The day I stopped drinking milk – an inspiring story.

Following is a story I am copy pasting from my inbox of Yahoo. The fiction I am writing is something similar to this story line and it was brought to my attention. The picture on the right is of Sudha Murty. She has collected stories and put them together in a book, one of the stories is included here as you will read ahead.
Very inspiring true story. Something that I always insist the readers to do. Help the kids. Once again in the story below it is proved that helping a kid into a right direction will help us build a better world for tomorrow. Not only the future will be healthy and in the hands of responsible citizens but will also help continuing the chain of doing good to the next one found in need.
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Sudha Murty, chairperson, Infosys Foundation and author, is known for her ability to glean interesting stories from the lives of ordinary people and weave these narratives into a unique blend of anecdote and fable.
Her latest collection of stories, ‘The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk’, features a fascinating cast of characters, each of whom made an indelible impression on the author. Extracted here is a nugget from ‘Bombay (Now, Mumbai) to Bangalore (Now, Bengaluru)’, one of the most heartwarming stories in this collection:

It was the beginning of summer. I was boarding Udyan Express at Gulbarga railway station. My destination was Bangalore. As I boarded the train, I saw that the second-class reserved compartment was jam-packed with people. I sat down and was pushed to the corner of the berth. Though it was meant for three people, there were already six of us sitting on it…

The ticket collector came in and started checking people’s tickets and reservations.. Suddenly, he looked in my direction and asked, ‘What about your ticket?’ ‘I have already shown my ticket to you,’ I said.

‘Not you, madam, the girl hiding below your berth. Hey, come out, where is your ticket?’ I realized that someone was sitting below my berth. When the collector yelled at her, the girl came out of hiding.

She was thin, dark, scared and looked like she had been crying profusely. She must have been about thirteen or fourteen years old.She had uncombed hair and was dressed in a torn skirt and blouse. She was trembling and folded both her hands.. The collector started forcibly pulling her out from the compartment. Suddenly, I had a strange feeling. I stood up and called out to the collector. ‘Sir, I will pay for her ticket,’ I said.

Then he looked at me and said, ‘Madam, if you give her ten rupees, she will be much happier with that than with the ticket.’

I did not listen to him. I told the collector to give me a ticket to the last destination, Bangalore, so that the girl could get down wherever she wanted.

Slowly, she started talking. She told me that her name was Chitra. She lived in a village near Bidar. Her father was a coolie and she had lost her mother at birth. Her father had remarried and had two sons with her stepmother. But a few months ago, her father had died. Her stepmother started beating her often and did not give her food. She was tired of that life. She did not have anybody to support her so she left home in search of something better.

By this time, the train had reached Bangalore. I said goodbye to Chitra and got down from the train. My driver came and picked up my bags. I felt someone watching me. When I turned back, Chitra was standing there and looking at me with sad eyes. But there was nothing more that I could do. I had paid her ticket out of compassion but I had never thought that she was going to be my responsibility!…

I told her to get into my car. My driver looked at the girl curiously. I told him to take us to my friend Ram’s place. Ram ran separate shelter homes for boys and girls. We at the Infosys Foundation supported him financially. I thought Chitra could stay there for some time and we could talk about her future after I came back from my tours.

I was not sure if Chitra would even be there. But to my surprise, I saw Chitra looking much happier than before. Ram suggested that Chitra could go to a high school nearby. I immediately agreed and said that I would sponsor her expenses as long as she continued to study. I left the shelter knowing that Chitra had found a home and a new direction in her life.

I got busier and my visits to the shelter reduced to once a year. But I always enquired about Chitra’s well-being over the phone. I knew that she was studying well and that her progress was good.. I offered to sponsor her college studies if she wanted to continue studying. But she said, ‘No, Akka. I have talked to my friends and made up my mind. I would like to do my diploma in computer science so that I can immediately get a job after three years.’ She wanted to become economically independent as soon as possible.. Chitra obtained her diploma with flying colours. She also got a job in a software company as an assistant testing engineer. When she got her first salary, she came to my office with a sari and a box of sweets.

One day, when I was in Delhi, I got a call from Chitra. She was very happy. ‘Akka, my company is sending me to USA! I wanted to meet you and take your blessings but you are not here in Bangalore.’.

Years passed. Occasionally, I received an e-mail from Chitra. She was doing very well in her career. She was posted across several cities in USA and was enjoying life. I silently prayed that she should always be happy wherever she was.

Years later, I was invited to deliver a lecture in San Francisco for Kannada Koota, an organization where families who speak Kannada meet and organize events. The lecture was in a convention hall of a hotel and I decided to stay at the same hotel. After the lecture, I was planning to leave for the airport. When I checked out of the hotel room and went to the reception counter to pay the bill, the receptionist said, ‘Ma’am, you don’t need to pay us anything. The lady over there has already settled your bill. She must know you pretty well.’ I turned around and found Chitra there.

She was standing with a young white man and wore a beautiful sari. She was looking very pretty with short hair. Her dark eyes were beaming with happiness and pride. As soon as she saw me, she gave me a brilliant smile, hugged me and touched my feet. I was overwhelmed with joy and did not know what to say. I was very happy to see the way things had turned out for Chitra. But I came back to my original question. ‘Chitra, why did you pay my hotel bill? That is not right.’ Suddenly sobbing, she hugged me and said, ‘Because you paid for my ticket from Bombay to Bangalore!’

(Excerpted with permission from Penguin Books India from Sudha Murty’s ‘The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk: Life Stories From Here and There’)

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Get in a Good company of 5 people.

It was just yesterday I watched the Avengers. I’m sure many of you have seen it already.

Amazing what few good people can get together and do.

Get in a good company of 5 people, why? This is kind of similar theory like the Avengers, but with a different twist. Avengers were put together in order to defeat the impossible for the mankind alone. While this theory is to bring the best within yourself.

For example let’s say you want to turn into a vegetarian but find it impossible. Then you find 5 other vegetarians. Sit down and eat a few meals with them; talk to them; try to fit in. It will help you have ideas how to get over meat cravings or come up with vegetarian recipes. What happens here is, alone you were not being able to stay vegetarian, no matter how hard you tried. But now in order to fit in, you kind of have to lift yourself up a little bit to a certain level in order to be part of the group.

Same goes for workout resolutions or achieving any other sort of goals as a hobby. If you wish to be a daily blogger you should try to get in touch with other 5 daily bloggers. You will often end up reading or figuring out how they end up having ideas to publish something new and when there is a promise to keep you will act for sure.

So, getting in a good company always lifts you higher from good to better and eventually will lead you to be the best before you even notice it. Get it? Well, then start trying it.

Little Adjustment for happiness

Don’t ever try to be a burden on/to someone for your own convenience or pleasure. Rather try adjusting or compromising for a change this time.

Just those 2 lines are enough to lead you to happiness. Very simple thing that is to do. It takes no tools; no guidebooks, no manuals to do. It is exactly how it is written. Think about it, adjusting yourself or letting it go a little can make such a big difference.

If you do not have things just the same way just compromise a little. Nobody can ever have anything just the way it was wanted. Yes, there is a feeling when you say “this is so perfect” after something happened which was mostly not planned or expected; but having exactly how and what you want is almost impossible.

You will have everything you wish for, but not exactly in the same way or in same amount. When I was deeply working on “law of attraction” to win a million dollars lottery, I did not get it. What I did get away was a couple hundred bucks at some competition; a gift voucher from some store and finding 5 or 10 dollar bill here or there on the street couple of times in that very same week when I was deeply wishing for free money.

So, you do get what you wish for but not exactly how you want it or as much as you want it. So, let it go; compromise a bit; adjust yourself to the situation. Be more convenient to others instead of troubling them for your own convenience. That is the greatest way to feel happy after all from within which indirectly is an act of giving. Giving others the effortless time with smiles they will share with you.

Lessons in Movies – Runaway Bride

Runaway BrideJulia Roberts; Richard Gere, you remember that movie right? Good entertainment. There was a part in that movie (many of you have already discussed this over and over with people; in that case I am sorry to bring it up again) that really impressed me. I mean, I was actually flattered how thoughtful of that person who came up with the idea of that “egg theory” or that is what I like to call.

Egg theory - working out a bit too much with Speedy.

Maggie Carpenter (played by Julia Roberts) does not know how she likes her eggs (in above cartoon Speedy knows what he wants but apparently the server is a movie watcher like me who gets a bit too much influenced by the movie). But more important thing to notice, she orders her eggs just the way the guy she is with likes it. If you were the guy Maggie was dating and if you like “sunny side up” that is what she would order. (Spoiler Alert ahead)

Interesting part is at the end when she tries all kind of eggs and comes back to Ike (played by Richard Gere) and says, “I like, Eggs Benedict, I hate all other kinds of eggs”. The moment of realization.

Now, the lesson I see here through my eyes and the way my brains function is that a lot of us; perhaps all of us go through that same phase some time in our life.

We do not know ourselves. We may not spend any time in discovering ourselves at all. May be it is because we get highly influenced or sort of dominated by the other person around. It is all about self discovery. Whether you are at work or in a relationship or hanging out too much with certain someone; it is very obvious that you end up having some influence of that person. That is where we need to hold on to being ourselves. Try that today. Notice people around you and try thinking of the ways they move or talk or do other things and try to remember what really impresses you so much that makes you want to adopt it. There are chances you will realize that you already have adopted those things. Try to figure out is it worth keeping or not. Try more of discovering yourself. Try finding the real you instead of being dragged along with someone.

I have noticed people getting out of a relationship of a few years and feeling little lost to understand what they want and end up with someone who is totally not worth again. That happens because when you were with someone for so long you have changed. Everybody changes. There is nothing wrong in that. Just take your time to figure out again who you are, define yourself again. Do some self discovery about those changes and then move on. Always remember, 2 words “self discovery”- very important alright?

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Earlier I wrote a blog asking to notice people around you and adopt one good thing from them, to be super awesome all together carrying everybody’s 1 good thing in you. That is so not related here. It sounds confusing and mixed up but whole other story, okay.

Have a lovely day, thank you for reading 🙂

 

Being brave or coward?

What is more important really?

Being brave or being a coward?

Being brave you will stand up against problems; like a super hero. A biggest challenge for most super hero we see is having a girlfriend. Why? Because after the evil they face every day, themselves are not even sure if they will be coming back home alive at the end of the day. Being brave can cost life. If not life at least comfort and peace of yours and others around you who are your loved ones.

Being a coward you keep up a low profile. You live with your head down no matter where you come and go. You do not have to worry about standing up against what’s wrong. You barely even have to think what is wrong and right.

Life is full of dilemma. What if spider-man realizes, what MJ goes through every day worrying about him? What if Super-man ends up peeping inside Lois Lane’s head and discovers the terror she goes through every time she has to see him fighting with attacking monsters and surviving around Kryptonite? Is that realization really worth of being brave and saving the world?

This is the thought I recently had. The deeper I tried thinking about it the more confused I felt. Think of taking some big risks for the better of the world or think of doing something you think is right ethically; and now think of the consequences you have to deal with. Now, put yourself in the shoes of your loved ones. see the whole situation through their eyes and ask yourself, “Is it worth putting them through it?” How does it feel to realize how seriously they worry about you when you are doing something that you think is “right” or as an act of bravery?

Now, get back in your shoes and think what is more worth, Being brave or being a coward and “Just deal with it”.

Life is something!  isn’t it?

Put family first

About 1500 school kids in America were asked in 2011, “what is it that makes a happy family?” Out of 1500 kids there was not a single one who said, “Money”. Instead most of them said “Warm Love”.

It was that easy to figure out for an innocent kid. Then why does it take us so long to figure it out?

I have seen people working really hard. They spend day and night after work. Almost like they are not working to live, they are living to work. But when you ask them why so much work you do? Mostly the answer is, “so that I can keep my family happy; I can buy stuff for my wife and kids; send my kids to better University.” or in some cases you hear that, “I want to buy a house or a store or a factory. Then I can keep my family happier. If I do not work hard where I will get the money from?”

Both examples above are real surveys that has been done in 2011.

Now, compare the answers that kids gave and what adults gave. Are kids asking for things or money? All they are asking for is “Warm Love”. Why adults/parents are working hard? So, that they can get more money and give their kids better future.

Now, ask yourself what is more important to you? Building a character of your son or daughter OR Having enough money to be able to send them to Yale; buy them expensive gifts on Christmas. Sure, they would love it. Even at the age of 27 I would also love to have someone giving me a hot-wheels car on Christmas.

The real question is, “what is more important ?” Gathering enough money or being there with the kids to have them feel that you are there. It is very important to spend time with your family.

I had stressed on the example of kids; because once again I have no hesitation repeating that “Kids are the future responsible citizens of this country”. As responsible citizens they will be holding the key to the future. I have mentioned this in 2 or 3 of my blogs before. I will not stop stressing on this same issue that the world is challenged with.

Besides the example of kids the above theory applies to anyone and every one in the family. You have to be sure that every one feels loved the way they deserve to, for whatever role they are playing in your family. Each member is important.

  • If it was not for your father or mother “YOU” will not be here. That “YOU-ness” that you are always so cocky about wouldn’t even exist today, if it was not for your parents. When you were scared as a kid it was them who hold you in their arms and said, “You are safe here with me”.
  • It was the woman you are married to who once said “YES” to you while you were on your knees feeling helpless because if this is not it you are doomed.
  • It was the man of your house that once comforted you in his arms saying, “I am here, I will make sure everything is going to be okay”.

Please value your family. I planned to publish this article especially on Friday so that all of you reading this can realize if you had been lacking in your efforts to put in your family and have the weekend to improvise. Get the family united.

Some monks especially insist on “family time” once or twice a week. Get everyone together; play a board game; do a movie night; have a talk to address everyone facing the problem in the house and find answers together that works for every one’s best.

Put Family First. Starting from now – this very moment!!! Have a lovely weekend.

 

My Magical Rock

(The following does not have to hit you as hard it hit me because I believed. If you believe you would love what you are going to read. If you do not believe I hope something would happen to you soon that will make you believe.)

The title is pretty clear to explain that I have a magical rock. I mean I really do. It was not a metaphor to some philosophy or life lesson. Here is a story for you.

Long ago – almost a year ago; I watched that video (documentary) they made from the book “the secret”. It was impressive at some points. In that there was a story of a man who had this little rock that he called “a gratitude rock”. What he used to do is now and then he would hold that stone in his hands and say things he is very thankful for. Nothing to do with the stone here, it’s just some idea he came up with. He would even carry the stone to make sure at least once or twice a day he does this “thank you for this and that” routine. 

Once when his friend’s son was sick, he sent this rock to him. They put the rock under this kids pillow or something (as I vaguely remember) and in few days the kid was cured; while good medicines did not seem to work for him. The point is this positive energy of being thankful was transformed into that rock over a period.

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Now, that story impressed me. I have no friend with a sick kid or no such mission to carry out, but the idea sounded perfect. The idea of having something that reminds you to be thankful to things and people you have around now and then. And so I started looking for my rock. My only purpose to have a rock that time was to start being thankful and appreciate more in my life.

When I started looking for this rock, I was determined to find something outstanding; something with a style and attitude of its own. It was almost like picking a star cast for a movie that has a potential to win Oscar. Then I started looking for that rock every where I go. On the streets when I am walking; in the park literally searching for it; hiking near the lake, I tried all I could. It was over a week to 10 days I seemed to find no rock that caught my eye or spoke to me.

One morning when I was at work – in the kitchen I had to put away a huge food-order delivery for a busy week. Doing my job like a normal day. Emptying boxes of produce one after another. Potatoes; tomatoes; eggplant, it actually was getting tiring. Then came the box of green beans. As soon as I turned over the box of green beans into a plastic crate there it appeared. The rock that I was looking for past 2 weeks. I wanted a little rock that was impressive with its style; that had an attitude; the one that will speak to me and make me pick it up. I was looking for it out in the streets and in the park but none of those million rocks spoke to me. And here, this one little rock came travelling to me all the way from “I don’t know where”.

 The one here and above is the picture of that rock I found. I found it had style and attitude. Why? Because it came looking for me all the way inside my work place kitchen, where even a fly cannot get in. Barely there is a bunch of cilantro with a little sand in it once in a while. Having this huge rock was just the most surprising thing I ever imagined in a produce order. And so I believed that very instant. I believed that’s gotta be it and so I kept it.

It was one of those happy days in my life. It felt great within to experience something amazing like this. They always said, “Look harder; try harder and you shall get it.” Well, I did look and try hard to find that rock and I think I tried a bit too hard and made this rock travel to me.

Later I kept it with me along with my other “holy” stuff (I’m a bit of religious guy). Reason keeping it with my chanting beads and other little talismans is because I do sit down to pray almost everyday. I tried carrying it with me but was scared it may scratch of the screen on my phone etc. was not a good idea to carry it everywhere. Ever since that day, when I sit down to pray; I hold this rock in my fist and think of all the people and things I am thankful for that includes, “My job (like it or not I am thankful for having one); my family (each with a different gift); my friends (each having little secret of mine to keep); my laptop; my phone…pretty much everything I love or use a lot and can think of at that time.

It really helps. Not by feeding positive energy and life into that rock, but by reminding myself of what surround me and how incomplete or unhappy I may have been if it was not for those things and people in my life. It really helps to realize everyday or now and then, that how good it feels to be thankful.

Hope you all have a good start to your week. In case you missed yesterday’s cartoon “blogs this week”. Check it out. It will give you an idea of what else is coming up this week.

Thank you for reading. Have a great Monday (who am I kidding? We all know Mondays are bad and lazy).

Music and Lyrics – explicit much?

Aah the lyrics in some of the songs these days just drive me crazy. Not because they do not make sense, but because they sound a bit too vulgar to be honest.

Following and above is going to be just my opinion. I do not mean to offend anyone. If you agree you would like what you read, simple as that.

I am a person who chooses to listen to music with good lyrics. When I say good I am talking about lyrics that makes sense. Lyrics that passes a good message. Hope I am not alone to notice this but songs releasing in past few months had spread only a message to get drunk, get high, smoke a joint and other R rated activities that they just have to promote.

What I do not understand is same music plays in most of all the clubs on a Friday or Saturday night, where the singers just abuse women; picture them as some material and then that same club is full of girls who are dancing to those beats and words. News flash we now also have female singers loving to abuse themselves or portraying herself somewhat disgusting yet making it sound “Cool”. What does not make sense to me is the part why would someone want to take abuse as a celebration or fun? Question in my head is why this generation has to make such a vulnerable choice?

Are we losing respect to ourselves as a person? Are we loving the part when we get abused?

There are rappers mostly who materialize woman and then again there are rappers like 2pac who said words like, “Since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman, and our game from a woman. I wonder why we take from women, why we rape our women, do we hate our women? I think it’s time we killed for our women, be real to our women, try to heal our women, cause if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies that will hate the ladies, who make the babies. And since a man can’t make one he has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one.”

I have noticed myself changing my choice of music after few months in past 4 years. In that 4 years I have experienced different effects of the songs I listen to. That was the only reason I had to write this blog.

I ask you all to make a good choice of what you listen to. Because you may not experience this directly, but indirectly what you listen and what you see effects your behavior in everyday life a lot.

I ask you to listen to something positive and look at the positive things in your life. The more we surround us with negative or aggressive material, the more wilder animal we will become.  So, unless you choose to be a wild animal make sure you guard your eyes and ears and only let the good things get in.

I mentioned it before and again I mention it here, that above is my opinion. You do not have to agree with it. If you agree or disagree I would like to know why and how. Because above I said it is my opinion, I did not say I am right. So, please help me understand this if my opinion is wrong.

Thank you for reading.

Owner of the Emerald – story and a lesson

Here is a short true story with a few facts changed. It was published once in Time magazine. It’s a story of an Emerald stone.

There was a doctor who owned Emerald. He never had clue what it was. For him it was only a decorative stone he found somewhere once. After all he started using that stone as a paper weight in his office.

Gachala Emerald

One day a man walks into his office for some business who happened to have a lot of knowledge and value for jewellery and stones. He saw this Emerald sitting on the desk, which should actually belong all the way back hidden in some sort of safe. He instantly offered the doctor if he can buy the stone and settled a deal for a million dollars (trying not to be very unfair). The doctor was surprised and actually happy to struck such a deal that day.

After a month that man sold the Emerald for over 11 million dollars. That money could have been made by the doctor, but it didn’t work for him. Why? Only because he did not have any value for what he owned.

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Us and that doctor are so much alike. Often we do not understand the value of the character or talents that we possess and inspite of being owner of such valuable treasures we try to find happiness outside in materialistic pleasure. It is us who do not spend time and efforts to search the inside of ourselves to discover what potential we may have.

Arabs were poor before they figured out that there is a big load of treasure right under their feet – the oil. Once they found it look how rich they are now.

Same is this cartoon here, Speedy thinking he lost the map to get to the mountain while its right there sticking on his shell where he can’t see.

All of us are filled with such treasures. Think hard, try harder to look inside what good qualities you are filled with and use them for your benefit.

That’s the beauty of life – We spend whole life looking for something which is often found right under our feet. 

Have a good day. Thank you for reading.