Day #49

Day #49:

Good morning! A little over 6 years ago my two sons pestered us to get them a pup. My wife found that to be a very bad idea and said that she did not want a dog in the house. I had mixed feelings about it. A dog in an apartment is not my idea of an ideal life for a dog. Secondly, though the kids were promising to clean up after it and walk it, I had a sinking feeling that extra work was coming my way. But I knew a pup will do a world of good for the kids and they might learn to be more responsible and show affection more often. So I did not oppose this demand and the vote was split three to one at home. And with uncles, aunts, and grandparents weighing into this raging conversation it was getting difficult for her to ignore or refuse the demand. Since she found that everyone was ganging up on her and that emotional pressure was building on her to accede to their request, she made it clear that she will not take care of the pup, will not clean after it and will not walk it, ever. Finally, she came around and accepted to bring a pup home.

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So within a few weeks one small bundle came home – 30 days old, fawn coloured male pup. We named him Alfie after a massive search for a suitable name, we chose the name picked by my niece.  Yesterday Alfie turned 6 years old. He is now an integral part of my family and people wished and pamper him like any of us on our birthday. As expected my sons’ promises of taking care of him remain promises. They take care of him when the mood suits them.

The daily grind is left to me. My wife still cribs now and then. But when we catch her in private with Alfie, she chats with him, feeds him buttermilk, which he loves, and has even given him bath when I’m not in town and is in need of a bath.  So she does a lot of caring for him including walking him, pulling out the ticks, brushing him occasionally and chatting with him when no one is at home.

Alfie somehow understands any language we speak even though we did not tutor him in that. He understands our moods and knows how to treat each of us. We each have our own unique relationship with him. He has accepted me as the head of the family and obeys my orders without any back-answering, most of the times. He waits at the door for me when I return home. This he does for all of us. He growls at my elder son when he plays with him, because my son gets a kick out of it. For my younger son who is very strict with him, he gives the required respect and obedience expected of him.

A dog in the family is an essential part of growing up. Kids learn responsibility. They learn to drop their mask and be themselves with the canine. When you return home tired and this guy shows excitement and love to see you back, you get energised and drop all your work worries or thoughts and come back to the present.

When you are with your dog, the past and the future are not of much consequence and you can be totally in the present. You can relax and be yourself. But do remember along with all these good things comes the responsibility of caring for him through his lifetime. You cannot travel so freely anymore. You need a good kennel that will care for him in your absence. You need to use this facility early enough so that he gets accustomed to you not being there for short breaks.

Alfie is a blessing in our family and I’m grateful that he is with us.

Day #45

Day #45:

Merry Christmas to you and your family! My favourite festival is here. It is Christmas morning now and I’m flooded with memories of so many past Christmases. When I was in school it was about buying new clothes. We are six siblings and this used to be a big exercise those days. If you have kids now you will know how fussy and cranky they are when they are buying new clothes. At least my sons are like that. They hate shopping. They pick out the first shirt or trouser that they think suits them and that is that. It’s another matter that they never wear it again. If your kids do not fuss or better still love the experience, then you are either lucky or unlucky depending on the size of your wallet. Those days we kids could not afford to fuss. We were under an autocratic rule where dissent or personal choice was not an option. One year my dad bought a large roll of patterned cloth and got that stitched for all of us. We’re three boys and three girls and we were forced to wear the same outfit that year. Boy, what an experience we had. That was the first and last year that happened. We mutinied and made it clear that we will never again wear something like this. This was the one time my dad relented and he never tortured us like that again.

The other things that stick in my mind are the elaborate preparation for at least one month running up towards the festival. We used to buy spices, dry fruits, and nuts for baking cakes from Dawn Stores or Spencers and soak the dry fruits in brandy for a few weeks. Then we will bake the cakes a few days before Christmas. What a yummy experience that used to be. I will churn the butter and the batter and taste it liberally even before the baking. I used to help my mom make ladoos and other savouries and sweets so I can taste them in the process. Tons of food will be made – biriyani, idlis, mutton kozhambu, cutlets, Ok. I’m hungry now. Sorry for drooling all over this page. I’m going to change the topic.

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Then the decorations! There were no shops selling Christmas decorations like we have now. In fact the mountain paper was made at home and can you believe that I still have some of them. They must be more than 35 years old. We used kraft paper (the ones we cover school books with), poster colours, brush and water. We mix each colour with water in separate containers and then dip the brush in each and tap the brush on a ruler over the paper. Drops of colour fall over the paper and as you layer the colours the mountain paper gets created. We grew the grass from mustard or wheat seeds at least 4 to 6 weeks before Christmas. Straw, wood pieces, cotton wool and other available materials were used to create the whole nativity scene. This will be viewed by our friends and family and comparisons will be made with the previous year’s creation or other people’s creations.

On Christmas eve we have a light supper and go for midnight mass, hug and kiss hundreds of friends and family at Church and return home with at least a dozen more people to continue the festivities and celebrations with food, wine, music, dance, more food, more wine, mistletoe and more.  There would be at least a hundred people going through our doors that day and the sound of laughter and talk will drift through for a few days more.

Today, we don’t have such get-togethers anymore. We live in nuclear families and any crowd over a dozen is shifted to a hotel and no one has the time or takes the trouble of doing everything themselves. It’s become mechanical and commercial. However, even smaller gatherings can still rekindle the memories of yore. Last night we went for midnight mass, my wife, my sister and I. Supper was at my sister’s home, yes you guessed it, idlis and mutton kozhambu. Mass and the choir were fantastic. The lights and the decoration were many notches higher than what I’ve witnessed earlier. We didn’t bump into hundreds of people we knew, nor did we bring home a dozen others. But the Yuletide spirit was there nevertheless and we rounded it off with an ice cream before we called it a night.

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I’m now looking forward to our family lunch where the whole khandaan will show up and rekindle some of the magic of the past and rehash old stories and memories.

I’m grateful I have a large family and many beautiful memories created over several decades that tether us together with love.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, go create some lovely moments together so these become beautiful memories that linger on for several decades more.

Day #39

Day #39:

A new week starts today, Monday the 19th December and the last fortnight of this year 2016. There is a lot going on in my head, especially the events of the last few weeks that have left visible marks all around us. The landscape is shorn of its green cover and we only see dead trees, cut branches, stark leafless trees still standing and many uprooted trunks. Varada’s presence is all around us. There are posters of a new Chinamma in town the recently passed away Amma in the background. There is support being drummed up for her installation as the new leader in TN. Most ATMs still have downed shutters and the few that are open have serpentine queues of people waiting hopefully to draw a few much-needed currency notes. Banks, of course, have crowds milling with riot police controlling their access to their own money. We have had a very eventful month and that effect is still largely hanging over our heads and dragging down our spirits.

Why am I giving so much negative news in a gratitude post? I don’t know. I’m just overwhelmed by all that has happened in the recent past and no amount of celebration or feel good thoughts are washing them out of my head this morning. I’m human after all.

Being human, I can take the bad with the good, the pessimism with the optimism and the sadness with the happiness. Life is a combination of all of these. I’m happiest when I’ve come out of the toughest times, right side up. I feel very good when I have overcome very bad moods and the smile is coming back to my face. Each of these feelings or states are just other sides of the same coin. And this coin is flipping and spinning all the time.

I’m not going to be down all the time. And I’m not going to be upbeat and happy all the time. Then life will be very boring. Any state of constancy becomes boring and annoying. Change is exciting, necessary and a constant in our life. This change from state to state is what keeps us getting up every morning looking forward to what life has in store for us today. This is what helps every individual who has been knocked down by life circumstances to enter a new relationship, new job, new situation or new day looking forward to a different ending.

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I’m grateful for this constant change swirling through my life, knocking off the old and bringing in the new and bringing excitement into my life.

Thank you.

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Day #32

Day #32:

Good morning! This is a long one. Give yourself a 10-min break and read it fully. Yes. Click on the link below and read it fully. It could change your life. It did, mine.

Yesterday I attended Mahatria’s program on “The Power of Beliefs”. I am attending an event by him after a gap of nearly 15 years. He still has the power to hold an audience spell-bound and he has reinvented himself time and again to stay current and relevant.

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I learned an awful lot and I would like to share some of them with you if you don’t mind. This is helpful to me as well as you since it helps me remember and internalise the things I want to adopt in my life.

It was a 2-hour talk that started on the dot at 4:00 pm and ended on the dot at 6:00 pm. Hats off to him and the organisers, Rotary Club of Madras East. Just being on time all the time speaks volumes of the people who are able to keep to time. I love that.

The program itself is in aid of Rotary East’s Vocational Centre in OMR which trains disadvantaged children to learn a vocation and build a career that has the potential to change their whole family. The Rotary president shared a beautiful success story of Kavita, a girl from a family with a monthly income of Rs 2,000/- Her father was a scavenger. After a  6-month course in computers in their vocational training institute, where she learned not only computers but also etiquette, English communication, etc, she was given a job in one of the Rotarian’s company. Today after 10 yrs and a few job changes, she is earning Rs 90,000/- per month and has educated her siblings and changed her family circumstances forever, from scarcity to abundance. Rotary is keen to create many more Kavitas and through this fundraiser they were able to raise over Rs 1 crore for a new building and campus in OMR.

Mahatria wove this story and the program objective right through his riveting 2-hour speech. I’m not going to reproduce it in verbatim since I neither have the ability to do so nor would you receive it the same way as when you watch his speech in person.

In a race, the winner starts the race with the certainty and belief that he is going to win it. The loser starts with a sinking feeling that he is going to lose it. Not all those who start the race feeling like the winner is going to win. But definitely, the person who starts the race with the feeling that he is going to lose, will lose. So what should be your attitude when starting something? Our beliefs determine who we are and what we become. If we have the right beliefs we can be healthy, wealthy, happy and successful.

He said that if we do one of the three following things in our life from today, then the 2 hours that we are spending together would have been worthwhile for him and us.

  1. I shall drop ONE THING that I know is bad for me but I still continue to do in my life.
  2. I shall do / learn / act on ONE THING that I know is good for me but I have not adopted and implemented in my life.
  3. From now on, I shall monitor every word coming out of my mouth to ensure that it sweetens or improves the atmosphere around me rather than pollute or stink it up.

We all know what is good for us and what is bad for us. The difference between the successful and happy people and the others are the former act on their beliefs while the latter know it but go about their life ignoring it.

So what habits do you have that you know is harming you but you are unable to give up? Pick the most harmful one and let it go right now. Not tomorrow. Not on New Year Day. Right now!  Just drop it and don’t look back.

What habit do you have that you want in your life but have not taken the trouble to inculcate? Do you want to learn a musical instrument? Do you want to sing? Do you want to exercise and get into shape? Pick the ONE NEW THING that will make you feel great about yourself. Commit to it from today, right now and adopt it. Learn. Practice! Make it a habit.

Did you know that all excreta that comes out of the human body stinks? I hadn’t thought of it till then, but yes, he has a point. Words are the only thing that is in our control. Let us bring out words that will sweeten, brighten, elevate and build the atmosphere and people around us rather than stink up or destroy people around us. It is in our control. So use them wisely. Avoid expletives, curse words, demeaning comments, barbs and stink bombs. Can we start that from right now? Thank you.

These three were the key transformational take-aways that he gave us. But I got a few more too and would like to share them with you? Is that okay?

Three more words that stuck with me are LEARN. EARN. RETURN. He said most people go through life thinking that these are phases of life. First 25 years they will Learn. Next 25 years they will Earn. And last 25 years they will Return. But do any of us know whether we will definitely reach the 3rd stage? We don’t. However, we can have all three stages happen every day, every moment. You learn. You earn and you can return all the same day. Think about it. Practice it. This is the dance of life.

The last and final lesson I learned was this. I have taken my talents and my craft for granted. I practice it and earn from it. What have I given it in return? Zilch!!! This is my God that feeds me. I have not treated Him with the respect due. I shall pay more attention to it and grow it and nourish it from now on.

Thank you for reading this fully. Go live life fully.

 

One moment. Just one more little thing for the road. If you are a good person, you owe it to yourself and your creator to be rich and wealthy. If you are spiritually connected and grounded and wealthy you can do enormous good for the world around you. If you let the bad people be poor and make all the good people wealthy, the world will become a beautiful place and heaven will rule on earth.

As you grow you create space for others below you to grow. Invest in yourself. Grow yourself. Your organisation, your family and your surrounding will grow and prosper.

Day #31

Sunday again. Lazzzy…. what was I grateful for yesterday?

Ah yes. I went for a longgggg drive. 600 kms. Me and my wife drove down to vaitheeswaram temple and velankanni church. our annual trip. But this time we returned on the same day. 

The highways are improving and the driving comfort is getting better every year.

I love long drives. It’s so peaceful seeing the fields whiz by and seeing farmers in their fields. My eyes get soothed by the blue skies and green fields. 

The purr of the engine and the soft music from the speakers combine to give a relaxed hypnotic state. 

Have you experienced it? We all need to have something that relaxes and rejuvenates us. For me these long drives serve that purpose. 

Thank you for my car. The highway. The company. The music. the fields. The perfect weather. The right lack of crowds. All in all a lovely day.

Thank you for reading this. Now go find your fix. 

Day #28

Day #28:

I’m grateful to my teachers who seeded in me the love of the English language and those who taught me to weave magic with words. I loved reading when I was a little boy and was often found cuddling with a book most times of the day. From Enid Blyton to AgathaChristie to PG Wodehouse and countless others, my love for the language has increased over the years.

I’m blessed that I am now able to use the benefits of this passion into my work. While creating marketing collaterals, newsletters, blogs and articles for my clients I’m able to command the right words for the right occasion. It gives me great pleasure and thrill to be able to weave the magic of language into my daily life and revel in the pleasure it brings to those who care to give me the feedback.

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Words are powerful enough to move people, countries, and mountains. Our history is littered with instances of how words changed the world. Whether in political history, economic history or business history, words have held the power to create massive change, sometimes way beyond what the creator intended to do.

In school, you would have learned or perhaps delivered Marc Antony’s speech at Ceasar’s funeral. This speech changed history. You might have listened to the speech of Martin Luther King that lit a fire in his countrymen and changed the future of the United States of America, so much so that they elected a black President a few decades from then.

Even three little words can change the lives and fortunes of million. “Just do it” has changed the fortunes of one company and made it a household name across the globe. Nike was almost going to shut shop at that time, but the swish and the three words made millions for its owners and ensured the longevity of the company.

You can also change your life, your company’s fortunes and the lives of all those who depend on you by using the right language.

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Starting from Ground Zero

Starting a new blog is like starting from Ground Zero.
What to say? What not to say?
How to say? How not to say?
There are so many options in front of you when you have a blank canvas or a blank page in front of you. The possibilities are endless.
You can start wherever. End wherever.

Have you ever had such feelings, especially at the start of the day, some days?

Our life is full of possibilities. Our limits are in our head. We are the architect and creators of our universe. What we choose to focus, grows. The rest dies unattended and uncared for. Be aware of what you are focusing on most parts of the day. Because that is what our life will become.

If you own a business or a consultancy, you are a creator in the true sense of the word. With just an idea in your head, you created an entity, found a place, hired some people, decided on what products or services you will offer, and to whom. How, when and where you will offer it. And today you may be responsible for the lives of tens, hundreds or thousands of people who owe their livelihood to you.

This takes guts, passion, hunger, love, determination and more….. and a few sleepless nights, worries and arguments with your loved ones. You are the salt of the earth and let no one take it away from you.

Your business is your blank canvas or page. You can write whatever enters your imagination. When you need help in using the right words or images,there are professional agencies like Raphael Creations that can bring your vision and dreams to reality.

Dream. Ideate. Prototype. Test. Create. Dream……. The world is waiting for your best that is still to come…. go get them…

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