Monday, May 14, 2018

Outside of office

© Prashant C. Trikannad
Most of us probably have a hobby, a passion, a creative pursuit, outside of our 9-to-7 jobs in boot camp-like offices. Here's mine: comics.

I still read comics from my modest collection and those available in public domain on the internet. I have been reading comic-strips and comic-books since my schooldays in the seventies. Now I read them over the weekend and occasionally in Mumbai's notoriously famous suburban trains, to the amusement of my fellow-commuters who have their noses in their phones. In spite of the huge popularity of the Marvel and DC movie franchises in India, I haven't seen anyone with a comic-book in public for years. One reason could be that comics are no longer visible like they used to be uptil the nineties, and have all but disappeared from new and even old bookstores in my neck of the woods.

Comics not only entertain, they also kill stress, in much the same way that my other diversions — a thrilling game of chess, a challenging cryptic crossword or an engrossing science fiction movie — do.

Our daily lives, certainly our weekends, would have been terribly boring if we did nothing more than wake up in the morning, rush to the office, work at our desks, gossip in the pantry, attend meetings and battle deadlines. Surely, there's more to life than office attendance and late marks, no matter how happy you are in your job.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A picture is worth a thousand steps

© Prashant C. Trikannad
How can you live it up if you can't walk it up?

I captured this contrasting image at Andheri Station in suburban Mumbai one workday morning. While I'm no paragon of exercise and fitness, I walk a lot because it helps me stay fit and, more importantly, because I think better when my feet are in motion. I get the best of my ideas for writing when I'm walking, never mind if most of those ideas never see a word processor. Walking also puts me in a better frame of mind, often in a good mood, and gives me my own private time and space.

The mystics have another valuable use for walking — it's called Walking Meditation. Whether you chant a mantra (a holy name), observe your breath or be aware of your environment or surroundings, Walking Meditation opens up a world of possibilities and opportunities for personal growth. "Have feet, will walk" works for me.

Saturday, March 31, 2018


My recent books from Amazon. © Prashant C. Trikannad
Like a lot of people, I hoard books. I also read them. But I hoard more than I read. Every now and then I look at my modest collection of some 100-odd books, mostly fiction, and tell myself, "Someday I'm going to get around to reading them." That "someday" is probably meant to be somewhere in my post-retirement years, when I'll be sitting on a rocking chair by the window and gently rock myself to sleep with an open book face down on my heaving belly.

I have a thing for Minimalism, the new lifestyle buzzword. I like the idea of less is more. I try and put it into practice in nearly every sphere of life, clothes, shoes, newspapers, socks, gadgets, kerchiefs, private transport, and occasionally food — except books. In my opinion, books have nothing to do with minimalism, which actually has nothing to do with hoarding and everything to do with a mid-20th century art movement. Saved, at last.

But seriously, if I were to get rid of stuff, declutter as the new-age gurus say, I'd start with the mind, where all the troubles usually start — then everything would be fine. Can I try climbing Mount Everest, instead?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The blame-game

© Bill Waterson
A lesson I learnt early on in my life and which has helped me in my career is the one imparted by my spiritual preceptor and it is this—"Who is to blame is not important, only how to set the situation right." Just as charity begins at home, so should the capacity to go beyond the blame-game and set things right, without putting the "wrongdoer" under the guillotine. After all, mistakes, failures, and accountability are most often collective. I have found my teacher's wise words to be productive and transformative.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Year

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) was an American writer and poet.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Have we peace in our hearts?

Swami Omkar

O! To establish that great Peace in our hearts and to stretch our arms to embrace the whole of humanity with our sacred love, is the only life worth living. Let us find a way or make one to realise this life of Peace and to share it with our fellow pilgrims in the mystic path.

If we desire to see Peace reigning all over the world, it is time for us to be busy in establishing Peace in our own hearts. Let us begin to be charitable first in our homes.

Have we peace in our hearts? If so our lives are blessed. If our hearts are devoid of Peace, it is better to be silent rather than waste our precious time with empty thoughts and idle words.

The present-day world needs Peace very badly—the Infinite Peace which is the birthright of every individual. It is not health or wealth, name or fame, not even the rulership of the world that brings Peace Eternal.

It is contentment that brings Peace—contentment physically, mentally and spiritually. It is a taste of His Love, a touch of His garment, a vision of His beauty that fills one’s heart with Peace.

This Peace must be felt in the stillness of our hearts through the help of silent meditation so that it can be expressed in the daily activities of our life.

Pray, close your eyes only for a little while as you read these lines. Merge within, into the very soul of your being. Now our minds are restful and calm. It is Peace within and without. Ah! The joy of bathing ourselves in this blesses Peace, saturating the very cells of our being in Peace—is not for expression but for assimilation and recognition in silence. Let us inhale and exhale Peace with each and every breath.

May we breathe, work and live in the hearts of all and may the individual Peace lead to the Universal Peace is the prayer of one who loves you, wishing you Peace.

Swami Omkar (1835-1982) was an Indian mystic and a renowned apostle of world peace.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Every day is the best day

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

© Ralph Waldo Emerson, Collected Poems and Translations

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Alphabet Quotes: V is for Vacation

"Take vacations. As many as you can. You can always make money. You can’t always make memories."
— Unknown

"What shall you do all your vacation?’, asked Amy. "I shall lie abed and do nothing", replied Meg."
— Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

"I can’t think of anything that excites a great sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything."
— Bill Bryson

"No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell."
— Jewish proverb

"We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves."
— Pico Iyer

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Did I really write that stuff?

Sometimes I go to bed pleased with something I have posted on Facebook and wake up the next morning thinking "Did I really write that stuff?" and reach for my toothbrush with one hand and "delete" with the other.

Writing on social media can be especially tricky, even dicey, because we mostly "speak our minds" — ironically, without much thought and with little or no editing. It can be a source of embarrassment and needless argument with our friends and connections.

If, on the other hand, you're clear in your thought process and write with conviction, you've no reason to feel disconcerted about your writing. You can always improvise the language, even rewrite the parts you don't like. If you must "delete," use "Backspace" instead, that way you won't kill your post, or anything else that you may have written in a bit of a hurry.

© Charles M. Schulz

Friday, November 24, 2017

A tale of two superiors

I have never liked the word boss. It reminds me of a pathetic class bully, someone who is insecure about his position and exercises control over you. "No, you can't leave early till you finish the report." Unless you're in the emergency services, few jobs are a matter of life and death.

A leader, on the other hand, is a wise and trusted guide and friend, someone who gladly shares his knowledge and mentors you during your years under his watch. "Here, let me help you with the report. That way you won't have to stay back late."

If you get a boss, there's not much you can do about it, maybe seek redeployment within the organisation or look for another job. But what you can do is grow to be a leader or mentor - like the one who had your back. Those are the ones who come rare.