Why I became an Empire Avenue Leader

I could have been amongst the first few to become a member of the EA Leaders community but I was putting off my decision because $100 is a big amount in India. $100 is the equivalent of Rs.6700, and with the low cost of living (Rs.6700 can get me 120 haircuts, including tip) I was unconvinced of the value addition. Then came an article on the Leaders Upgrade that changed my perspective.

eavleaders_badge I am a social media enthusiast with almost 5000 Facebook and 16000+ LinkedIn contacts and ever hungry to increase my network of contacts, I decided to take the plunge and get my car serviced (that’s where my wife thinks I spent those Rs.7000). Since then I have made lots of friends and have started to enjoy the platform all that much more with the pies, promoted missions; and most of all, the coveted Leaders Badge.


Evolutionary Interpretation

Every so often, a thought fills your head and blows your mind off. I always knew about the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu (Dashavataar) but had never gotten around to thinking about them from the perspective of evolutionary interpretation.

Shut up Rahul!! The theory of evolution was propounded by Charles Darwin.

OK. Chew this. The ten avatars and their interpretation from the evolutionary perspective are:

  1. Matsya – The Fish – the first class of vertebrates; evolved in water
  2. Kurma – The Tortoise – amphibious (living in both water and land; but not to confuse with the vertebrate class amphibians)
  3. Varaha – The Boar – wild land animal
  4. Narasimha – A being that is half-animal and half-human (indicative of emergence of human thoughts and intelligence in powerful wild nature)
  5. Vamana – short, premature human beings
  6. Parasurama – early humans living in forests and using weapons
  7. Rama – humans living in community, beginning of civil society
  8. Krishna – humans practicing animal husbandry, politically advanced societies
  9. Buddha – humans finding enlightenment
  10. Kalki – advanced humans with great powers of destruction

I sat stunned for 10 minutes when I read about this theory in Wikipedia.org and then jumped to my dormant blog so that I may share this with you.

New phone. Yayy !!

There is hope for me, yet.

I was able to order for a new Xiaomi Mi3 phone from the Flipkart portal today. I do not remember winning anything ever before. Not even a toss in cricket (Now that I think about it, the most probable reason for it is that I was never the captain of a team, and I never got to participate in a toss).

The only way to order the Mi3 was through Flipkart and on the three previous instances, the feature loaded, yet cheap had been lapped up by Indians.

I am sure there is God looking down at me, or at least there is a Doraemon with a pocket full of tricks for my Nobita.

On having lost a loved one

Everyone in the world has lost a loved one to life’s eventuality at some point or the other. Do you remember the first time you lost a dear one?

My elder brother Ratan was less than three years my senior. He finished schooling from Campion School, Bhopal and followed it up with an M.A. in Economics and topping it all up with an M.B.A. with a Finance major. With his wedding date already fixed, my family decided that even I had grown up sufficiently to get married. Things moved fast and my mother had to call to halt the printing of the invitation cards because there was a ‘change in some details’. The poor guy must have imagined a change in the date or the venue at most, but I am sure he must have had to hold on to something when he heard that another couple was being added to the same card. My brother and I got married five days apart. He, on the 11th February 1997 and I on the 16th. Our daughters were born six months apart with mine being the elder of the two.

Ratan was working in an investment firm in Mumbai and was contemplating a career shift to the publishing world with an offer from Mid-Day. A career shift is a big step for anyone, but it was a step towards a more fulfilling life as he enjoyed expressing himself with the written word. He was under a lot of stress as the investment firm was not ready to let him go and was delaying his relieving. This, and the fact that his married life was anything but happy, must have led to a medical condition that he was not able to identify.

On the fateful day, as we learnt later, he was feeling from what he felt was Acid-Reflux issues and took an antacid to little relief. In the evening, he traveled on the Mumbai local rail system for 75 minutes to reach Mira Road from Tardeo. He vomited near the entrance gate of his housing society, but again, thought nothing of it. He took the elevator to the seventh floor and asked his wife for some cold milk instead of his usual cup of coffee. In the 30 seconds that she spent in the adjoining kitchen to bring the milk, he had collapsed with eyes turned over. In a panic, my sister-in-law called the neighbors, but by the time they reached him, he had already died of a massive cardiac arrest. His five-month-old daughter was still in his lap.

I remember 29th December 1998 very well as my wife, daughter and I were returning to Indore from Bhopal after visiting my parents. When we reached home around eleven in the evening, there was a phone call from my father in law that my parents, elder sister, and brother in law were themselves driving to Indore and we had to rush to Mumbai as Ratan had taken ill. My initial fear was that his kidney was acting up again as he was born with only one functional kidney and had had been operated for some issue with his surviving kidney. With no more detail than that, I almost freaked out and rushed out to find a Public Call Office (mobiles were not popular in India at that time and I did not have a landline connection at home). I called Ratan’s home and reached my aunt that the unthinkable had happened. It was all a nightmare from there on. The few moments when I held my father’s hand when my family reached Indore, having to drive to Mumbai as it was impossible to find a flight, coming close breaking down myself during driving are etched in my memory forever.

Ratan was cremated on 30th December 1998 in the evening at 9:30 in the evening. Sixteen years have passed since and a lot of water has flown through the rivers, but on festivals and anniversaries, my parents’ eyes still cloud over. The sister-in-law severed ties with us, and has since remarried, and is living in Dubai. Ratan’s daughter is sixteen years old but we have not seen her in as many years.

Life goes on.

God, the commodity

Let me ask you a question. Is God a commodity that needs marketing? Should adherence to religion require endorsement from a God-man?
This question came to my mind recently when the Dwarakapeeth Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati questioned Sai Baba of Shirdi’s relevance as a worthy. Shankaracharya says that Sai Baba was human (he left for his heavenly abode in 1918) and should not be kept in equivalence of the super human entity that is God. Some people, he says, are corrupting Hindu religion by arbitrarily creating new gods.
Wait a minute. God created. I thought God was the one who created.
Thought processes like these made me contemplate why I found solace in the aura of Sai Baba. I have accepted him as the Sadguru (the true mentor) primarily because the calm and serenity on his face articulated my desire to lose my worries and accept the inevitable. I do not worship him because I see him as God but because finding him within me makes me feel complete and blessed. I do not revere him for the miracles attributed to him but for the simplicity that permeated from his persona. I do not care if he was a Muslim or a Hindu; whether he consumed meat or did not; whether he was human or an avatar of God. His enlightenment has made me contemplate on my Dharma and Karma and their correlation and relevance in my life.
I always thought Dharma is about guiding one on the path of life. Eternal bliss or Nirvana is the aim of every creature and Dharma is the light that shows you the way. It should not set restrictions on any body’s thought process but allow a free flow of emotions and expression. This brings me to my second level of belief. Dharma is not universal. It is not detached from Karma. When Karma is not universal, how can Dharma be universal? Hindu religion sets four casts, originally based on Karma, but now on birth. I do not wish to get into the validity of this division. The point that I am trying to make is that Karma is what an individual does and Dharma is what sets the individual on the right path. I have developed my sense of right and wrong based on my Karma and that sense is my Dharma.
Many may believe that not establishing a universal set of the ‘right beliefs’ may lead to anarchy and chaos. Whatever I say above stems from my belief that individuals are not good or bad; it is the circumstances (stemming from Karma) that make one react in a good way or bad.
Keeping your Karma clean is your Dharma and keeping your Dharma clean is your Karma.

I wish I could

I wish I could:

  • Say ‘Yes’ whenever I can
  • Say ‘No’ whenever I want to
  • Say nothing more often
  • Have a better grip on my temper and moods (To quote a friend, ‘I don’t get mood-swings. I get mood-playgrounds’)
  • Realize that ‘Patience is a virtue’
  • Turn back the clock
  • Not procrastinate
  • Be more positive
Do you have a list?