Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Alphabet Quotes: W is for Wisdom

“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.”
— The Buddha

“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.”
— George Bernard Shaw

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”
— Audrey Hepburn

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What makes Superman a hero is not that he has power, but that he has the wisdom and the maturity to use the power wisely. From an acting point of view, that's how I approached the part.”
— Christopher Reeve

Monday, November 19, 2018

Poetry: The Divine Image

William Blake

© Oxford University Press
To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
All pray in their distress:
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is God, our father dear:
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is Man, his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity, a human face:
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew.
Where Mercy, Love, & Pity dwell,
There God is dwelling too.

William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet, painter and printmaker.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The story of a haircut

Photo by Ewout Paulusma/Unsplash
This morning, I took an ’aircut, the “h” being silent almost silent in my case. The hairdresser spent a ridiculous amount of time, nearly half an hour, sipping a cutting chai and snipping the top of my head. Being a weekday morning, there was just me and another guy in the saloon and plenty of scissors around. As he fussed over my hair, I could picture him saying under his breath, “Here’s one, oh, and there’s another,” and do a fist pump. I’d never seen such optimism in a barber. I took it as a positive sign.

I looked at him in the mirror and thought to myself "Maybe, just maybe, he can see something I can't" and for a moment hope sprang out, and then I looked at the few wisps of hair — the rear guard — paragliding through the air and landing on my blood-coloured apron. The last of the Haircans. One of them said to me, within hair’s breadth, “Don’t worry, General, some of us are still holding up there. We ain’t going down without a fight,” saluted smartly and was gone.

And then the hair-cutter patted my head with both hands and said, unintentionally, I think, “Don’t use a comb. Pat your hair in place like this, thup, thup, thup. It will seem as if you’ve more hair than you do.” I never thought of that, you know. You get a haircut and you get a hair-tip. Since it's of no use to me, I'll put it on the market.

Well, at least something came out of my hairsplitting adventure.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Through the years

On occasions when I'm inclined to think about the past, I wonder what I'd have been if not a journalist initially and a content writer later on.

In my teens and twenties, I wanted to be a man of action, a police inspector, a fighter pilot, a private detective (thanks to the Hardy Boys), even a taxi driver. Maybe I was fond of medals and badges.

In my thirties and forties, I often wished I'd taken up the gentle arts, become a singer, a musician, a painter. Give vent to my creative instincts. Or a chess player, for I love the game.

Now that I have touched fifty, I think of more sensible and practical occupations, like a doctor, a yoga teacher, a psychologist, a dentist, an author or a handyman. It's that point in your life when you want to become useful to your family and to society.

A decade and more from now, I'd probably be content just being a wise old man. Old, yes — wise, I'm not so sure.

I guess what this tells me, and you, is that with each day and birthday, time is running out for all of us and with it the occasions and opportunities to get out there and do what we always wanted to do, be what we always wished to be. Live out our innermost dreams.

The problem with time is that it waits for no one. You can't turn time back like the pages of a book. Once lost, it stays lost.

Photo by Lilly Rum/Unsplash

Monday, May 14, 2018

Life beyond 9 to 5

© Prashant C. Trikannad
Most of us probably have a hobby, a passion, a creative pursuit, outside of our 9-to-7 jobs. Mine is 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. Now I read them over the weekend and occasionally in Mumbai's 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 have all but disappeared from both new and old bookstores.

Comics not only entertain, they also remove 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 and particularly 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 is more to life than office attendance and late marks, no matter how happy you are in your job.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Walk it up, live it up

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

I captured this contrasting image at Andheri Station in suburban Mumbai one weekday 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 and gives me my own private time and space.

The mystics have another valuable use for walking — Walking Meditation. Whether you chant a mantra (a holy name), observe your breath or be aware of your surroundings, while walking, Walking Meditation opens up many 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
Books are my weakness. I hoard books. I also read them. But I hoard more than I manage to read. Every now and then I look at my collection of 100-odd books, mostly fiction, and tell myself, "Someday I'm going to get around to reading them." That "someday" is probably going to be somewhere in my post-retirement years, when I'll sit on a rocking chair by the window and gently rock myself to sleep with an open book face down on my belly.

Still, I have a thing for Minimalism, the new lifestyle thing. 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. Just not books and comics.

Ideally, if I were to get rid of stuff, de-clutter as the new-age gurus say, I'd begin with the mind where all the troubles start and then work my way down to the more mundane things of life.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Who is to blame is not important

© Bill Waterson
A lesson I learnt early on in my life and which has helped me both personally and professionally 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 throwing the "wrongdoer" under the guillotine. Mistakes, failures and accountability are often a collective responsibility. I have found my teacher's wise words to be both productive and transformative.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Poetry: The Year

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Photo: Rosicrucian Fellowship
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.

Photo by Simon Migaj/Unsplash
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.