January 16, 2010

Social advertising

Received these as a mail forward. Good ones. Click on the images to see them in larger size & to read the tag lines with them.

January 15, 2010

Disclaimer time

The thoughts I expressed on my post on money being a mean and not the end has had many takers. The reactions have been amazing. I am extremely happy that a lot of us are inclined to think on these lines. Somehow, I feel there is a need to add some additional points (what I have called 'Disclaimers') about the thought-process and its implications.

1. I am basically only saying these things. Do I personally live by it as of now? - NO. Do I want to? - YES. Will I be able to? - I HOPE SO. Point being I do not deserve any credit for saying it. I have NOT done much on those lines. So you can well tag me as an arm-chair reformist :D

2. I have written the post after reaching a point where I am financially not constrained. I have been doing things to chase materialistic ends. Charity begins at home, isn't it? So we have to be reasonably secured ourselves before we try to go around trying to help others. When I say we, I include our family members too. They have their own set of expectations from us. We must try to adhere to them too. Balancing between the two set of 'ideologies' is a fine act to attempt.

3. Many have reacted something like this: Dude, all this is fine. What is to be done? We are not sure of it. To that I would say, surely lot has to be done and many many many around are already doing it (NGOs, Organizations, etc). I will be throwing some light on many of them on this blog going forward. May be that could help to begin with. Also remember, when the student's ready, the teacher appears (Deepak Chopra mentions this in one of his books). Once we begin to think towards an aim, everything will begin to fall in place. The paths will be relatively clearer then.

So with the air being cleared now, I can resume my musings guiltlessly.. hehe :)

January 14, 2010

Do you own things or do they own you?

I read this statement recently and was quite struck by it: Things that you own now will end up owning you someday.

It is an extremely powerful thought. Loved it. It has been running inside my head since the moment I read it. Today, as I was having a conversation with my professor, he shared a beautiful story with me. It goes like this:

One fine day, while a sage is giving a discourse to his disciples, a man comes walking with his cow. The sage says to his disciples "See there, a man and a cow are coming together". The man hears this and gets a little agitated. He tells the sage "Hey old man, we are not coming together. You cannot put it like that." The sage replies "Oh yes, you are right. I am sorry. I will correct myself." He then tells his disciples "The cow is bringing the man". This makes the man very angry. He yells at the sage "Are you crazy? The cow is not bringing me. I am bringing it. I am controlling it. Do you understand?". To this, the sage replies beautifully saying "Sorry boy. The way I see it, the cow is bringing you alongwith it. If you leave the cow alone, it will still keep walking on its own, peacefully, without your help. But if it leaves you, can you do the same? So who's controlling whom?"

Awesome story. Hope you understand the gist and the message.

So, are you owning things or are they owning you?

January 13, 2010

I love movies

Recently picked up few already seen/to be seen movies. Here are the titles: Firaaq, Train to Pakistan, Little Zizou, Black Friday, Ek Rukha Hua Faisla, Gulaal, Kameenay & Dharm. Amovie a day keeps the stress away :-) Have a lot more in my list of 'want-to-see' movies.

Well, I'm a self-proclaimed movie buff! I enjoy watching Bollywood, Malayalam and sometimes foreign language movies (mostly English, but sometimes other language movies with English sub-titles on UTV World Movies channel).

January 8, 2010

Isn't money simply a mean?

Let me begin with a question. How much money is 'good enough' to leave peacefully? I realize it is an open-ended question with no possible consensus reply. But what I am trying to ask is, do we all really believe that money is merely a way of securing a peaceful life? If yes, then should we not also know how much is enough? On the other hand, if money is not the mean but the target itself, what's the target amount you are trying to reach? Is there a quantifiable answer to it?

I am fortunate enough to be at a stage of life where survival is not my main target. This is the case with a lot of people I know - my friends, my cousins, my seniors, etc. Lot of us earn substantially higher than our basic needs. Most of us also earn much above even our luzury needs that we enjoy. Most of us earn enough to take our families out for a movie or dinner few times a month. We earn enough to enjoy a couple of vacations in a year to a far-away place, away from the routine. Sure, we need money to do all this and more. Point is, many of us are earning much more than what you need to do all this. Day in and day out we are slogging out in our lives to get that higher increment or a super bonus that marginally/incrementally goes into our savings and not towards luxury spending. Saving for an uncertain future perhaps. Despite all this, I strongly feel a lot of us are giving way too much importance to money and financial safety, thinking about not just the next year or two but even 10 years and 20 years down the line. If this is how it goes, money will hypnotize us and leave us drained and dead even before we are actually dead.

I have two points to add further. First is the happiness quotient. If the money-making efforts are making you truly blissful, then half the problem is taken care of. You are not killing yourself internally for a secure future. However, is this not a rarity? Lot of us crib about not having enough time and mind-space to live for ourselves. The attempt to get 'work-life balance' has caught up in a big way among corporate executives. Clearly so, there seems to be an unhappy inner self even as the outer self is busy chasing the money targets. That, to my mind, is a problem one must address. If more money does not make you more happy on a daily basis (and not at a future unknown point in time), then we ought to change few things around.

Now, let's assume one is indeed blissful in doing things that consequently results in money being created. Case in point would be a sportsman, an actor, a painter, a musician or a CA for that matter who loves what she does. Even then, I have an inkling that there is something not-so-right. That's my second pointer. I cannot see a lot of sense in a situation where someone tries to achieve a separate room for each member of his family (by purchasing a 3BHK flat, for instance) at a time when some of them around in this world cannot afford a single small room for 10 of them put together. I am not intending to sound 'socialistic' here. Question that disturbs me is, do the money making people not think about the relatively under-privileged soceity? I am not taking anything away from people who make money. Surely they are extremly skilled and work hard to earn whatever they do. But, do they not believe that once they reach that point of security, they can then try to help somebody else around to get to security as well? Like as if we are one big family in this world and we seek & help each other out? Can we not do that more often than not? Can there be no collective efforts towards that? Or do we remain self-centered as always? Do we simply add more luxuries to our own wealth & lives, and may be end up not even enjoying them. By upgrading from a 21-inch TV to a super big Plasma, when life is so reckless & fast that we spend only a few hours in front of the TV. If that's the case, wasn't the decision to upgrade the TV just a symbolic gesture to tell the society around that you are a wealthy person and ought to be respected? TV is just an example, we could be spending our money in a lot of other ways.

I read this somewhere recently (I think it was Sri Sri Ravishankar who said this) that our education system needs to be modified to include two more things in it right from grass-root levels: a little bit about Philospohy and a little bit about Philanthropy. I totally agree. This will add a sense of perspective in our lives and see things in a different manner. We will be more compassionate and less wasteful in our attitudes.

I have asked myself how much money is 'secure' enough for my family. Working to reach that number and then trying to spread out for others is what my motto is. If you think this way of living makes sense, then ask yourself how much money is 'secure' enough for your family and their needs. Then work hard to reach a level where even 'ancilliary' works (read part-time) that does not consume all of your time will help you earn that bit. Rest of the time can be used to make this whole world a much better place. This is where education helps. A professional degree like MBBS or CA must be used to make our lives less complicated and easier. Unfortunately, we use these degrees to challenge ourselves to earn some obscenely high amount of money and screw up our own happiness in the process.

I began with a question. Let me end with a beautifully worded line that I read as the status message of one of my friends and is apt here. A perfection of means & confusion of aims seems to be our main problem.

January 7, 2010

Go get it

Hey... Don´t ever let somebody tell you, you can´t do something. Not even me... Alright? You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can't do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can't do it. You want something? Go get it.

Will Smith says this to his son in the movie Pursuit of Happyness.

January 6, 2010

Creative ones

Received these as a forward. Click on the images for a larger view

January 1, 2010

Another year, another chance!

In an otherwise unending journey of life between birth and death, New Years give us a mini restart. With another fresh year ahead of us, it's another chance to chase our unfulfilled dreams, to revisit undone tasks, to re-ignite passion and hope in ourselves. We have been given a fresh stock of 365 days to try and pursue happiness. We have another chance to experience joy each moment and more importantly share joy with umpteen lives around us, known and unknown. Here's to more rays of hope and even more wishes for happiness!

Dream BIG... chase your dreams... ignite your passions... inspire... get inspired... love... be loved... smile... keep spreading smiles... LIVE...