For One Self

Long time back I wrote about “life is all about sacrifices” and when I try I don’t even remember in what context did I make that post. Nevertheless it’s so true. It’s about what you chose.

Since then almost 5 years have passed and with time I have gained perspective around life. I believe that these 5 years have changed in ways that I can’t go back to who I was earlier. I do not know if that is for good or not but it has happened. Along the way somewhere I started to realize that this life or at least the one I have lived up till now has been about trying to make people happy. It all started when I was a kid and that was the conditioning which was given to me and my sister too. From the smallest of the things to the big ones it was always about “what will people think” so when relatives were visiting we had to be home arrested, when it was about studies it was about what my parents wanted me to do and countless things that I do not even remember now.

Somewhere down the line I started to revolt and my transformation started and it took me about 10 years to finish that transformation and realize that either I can live in the limbo and just do stuff that people around me want me to do or I can do something else. It was not a choice that I made at-least not consciously. For better or worse I am no longer the person I used to be. I have those times in a day when I am just plain happy because I just do things what I like to do and now what people want me to do. Simply put – I just do stuff.

During this transformation what did stuck with me was the sense of responsibilities towards someone but it was a weird sense. I realize that what I do hurts people and it hurts all the time and there is a sense of guilt, but that sense does not lingers for long. I get over it and at time I get over it dangerously fast. I hope that does not makes me a bad person but I am sure that surely does not makes me a liked person as well. Part of this transformation has morphed a world around me which only I understand. No matter how much I try no one can understand this world at least not until they are willing to understand the process I went through in last 30 years to get where I am now.

I have several people around me who expect me to do things that they want me to do; that they prefer. It’s build of an implicit set of expectations that comes with a relationship be it a son, sibling, husband, father, friend, boss, colleague etc. But, little those people realize that I am also an individual and I have my own needs. Little those people realize that I have gone through a set of life for 30 years or so and there are several million (if not billion) things that have happened which have made me a person who I am.

Like any thing or person there are good and bad things. I look at people around me (and i mean everyone) and I watch for the great, good, bad and ugly and I prefer for large part to ignore the bad and the ugly and see the good/great barring a few people in my life who I resent (long story for another day). I have stopped expecting things from people ~ actually the only expectations I have from people around me is to stop expecting stuff from me. I am happy with the way they are because thats what they want to be. Who am I to tell someone around me “what they should do” or “how they should behave” or “anything for that matter”. They are mature adults and they know what they are doing. They of course want to do things that make them happy and I mean small day to day things be it be on phone, go to office, spend time reading facebook or posting on facebook or whatever. I know I am happy just seeing them around me. I care and hence I am around. I do not go to a friends hours every night/evening – i come back home because I care about the people at home and I find happiness to be around the, “just around does for me”. I work in an office where I like the people around me. I may not like their every action but I like to go back and talk to them and speak with them and work with them.

Why can not people return to me the same courtesy/expectation/kindness? Why is it so difficult for them to realize that I like to do things my way ~ whatever those things may be? how hard is it?

now unless someone expects to do things with me thats a different story all together because then you have a clash of 2 universes and one will always loose because those are 2 opposite ends. It’s like a cricket match – one team has to come out losing. Now you do not play for “win some, lose some”. Everyone plays to win all but there are bad days. I have my good and my bad days but what happens on those bad days is because of choices I make. Now if my decisions on a day makes someone sad because they did not get what they wanted – does that makes me a bad person? Or should I simply just give in all the time and sacrifice?

You can either live loved and die with about 400 people besides you but knowing you did not do stuff for yourself or you can live for yourself and maybe die alone and hated.I am fast moving towards the later and I do not know yet if that is a good place to be. But, I know end of the day these are my choices and I wont have anyone else to blame when I am on the death bed. I will at least be saying to myself I lived my life on my terms rather than cursing 100s of people of making my life something I do not want it to be.

Does that makes me a bad person?

Unexpectd lie

Well, this is something that happened on March 3, 2011. I could not publish this at the time because I could have been in serious trouble with my company. But, I did write this on March 17, 2011 and scheduled this for a year later.

On March 3, 2011; I was scheduled to fly to US for the second leg of my assignment that started in July 2010. Since July 2010, there has been a lot of unrest within me and with my family over my travel. Of course, I had never been away from home for more than week, this was for about a year when it started. Now, it had come down to 5 months until July 2011 when my assignment ended.

However, I got ready with bags packed and everything. Dad and Preeti (my wife) accompanied me to the airport. I left my daughter home crying because she wanted to go with us to the airport. It was late in the night so no point bringing her along. She was 3 years back then and did not really understand that her Dad was going away for a longish period and she would only be able to talk on phone or a video chat.

I had left home in a state of flux and unrest, but this time it was more than what it was in July 2010. As I was driving to the Airport, everyone was silent and thinking something. I knew what I was thinking – “What can I do that this trip can be canceled?”.

As we were walking from the Parking I popped a question to Preeti – “Can we manage our household in case I do not go and get fired?” She was not sure. However, we continued to deliberate on this. We reached the Gate and then I asked the same question to Preeti and Dad. And next 20 minutes were hay-wire. Eventually the following happened:

We decided to cancel the trip and communicate on medical grounds to my boss. To safeguard my position, we spoke to Amit and Aparna who recommended that we go to a hospital and report the situation and get a medical certificate of the checkup. We started our trip back to the hospital and my dad called up Krishna and informed him about the same.

However, the events for the evening were not to end there. When we reached the hospital and I had my blood pressure measured (I have been recording a high BP for a week now); it was 160/110. And it was alarming. Eventually, the doctor suggested an ECG; which came to be normal. I was recommended some medicines and I came back home.

Since, then there has been a lot of thinking around should I go or not. The Blood pressure eventually normalized. I guess it was because of anxiety for last few weeks. These two weeks gave me time to think what to do and also to search for various jobs and see if there are opportunities for elsewhere to find.

I have never done this in my entire career and it took a lot of courage to do it; however it never went away and until now this comes back to haunt me – like I did something wrong.

I do not know, if what I did was wrong or right. It seemed right for my family. I am not sure, if it can be right for someone, if it started as being wrong.

P.S.: If you are wondering what happened after that, that is a story for another day.

Support for Anna: A followup

The India Against Corruption movement was a much needed movement, because as Team Anna said for 62 years nothing has happened because the government does not want to fix it. Anan Hazare enters 10 day of his ANSHAN, and the youth of India rises with every minute that the parliament decided not to implement the bill.

On the flip side of this coin, this movement will create a legacy that this will be the way we are going to get justice from our Government. Will this movement bring another revolution in the youth of India who have been accepting the current nature of our government and culture to be a bare truth that can not be fixed.

Full article is located here (http://blog.kapilvirenahuja.com/2011/08/25/support-anna-followup/)

Right vs. Right

Sachin Tendulkar celebrates his century agains...
Image via Wikipedia

On Sunday, during the 2nd test match between India and England something happened that has once again trigerred the debate of “what’s the right thing to do?”. It was the Ian Bell’s run out and India’s decision to take the appeal back allowing him to come out and bat again. The next day, India lost the test match in a very humiliating manner; however Ian Bell added only 20 more runs after being recalled and his recall had no influence on the result of the test match. Yet, the media has started to talk about it in all sense. Not just media; some people I know are also talking about if it was the right thing to do. If you read about the dismissal and watch it on YouTube, you will realize very soon that Ian Bell was out as per the rules and there was nothing wrong on part of Dhoni to make the appeal. It is a simple fact that umpires reviewed the same, and eventually ruled Ian Bell out. All of this happened within a day of another incident where VVS Laxman was accused of cheating by Andrew Strauss. An article in Times of India shows two sides of what people are feeling. One side said – “Why does India have to be on the good side always, when teams like Australia and England do all sorts of things in this Gentleman’s game”. The other side says – “We don’t want to follow or setup wrong examples. They can do what they want to; we will do the right thing”. In another article, they revelaed the influence Sachin had on this decision; goes to show the kind of leaders we have in our team how great this team is.

It was “right” to dismiss Ian Bell; he was silly to take the run; but it was also “right” to recall because of the confusion. When I think about it; it seems like a choice I have been asked to make so many times – “The Practical thing” vs. “The Right thing”. India decided to recall was the right thing to do; although it was not as per rules. They could have decided to let go of Bell and play on and nothing would have been wrong about it as per the rules of the game, but it would have be such a sad thing to do. All those people who in India, who are currently critisizing Dhoni for this; are not thinking if there was a role reversal and it was Sachin Tendulkar instead of Ian Bell. In most cases, knowing England they would not have recalled him; just think how we would have felt about it. We would have been all over the English side and critisizing them for this “right foresaken” thing. But, now when we have chosen to do the right thing – why are we upset. We should be happy that we have a team who thinks on moral ground and while they play to win, they also understand the importance of fair play.

Another decision

Today I have a meeting with my leadership team to understand and then decide what I am going to do next in my organization. The last year was all working on non-technology stuff for the most part. Last year, I was promised a technical role after I was done with my program management responsibilities, but that did not happen and I realized that I just can not keep myself away from technology at all. I need that as a fuel in my life to keep it exciting. Anything else just makes it too boring.

I am meeting with Harsha today to see what they (Harsha and Krishna) have thought about my role in the company. I know I want something in technology and I am going to ask for that. Time has come when I start seeing myself doing things I want to do and start saying “I want” instead of “I need”.

Wish me luck.

Karma

In last few months, I have adopted a belief and have strongly moved towards the existence of Karma. That means that I no longer believe in Fate, Luck or Destiny. Before I go about explaining how and why I arrived at this thought process, let me start off by explaining to you all what I understand of these words. If you want to learn more about it, I have provided links to all of these. My viewpoints mentioned in this post are just a summary of the concept and they closely follow what Brahmins follow in Hindu. I am not going to digress into Jainism, Buddhism or any other religions and debate what they each mean/infer of these divine words.

Karma can be summarized from a theist viewpoint as “God does not make one suffer for no reason nor does He make one happy for no reason. God is very fair and gives you exactly what you deserve.”

Luck is either a good or bad fortune in life caused by accident or chance, and attributed by some to reasons of faith or superstition, which happens beyond a person’s control.

Destiny refers to a predetermined course of events. It may be conceived as a predetermined future, whether in general or of an individual. It is a concept based on the belief that a fixed natural order to the cosmos. Destiny and Fate may be used interchangeably.

Now to tie things up – about a month ago, I wrote about Destiny and why it has me confused. As you read that post, you will find me conflicted, but I do make a point that it seems my existence is purposeless. I have to exist to fulfill a purpose just like any other object in the universe be it Sun or be it an Ant or a pebble. We all play our roles in the environment around us. So, if everything has to be pre-determined or Destined, that all of this is simply pointless. Why would God create such a world where everything is pre-decided. Do we create a game where we know what is going to happen. Will we enjoy it?

Decision 1: There is no such thing as Destiny.

Just like Destiny, Luck is something that happens for no reason. Now, we all know that it is a proven fact of life a scientific principle proven – “every action has a reaction”. Hence, there has to be an action for an event to happen. Things do not happen for no reason. Everything has a reason, just we don’t understand what that is. Read this post here; and you will see that I was able to find a few reason about why the chain of events took place. It also ties to our responsibilities and we are given a chance for God to fix things that we may have done wrong.

Decision 2: There is no such thing as Luck.

That leaves me with just one reason – Does Karma has a very big role to play in our lives? It is all based on what decisions we make. God provides is with options in every aspect of our life, He asks us to make choice and decide what we are going to do in every single moment. Sometimes, those decisions are just easy to make as they are trivial like eat what at a diner; buy a car. There are other times when these decisions are very difficult to make and are life-altering like this one. But, the choice is ours – we have our free will. Two people in same situation have the capability to think and choose what they are going to do. One of them may chose to pardon sins of another while the other may turn to terrorism or depression. But, the decision is theirs to make. It the sum-total of these decisions that lead to the events in our life.

Hinduism believes in after-life and reincarnation; while Christianity believes in one life. However, in both the religions and some others that I have read about (I am no expert in Atheism or religions and my knowledge is limited) do talk about the sins of your earlier life or your ancestors are carried over to you and you have to pay for it. I have never heard of a religion talk about a good deed to be carried over.That is one reason why I do not believe in a religion, but do believe in God. Religions talk about bad things and then they ask people to come to the Divine shelter of God i.e. the Holy Place. I feel it is self-marketing.. I have arrived at this theory for Karma. Now, I have not read it anywhere, so if someone comes across a text where there is written somewhere, please point it out and I will pass on the credit/links. However, I do want to announce that I did come up with his all by myself.

Rule: Your Karma decides what you get back in life.

God, maintains a balance scorecard for us. It all starts with a ZERO (0) at some point. As we live our life, we are provided with choices – some of those choices are right and other are wrong (how is another topic I will cover later; lets assume to be right an wrong for this conversation). We have to decide what we would do in such a scenario. Based on our decisions, we are awarded points or points are taken away from us. Now, when we go t God and pray for something, or want something in our life, God sees what is our Scorecard and gives is what we deserve. We either get what we asked for or we don’t or we get something in between; but all that is based on what our scorecard is at that time. Once we have been awarded, our scores neutralizes back – it is like earning “Game Points” and spending those in the game for powers to do bigger things.

So, you may be asking yourself, how do I explain the exceptional people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sachin Tendulkar who were born with talent. My answer to that is that those people had their scores carries from a earlier life. They did some good things and they were rewarded with a head-start. Now, we have people like them with exceptional leadership skills, and then we also have people like Osama bin Ladin who also had exception leadership skills. What they chose to do with those leadership skills was their decisions. A few decided to do good to the world, while other decided otherwise. They will have been rewarded as per their actions.

Now, Karma becomes more complicated when you put people together. Have you ever heard a husband say “My wife is lucky for me” (I have ben saying that for 5 years now) or a father say “My daughter/son is lucky for me”. Remember, we have established that there is Luck. So what is this? It is two people’s Karma’s coming together. We do not decide our Spouse based on their good fortunes, but we try to choose based on what we know of them – what good they have done (or what bad they are capable of if we are negative people to begin with). But, we essentially try to match up. Based on our decisions, we get chances to do more good together and it is our way to build up that balance scorecard. Who we are blessed with (our kids) is a direct result of what do and what scorecard we have. And, it is our chance to make a difference with that kid. God entrusts that child to us and what we make out of him/her is our Karma. How good are parents is a head-start that a kid gets based on their earlier balance scorecard that is a carry forwarded.

 

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Death and Faith

It has been a while since I have thought about this topic. For some reason that I am not aware of, I have been hesitant to write about this or discuss this with anyone else. I vaguely brought this up with Preeti early 2011 when I was about to travel to USA in March. However, I did discuss this with Samita Thakur on length. I just was unable to discuss this with Preeti because I knew she would be completely psyched about it and just didn’t want her to get upset.

For a decade (2000-2010) I have maintained the place that “I am not afraid of death”. I believed that everyone has to die one day and once I die it is over for me. Death will not affect me because I am gone. I have always wanted a swift death; didn’t want to suffer. I don’t know when, but my thinking changed and I realized it when I started to travel so often to Hyderabad for office assignments. This was in the year 2010 itself (January to March). And, then later that year I had to travel to USA for office work. I had 2 trips planned in that duration and flying just made me so stressed out. I was paranoid about flying and the second time (March 2011), I was just over the top. It was so much so that my blood pressure was up to 130/100. It was that time when I discussed it with Preeti and Samita.

Of course, they both did mention the same thing that I had believed for almost a decade – why do you care? you can’t control it; if it happens it happens. If something bad has to happen it can happen anytime anywhere. I knew all that, yet air-travel has just been so stressful. Around time of travel, I would find reason in everything about why it happened this time and why not last time. A few examples:

  • Aparna’s mother-in-law asked to come to meet me especially in March just before travel and I was thinking – “why now? why not last time?”. Preeti told me she wanted to last time too and I was relieved;
  • I didn’t want to pick up a flight and just wanted to be assigned a flight to travel.

And there were more. It was a huge thing – I was challenging every event in March just before travel. Yet, I did travel and did arrive in Plymouth safely and now I am sitting today writing this on the eve of my travel. This time the travel plans have changed unplanned and once more I am asking myself the same question.

However, some part of me has always asked me this question – “Why would God bother to kill me in such an unusual way?” I don’t travel much, so why make all this trip on work assignment just to kill me in an air accident or put me through a misery. He can do this when, where and how He wishes it. I can’t explain myself why would he do this now; I have a daughter to take care of, a wife who thinks of me as her life and two parents who would be devastated if anything would happen to me (I just can’t imagine what would happen to them).

To top it all, I feel so sad just thinking about this. As I write this post, I am trembling from inside and I have a feeling that I have never had before – I can’t describe it. The saddest part is my realization that I am not trusting God and His decisions. Where I have faith in Him, I still think about this and in a way challenge His actions. He has done so many good things for me, and if He has decided to do this to me then who am I to question His deeds. I never questioned when good things happened; why about this. This is something out of my control and if it has to happen it will happen. I just can’t do anything about it.

I just need to find peace around this topic – if I continue to think about this that I am letting go of my Faith in Him; my faith in Him that he will take care of me; my Faith in Him to take care of my family. For a very long time, when I pray, I asked for one thing and one thing only – “Please do what is best for me”. When I start to think of all this, I let go of my faith in Him and his decisions around me.

<side-thought>Next few lines should help me understand and put this topic to rest for ever</side-thought>.

I have started to believe in Karma more strongly in recent times and believe that what we get is a result of our actions. I believe that God keeps a score for us – good deeds give us points and bad deeds take away points. What happens with us is a result of what our score is. I believe that Death comes when we have fulfilled our purpose in this life. I don’t know the purpose of my life, but whatever I do is in that direction – I just don’t know it. I don’t want to digress from topic, so I am going to end it by accepting my Faith over my fear.

I want to carry on with my life believing that God is going keep a watch over me as He has done in the past and He is going to do the same for my family too. I will just go about doing my stuff and try to do the right thing. I will try to choose my purpose and make people around me happy. Rest I will leave to God. He has brought us to existence and He will do what is best for us. Death is just another way of tempting me to let go of my Faith, but I will not. I will not stop doing what I am should do (Karma), and I will do it using my best judgement. God will judge me for my actions.

I have had doubts if this I should share this thought and what is the right way to share these thoughts with my parents, siblings, wife and children. So, after thinking for a long time, I am going to publish this post, because this is the easiest way for them to know what I believe in and what I have gone through for last 2 years. This is the best way for me to pass on my Faith to them especially in times when God is testing us. I just want everyone to know that I don’t think of death all the time, and I want to be around to fulfill my purpose of a son, a brother, a husband and a father. But, based upon my actions God will decide when I have served my purpose. And to let you know, as I end this post, I feel much lighter that I was a while ago. I know now, that I need to fix a few things in my life and do it while I have the time.