Ada kadavule! Oh my Isha!

Isha Foundation has been in the news for wrong reasons lately. Parents are filing complaints with the police claiming that their ‘children’ (all aged 18+) are being brainwashed and are being held against their will.

If an adult, major citizen, wants to be part of an organization and get deep in to it, I think his/her parents have no fricking business saying otherwise. They need to stop being ‘protective’… and also stop thinking about this as ‘lost money’ or ‘economic support’. I might sound harsh… but seriously, if those guys and gals want to be that way, mind your business and let them be.

Of course, all the above can be ignored IF and ONLY IF there is HARD proof that they are being physically abused, raped, or getting drugged or forced in to illegal stuff.

But, as a general advice, Dear parents, stop interfering with your childrens’ lives! You had a chance to bring them to a path that you considered ideal… now that chance is gone. So stop fretting about them. Look forward to spending rest of your life well and fruitfully.

That being said, dear children of parents, in your quest for knowledge and bliss, don’t forget that you have an blood obligation to those who have sacrificed their lives for your good. In your quest to find the truth (be it Isha, Krishna, Allah or Christ), don’t ignore your parents when you have the chance to serve them well. Once they are gone from this world, no amount of self realization will help bury the guilt.

Ignore the burkini

Dear French bros and sistas,

If you are very worried about your country being islamized, target the root cause rather than the symptom.

Burkini is a symptom. Understood?

Janma-Mrityu-Jara-Vyadhi

Birth. Death. Old age. Disease. That’s what the title stands for, in Sanskrit.

It’s been a long and tough period of several months to date. With work being a bit relaxed in the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on this thing we call LIFE. Not surprisingly, LIFE also constitutes the other inevitable parts of living… disease, growing old and, finally, death.

The reason for this line of thought gaining prominence is because of my father. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer several months back. As it is, the prognosis for such a thing is not good… but still given his healthy condition, doctors thought he might pull through for some more time. But all of them, and us, were fooled. What we thought as an improving situation actually turned out to be worse with the disease no showing any signs of even slowing down.

The deterioration in my father’s health and physique was a complete shock to most of the people who knew him… and he is still on the slide, so to say. Everyday is still a struggle for him. And with everyone being informed only last month, there has been a slew of guests streaming in, with pretty much the same sentence on their lips – “Oh no, why did it have to be cancer? And that too for you?”

Now, me being myself, I had some things to say which I then decided that those are better left unsaid. But here I can. Why cancer? Pretty stupid thing to say, in my opinion. Why cancer… would it be have been fine if he had gotten AIDS, or Ebola? And the “Why you” question doesn’t make sense either. Do we have privileges to chose what can afflict us? We seem to be laboring under the delusion that we can avoid disease and death by just not thinking about it or assuming we will not be afflicted. The other big delusion we have is that we assume ourselves to be “good” people and so nothing “bad” should happen to us.

I am a strong believer of things happening for a reason. We may not know it right then and there, but reason is there. Now people might think that to be an absurd notion, but this is what I have seen, experienced and realized to be true over the last 20 years. So, we gotta roll with the punches instead of trying to slide in to a death spiral of depression, self-pity and become mentally inept.

The world around us is programmed to condition us in to forgetting that our part in this cosmic drama is extremely minuscule and our puppet strings can be cut at any time. Only those who realize this and turns the mental faculties towards understanding what and who drives this drama can attain peace at the end of the show.

Srimad Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8 Verse 6

yam yam vapi smaran bhavam
tyajaty ante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya
sada tad-bhava-bhavitah

“Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.”

Can one photo break your heart to pieces?

Yes… it can. Twice, actually.

My first experience of such a photo was of a famished, little girl somewhere in Africa… too tired to move, with a vulture waiting nearby for the passing. To say it was shocking is an understatement. That was the day I made a point to never waste food. That was before I got married and had children.

But the latest photo of little Aylan Kurdi, washed up on a beach…a child, who is a little younger than my eldest son… a photo no doubt that is now haunting millions of parents’ thoughts. And it will haunt me for a long, long time to come!

I don’t have it in me to put that photo up here myself… may he find peace in a better place.

But there are no words in languages of men or heaven or hell to curse the evil that has laid the road for this little boy’s departure from this world. May those demons burn for a thousand millenia and experience every death they caused a million times over!

“The young perish and the old linger, withering”: J.R.R. Tolkien. Very apt!

Corporate performance management – Mantra effect!

Mantra – that which liberates the mind.

Some of the statements that I have heard (and not all of them were said to me) over the past couple of years literally makes my mind go Brrrffttzztt! How liberating!

You are a good performer, you really are. You did meet your goals and went the extra mile in many situations. But we just cannot give a 4 or 5 because we need to follow a distribution. Only 10% of the team size can be at a 4 or 5 rating. But you did get the highest % hike!

Guess what the team size was.

You did a good job last couple of months, but I give you a rating of 2 because your ex-boss, my predecessor, did not give me a summary of what you have accomplished.

How unique? Totally responsible and accountable!

There will be no raise for anyone in the company given the dismal market and our bad cash situation. But in appreciation of your hard work, we will still hand out the bonuses… as per your contracts.

And the CEO and his cronies gets a couple of hundred thousand dollars as performance bonus. Performance? What performance?

Soooo… another year has passed. It was just wonderful, really wonderful. Your performance has been fantastic… and I am giving you a rating of 4. I would like to give you a 5, but hey no one is perfect and there is always room for improvement. So, 4 it is.

So, 5 is basically the carrot. The stick is another year long!

And so it goes on.

Chennai road rage – being almost stupid

I came pretty darn close to getting in to a street fight today.

I was returning from office and was almost near my home, which is in a street that is not too wide… when I saw that the road was half blocked by a construction lorry, with another car parked on the opposite side of the road.

There were a couple of vehicles which were working their way through the gap… so being the ‘courteous’ driver I was (my father loves to remind me I am not born and grown in USA), I sided up just a bit behind the lorry and made way for the vehicles in the opposite direction. Then I hear this (very irritating) blare of a car horn behind me… which even after being able to see what was going on, kept honking. I ignored it the first 2-3 times… but then it really got to me. Guess I was having a road rage moment. So, once the path cleared, I maneuvered my car through the gap, and parked it couple of houses down the street and when the honking man passed me, I looked to see who was in it… and found him glaring at me. Eyes met… he kept rolling, so then the connection broke, I decided to drop it there.

I got out, opened the gate, and then parked my car inside. When I went near the gate to close it, I noticed that this guy was parking his car right opposite to my gate. That moment, something snapped… my mistake #1. I should have just ignored and gone upstairs, but I walked over to the guy… with a small smile, asked him to roll down the window, and asked him “I would have given way if I had it in front of me in the first place, so you needn’t have honked…”. That’s it… he started foulmouthing me, got down from his car, making threatening advances… (and amusingly), even started looking for a stone to throw at me! He was a well-dressed man, an office goer, probably well educated… but the way he exploded was a bit shocking to me. Here is my mistake #2… I was being horribly and most insanely naïve… was I expecting this guy to just say “Oh so sorry”? A super dumb moment, for sure.

I had my hackles up now and got to a defensive posture (I am taller by half a finger and outweighed him as well), but he didn’t relent and still kept coming at me. Realizing that things might get out of hand, and now that he might know where I live, I started walking back with this moron taunting me. I shouted something back, don’t even remember what as I was in a haze of anger myself. I just got back in to my home, still with the haze, but the moment I looked at my little 1 yr old son who came running to me, babbling in his sweet infant language , I then realized I had actually done the best thing possible at that time… I walked away and defused a potentially dangerous situation. Should I have dug my heels in and thrown my fists, things might have gotten very ugly real fast but I am now thankful they didn’t… for the sake of my family and his too (he was picking up his kid from school I think), at the very least.

As for the other guy…I got reinforcement on the fact that looks are deceiving. Well dressed and educated guys driving fancy cars make bigger morons and a**holes than the poor taxi guys trying to make their ends meet. This jerk is bound to get in to trouble sometime or other. He will learn his lesson another day… with a bloody, broken mouth instead of just a foul one. (yes, I am being nasty now. Too bad!)

I learned my lesson… give up on trying to be reasonable with drivers on the road. May be it is all the stress from the driving that causes people to blow up… but I think I will just keep my expectation down and be more aware of situations on the road going forward.

Blogger killed by terrorists, again

Avijit Roy was murdered yesterday.

‘Unidentified assailants’… I think pretty much everyone can guess who the murderers might be. Murdering a man for just speaking his mind is atrocious. Him being an atheist or that he spoke against religion is no reason for murdering him.

These terrorist murderers are deranged fanatic misfits, their mind lingering on the fringes of insanity driven by misplaced and misguided faith, their zeal born out of ignorance and lack of self analysis, their actions driven by sheer arrogance and sense of being right in murdering innocents that can only arise from intense bigotry that has been watered for years in their cold, black and Godless hearts.

May their deaths, when it happens, be a thousand times more painful and thousand times more prolonged than the ones they cause.

Narayana means Tripurasundari Devi! OMG, I never knew!

We all know people might go to any lengths to actually prove a point of their beliefs (including me, I am only human after all)… but one article I came across today seems to the pinnacle of that effort. The gentleman who wrote that article has spent so much time and effort in trying to prove that the sacred hymn of Narayana Suktam is actually meant for Tripurasundari Devi and not Lord Narayana.

The gentleman keeps referring to his “detailed analysis” as to why Narayana in Narayana Suktam cannot refer to Lord Narayana… but the detailed analysis that he refers to is just a jugglery of root words… concluding with the ONLY MEANING of the word Narayana is “That being / entity whose direction is towards nara (purusha)” or “That being / entity whose goal is to move towards nara (and reach him as final destination)”. And boom… out of the blue, the Nara/Purusha is Shiva, the being/entity whose goal is to move towards Nara is Tripurasundari Devi.

Declaring that Bhagavad Gita was not spoken by Lord Krishna (seems like he was in a trance and Lord Shiva spoke through him), that Sita Devi is actually Parvati Devi and Lord Rama is actually Lord Shiva, Srimad Bhagavatam as a fake purana are the crown jewels of this twisty twist effort.

I did not spend too much time on any of the pages in the site (obviously), but it looks to me that people like these keep running their conclusions between Lord Shiva is supreme, or/and Shakti is supreme and then all of a sudden Lord Shiva becomes this formless, nameless, qualityless Parabrahman and Tripurasundari Devi becomes the cliched mystic kundalini in everyone’s body.

*Facepalm*

I have no problem if someone wants to worship only Lord Shiva, consider him as the Supreme Being, spread the goodness around… may his devotion grow forever and may his life be blessed. But I am clearly annoyed when people keep jumping between personalism and impersonalism like intoxicated monkeys when it comes to professing their devotion to Lord Shiva. In doing that, while thinking they are glorifying his mystic potency and showcasing their own intellectual prowess of understanding 2 irreconcilable positions as the same, they actually insult him in to nothingness.

Edit: I came across a site that rips apart this particular fancy theory of Narayana means Tripurasundari devi. Anyone interested can visit http://narayanastra.blogspot.in/p/the-absurdity-of-shakta-interpretations.html and enjoy the carnage.

Q? What Q?

How many of you actually ‘fall in line’ when you have to? No, really… do you actually make a conscious effort to get in a Q and also ensure that others do the same? This phenomenon has been written to death all over the net, even getting branded as an Indian attitude problem. What a shame!

I absolutely hate it when people jump the line… and more so when they display an attitude of “its beneath me to stand in line”. But the worst of the lot are those who react as if they have heard a ‘asariri’ (disembodied, ethereal) voice when I berate them politely. They look in all directions (as if I was speaking to someone else) and make one more push towards getting further up in the line.

It pains me to see even (modern!) mothers encouraging their kids to “not stand there simply looking and barge in front to get the bill done fast”. I have lost count on the number of occasions when I gently chided kids to get back in line at the local supermarket only to get glared at by the ‘protective’ parent! I have been yelled at by line jumpers who claim ‘I was already at the counter before you… had to go back and get some additional stuff”, and my response was “you might have stood here yesterday or day before… but the line is for today”.

If the people’s attitude (culture, bringing up, whatever) is to be blamed, it also has to be shared by the commercial establishments and the counter in-charges. Lack of common sense rules related to crowd control is the core issue. “Saar, oru item thaane, parava illai”… (Sir, only one item no… its ok)… this is a statement I keep hearing so many times. The number of occasions I have been ‘side stepped’ by a counter employee in favor of another person lunging in with a single item to bill are far too many and every single time I have made it a point to give them as much as an earful possible in 10 seconds.

You don’t have to be as ‘stuck up’ as me… but please… next time, make sure you fall in line and speak up when someone doesn’t do so.

(partially inspired by the video of Mr. Chiranjeevi scolded by a voter at the polling booth for cutting the line.)