Support for Anna: A followup

Heading towards the dais - Anna Hazare
Image by vm2827 via Flickr

I wrote yesterday on why I think Anna should not use the current approach and make his political party to fight for the bill. A friend had asked me this question and on my suggestion he responded with details of an interview that Anna did with Aap Ki Adalat. The interview was a good one and the points that Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal brought up were valid ones. their concerns that the ruling party and their members are corrupt and so is the opposition is true to its very roots. Their point that changing the ruling party will not solve the issue because the opposition is also corrupt is try too. And it is evident in the way our MPs have enacted in this entire matter – I have not heard of MPs who have come forward in support of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

As Anna concluded his interview, he did mentioned a couple of points that call out the need of such an Andolan:

  1. Youth has come forward to support the movement; and it includes those who have never even voted. He mentioned that he happy to see that Youth can relate to the patriotism for India which has died over the years.  Today when people do not stand up to the National Anthem or stand up making faces, here is one movement that has brought all of them together for a greater cause;
  2. Anna said that someone who has a wife, kids and parents to support can not come forward. He added he does not expects them to come forward and go to jail because they have family to support. However, he does asks them to come forward and stand if it is harmless or support in a way they can;
  3. Anna called out to people are over 60 years and asked them – why can not they come forward. Their families are all settled and even if they go to jail, they will still get food in their;
  4. Anna and Kejriwal said many times over that this has to be a peaceful movement – no violence.

All of this makes so much sense to me. In all the material I have been reading, various activists or people; no one articulated the need or this movement the way these two did.

There is only one point that still baffles me – why does Team Anna does not want to fight for political power, get elected and then pass the bill. Given that this is not the only issue India has, if they come into power they will have the power to do not just one right thing, but lots of other right things. This question was asked many time to Anna and Arvind. The points I can make out are:

  • Arvind said (rephrased): why do we have to be power for something that is wrong?
  • Anna said (rephrased): I stay away from all government parties because if I would have not, I would have been unable to do all that I did
  • Anna said (rephrased): This is mud, and I do not want to get into the ditch

I hope not, but if this Andolan takes a turn like the recent event at Ramlila Maidan with Baba Ramdev, then this movement across India may take a turn for the worse or maybe Team Anna has been able to provide the leadership to the youth that they will not reach out to violence and stick to Gandhiwadi principles.

IIM Calcutta Alumni Association seminar on a C...
Image by vm2827 via Flickr

 

Of course, the movement has now started and no one can stop it. Anna has been fasting for 10 days now (almost 250 hours). But, whatever Team Anna is doing it is for a greater cause. They can do only so much, and even after that the Lokpal gets corrupted then we may need another Anna, but this is the right thing to do. I may never fully agree to the methods, but I always supported and will continue to support the sentiments and the need for the Lokpal bill.

 

I will pray for the safety and success of Team Anna, so that in next elections I can go and vote for an honest minister.

Advertisements

Responsibility

I don’t have to describe what “Responsibility” is; I assume we all know of it because in some form or other we do have responsibilities. However, many a times we measure our responsibilities in terms of the value of the object we are responsible of. Let us assume that we borrow 2 objects from someone – 1) A jewelry piece like a gold necklace worth 50K and 2) A travel bag worth 1K. If you ask yourself honestly a question – “how much will you be worried if you lose one of those items?”.

I am going to make a generalized statement – “Most people would most worried about the necklace and not care so much about the bag.” And, by care I mean not just loosing it, but also damage, handling it and anything else that may cause harm to the object.

Yesterday, I was presented with something similar. We borrowed a travel bag from a relative and as I planned to come back from USA, I figured out that the charges for me to carry that bag will be around $150. I instantly decided that it was not worth spending that amount of money on ensuring that bag gets back. It was decided that we will talk to the owner of the bag and if need be we will buy another one from India and simply replace it. Today, as I think of it, what would be the reaction is this was the case with a necklace worth 50K. I can safely say it would have been very different.

So why does responsibility changes with the cost of the object. Thinking more deeply into the subject, I realize that it is not just the cost of the object – it is linked to the value of object for the owner. However, many a times we assume the value of the object based on how we value objects in our life. How many times have you considered an anniversary card that you received as just a card and misplaced it and not thinking that it valued so much to the person who gifted you; more so misplaced a present/card that someone else received because you don’t value care of the ones you receive. Do we care enough to ask the person if it is okay to let the thing be ask them of their opinion of the object and its value (not monitory, but importance) for them and then decide how we should make amends if anything should happen to it.

And, I also tie this up to debts to the person. Taking something from someone and not returning it back for whatever reason or returning it back not in its original condition means like borrowing money and not giving it back or giving a partial amount back. It is just being in debt of the person forever however small it is. And all that counts up. So, I finally decided that I am going to spend the money and take the bag back to India and ensure that I am not in anyone’s debt no matter what it costs me. They handed me a bag and I was responsible of getting it back to them. More so, it ensures that I don’t let go of my sense of responsibility no matter how small the object it.

 

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.

Selfless deeds don’t matter

Memorial plaque dedicated to Mother Teresa by ...
Image via Wikipedia

A few weeks earlier when I was having a conversation with my nephew this topic came up. He said there is ni deed as selfless deed. We all see people around us praisung selflessness and any selfish acts are seen with disgust. The big question is do people know of an act is selfish or not? And is there a deed that can truly be defined as selfless?

Selfish deed can be defined as a deed that has been done for self interest or happiness. Ones selfishness leads one to do things that are directed for their own benefit. Any selfish deed will only mean their own benefit.

A selfless deed can be defined as a deed that has been dine without any self interest and only for the benefit of the others. A true selfless deed should not bring any benefit to the one who is performing the deed.

Now that we have the definitions out of the way, lets think abiyt his would you judge a deed to be selfish or selfless. Okay, did the definition not cover it? I think it did, but lets see that I be again. A deed that has been acted upon without any self interest will be considered as selfless only if there are alternatives that exist and are more profitable for the person acting upon it. However, a true or an absolute selfless deed would mean that the action has absolutely no benefits irrespective of the options available. I. Other words, if there are more profitable options availabe, the deed performed should bit have any benefits even if they are lesser. Anything else is selfish (phew that was easy).

The next big question is – how are the benefits quantified? The can be material or emotional. Lets say, if I was to do charity for an organization run by a friend or a colleague, and in return I expect to bb benefited in a contract or job than that is material benefit. But, if I do charity for an independent organization where I know no one and I don’t expect any returns, I am doing it for my internal peace and happiness. So now, if we take this argument and apply it all deeds and say that every deed is for self-hapiness then it implies that big deed cna be selfless. Everything that is done is don’t for an emotional or internal benefit. Every person has some interior motive to do it.

The last part may be philosiphical, but it is interesting and eventually leaves no room for any other discussions. I do nit know if I have an answer for it yet, but I do feel it very intriguing. Why? Simply because if thus is true, then all the praise that goes in for selfless deeds is nothing but a hypocritical, the praise itself would imply that the person who has done a deed with openness had an interior motive of getting praise out of it and hence getting benefit in the society of being a “better person”.

Now, having said all that, I think of Saint Mother Teresa and all the good she has done, and it breaks my heart to call her selfish. However, if I apply the same rule to her then she was very selfish. Now that simply can’t be true. But, the logic takes me there.

And makes me sad to think that it is these so called “selfless and great” people who get the most out of it and other who have motives of salvation and happiness are left behind. Ever heard of “neki kar kuain main daal” (do good and forget about it, don’t tell it). That is something which is a rare commodity today.

Thinking all this, I have come to a conclusion that it don’t matter if a deed is categorized as selfless or selfish, as long it is a good deed. If the society can go past the selfless act and praise all good deeds, the world would be a better place to live in.

Enjoyed playing today

The US Open
Image via Wikipedia

Today I played a kid, 17 year old (Meghna) and she is good. She hits the ball very well both forehands and backhands. At times gets the ball to kick up and has some tremendous passing shots. However, I was happy just playing her as I was able to match her strokes and at times pass her too and win points. She was serving fast and I was able to return the serves back well too.

I would like to play her in a match and I wont wonder if she beats me, but it would be fun and very competitive playing her.

I am the author of my life

I saw a friend of mine update his GTalk status to:

“I am the author of my life. Unfortunately, I am writing in pen and I cant erase my mistakes”.

For some time now, I have been thinking to start writing about what I have been thinking about a few topics below but never got to do it; kind of lazy. I guess I start here and now.

  • Destiny vs. Coincidence;
  • Karma vs. Luck;
  • Process of life vs. Life;
  • Journey vs. Destination

Coming back to the quote my friend shared – I do not care if we write in pen or pencil – we just write and there are no mistakes.

Everything that we think is wrong is not wrong, it is destined to happen because of our Karma from previous life or this life (I will come to it). The important thing is that as we draw out our life, it is important to read the book we are writing or else we do not know what else we can try and see what the results can be. I read someplace – “Remember there are no mistakes, only lessons”.

The GTalk status has a negativity attached to it and if we think like that then we are already in the zone of dead and we wont live life, we will constantly think about fixing what is “supposedly” wrong. I do not like that attitude in life, or at least have started to dislike it over due course.

Live as if there is no tomorrow – or maybe not

People say, “You will get hit by a bus and you wont know what hit you. Live life as if there is no tomorrow.”

This is all crap. It is life. You will not get hit by a bus and in all probable cases you will live up to 70-80 years. You will have to live with the choices you make. Your decisions will come back to haunt you.

“Live life as if there is a tomorrow. As if, there are going to be many tomorrows.”

 

But still get a life insurance, just in case there is no tomorrow 🙂