance does not mean that we agree or ignore each other’s perspective. It means we make space for them and guide them to improve their perspective.

True tolerance is not a total lack of judgement. It’s knowing what should be tolerated be tolerated, and refusing to tolerate that which shouldn’t.

-Charles Colson

After all, we have the power to make our reasoned choice but be prudent of the dangerous trap of confirmation bias.

If you are interested in reading a perspective on Intolerance, you can read it here.

 

Modern forms of Ekalavya’s learning technique

Modern forms of Ekalavya’s learning technique

Ekalavya from ancient history proves that self-learning is the best form of learning style.

Dronacharya (also Guru Droņa) was a master of advanced military arts and was the preceptor of Kauravas and Pandavas in the epic of Mahabharata. He also is known to be a teacher to Ekalavya but by indirect methods.

Ekalavya approached Guru Droņa to learn the art of war from him, and the Guru rejected his request. Deeply hurt by the rejection, Ekalavya did not give his resolution of learning the art of war.  This situation gave birth to one of the oldest forms of self-learning.

Ekalavya took the mud under the Guru’s feet to the jungle and made a full statue of Guru Droņa. It was a symbolic gesture to follow his knowledge and footsteps. With Guru Droņa statue placed under a tree and with a high amount of self-motivation, Ekalavya practised every day for many years. He chose archery as his focused art of war and gained exceptional prowess. He was even greater than Guru Droņa best pupil, Arjuna.

During that time, there was a ritual of Guru Dakshina. It was a form of paying respect to the Guru for his services. I could not even imagine why Guru Droņa could ask such a Dakshina from a self-taught learner like Ekalavya. Guru Droņa asked Ekalavya to cut his right thumb as Guru Dakshina. Eklavya with a smile cut his right thumb and handed it over.

What Ekalavya did was great. In today’s world, we do have many good sources to learn. Not as difficult as learning from a statue. And definitely, does not involve cutting our thumb as Guru Dakshina.

What are the modern forms of self-learning? 

With access to every information at our fingertips due to “Internet”, we now have access to YouTube, MOOCs and mobile apps that can help us learn anything we want.

We just need to have the self-motivation to learn and even stronger reason of why we want to learn.

Of course, we cannot deny that a mentor/guide/guru would improve our learning. But, let’s face it, racing against yourself becomes of more importance than learning either from Guru or being self-taught. And there is a good chance we might not find the right Guru at the time we require him. And then there is a way that involves the exchange of massive wealth to gain knowledge.

The question you must ask yourself is whether you learn something to satisfy your Ego or you want to learn it because you decided to improve yourself. Once you have this piece figured, you need to find a way to avoid distractions.

How to avoid distractions?

With many resources we have, we also double the distractions. It’s not like the forest Ekalavya practised. The environment was conducive for his learning. Yes, the environment is the answer. We need to create our environment, a system to stick to it to gain maximum from self-learning. Also, it’s a known fact that you must have a defined objective of what is the intended outcome you want from learning something.

Once your system is in place, it’s easier for you stick to it. You gain momentum when you begin to results you could not imagine. You may face down times, but it’s important to get back up and start learning again. You might not be able to make enough progress for 100 days in a row, but you need to keep your senses open, as the world has its way of getting the answer you need when you need it.

[Inspirational Quote 2] On Life | by Master Oogway

[Inspirational Quote 2] On Life | by Master Oogway

There is a lot to learn from animated films. They tell a simple message which is very meaningful and relevant.

One of my favourite animated films is King Fu Panda and the character I like most after the Po is Master Oogway.

He quoted this when Po was upset and was in self-doubt – called “sucking” by Po.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called present.

This quote reminds me of how precious today is. It fills me with energy to make the most of today.

Do let me know what quote from an animated film inspired you?

Inside the mind of a happy person

Inside the mind of a happy person

I open a door which is at the highest level. I enter the room as always with a smile, appreciating the beauty of life. There were a variety of soft bright colours all around the room. It feels like you were in an animated movie but everything is real. I sat there gazing at the colours. I could feel the soft breeze and the freshness of the grass in the room. I could smell the fragrance of Rose. I had nothing in the mind. I was only enjoying the beauty.

“The shirt you are wearing in this photo makes you look like a gay.” said a voice from another room.

I found myself opening another door. This door was many levels below I the room I enjoyed spending time. It seemed like it had bright colours. But I was fooled. I got sucked into the room and the door behind closed. I had no option to go back, so I went further into the room. This room had mud all over. My shoes were now muddy. The thought of cleaning it lingered in my mind. It started raining. I regretted about not carrying my umbrella. My worst fears kept coming alive one by one. Due to the rain, I had a running nose. My mobile and wallet were in my pocket and had no means of protecting them. By now they were thoroughly wet.

I took a moment to ask myself a question.

Am I creating this situation for myself?

The moment I asked this question, I realised, the power to turn things around and what I can create was in my control.

I ran towards a different door. As soon as I entered, I soon realised the room had many clones of me. Each of them had an opinion about the situation.

One with an orange robe said, “The voice from another door might be jealous; calm down. That voice does not know the impact of those words. You are the mature one”.

One with a beard, who was eating a burger said, “How could she say like that to you?”.

This question made me angry and sad at the same time. I realised I hate criticism.

The one in semi formals said, “There are better ways to express criticism”.

The one in the formals said, “Not all of them are like you”.

One with an orange robe spoke again, “It has nothing to do with who you are. Just ignore it”.

Another one who looked exactly like me said: “Maybe it’s sarcasm. Just smile and let it go”.

I smiled. The clones started disappearing. Without the clones, the room became smaller. I knew I had to open a door and enter into it. I did just that, and finally, I was back into the room I loved.

I was back into the bright colours and the feeling of warmth. Back to that awesome feeling of grass beneath me and fragrance of Rose. The door of the from where the voice came from was still around visible. It was slowly vanishing into the bright colours. It was faintly visible as if it could just come back anytime.

I thought to myself, “Why isn’t it vanishing?”.

Listen to music I said. I put on a soothing song by Santana. It is called Europa. I started grooving to the guitar. This song is just beautiful. I started floating up in the bright room. It felt like I was in a void floating around. The door from which the voice came from was not becoming fainter. It started to disappear. I continued to enjoy the music. I was back to my happy state without the worry of the voice.

Looking at the good side of every situation

Looking at the good side of every situation

“If a man has ten good qualities and one bad quality, look at the ten and forget the one. If a man has one good quality and ten bad qualities, look at the one and forget the ten.”

I studied in a Baha’i school, and the above quote has shaped how I lead my life. The example that was given to support this quote was intriguing and helped me remember this quote till today.

A guru and his disciples happen to notice a dead dog while they were walking towards their ashram. The corpse of the dog was stinking, and all the disciples were irked and closed their noses to avoid the foul smell. The guru, however, had a smile on his face and went closer to the corpse. He sat close to the dog and gazed at it for a few minutes and continued walking to the ashram. His disciples followed the guru and did not utter a word till they reached the ashram. They were surprised at what the guru did.

The disciples with a little hesitance but gathered the courage to ask the guru of why he went near the corpse. Why did he gaze at the dog for a while, as the smell was awful?

The guru knew this question was coming his way. He paused till everyone gathered and settled around him. His reply was rather a simple one with a deep understanding of how the world works. He told his disciples about the most amazing white teeth the dead dog had. He was in awe of them, and that was the reason he went near to the dog.He further told them that his focus was only on the beautiful white teeth, that he ignored the foul smell, the awful view of the rest of the body.

The guru’s point was simple; we are often in situations where we first notice the negative stuff. Various news channels broadcast the negative story and create a biased view. Out mind is so conditioned to believe the first sight of negativity easily. Of course, many can see the good side of everything but there far more people who do not see the right.

Can we flip the thought process of identifying the negativity first?

Yes, we can!

How?

Instead of creating an opinion on the information we have at hand we wait for more details. It’s like a puzzle piece, we don’t have to make the decision based on the few pieces of information we have but rather wait till we have 80% of the pieces to make the decision. We all can agree that when we have at least 80% of the puzzle pieces, we can nearly make out what the picture in the puzzle is.

I believe this thought process can create a lot less confusion and help many not just view the world in a biased manner.

Let me know what you think? 

My experience of the best ever Uber ride in Delhi!

My experience of the best ever Uber ride in Delhi!

We have come across a few posts/articles going viral about the harrowing experience with certain Uber drivers in Delhi. Although we cannot deny these horrifying behaviours, we should also take a chance to highlight the good Uber drivers.

On 23rd April 2017,  I got an opportunity to experience how friendly few of the Uber drivers are in Delhi. I was fortunate to meet Shobha who I feel is one of those finest Uber drivers.

Shobha was 15 minutes away from the pick location I had chosen. So, I called him and asked him whether he was going to honour the trip. He replied by saying if I would not mind waiting for 15 minutes, he would honour it. Since I had time in hand, I did not mind waiting and gave him the exact number of which house I was visiting. For some reason, the location on the map could not lead him directly to the pickup location. In my experience, many times few of the drivers call me multiple times till they find my pick up location. To my surprise, Shobha found the pickup location by asking a nearby laundry shop.

When I sat in the car, he offered me mobile charging wire, and it helped me, as my battery was down. He also had the courtesy to ask me flight timings and promised me to take me there on time. He claimed he never faltered on time. He drove according to the passenger’s destination in mind and the time in which they had to reach there.

Shobha owned a neatly maintained Maruthi Suzuki Wagon R. It took him few minutes to strike a conversation. He spoke asked about me and talked about his family.

He had a happy family until a few unfortunate events devastated them. Three of siblings of Shobha’s father died in the same year. His grandmother was killed fighting a robbery that took place in their house the same year. Shobha’s grandfather did not want his 4th son to die, so he tore his father’s army selection papers. Shobha’s father was the only bread earner. Shobha himself also was under pressure to earn quickly and start supporting his family.

Shobha is fond of his mother, and he mentioned that he never disobeys his mother as she once punished him when he gambled by playing marbles. Post which he has never dared to make any mistake. He always speaks the truth to his mother, however, difficult it may be. He visits and sends his mother some money every month.

In Delhi he stays with his wife and two children; one of them is three years old, and the other is six years old who joined the school. He says the six-year-old is very demanding and a very curious mind.

By this time we were speaking openly which when he took a pause and offered me a small gift. It was a coupon with Rs. 50 off on my next Uber drive. He told he gave this to people who he connected by heart(Jinke saath dil ka rishta ban jata hai).

I asked about which movie he watches. He told me that he never saw a movie in his whole lifetime. I did advise him to take his family once to a movie. Hoping he does go to a movie with them.

Time and again he has an update of where we were and how much time we had left to reach the airport. When I reached the airport, he has the courtesy to ask me, if the ride was good and if there was any inconvenience he caused me.

In my mind, with the chat I had with him, he had lifted my mood with an entirely engaging conversation about his family members and how he became the strength of the household when his father died.

For me, this was an Above and Beyond Uber ride. You do not need a lot to make to provide a super Uber drive. It just takes small gestures like Shobha and his effort to put 100% to making his customers smile. When I left I took a selfie with him and offered him a few chocolates for his children. The smile Shobha gave was priceless.

For the reputation Uber carries in Delhi, it’s time to show the world that heroes like this also exist.

If you are in Delhi and happen to meet Shobha, please share him my sincere Gratitude and do talk to him. He is super engaging.

Stairway to Musical Nirvana

Stairway to Musical Nirvana

To be frank, I was not much a “music” fan. I heard a few Bollywood songs, Euphoria, and a few English bands such as Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, and a few Eminem songs. Nah, how can I forget a more fun Phalguni Pathak, Aqua and Bombay Vikings? I enjoyed many of those songs back then but still could not find the songs that I could start enjoying and listening on repeat. Now I cannot deny that there was good music made back then, but my exposure to them was zero. I heard those that were commonly available to me, and after I had joined a hostel, I lost interest on something that was hard to find. Let’s just say I had lot more things to keep me occupied.

Throughout my college and engineering I was introduced to Telugu Music and to be frank, I able connect well with many of the songs and enjoyed many songs which made me dance naturally. It was the first experience of other language music, and it expanded my exposure to music. I released that with music you need not understand the lyrics, but you can totally connect with the passion it intended to unleash. I knew no matter what the source of the song was; it was always meant to express something. Wasn’t it obvious? Yes for many it is, but I took much more time to get this.

Now that I think, in the midst of all the drama of having a crush or the luxury of a girlfriend would make me realise this much earlier. Or probably a guru. Being a geek and a person who kind of lost in my weird world chances of those were slim.

After three years of my working, I was fortunate enough to be in Bangalore at the right time. A much better place to be and of course I found a guru. I will introduce him more as the custodian of chill, a good Samaritan, and silhouette guitarist. He taught me the distinction of a legendary artist and other artists. The love for a few classical rock songs he suggested grew over time. His profound words on listening to music without any distraction. He told that we must let them adequately communicate to us. Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Coke Studio and many others have kept me company many times. With his guidance, I felt the real power of the solo’s and its pure Nirvana!

Husn-i jaanaan ki ta’reef mumkin naheen, Afreen Afreen !

Of course, I dated someone and was able to relate to why romantic songs gain so much popularity. It natural for every person on earth to get emotionally attached, some make music to express, while others use it to communicate. When you are happy, you listen to a few romantic songs, in sadness the heartfelt related songs. I also started listening to some classics of Indian music and the passion with which each of the lyrics written. It was of exceptional quality and an epic showcase of a real musical artist. I went through a roller coaster ride of emotions, and I found myself listening to songs I would have never imagined. For every emotion, there is a song aptly made, or it is the other way round. I somehow stumbled across the right song for that moment used always to find me. Again how? I don’t know!

I feel I have just started and there is more to music than meets your inner peace. My younger brother gave a collection of varied music, and I have just begun to scratch the surface of it.

If it were not for my guru, I would not have not even taken the first step to the stairway of my musical Nirvana!
The image below shows, how I always imagine him. Also added one of his performances. 🙂

The Silhouette Guitarist:
the-silhouette-guitarist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And one of his performances @ Gokarna: