My take on Steve!

I just finished a phone conversation with a good friend of mine and I was talking to him about a lot of recent developments. The most important among them being the fact that a lot has been written about Steve Jobs accomplishment, but the most important aspect has been left out.

Most of us work and take leave when we are sick. We are accustomed to taking a leave of absence and not taking calls when we are on sick leave. Forget that, some of us do not take calls on holidays because we want to relax. We are familiar with physical discomfort as part of general illness. How many times have we heard people troubled by headache and back pain. We are all so used to complaining.

But here we have a man, who was diagnosed with a fatal illness and lived through it for more than 5 years. Now the illness was such that we can assume years of painful chemotherapy and more importantly mentally sapping periods of frustration. Frustration because he had just started doing some marvelous things. Everybody needs his attention. Family, children, employees, pressmen and so on. And what did he do?

He must have pulled on some enormous amounts of mental energy in putting everything aside and focussing entirely on what mattered to him. This is nothing short of brilliance. So what is new? Imagine having headache,…now multiply that 10 times over. Imagine having to have an injection. Now imagine that you need that injection every alternate day. Imagine feeling tired after a long day’s work. Now multiply that 10 times over.

Now add up all that you have imagined and you probably have Steve Jobs spending the last few years of his life.

How much he must be enjoying what he was doing to have pulled on. How many of us can love what we are doing the way he did??!!

 

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Monday morning

The strangest Monday morning. Tapping away on my phone amidst a deluge of impending tasks. Am definitely in a talkative mood. But I am not able to figure out the topic. Not about work or family or anything to do with my friends.

Yes, I can talk about Yoga. 9 years since I started and have come a long way. It has ceased to be an item in my daily routine. It is now a part of me. I am shedding my coloured glasses one by one. I can see more clearly now. I can understand better. All the lines that are said and those unsaid, in seriousness and otherwise. Intentionally & otherwise. Directly & otherwise. The next knot was being judgemental & opinionated. Am working on it.

Where is my paper?

Good times and the bad times

It has beena kind of rough week for me. Half of my relatives are down with some illness or the other. The saving grace has been that each household has only a maximum of one person out of action. But it has been stressful enough with work to add.

But then there is a kind of silver lining everywhere. We just have to search enough for it. It has got be there somewhere. And I got mine in a whole lotta ways.

I got to sit down and chat with ‘Amma’ for a whole day. I can’t remember last having spent a whole day with amma in the recent past. I do not remember at all. We chatted about a lot of stuff. It was good. I made all kinds of things for her. They were simple, but satisfying. 

Spoke with my wife couple of times in the day and was happy to hear that her mother was doing fine. Sometimes a voice is all that is enough to make my day.

Then the evening came and I went off on a long ride with Ashok. It was drizzling and that made kind of a perfect setting for a drive. Lovely ride. Spent the later part of the night listening to old songs which used to make up ‘insti-party’ lore.

There is a silver lining everywhere.

Meditation diaries

I had written a post sometime back, on a particular observation during practise of asanas and meditation. Interestingly I had a comment by a gentleman talking about the a very sweeping description of meditation.

It was a very good description and I would like to agree with him on a lot of aspects. But if I look back and pick up something which had left an impression on me, it was his statement which can be equated with logic.

‘A wise person is intelligent, but an intelligent person is not necessarily wise’

How true?

One thing which I have noticed as a change during the past few years spent in meditation is that there has been a change in my maturity level (a.k.a wisdom). I would strongly attribute this to that fact that I am able to move away from my selfish self. I take myself less seriously and even so others. Can this really be called maturity?

Somebody I know recently said,

‘Let me be myself’.

I asked,

‘What are you, that you want to be yourself? You are but a mixed bag, predominantly composed of your parents and close friends,….and bits and pieces of all the people that you have met since you were born.’

I reflect upon it and isn’t it true that we are all clowns, imitating other in everything starting from the language we speak, body language to everything else. We talk like others, eat like others, think like others. The society seems to be a collective bag of largely identical units walking and talking in a mundane symphony. It as even perfected the art of sustaining itself through generations?

So there is no you as such. So why take yourself so seriously?

My husband, my work, my life……

So much of tension because of these thougths that you are responsible for everything and it is your headache to turn things around.

Is it necessary?

You have no control over why your were born by the collective union of two specific individuals in this wide Cosmos. If you have no control over this fact then you have no control over all the parameters that have influenced you ever since. Everything from your first teacher to the icecream vendor on the street.

A thought like this helps you take yourself less seriously. Can this be called maturity? Can a thought which makes you ligther be called maturity?

Simon say ‘Yes, we can!’

Hah!

Knowledge and Spirituality

I was reading from a book written by guru

I stopped for a moment and started thinking about spirituality as such and the amount of material that one can find in this world. The sheer number of religions, sects and sub-sects. The number of Saints and Yogis and their followers in this world. Ironically each saint would have been written upon multiple times in terms of interpretations and translations. This presents a mind-numbing amount of content.

Is it possible to read all this in one span of life?

This brings a very interesting question to the fore and that is the relevance of information and the difference between information and Knowledge. There is only a certain amount of information that any human being can ingest in a lifetime. So we obviously have to be selective about the information that we ingest on a day-today basis. This can only be done by understanding the relevance of information to ourselves. The relevance of information now brings us to the difference between information and knowledge. When information is converted into something useful, by the application of our mind to syncretise a conceptual understanding of information and concepts that we have collected so far, then the information is converted into Knowledge. Knowledge helps us understand.

Now the question shifts to the more important question of how to differentiate amongst the information that we collect on a day-to-day basis. The straight forward answer to this question will be that it depends on what one wants to do or is doing. If you are doing business then the focus should be on information related to business. So on and so forth. But at the end of the day the mind is like a machine which needs lubrication, a kind of mental rest and this is where spirituality comes into play. Spirituality has only one goal and that is to give you peace of mind. While one’s ambitions and goals will leave us in a constant state of restlessness and anxiety about what will happen in the future, spirituality will leave us bereft of all these symptoms and tend to push us towards a more balanced state of mind.

For the beginners in spirituality, ingesting some bit on a daily basis will definitely help. While for the advanced practitioners (don’t ask me for the definition), again discretion is adviced. I have come to realise this because of two factors, one is that it is more important to syncretise rather than ingesting information. Sometimes it is better to understand 4 lines of poetry rather than read 100 lines. I have read the book by Guru once and I decided that I will not finish the book in a hurry. I will rather stop and weigh my thoughts over and over to be able assimilate the last drop of Knowledge before moving forward.

In the seashore of the collective knowledge of this world, there are way too many footprints and I am confused. If I follow every other footprint, I will end up in ‘Brownian motion’. I do not have ‘apriori’ information to be able to select any one. In this melee, I met my Guru and out of pure intuition, putting down intelligence and trusting my intuition alone, I follow his steps and I have never looked back since. I am not asking you to do the same as everybody might not have the good-luck of meeting with a Guru. What I am asking you to do is to prioritise your sources of information, syncretise rather than spend all your time in collecting ‘General Knowledge’ (which remains General) and lastly to spend sometime in spirituality for that balance in life.

And totally out of the blue, trust your intuition once in a while.

After more than a year

One of my colleagues at office asked me yesterday.

‘It has been more than a year now and what do you think has changed?’

His voice was one of dreary exhaustion and also one of a person in the last mile. I guess a lot of us go through it sooner or later. I will dwell on this in a while.

Looking back, I can see a picture. I can see a beautiful collage of people moving around. The flurry of excitement when we started. The long hours spent in tuning things for the launch. Oh oh,..let me go to the days when I had a parley with Kunal about joining the company. Oh not so long ago and fresh as a mayflower.

I had eventually joined and never turned back since. We were such a small team and it was funny knowing that everything for our company was happening in that small room. A bag full of beer and a few cigarettes gave us all the company.The portal kept crashing once in a while and people kept using our services for hours, for free. Those were the days when every small interaction was a entry in our log and every customer was contacted to get feedback. Every small thing mattered and everybody was on-top of everything.

We have moved considerable since. Most importantly, for me, we have spoken to so many different people to be able to see all the possible avenues to be able to apply ourselves in our quest to reach out to people and tell them about our services. Interestingly, the list might seem funny as we have spoken to Telecom operators, handset manufacturers and also reached out to people through the regular phone channel. This can be looked at as a sort of vertical integration of sorts. Trying to grab value from every part of the value chain.

We have been able to open up a few more channels from other categories such as travel and premium customers and things are looking pretty spiced up for the moment. Waiting for the point of inflection and I would predict that it is only a matter of time.

I am not keeping my fingers crossed, rather both my legs are on the gas pedal and the clutch. Revving hard and biding for the moment to fire on all cylinders.

Thumbs up!

Meditation diaries

I have noticed many a time that I would like to express myself, but it turns out that the subject has already been broached by a different author in a different medium. This is particularly true for reflections in the spiritual space.

Just to give an example, I have heard of a Tamil song, one portion of which goes on like this

‘ Thathuva kuappaiyai marandhuda cheyvai nee..’

To explain word by word,

‘Thathuvam’ means meaning or moral attached to a story or preaching

‘Kuppai’ meand garbage

‘Marandhidu’ means to forget

‘Cheyvai’ means to make something happen

‘Nee’ means you

This song is part of a devotional hymn sung during prayer in Tamil households, particularly devotees of Lord Murugan.

I have found this thought flashing through my mind many a time. This particularly comes to the fore when life in general is being dissected on the logical plane.

I can come up with a few arguments in support of my opinion that life cannot be dissected on the logical plane. But I would be contradicting myself.

Then the question is about how to go about this subject. The fact remains that some questions are never going to be answered by dissections on the logical plane and to move ahead in this search of this ethereal knowledge, faith helps a lot.

I do not why, but I have faith.

Faith that there are some unanswered questions in life and that I need not search externally, but I can get all the answers from within. One simple reason for this faith was the fact that I could see within myself, every grain of emotion that I had seen or heard of. I could just go through all these emotions at my whim and fancy.

I could feel like a sinner and saint. I could feel them all. When I went through this, I knew that the mind is the panoply of a lot of things that I need to explore and learn.

This same faith brought me in touch with my Guru. I never have a logical explanation of why I have spent about 5 years in meditative practices and a bit of yoga thrown in. From an outsiders point of view there are a few things which seem interesting like my ability to exert immense control over my habits, but they seem irrelevant to me. I can observe that my decision making abilities have improved immensely, but they again seem irrelevant to me. This puts me in a situation very similar to that of some of my colleagues. This does not help me answer the simple question, why am I they way I am?

Now I would like to agree with the Tamil adage that I started this write-up with. And I want to write about it. But some intellectual had realized it eons back and had written a poem about it. Here I am trying to expand the essence only to realize that there is nothing new in it.

Come to think of it, have ( Humanity) we really changed the way we think we have? It is a very interesting question. Think about it.