Aap Beeti Lamhey (Autobiographical Moments)

AAP BEETI LAMHEY (AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MOMENTS)

Aap Beeti Lamhey’ is a phrase I heard being discussed by poet & writer Javed Akhtar, on Tataky. The phrase means `autobiographical moments’ or `moments of our life expressed in our own words’.

‘Aap Beeti Lamhey’ is a collection of 20 real life stories, penned by someone. It speaks of people who have struggled through life – and made it against the odds. These are narratives of people and their lives – as expressed by them, in their own words.

‘Aap Beeti Lamhey’ is apparently a moving, inspiring narration. BUT it was actually something else that caught the poet-writer’s attention:-

The common thread in all the 20 narratives of ‘Aap Beeti Lamhey’ (autobiographical notes) of 20 unrelated people from 20 unrelated walks of life was:-

  1. Each was a struggler
  2. Each was a survivor
  3. Each achieved success stories against the odds
  4. Each was a victim of someone’s oppression
  5. Each had battled an offender
  6. Each displayed phenomenal inner strength
  7. Each was a hero / an inspiration to those who heard their story

That prompts Javed Akhtar to ask and analyse thus:-

  • If each one of us is a victim of someone else’s oppression; if each one of is a defender of someone else’s offences – then the all-important question is: WHO OFFENDS? – Because there is not a single person in this world who has ever spoken about himself / herself as the `offender’, the `oppressor’ or the `tyrant’.
  • Every country has a Ministry of DEFENCE, never a Ministry of OFFENCE. We all say we create armies and acquire weapons to DEFEND ourselves, never to OFFEND others. Yet, wars are being fought, and lives are being lost every single day. So the same question plagues you: If we are all defending ourselves – who is the one offending us? And there are never any answers.
  • The answer lies within us. Hidden inside every victim & defender, is also an oppressor & an offender. In another person’s story, WE may be the tyrant and the offender that they have overcome to create their success story. And those who hear their version of what has transpired on them – will stand equally moved and inspired.
  • In a way, biographies are more rational and impartial than autobiographies. In our autobiography, we are always the hero.

A paragraph of Carl Jung comes to mind here:-

  • The mind is a beautiful organ. It is designed to help us survive, and take us to the end. Painful, hurtful and humiliating memories need to be modified or deleted. The CONSCIOUS mind holds within itself – the hurts, humiliations and offensive acts of OTHERS ONTO US. The SUBCONSCIOUS mind holds within itself – the hurts, humiliations and offensive acts of US ONTO OTHERS.
  • The subconscious mind is the rational and truthful counterpart of our illusionary earthly existence. So when it speaks and thoughts flow to the conscious mind – there is an urgent need to camouflage those messages or hide them – and in their space bring to the forefront the faults of others instead. Else our nervous system may risk a breakdown.
  • Hence, in a quick succession of events, the conscious mind suppresses the subconscious mind and what emerges is a success story where “we” the hero, have conquered “they” the villains.
  • And life goes on….
  • What is also important to note in Jung’s theory is that – those who constantly enact their victim status – are perhaps those, whose subconscious mind (the truth-keeper) is more active than those who do not do so. And that is a double edged sword – a blessing and a curse.

As Javed Akhtar beautifully sums up – at some point in time, we reach a stage where we wish to confront our subconscious mind. That is perhaps when our `Aap Beeti Lamhey’ – our autobiographical notes may actual show us up as the oppressor, the tyrant, the offender – and that is when we attain that symbolic state of MOKSH or REALISATION.

It’s so true that poetry can change the world – and even more true that a poet can change your perspective. #JavedAkhtar take a bow.

To Serve, And Not To Be Served

To Serve, And Not To Be Served

TO SERVE, AND NOT TO BE SERVED is a poster that caught my eye at Bethany Trust Hospital in Thane (Mumbai). It is a quote from the Bible that has been adapted as the mission statement by the hospital’s founding father: Dr. Stephen Alfred.

Today, the quote resurfaced in my mind and set me thinking into different tangents.

Tangent 1:  I have often heard the word SERVICE being grossly misused. The very fact that you are able to say “I served”, “I am serving” – implies an urge to be recognized for what you are doing; you are operating from ego; your inner self is craving for a compensation; failing which you feel short-changed; this makes you bitter; and resentment sets in. Resentment has a very tangible vibe – you can see it, hear it, feel it, touch it. And there dies your emotion of service even before you started.

Tangent 2:  SERVICE WITH A SMILE is a misnomer of a phrase. Service HAS to come with a smile. SERVICE and BEING HAPPY TO SERVE are like conjoint twins. Though separate in definitions, one cannot exist without the other. Constant complaining about how much we are serving, and how little we are being appreciated for it, is simply a social application requesting for martyrdom and sainthood.

Tangent 3:  Service is truly a quality of enlightened souls and noble professions. If you are not even remotely there in spirit, don’t use the word. If you do insist on using the word with reference to yourself – then be sure to set a benchmark that others will have to stretch to touch.

Tangent 4:  SERVICE is performed at 2 very important stages of life’s evolution:

One – at the lowest rung of the ladder where we begin our climb into human evolution. This is our first stage of self discovery. We are devoid of any other skill or talent with the help of which, we can survive and sustain our body and spirit. Hence, we enter into service of others, we follow their command, nourish them, nurture them, help them, do their bidding – and in return we are given a little something to keep us going through life. There are no expectations or demands, and no dissatisfaction with whatever is handed out to us. The soul affirmation here is: YOU ARE THE MASTER, I AM THE SERVANT.

Two – at the highest rung of the ladder where we reach self actualization. This is the last stage of self discovery. We have been through several journeys of life, beginning at the lowest. With each successive lifetime, we move towards self reliance. We depend a little less on others, and a little more on ourselves. It is in the furtherance of this process of self reliance that we learn skills and develop talents. Finally in some lifetime will come a moment, where we become masters of our own destiny. We have done all that there is to do, and we have with us all that can be had. This is the top most rung of the ladder of human evolution. From here, we have the vantage point of looking down and seeing struggling souls trying to climb up, and helpless souls that need our attention. And in a swift moment of decision – we give it all away, we climb down back to the lowest rung – AND WE SERVE. The soul affirmation here is: I AM THE MASTER, I AM THE SERVANT.

So before we use this precious word – SERVE / SERVICE – it is important to do a self analysis of the stages of life that we are in. If we aren’t in any of these two stages of human evolution, then chances are, that what we are doing for others is merely an act of compulsion that can be better defined with synonyms like duty and responsibility – or perhaps, acts in return of compensation required for sustenance and survival.

That’s the rule. And every rule will have an exception. The exception being – LOVE. Love overrides all rules. At whichever phase of human evolution you may be – if your act of doing something for someone, is coming from an overwhelming feeling of pure love – then rest assured, that in that moment, you are delivering the highest form of soul service.

Tangent 5:  Flip the coin, and you will see another side – BEING SERVED. This is when you are the recipient of service given. The pertinent questions here are: Are you a good receiver? Do you deserve to be served?

I found many answers to these questions while sitting in hospital lounges waiting for the doctors to see you. Those in medical need are called `patients’ – but I have observed scant patience in any that I have seen. There is an arrogance in the receiver waiting to be served. There are utterances of what we are paying/giving in return, there are demands, there are threats, there are complaints, there are accusations, there is fault finding. All this, without a thought or concern for that one person who puts his/her personal part of life on a back-burner, simply so you can be well again. My question is: Do you deserve to be served? And why? What is the justification?

I think being served requires humbleness, the ability to accept whatever is given, and wisdom not to demand what cannot be given. Being served – requires a complete crushing of human ego. As does the act of – to serve. Perhaps, when – serving and served – meet each other in total humility of body and spirit, then – SERVICE – in the true sense of the word takes place. Till then, introspection is the key.

Personally – I place myself in a very middle stage of human evolution. I make no claims to the top rung of the ladder. I have come some distance up, and I have a long way to go still.

Bottom line: Service is a stage of the highest soul evolution. Practice it before you expect it. Practice it before you preach it. To make a beginning – retrospect into your past and introspect into your present. Your mind has all the questions. Your heart has all the answers.

What’s In A Name?

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

“A rose by any other another name would still smell the same…” so penned Shakespeare in Romeo & Juliet.

So what’s in name, we may ask. There is lot in a name, actually.

Names are a cluster of sound vibrations; a bunch of phonetics strung together. It’s usually something we receive at birth; most of us seldom change it; and it goes with us into our grave.

From the time we are born, a series of emotions & experiences keep energizing our name, giving it a certain character. As we live through life, we go through circumstances & situations that make us what we are; these experiences (successes / failures) are identified with our name; recollection & memories further etch these deeper into our name.

So at some point in time – our name assumes an identity of its own; a separate behavior pattern associated with that name comes into being; and our name defines who we are. Try as we may, we find it difficult to move away from everything & anything that defines what our name stands for. The energy of our name becomes stronger than the energy of our being.

AN EXPERIMENT

About 2 months back, I downloaded a chat application on my phone.

As a rule, I’m absolutely against mindless phone / internet chatting; I perceive it to be a criminal waste of time, especially if nothing important needs to be shared at either end; I don’t have this urge to just keep on greeting & meeting people every day, even if only in the virtual world. Perhaps it has something to do with the introverted side of my nature.

But I do like checking out new applications, if only to test the extent to which technology has evolved. And in that context, I downloaded Hike; another usual run-of-the-mill chat app.

But this is not about software applications, it’s about something else. I changed my name here – out of sheer boredom & the fact that I was absolutely not intending to connect with anyone in this space.

Simran. Inspired by that iconic dialogue – Jaa Simran jaa, jee le apni zindagi – in the iconic voice of Amrish Puri, from that iconic movie – Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. That’s the name I enlisted with. Absolutely tongue-in-cheek; but with a nagging curiosity that asked – how exactly would I react to identification with a different name.

THE RESULTS

  • I created a test group of mom, dad & brother to understand the application better.
  • Surprisingly, it turned out to be the most active family thread – amongst all my other applications. With no extra effort from my side, conversation just flows; arguments are quickly resolved & humor falls back in place; more news is shared; more connectivity has happened.
  • On a chat app, where I wasn’t intending to have any more contacts or conversations, apart from my above-mentioned test group, I have surprisingly got linked to people who otherwise have been quite distant on my radar so far; people from far behind in the past, people who I haven’t actively searched for, people from different cities… And conversation threads have been smoothly picked up from where they were last left off.
  • Whether family or friends the most distinctive feature of name change has been absence of conflict. That – kind of forced me to think – has it anything to do with the name?

AN OLD INDIAN TRADITION

How often have we heard of people taking on new names: When people move to new countries; when people move into new phases of life; when people want to move away from their past; when authors prefer pen-names – and sometimes mavericks like me who like to experiment with something new. It’s not that uncommon.

In Gujarat – my adopted hometown, a custom (which is now redundant) prevailed – a girl changes her name after marriage. Personally, it has been a custom I have always derided & looked down upon, as something that forces a girl to change her identity; lose sense of she is & what she has worked for till now, and merge with a name that will now be chosen by someone else.

But today, I would want to analyze this custom in a different way. The ideology behind this may have been thus:

  • At different milestones in life, it is important to leave past baggage behind & begin afresh. Past baggage is usually experiences & emotions attached, from your past.
  • Some baggage may be good, some exceptional, some baggage may be bad, some best forgotten – but the more you add on & carry – the heavier you walk along life’s path.
  • To understand new experiences with fresh insights – it is important to rest the past somewhere. The past is also still you – and you can go back to relive it whenever you like – but what has happened in the past should not color your experiences of the future. Hence, in a small way, you start afresh; you begin a new chapter on a new page. And it’s a whole new experience.
  • In Hinduism, when we opt for renunciation from worldly life, and wish to walk towards becoming a sadhu / sadhvi (monk / nun) – then again, the pre-requisite is: that we leave our old name behind, with all its good / bad baggage – and move forward to new experiences with a new assumed name.
  • In a way, you are unknotting the attachment of old strings that will give you more space to weave & hold on to new strings.

KHORSHED BHAVNAGRI’S – LAWS OF THE SPIRIT WORLD

Laws of the Spirit World – is a book penned by Khorshed Bhavnagri, apparently from data received through her dead sons, through the medium of automatic writing. I have read the book. It opens your thinking in more ways than one. Immensely churning, well written and insightful – it covers dialogues on birth, death, after life, rebirth & laws of karma. I recommend a read.

Khorshed Bhavnagri mentions in the pages of her book, that:

  • We all have a soul name. It is our master name, and it is used by higher beings to access our karmic records from the very first experience of our soul, from its very first lifetime – to what we are today.
  • Our soul name – is a name that we do not receive in any of our lifetimes, except the penultimate ones before final nirvana / moksh – where we are allowed full access to our past information. Those will perhaps be lifetimes where we would have evolved to selfless sainthood, and working for betterment of mankind.
  • By a strange coincidence, guided by destiny, we also do not receive the same name of our past life, in a present birth. The idea being – past name will bring recollections of past baggage – and past baggage & past memories will weigh you down from doing justice to your present.
  • Often, we come down to re-work relationships & situations that may have gone bad in the past – and for this it is important that we begin on a neutral note, a clean slate so to say. So apparently, destiny does everything in its capacity to ensure that we do not restart with the same name.
  • In a way, it also explains our urges / liking / attraction towards certain names. Perhaps in a distant past, we have lived with that name; much in the same way we are attracted to certain places around us & across the world – places where we may have written past destinies.
  • We are in a constant flux to reclaim our past – and our urges guide us there. If destiny deems us ready to do so, then it allows us that reclaim – if not, then we are gently steered away, till we are deemed more ready to receive that past, into our present.

END-NOTE

Rename. Refresh. Restart. Reboot. Renew. It’s still you.

The *Khobragade* In All Of Us

THE *KHOBRAGADE* IN ALL OF US

This tagline is inspired from today’s Times of India edit column.

Devyani Khobragade, an Indian diplomat to USA, made headlines last year when she faced charges of fraud, for misrepresenting details in her maid’s visa application. The nation witnessed a sharp divide both ways – for & against.

To me `Khobragade’ as a person means nothing; but `Khobragade’ in my mind has become synonymous with a way of thinking.

Before I explain myself, allow me to quote from the Times of India articles that set me thinking.

TOI / June 2, 2014 / Radhika Vaz / Edit / Quoted

…. The urban Indian is willing to put aside all his differences to stand united with one another against his servant …. How else can we explain the support Devyani got from us as a nation …. The accusation against her is that she fudged documents so that she could import a maid, and she got caught …. And educated Indians everywhere rushed to her defense, completely ignoring the plight of her maid …. Is it because we think our servants are less than us, or because we want to keep them in their place, or both? …. In the end it doesn’t matter, we are all complicit in perpetrating social separation. The kind America experienced during segregation; the kind South Africa experienced with apartheid; the kind India experienced during pre-independence with British ruler class & we, their servant class ….

TOI / June 2, 2014 / Preet Bharara / US Attorney General / Quoted

…. That was not so pleasant, I was upset as a normal human being might be, then the accusations got more absurd, they became downright comical …. Indian critics were angry because even though I hailed from India, I appeared to be acting American, and was acting to serve the interests of America; which was odd, because I am American, and my title does say US Attorney General …. It wasn’t the crime of the century but it was a serious crime nonetheless …. State dept opened the case, investigated it, career prosecutors approved criminal charges – but it became an international case ….

WHAT THE WORD `Khobragade’ MEANS FOR ME:

Like I said in the very beginning, what Devyani Khobragade did, or what India thought about her, is of no consequence to me. That is a matter on which much has been said & done.

For me the word `Khobragade’ has come to mean `a conflict in thinking’. For me `Khobragade’ has become synonymous with the 2 demons that are forever playing tug-of-war in our mind – Loyalty & Rationality. Or should I say – Loyalty v/s Rationality.

LOYALTY v/s RATIONALITY

At a macro level – the last 6 months for India have witnessed incredible polarization of views, emotions & passions. And somewhere down the line – everything that we said, in defense or in prosecution, was tainted with a loyalty that had clearly moved away from rationality.

When we spoke for a cause or a person – we spoke with the loyalty of heightened passions – clearly stamping on evidence to the contrary & hoping that the louder our voices became, the easier it would be to drown all voices of dissent & doubt.

At the other extreme, when we spoke against a cause or a person – we spoke with the loyalty of conscience keepers, patrons of truth, moral police et al – clearly magnifying all available evidence to make it look more ghastly & more ghoulish than it may have been.

  • This man is our savior.
  • This man is a butcher.
  • You are annihilating my religion.
  • No, you are humiliating my religion.
  • My religion is secular.
  • Your religion is discriminatory.
  • The ones that left sold our country.
  • The ones that will come will make us a super power.
  • That channel has sold its soul (views anti to our own).
  • That anchor is anti nationalist (views anti to our own).
  • This channel gives correct information (views matching to our own).
  • This anchor is nationalist (views matching to our own).
  • That CM must resign.
  • That CM is a neighboring stooge.
  • Kill kill kill. Resign resign resign.
  • Win win win. Lose lose lose.
  • So what if she fudged her certificates.
  • Oh she fudged her certificates, drag her through the streets.
  • And so on it goes on…

Either way, when our pendulum swings to the extremes, it is loyalty personified at that end – but when our pendulum rests in the middle, even for a brief pause, we have a chance at testing our rationality.

At a micro level – the % of loyalty & rationality in your day to day expressions will determine the health & length of your communication with others, and with own your inner self.

WHERE IT ALL BEGINS – LOYALTY IS REWARDED & RATIONALITY IS PUNISHED

  • We are taught very early in life – *to be loyal*.
  • How I wish that 1st lesson had taught us: to be loyal to ourselves.
  • How I wish that 1st lesson had taught us: that you cannot believe in others unless you believe in yourself first.
  • How I wish that 1st lesson had taught us: be loyal to your thoughts; test your thoughts; and create a set of personal ideologies that result from that testing.
  • How I wish that 1st lesson had taught us: believe in ideas, not in people; that way you will know when to pat on the back & when to slap on the wrists.
  • How I wish that 1st lesson had taught us: to be loyal to the principles of religion & not religion per se.
  • Yes, how I wish… how I wish…

But wishes are not horses & beggars don’t ride. The reality of our formal & informal *education*is something like this:

  • Family is God. Hence: my mother, father, brother, sister can do no wrong. End of rationality.
  • We grow older. My school is the best. Hence: my teachers can teach nothing wrong. End of rationality.
  • We grow still older. My college, my university, my friends, my girlfriend, my boyfriend, my spouse, my child, my organisation, my boss, my job: all flawless.
  • In fact, we go through workshops, seminars & training programs to further *instill loyalty* into us, until the last shred of rationality is sucked out.
  • God forbid, if we dare to see the other side of the coin, then we become *traitors*.
  • So what has essentially happened is: from the time we are born to the age we are today – for every show of *loyalty* we have received a reward that further pushes us to exhibit the same behavior.
  • And for every show of *rationality* we have been mercilessly slapped on our wrists & branded as fickle / traitors / cheaters / defectors by our parents, siblings, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, bosses & even countrymen.

THE LOYALTY EFFECT

To sum it up: Loyalty has a *pro* word attached to it. Pro-family, pro-commitment, pro-friends, pro-society, pro-progress, pro-organization, pro-hierarchy, pro-religion, pro-national, pro-humanity, pro-God…

Oxford definition aside, `Loyalty’ is a word that has become synonymous with reverence / worship / integrity character.

So basically: Good human beings are essentially loyal; you are trained to look at the good in a person / organization / idea & turn a blind eye to the bad; you are trained not to make corrections or improvements, or else you risk slipping in your ratings.

We idolize people, relationships, institutions, organizations rather than – the values-in-a-person, the depth-of-a-relationship, the strength-of-an-institution, the learning-from-an-organization.

We become conditioned to perceive change as a threat that will shake the foundation, rather than an opportunity to strengthen the same. We become complacent because neither are we expected to change nor are we trained to tolerate change in others.

Stagnation, boredom, suffocation sets in – and loyalty will destroy the very structure that it was carefully cultivated to protect.

THE RATIONALITY EFFECT

To sum it up: Rationality has an *anti* word attached to it. Anti-family, anti-commitment, anti-friends, anti-society, anti-progress, anti-organization, anti-hierarchy, anti-religion, anti-national, anti-humanity, anti-God…

Oxford definition aside, `Rationality’ is a word that is used synonymously with cold / severe / ruthless / selfish.

So basically: You are not allowed to change your views, analysis & perception about people, relationships, organizations, ideas & ideologies. If you have believed in something or someone once, you will have to continue to exert that belief till death. Should you wish to change or modify your perceptions – the world will write your obituary.

But when we move away from this fear – we become like the pendulum of a well oiled Grandfather-clock – we develop our skills to see both sides of a person / an idea / a situation.

We learn to separate the chaff from the grain & not throw away the baby with the bathwater. We can retain what is necessary & do away with what is not; that translates into bringing change into ourselves & encouraging others to change according to their inner ideologies.

We detach ourselves from a personalized perspective & move to an issue based perspective. For eg. – Instead of: “x is good, y is bad” – we move to: “that is good about x, and that is bad about x”; “that is good about y, and that is bad about y”.

END-NOTE

Subduing loyalty & encouraging rationality has been an urge with me from as far back as I can remember. And I have earned many tags & labels, and not so positive ones at that, on a/c of this.

But there are times when I sway heavily towards loyalty – shades of grey disappear, then it is either black or white – depending on whether I am for or against a person or an ideology. Then the suffocation with my own thought process sets in till I can’t breathe my own thoughts any more.

That’s when I take that inevitable breather. I breathe out loyalty, I breathe in rationality. And you what – it works every time.

The pendulum still swings – but it doesn’t stop at any end – it gently falls to the middle – allowing me to understand what lies in between – before swinging to the other end, for a different perspective – and then gently back again into the middle. Not a result, a process. And a continuous one at that.

 

How Did These Women Manage? This Ornament Called Nose-Ring ?

HOW DID THESE WOMEN MANAGE? THIS ORNAMENT CALLED NOSE-RING?

Seriously, how did these women manage? These women from over generations to today? How have these Indian women managed this Indian custom of wearing a nose-ring?

After my own experience, I’m in awe, wonderstruck, speechless & humbled.

For all women who are aspiring to get a nose-ring with nose-piercing done – please observe the intricacies involved:-

  1. It adorns the pride of the face. The nose is the central attraction of the face. While the nose-ring can add an extra touch of character & beauty to your face – any irritation / abrasion / reaction can also mar the entire face, no matter how pretty you may be.
  2. Unlike ears & earrings, the nose-ring has half of its ornament in the inner side of a nose (nostril) – which is extremely inaccessible & almost invisible. It is tricky to reach, remove or adjust.
  3. Then, there are hygiene factors involved. Extreme care needs to be taken to keep the nostril clean & obstruction free, so that no infection centers around the foreign nasal object.
  4. Added to this, if you have got your nose piercing done on the left side, it becomes a tougher proposition. Most of us are right handed, so it is easier for us to adjust things on the right side. But when it comes to your left nostril – your right hand lacks maneuverability & your left hand is not deft enough.
  5. Then, when you wash your face or moisturize it – which is like 10 times in summer – you have to be careful about toweling it.
  6. And if you are prone to chronic sinusitis & rhinitis like me – then you have seriously had it. Any nasal inflammation will trigger swelling in & around the nose-ring; and that can trigger pain. And most likely than not, your ENT specialist will advise you with a grim expression to `get rid of it if you can’.
  7. All of the above happened with me but I have held onto it, my precious diamond nose-stud, so far, with the grit & determination of our PM-in-waiting.
  8. In addition, I had some extra inconveniences too. May I add those in too, for good measure.
  9. My nose-piercing was done with a gold wire by a seasoned goldsmith; a neat job I must admit. He gave me a diamond at the end of a thin gold wire – and after piercing, he pulled the wire inwards into the nostril with a small pliers & rolled it, so as to lock it. Good job actually.
  10. After 15 days, I needed to readjust the positioning of the wire to my comfort – and that’s when I realized that it was practically impossible to figure out in what direction the wire inside lay, or the manner in which it was rolled & locked.
  11. And when I had my next bout of sinusitis, it was absolute chaos. I needed to sneeze frequently, and every time I did, it disturbed the wire inside my nostril, which in turn disturbed the positioning of the diamond on the outside & I had to painstakingly set it right.
  12. I have a manicure kit with me, purchased some 15 long years back. It has a set of 10 small surgical-like tools, fashioned from surgical steel. The best I have ever seen yet. I picked & chose from these tools, to handle that ubiquitous astray wire inside my nose. All ok so far. I managed very well.
  13. Panic set in, when about few days back, when left nostril had a swelling. Then the nose-stud really began to hurt & I needed to remove it for temporary relief. When I went to the jeweler, he was as clueless as me regards positioning of the wire. But he was helpful enough to say, that he was experienced enough, and if I could endure the pain, he would fiddle around with his pliers, and try & get it off. Scary proposition & I ran for my life, and my nose.
  14. I was already in a state of worry that all that tugging & pulling over 40 days would have surely torn the pierced hole wider & perhaps scarred the area too – which would become evident once I removed the stud. The pain & swelling increased each passing day – then I gritted myself & got around to it. I had to do this myself. Either that – or get it surgically removed. I chose the former.
  15. Choosing a day where I would be alone & undisturbed, with my set of sterilized tools & a small bottle of surgical spirit, I lay down on the couch. And over a time span of over 4 hours, slowly & steadily – I figured out the positioning of the wire; the way it had been bent & rolled. By now it was quite mangled, but somehow, with the grace of God Almighty & my mom’s encouragement and belief that I could do it – I slowly unraveled the wire to its full length.
  16. The next job was to gently pull it outwards. This was no mean task; the wire was no longer straight; it was springy & wavy. As I started pulling it outwards, I realized that the wire had got sealed in membranes of skin & hence was stuck. So gentle pulling couldn’t do the trick. It had to be slowly but firmly yanked out, with force. With every deep breath, I managed 1 tug. When it reached the very end, it just refused to budge. For a moment I thought I couldn’t do it & would need professional help – but I gave it that 1 last final try & tugged it out in a single shot. Along with a gush of blood, it was finally out.
  17. The relief was more than the horror. I swabbed the inside & outside of my nose with surgical spirit, and waited till all the loose blood had run into the cotton. Then I got up & dared to look at the mirror – from a distance of about 3 feet. No trace of what happened. I came closer to 1 foot – absolute normal looking nose. I went for a close up – no mark, no scar & surprisingly no hole piercing visible. It was as if nothing ever happened.
  18. With a huge sense of relief & gratitude, I allowed 2 days to pass for complete healing. Friends who saw me quipped: Oh it wasn’t real was it? If it was, then where is the hole? – Then there were those who said: Never mind, you tried, it didn’t work out, don’t go for it again.
  19. The story is not over yet. Just hang on for few more sentences.
  20. On day 3, I checked for the hole-piercing with a magnifying glass. It was there. If it was that microscopic, then chances are it would fill itself with skin membranes over next few days. I couldn’t afford to lose it, not after all the effort I made to get it.
  21. So, I meticulously straightened the mangled wire of my diamond nose ring. Then I snipped off its extra length with a sharp scissors. I cut the wire to the exact size required for my nose – so there wouldn’t be any need to roll it or fold it. Then I gave it a slight bend in the shape of a 7 & voila – it’s back in my nose. I know exactly where & which position it sits now; and I can remove it & put it back with ease.
  22. Crazy, people might say. And crazy it is too. But it is one of the things that I did with courage & conviction, and I have no intention of letting all that effort come to naught. This grit & determination is a genetic gift from my mother – and it has seen me through all my downs & ups in life – always bringing me to a place of peace, calm, contentment & quiet achievement.
  23. Whatever it was that seeded this thought into my mind – remarkable inception I must say. I’m trying to recollect who or what exactly: I need to send a bill for reimbursement for expenses incurred & trauma suffered.
  24. All is well that ends well. My advice: If it is not part of your custom & if it’s not mandatory that you have one – unless you are drop-dead convinced that you want a nose-ring – avoid it – or go for other it as an informed choice.

END-NOTE

It is easy to pass remarks, comments & judgments over things we have never practiced or experienced.

In the context of our current political scenario – it is easy to sit in our drawing rooms & news rooms, and run down everything the man-at-the-top does. But think for a second –would you be able to handle that pressure, those permutations & combinations, those intricacies involved – even for a single day?

 

It Happens Only In Gujarat

IT HAPPENS ONLY IN GUJARAT

Over the last 1 week, a number of friends have messaged me with a similar query: How come everyone in your Gujarat has a rags to riches story; a history of struggle; first Narendra’bhai, now Anandi’ben; I mean it’s just smart marketing right??

No. actually it isn’t. If you are not from Gujarat, it would be difficult for you to fathom this. Rising from the ranks is a very common feature in Gujarat. It’s really no big deal. It perhaps appears as smart marketing to those from an outside state – because very few states offer the kind of opportunities & social respect that Gujarat does.

THE `BEN-BHAI’ CULTURE & SOCIAL EQUALITY – HALLMARK OF GUJARAT

The rise in influx of people from other states into Gujarat for business opportunities, changed one very essential fabric of Gujarati culture – it’s `ben-bhai’ culture. (behen / bhaiya / sister / brother). This practice has now morphed into rather ugly `uncle / aunty’ & `sir / madam’ culture.

`Uncle / aunty’ is pseudo-respect & a crass attempt to look foreign. And `sir / madam’ reeks of hierarchy. I have no idea how & when the urban Gujarati accepted this format.

I grew up in Ahmedabad being taught – that it is mandatory to add a suffix of ben / bhai to a name, across social strata & across ages. It is about respect & equality. First names are a no-no & surnames denote class, creed, caste, religion – and hence best avoided in daily reference.

In Ahmedabad, my domestic help is Kanku’ben, my garbage man is Keshu’bhai, my tailor is Pratap’bhai, my electrician is Rakesh’bhai, my house broker is Rekha’ben, my doctor is Dilip’bhai, my surgeon is Manish’bhai, my CM is Anandi’ben, my PM is Narendra’bhai. Period. All equal.

When I say social equality – I do not mean `communist’ or `communism’. No – Gujarat believes in capitalism & inequality of wealth. Their motto is clear: Want it? Earn it. And you can keep what you earn. Social equality is simply respect & acceptance across genders, across classes, across social barriers, across economic lines.

And somehow it was always such an accepted norm, so natural, so un-analyzed & so un-dissected. It was just a way of life.

MY CLASS-FELLOWS ….

In my college, a friend in my circle, was a brilliant Parsi girl. She topped the university 3 times in a row in B.Com & went onto to do her Chartered Accountancy. Last I heard she was managing partner in one of Ahmedabad’s top accountancy firms.

If I were to script her success story aka Anandi’ben – it would say:

  • The girl whose dad was a plumber.
  • The girl who was dropped to college every day by her daddy on a moped that was practically falling apart; a moped he had put together from the junkyard; it had no pillion foot-rest, so my friend had to hold her feet in air on imaginary foot-rests till she reached college.
  • The girl who stayed back an extra period every day so she could ride with me in my auto & save 2 kms of walking distance to her own home.
  • The girl who would bring only 2 slices of bread from home & eat it by dipping it into sabji (curry / vegetables) from all our lunch boxes.
  • The girl who made frocks / dresses from her mother’s old castaway sarees.
  • The girl who would ask us if we had old spectacle frames whenever she needed to change her powered lenses.
  • And this list can go on…

But the point is – no one cared. It was just so natural, so accepted. I don’t even remember discussing all this at home at the time. For us, she was simply – our friend; the funny girl with a ready wit; the genius who did us proud & brought our college 3 gold medals over 3 successive years.

Cut to M.com. University School of Commerce, Ahmedabad – my class fellow was a boy from Dholka. We lost touch after M.Com & the next I heard from him was via a LinkedIn invite which showed him as Reader of a University in southern part of Gujarat. The last I heard – he was poised to become Vice Chancellor of same.

If I were to script his success story aka Narendra’bhai – it would say:

  • The boy’s whose first acquaintance with me started on the first day of college, where he took me aside & whispered: Mane English nathi aavadtu; hu tamari saathe besi ne notes copy karu? (I don’t know English, can I sit beside you & copy notes in class?).
  • The boy who lost his father when he was 8 years old. The boy who had 3 younger siblings.
  • The boy whose mother worked as a housemaid, after her husband’s death, to bring in money.
  • The boy who travelled 3 hours (one way) from Dholka to Ahmedabad in a crowded ST bus & made the return journey back to Dholka every afternoon after college.
  • The boy who would go home, sweep-swab the house, do the cooking for family, chat with his mother over the day’s activities, help his younger siblings with their homework – and then sit down to do his own studies at night.
  • The boy who made do with only water from the college cooler for lunch & would politely refuse all offers to share lunch.
  • The boy who would insist in speaking only in faulty broken English & ask me to correct all his sentences & then dutifully repeat same after me. In fact, he actually mastered an American accent with the logic – my accent will cover up my grammatical mistakes.
  • The boy who took home all my notes, copied them over the night, because 25p per zerox sheet was too expensive.
  • The boy who practiced writing 10 pages of English every day so he would not require a writer for the final exams.
  • The boy who would come to my home directly from bus station, every exam morning & touch my mother’s feet – so he could beat me to the top slot because now he had the blessings of 2 mothers.
  • The boy who broke down & cried that he missed it – when I bagged University 1st with 2 gold medals. And then graciously congratulated me with the words – agli baar, aapki haar.

But honestly – no one really cared about his history back then. He was simply our classfellow – the tall lean guy from Dholka; who tried his luck with girls like all others; who was ambitious & aspired to be Class Representative; who harbored the hope that someday he would be an orator-par-excellence, in English.

 RAGS TO RICHES STALWARS OF GUJARAT

  1. Gautam’bhai Adani Group
  2. Dhiru’bhai Ambani Reliance
  3. Dilip’bhai Sanghavi Sun Pharma
  4. Karsan’bhai Patel Nirma
  5. Indravadan’bhai Modi Cadila Pharma
  6. Piruz’bhai Khambatta Rasna
  7. Pankaj’bhai Patel Zydus Cadila
  8. Narandas’bhai Desai WaghBakri
  9. Rajesh’bhai Gandhi Vadilal
  10. Uttam’bhai Mehta Torrent
  11. Kartikeya’bhai Sarabhai Group

These are just the top 10-odd known names from Gujarat – and essentially from the business field. If I were to include other walks of life, my list would extend to another 10 pages… The unknown names abound in 1000s. Every 2nd house has a similar story to share.

Every Gujarati entrepreneur listed here has built his empire in just 1 lifetime, rolling over into a maximum of 2 generations. By gen-3 their roots are deep & firm.

These are names from a league of extraordinary gentlemen – who have sold blouse pieces ferried on bicycle racks; who have roamed Ahmedabad city streets in their youth on Vespa scooters; who have lived in small cramped over-crowded houses before moving into their well earned mansions; who have started their offices from garage & warehouse corners; who have sold wares in handcarts on streets of Ahmedabad – 1-man-show all of them – driven only by the belief – `yes I can’.

These are men who started their journeys alone, people joined them along the way & a movement fell in place. These are men of extraordinary caliber who perhaps made a beginning with humble 1000’rs which was perhaps borrowed on high interest.

These are men who have retained their humility over the years; men who are not ashamed of their humble beginnings.

These are men who meet an old ex-employee for at least 5 minutes, even if they were to walk in unannounced. If there is more time to spare, chances are they will offer you a cutting-chai and enquire about what you are doing in life.

That is the simplicity of Gujarat. A state blessed with big-city benefits & small-town values.

So next time someone asks: These rags to riches stories that abound from your Gujarat, are they really true? I am forced to reply: Yes, very true, very real. And it happens only in Gujarat.

NARENDRA’BHAI’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE

In that context – Narendra’bhai’s biggest challenge will be one of mindsets. In Gujarat, people are proactive about progress; if it is profitable to them they don’t mind being driven. They are industrious, simple, compassionate; they want to rise in a single lifetime, they know it isn’t easy, hence they cooperate. And most important of all – they have social equality. When you are hoisted onto the same platform as everyone else, it is easier to reach for the skies. Question is: Is it the same everywhere else in India?

Time will tell. Big victories will always have big challenges. Hoping India takes a page from Gujarat. Waiting for May 26th.

The 8 In Modi

THE 8 IN MODI

No.8 IN NUMEROLOGY

Those born on dates 8th, 17th & 26th of a month qualify as No.8 in numerology. The undisputed master of numerology – Cheiro – does not attach too much importance to month & year. According to Cheiro – month governs your emotions & year gives a summary picture of overall destiny. The life number, the governing number of your actions & their reactions, is simply the day you are born. And no – don’t add, day + month + year – it has no real significance.

WHAT DOES NUMBER 8 SAY?

8 is a lethal number & fatalistic too. And not in the way the common man perceives it. Let me explain:

According to the Jewish Kabbalah – Number 8 comes with a karmic lesson from previous lives.

It is a number that indicates immense hard work that was put into a chosen field in past lives. That hard work would have taken you to the pinnacle of your chosen field / profession / life area. That hard work / rigour now materializes, in current life, as inborn talent / latent skill.

Number 8 usually finds its own calling. Irrespective of qualifications or initial choice of profession, sooner or later they will be drawn towards their calling, and then there is no stopping them. But – their vision, their goal usually becomes evident sooner than later.

So by layman standards that’s a good thing. Then why does carry a tag of lethal & fatalistic? That’s what we need to understand.

8 in present life – is a number that has grossly misused its immense talents, in a past life – for greed & self gratification.

For. eg. Ace surgeons, brilliant bankers, skilled engineers, spiritually enlightened gurus, outstanding teachers, entrepreneurs par excellence, political statesmen – and so on in every possible field – but people, who sold their skills for materialistic gains, worldly fame & self gratification – to the point of being ruthless.

Now let me make a clarification here – these are not people who dishonored their trade. They probably never swayed from integrity of their profession – they would have given their outstanding best every time – but they swayed from human ethics & human compassion.

So in this lifetime – they come back with skills intact, because they never messed with those – but they come back under the influence of number 8 which says:

You’re getting a 2nd chance here to prove yourself; this time around sacrifice personal gains & gratification and do things for a bigger purpose. If you do so, I shall take you to heights from which you will never fall even after your lifetime ends – but if you don’t, then I will take you to depths from which you’ll take several lifetimes to rise again. The choice is yours. That’s what makes it lethal. It’s an unforgiving number. But if you stay on right side of destiny – it will be lethal for those who stand in your way. It’s unforgiving that way too. How you swing it depends on you.

What makes it fatalistic is that number 8 comes woven with a series unplanned opportunities & events that nudge you closer & closer to your pre-chosen destiny. Fatalistic is not `fatal’ – it simply means pre-destined; that you have to learn human ethics, human compassion & see the big picture beyond your own self. That is `fated’ hence fatalistic.

Ages – 4, 8, 13, 17, 22, 26, 31, 35 & so on and so forth – and all dates that total to 4 or 8 – will come with new realizations & renewed enlightenment. Almost to the point of being predictable.

WHAT ROLE DOES NUMBER 4 HAVE TO PLAY?

Number 4 is number 8’s soul number. A number of connect, companionship & guidance when it comes to people – and a number of applause or foreboding (depending on how you are charting your destiny) when it comes to dates.

Number 4 is soul-mate to number 8. It comes like a writing-on-the-wall. Read the signs – and you can change the end result. Ignore the signs – and you will face the consequences. Hence number 4 becomes very integral to life of number 8.

NUMERICAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER NUMBERS (DATES / PEOPLE)

Unlike other numbers, there is hardly any scope for variation as far as 8’s equation with numbers is concerned. The variation if any, can come only as a conscious effort from other numbers to change the equation for the better.

Number 1: Very beneficial, guiding & supportive whenever it surfaces either as a date or a person. It brings with it a lot of moral support & strength. Advice: Hold on to each other over ego-clashes. `Boredom’ & `boring’ are not reasons to part ways.

Number 2: Will attempt emotional string-pulling & manipulation. Initially it will work, but as individuality & self realization becomes stronger, it will make number 8 more distant & detached. Advice: Give space & lots of it.

Number 3: Will bring with it beneficial networking, communication & connections. Will take great load of responsibility off number 8’s shoulders. Advice: Ignore petty differences & make it work.

Number 4: Soul connect & passive submission. It is your writing-on-the-wall. Read it well & read it often. Advice: Don’t shoot the ambassador if you don’t like the message.

Number 5: Wants a bond with you but may find you too serious / stifling at times. They can bring good energy with them, so give them a chance. Advice: There will be see-saw towards extremes. Try & balance it.

Number 6: Will teach you to loosen up & have fun. An adventure trip of experiences, whether dates or people; 6 will give in to your authority most of the time. Advice: Mutual respect will take this relationship to great heights.

Number 7: Conflict & success. Trust & suspicion. Agreement on cause / purpose but differences on modus operandi / method. Perception of betrayal happens more than real betrayal. Advice: Communicate openly, don’t presume; try to harmonize differences to mid-way.

Number 8: Telepathic. You will either build all the way to heaven or destroy all the way to hell. Advice: Make informed choices & take informed actions.

Number 9: Supremacy issues. 9 will try to control; 8 will not be controlled. 9 will try to manipulate; 8 will see through the deception. Advice: Build trust & don’t break it.

The above are notations taken from the Jewish Kabbalah. Make a list of all the number 8s you know & cross-check dates / events – and 8s relationships with people across numbers. It’s unlikely you’ll disagree with anything from above. Really – 8 is very predictable.

THE 4 & 8 IN NARENDRA MODI’S LIFE GRAPH – some evident, some veiled

  • Born on 17th September 1950 (8)
  • At age 8 – he was inducted into RSS (Rashtriya Swayam Sangh). It was to calm his inexplicable restlessness. (8)
  • At age 13 – he got engaged to Jasoda’ben. (4)
  • At age 17 – he got married to Jasoda’ben. (8)
  • After 8 months of marriage, he took off for the Himalayas. (8)
  • Years ’67 to ’71 remain mysterious. No one really knows where he went & when he came. (67 = 13 = 4 / 71 = 8)
  • Around September 1971, at the onset of his 22nd year, he was once again formally inducted into RSS, as an adult major. (4)
  • At age 26 he was acknowledged by RSS as a man with an analytical mind & great organizing skills & was given dedicated role with formal boundaries. (8)
  • He chose L.K. Advani as mentor – and was chosen by Advani to take on the role as Chief Minister Gujarat in 2001. L.K. Advani’s DOB: November 8. (8)
  • 2002 still hangs like an albatross around his neck. (4)
  • He was CM-in-office for Gujarat, for 13 years. (4)
  • On May 26, he will be sworn as Prime Minister of India. (8)

*** The above are available / verified dates. A lot of information about Modi, on social network, has been recently edited only to standard information. PR machinery in full swing. But if & when more information filters in, it will be annexed.

Those interested in numerology can search for birthdays of close associates of Modi & correlate to the number relationship given in the Kabbalah.

END-NOTE

I have a gut feeling that this man is now on the right side of destiny. Maybe he made few mistakes in the past, but he has read the writing on the wall – and somehow at the present moment, he looks poised for a bigger purpose beyond self greed & self gratification. If he continues on this path – it is a numerological given, that his name will be scripted in golden ink in the history of India. And right now – I do not wish to contemplate the other extreme.

May the good times begin. Amen.