Hope is a good thing!

How to be aware of the power within us!

The heading of this post might remind few of the readers about the epic movie “The Shawshank Redemption”. That movie is one of my favorites! In that movie, Andy Dufresne tells Red, that “Hope is a good thing, and no good thing ever dies!”. I find this quote to be so much valuable in our life.

Because everything changes in life. Just like day and night, young and old, summer and winter, so does our situations, our successes, our failures all change with time. Similarly in life, we see events happening, and some events are so deep, that their effect remain with us for a long time. We feel that this will never change. We start losing hope, and then suddenly, out of utter darkness, there comes a ray of light which makes darkness disappear. That ray of light is the hope. A small good event can change the entire situation. We ought to keep faith in that ray of hope.

I particularly like the Austrian psychologist Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning”. It is one of the splendid books ever written. For me, that book is something which charges my battery with renewed hope and faith, whenever failures or setbacks bombard me. That book is like a charging station of positivity and synergy. The book is very simple yet heart touching. The author had to undergo the worst experiences in Auschwitz, yet he managed to not only survive but also find hope and faith in such a hell. He even helped several of his colleagues to overcome depression and losing hope in life. The author simply argued that “Life can have meaning even in the most miserable of circumstances and that the motivation for living comes from finding that meaning. That we humans have a power to choose our response to situations, however gruesome they might be, And in our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

I find this to be so true even in our daily life. Thank God we are in much better situation as compared to the infernal concentration camps. And we have the same power to respond to the situations we face in our life. Stephen Covey quoted ” Look at the word responsibility—“response-ability”—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling”. Isn’t the message by Viktor Frankl and Stephen Covey resonate on the same note?

The Peter Parker principle says “With more power, comes more responsibility”. I would add on to that, No power does not mean no responsibility. Because, whether the situation is good or bad, we all are “Response-Able”. Our response does not depend on the power. Rather, I find with positive or pro-active response to any situation, comes more power to beat the problem!

We all have the power and freedom to choose the response. We can either give positive or negative response. Everyone has the ability to respond. And this power to respond is a hope for us, that every situation can be changed. If some of us remember the movie Cast Away, we can relate how Tom Hanks desperately tried hard to get away from the island to reach civilization, but the stormy ocean waves destroyed all of his attempts. Until one day, he finds the same storm delivers a metal enclosure, and suddenly Tom receives a brainwave! He finds hope that he can escape using that part, and finally he builds a much stronger boat that can withstand the waves, and sails across the mighty ocean to get noticed by civilization! That’s hope and faith, my friend!

So, never lose hope, never lose your response, however dark the night may be!

Loves moves the world…

Having a loved one in our life is the best thing that can happen…

We usually have the habit to extrapolate our sufferings to the highest scale. We think we have suffered a lot in life, and that we have some of the most unsolvable problems in our life. We then get depressed for petty reasons and feel why should bad things happen in our life.

I also go through such feelings sometimes. I then try to calm down my mind’s racy thoughts by either doing “Sudarshan Kriya”, or listening to my favorite music or even writing down something. Then when my mind settles down, slowly awareness dawns. It comes to my realization that how foolish we humans are regarding our concepts which are formed in our minds. We immediately want to give an explanation to whatever happens in our life. When good things happen in our life and we feel we have reached the zenith of success, we immediately jump to pat our back for the hard work we have done, we reach cloud nine and comfortably forget the past, because we crave for the path of roses laid out ahead rather than the thorns of past.

But on the other side, if we fail or do not achieve what we want, we become depressed, lose confidence, and start hating people who are successful out of jealousy. We become desperate for the fruits of success, and having not achieved it, makes us lose interest in the path we followed. We realize the true nature of people during such times, and after experiencing this, makes us aware of the intricacies of human nature. Some people even go to certain extremes out of depression or loss of faith in life.

Be it success or failure, the most important thing to realize in life is that nothing is more difficult in life than a life without love. Yes, indeed. What is the use of any success in life, if we have no one to share with? What should a successful person do if he/she immediately realizes the flock of people going after him/her are only because of their recent success. And they were the same people who had deserted earlier for being a failure!

So, it is better to have true loved ones supporting us during times of failure, rather than fake loved ones praising us during times of success. I feel they are the fortunate ones who have true, unconditional love in their life. Nothing in life is more difficult than living without mother, who is always an unconditional source of love to us. Our parents, even some all weather friends who stand the test of friendship, during the winter of failure or during sunny success, can be counted as true jewels in our life.

Once, we realize this, we will never give importance to ups and downs in our life, because after all, the value or importance of success and failure is only given by us. It depends on who is with us during that phase. Being alone in success or failure has the same meaning. Hence, it simply doesn’t matter even if we become successful or not. There is nothing to be worried about or even get depressed about. Our family, friends, our relations always matters more than worldly accomplishments. So, its the love that moves the world…

Just do it!

Taking decisions has always been one of the most complex actions. When we take certain decisions, we hope that change will turn out to be a good one. But in reality, we also fear that this doesn’t happen always. We hope for the best things to happen, and try to avoid the obvious risks and difficulties. But still, even the best thought decisions sometimes take us on the other side of the course.

However, we should not fear taking decisions. It is said that just like public speaking is the most dreaded action for most of us, similarly taking decisions and facing its aftermath is equally feared by many. Naturally, human tendency is to stay safe, not take risks and be stable in life. This comes out of concern for the family, societal expectations and the uncertainty in future. Generally, any changes impacts the state of our family. It might even bring certain vicissitudes in life. But with the supportive family, this can be overcome. I feel the more pressing inhibitor in taking decisions and embracing future challenges are the societal expectations. In Hindi, we call it “Log kya kahenge”, which translates to “What will people say”. Yes, even though we prefer individual freedom and liberty, but this societal impact has not vanished from our life. Maybe our social genes still play a role to cater this need, or it is not in the best interest to stay on the barren grass, when our friends and colleagues are on the greener side!

So, what happens is we prohibit ourselves in taking the decisions which might alter our lives ( good or bad), and try to stay on the regular path which the whole world is following. Only few risk to break the society created shell and venture out on their own path. One of the famous examples is Elon Musk, who inspite of earning millions in the dot.com bubble during 1990’s, bravely decided to start companies in automotive, solar and space, where no one was investing, and these paths were considered more so a failure. But Elon was stubborn and he not only withstood the 2007 recession but also had to live in basement for a while when he was unable to pay his rent. As it is said that the fortune favors the brave, so did Elon soon climbed the ladder of success with his world famous companies, Tesla and SpaceX. He certainly must not have thought about societal expectations, or family comfort as well. But he only truely believed in his passion and determination to make his companies successful. That’s the true spirit of an entrepreneur!

Hence, it would be unwise to be afraid to take decisions out of uncertainty about future as well. As no one knows what the future is going to be, and the only thing in our hands are our efforts and perseverence to stay firm on our decision. Ofcourse, sometimes it is prudent as well to modify certain decisions if we cannot see any worth in it. And so it is generally advised that a lot of thinking needs to be done before taking any decisions. But once well thought, then we should not hesitate in taking those decisions. Also, it is not good to modify it often. Because the fruits of our efforts takes time to ripe. Patience is a virtue in this arena. But more than patience, it is the commitment and belief in our efforts that matters. Whatever the decision may be, our efforts and belief that it’s gonna happen eventually does make it happen. Ratan Tata famously says


and Bhagavad Gita guides us with the verse“कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन। मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥” The meaning of the verse is—You have the right to work only but never to its fruits. Let not the fruits of action be your motive, nor let your attachment be to inaction. Hence, it is the law of nature what “As we sow, so shall we reap”. If we truely believe in our passion, and in our efforts, then we need not worry of its consequences. Hard work never gets squandered. Also, with that iron-willed determination, the result will always come, as we intend. That is why Edison mentioned that the harder he worked, the more luckier he got. Hence, taking decisions should not be feared. Even famous industrialist Neelkanth Kalyani remarked that risk taking is the most important skill in business. The problem is not in risk taking, but associating risks with failures. Also, taking uncalculated risks is foolishness. Infact the famous investors often take risks in which they have insight and confidence of its outcome in future. Either, we can have the vision of that field with our years of experience and knowledge, and then taking decisions yields greater percentage of success. Or if we lack the insight, and still decide to take the risk, then we ought to firmly believe in our strength, efforts and stay on the path, let whatever be the outcome.

Hence, if we find ourselves in a situation where the metamorphosis of events and situations happens beyond our understanding, then with the belief that things will work out all OK at the end, we should simply “Just do it”


Flower in the forest!

It is said that flowers are one of the nature’s most wonderful creation, just like women. As women have the most unique characteristic to give birth and become mother, so does flowers play a vital role in our life too. They are not only beautiful but they also make the world beautiful with their fragrance and beauty, in abundance! We often give flowers to our loved ones as a gift, be it during valentine’s day or when a husband ties the jasmine garland in his wife’s hair. The feeling of love and trust exuberated by the flowers has no parallel with any expensive gifts or jewelry.

Flowers show simplicity, and that makes it valuable. Though they are not that expensive ( depending on the flower though, but most of them are not), but the message of bonding they bring along cannot be denied. It does not matter what of kind of color the flower may be, red, yellow or white. That’s why even in all religions, we have the tradition to shower God with flowers, be it in temples, or in Dargah’s or in church as well.

Beyond this practical wisdom, flowers do have a lot more to express. It is said by some philosopher that if he had some money in his pocket, then he will spend the half of it to buy food, and spend the half of it to buy flowers! Because the food will keep him alive and the flowers will tell him why to stay alive! Indeed, flowers do share this wisdom for why life is important and what is important in it. We all are aware of the life’s never ending problems, and everyday is new one. We are often bombarded by the media and internet of the wrong happenings in this world. We very much get bored with the same kind of work we do and find ourselves stuck in a perpetual cycle of worries and conflicts.

But, a flower blossoms from its bud everyday, and never stops. It’s blossoming does not depend on the viewer’s appreciation. It simply does its work. Doesn’t it guide us with the wonderful principle of working without any expectation of fruit or outcomes. We often work with the end result expectation, and if we know our work is not going to get appreciated, then it becomes difficult for us to continue with the same momentum. But the flower performs beyond expectations!

People plant flowers in their gardens, and then know and appreciate the beauty of flowers. Usually, the famous flowers which are used everyday such as roses garner the admiration. But what about that rose which blossoms in the forest? As rare as hen’s teeth, it will be difficult for anyone to even know its existence. But still there are several beautiful flowers out in the wild forest, and they still blossom without any of our praise. Similarly, this is analogous to the fact that there are so many people in the world who work hard silently, but do not get any praise. There are many people who work quite inconspicuously, and due to which the show goes on! Be it the hard working doctors and nurses who are fighting against Covid to treat the patients, or be it the delivery men and women who handle millions of deliveries all over the world, when people like us simply order online. Even our mother always works hard for her kids to grow up and become successful. She does not even take any pay for the house work such as cooking, cleaning which she has to do 7 days a week for the whole year. In these modern days when a single paycheck isn’t enough, she even has to do her job for supporting the family. Our mother and all the people who work on the background to keep the world moving, are truely “the flowers in the forest!”

Also, a flower in the forest can also be related to the usual tendency of men and women to ignore/take granted for the loved ones and go after the unloved ones. Yes, this is ironic but don’t we assume people and relationships where we are 100% sure of them, and start taking them for granted. One of the legendary Marathi author P L Deshpande humorously said that “Prathamdarshani premala Dvitiyadarshani utara asto”. It means that after love at first sight, it starts reducing from the second glance! This is unfortunately true, because the people who love us often end up last on our list. We take their trust for granted and assume that this will continue forever. And so they become like the flowers in the forest, who are blossomed with their display of love and trust for us, but we are lost in the forest of our worries and pleasing other people (who in reality are not worth the attention and praise), and we tend to forget our loved ones at the end. Hence, it is written by a famous historian Will Durant in his biography that “What villains we are, that only the forbidden or withheld is sweet to us, and the most generous woman is soonest left unloved.”

Of course, it goes along fairly well on both sides. Will had written it back in 1920’s from the perspective of the male dominated world. But today, with equality, we see that this becomes gender irrelevant. Even few men & women become like the flower in the forest, and wonder what went wrong in their relationship, when he/she had all the talents and worldly accomplishments like education, wealth etc but still his/her river of love could not meet the ocean! Sometimes, it become agonizing for few of them due to breakups, and they even end up committing certain acts which was least expected from them. After all, they just wanted to get a recognition and acceptance of being a beautiful flower in the forest by the other equally beautiful flowers in the garden, isn’t it?

Well, As John Lennon said through his song “Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow.” We need to grow beyond the limitations put by the world, and ought to blossom in our own way. Just as a lotus grows in the mud, and still cherishes its own significance, so does we need to act on the problems in our life, and grow out of it. We cannot let the hidden lotus within us to submerge in the mud of problems. To grow out of it is its true dharma!

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