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 written and wake up in the morning thinking "Did I really write that stuff?" and reach for my toothbrush with one hand and "delete" with the other.

Writing can be a source of embarrassment, even if it's mostly in your head. If you write with conviction and a clear conscience, you've nothing to be ashamed of. You can always improve your style. I've got to keep that in mind.

© 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.

Monday, October 30, 2017

King's Circle

King's Circle
Footpaths strewn with books

To browse and burrow,
With joyful anticipation.
Secondhands and cobblestones
Jostling for space,
L'Amour here, Christie there
Austen, Wodehouse, and Blyton,
Finders keepers

Under a clear evening sky.
Will the city fathers let 'em be?
A walk down memory lane
Neither fun nor fair,
Without a trove of reads
In the King's tempting lair.

© Prashant C. Trikannad

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Got a job? Now earn outside of it

© Prashant C. Trikannad
The other day I casually said to my wife, "We will have to tighten our belts this month. Cut unnecessary expenses."

"Why?" She asked.

"I just got my credit card statement and it doesn't look good. We aren't going to be left with much by the end of the month," I said.

"But we don't spend all that much," she protested. "Barring the odd dine-out or occasional shopping, most of our monthly expenditure is on essentials, groceries, local commute and that sort of thing. We can't avoid routine expenses."

Then she said something that stumped me. "The key to having more money is not cutting down on your daily expenses but making more money instead."

Good point. Though the idea had often crossed my mind, I never gave it serious thought. Like many Indians, I try and put away some money every month or year to save for the future. No, that's not entirely correct. While I do make a voluntary effort at savings, I'm mostly forced to save money to avoid paying higher taxes to the government. It's going to pay off in the long run. As a good friend once advised me, “The money you don’t see is the money you save.”

So with the 80C-induced nest egg out of reach for now, what’s my next best option?

“Earn more, if not in your job, then outside of it,” my wife said simply and went about her work.

That easy, uh.

“So how can I earn more?” I wondered.

She countered that with a question of her own: “What else are you good at besides what you do at work?”

I thought for a moment and said somewhat sheepishly, “Writing, maybe.”’

“But you already do that. On second thought, maybe you’re right, you could freelance. Never mind the money. It’ll come eventually. First, get a start. Write in your areas of expertise, take it to the editors and see if it doesn’t lead somewhere, open a new door for you.”

She was right. The internet has opened up new writing opportunities in every field. News websites and webzines, third-party content providers, digital media, and startups
are constantly looking for content strategists and specialists to meet their competitive requirements. Even print media has discovered a sudden fondness for the written word. As long as there was no conflict of interest with my full-time writing job, I’d nothing to lose and everything to gain. Everyone seemed to be moonlighting these days.

Nevertheless, we sat with pen and paper and drew up a list of all the things that I could do. We came up with quite a few options, which, besides writing for portals and publications, included mentoring a creative writing class, writing content for corporate websites, copywriting for brands, producing content for social networks, e-commerce sites, blogs, and news aggregators, and offering my writing expertise to academic and other publishers. Turns out there was plenty I could do.

The money from freelance work, writing or any other, may not amount to much at first but with patience and perseverance, and a little imagination, you can make a parallel career out of it; and along the way develop a new belief in yourself and discover a skill or two you never knew you had.

Virtually, the sky is the limit provided you have the inclination and you pursue it with all you have.
If you can step out of your comfort zone and do something radically different, so much the better for you and your personal growth. And if things don’t work out, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you have other career choices — who knows where those will take you. As American writer and Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner said, Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.You'll never know till you try.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The World and I by Ramabai C. Trikannad

My grandmother, Ramabai C. Trikannad, was only 39 when she died of consumption (tuberculosis) in October 1952. During her short period on earth, she read and wrote a lot. She read the Classics, Victorian poetry, and early to mid-20th century fiction, including Wodehouse and Christie, which inspired her to write dozens of poems, short stories, essays, and newspaper columns. She also published a collection of stories called Victory of Faith. I love the depth of emotion and perception in her poetry, as you can see from this stanza from her poem The World and I.

It calls me bad and it calls me good,
As the world may in its various mood —
Slanders me to serve its gossips' end,
Differently calls me trusty friend.
It treats me nasty, and treats me well,
Praises; my name for a pice would sell.
God made me. He made me ill or good,
According to His sweet supreme mood.
Graceful figure or ugly to view,
He made me through and through.

© Ramabai C. Trikannad