Kindness – it can start anywhere, anytime and by anyone

Hello again people,

When you are busy enjoying your weekend, please do not forget to be kind; be good – to others. There are many of us you will notice who has more than what they need, while there are others who can merely dream of what is our basic needs. These needs – absolutely so basic that we barely consider it something to be thankful for in our everyday life.

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On the left is a picture of Mother Teresa, with a beautiful thought we all should ponder upon.

Another story of an Indian Chef, Narayan Krishnan caught my eye on facebook in the past week. A normal looking human being with an extra ordinary observation skill.

Here is a link you can use to watch the video on Youtube from CNN report.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJZoOGXIXQU

All these people are trying hard to keep this world spinning round nice and smooth. I think its time we all should join them by doing whatever is under our power. Admitting to their beliefs can even help by spreading the word that such unsung heroes out there exist.

These are the heroes who still light the candle of hope in the storm of world that is turning meaner. They are keeping the hope alive, that there is still something good out there.

Because we are so busy, trying to make more money and finding our dream job or buying a new car, it is absolutely acceptable to forget about people who has nothing to hang on to. But it is our duty to help those heroes to keep going, these heroes who are there to dedicate their life spreading goodness around. We can at least be a little inspiration or support to these heroes in order to help the poor ones indirectly.

All this just for sake of “KINDNESS”, kindness that can start anywhere, anytime and by anyone. 

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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’)

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.

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.

 

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.

Lessons in Movies – 1 (running after your passion – spoiler alert)

So this is only the first article under the topic of “Lessons in Movies” and there are going to be a few more.

These articles may contain “Spoiler Alert“, although I will do my best to keep the secret the way it should be – interesting and for you to find out.

Today’s movie pick (as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog is “The Big Year“).

Currently I am writing an e-book and there is a chapter in that book about “getting in touch with nature”. I must admit I found the most amazing way in this movie – The big year, to get in touch with nature. It is about birding.

Speedy Sparks birding on a day off

The story is about few passionate birders (people who like spotting different species of birds). These birders don’t describe birding as a hobby but they define it as a passion. That will remind you that every one of us has different passion. I am sure you are passionate about something in particular.

Now, there are three main characters played in this movie by “Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson“. There is a birder with a world record and he is trying to break his own record this year (in the story). There are other 2 main characters who are his competition. All three of them carries same passion for birding.

But they all are making different sacrifices and they all are prioritizing different things in their lives. That reminds me of some of us, who may put Passion first in life while others will make sure their passion do not cause any damage in other part of life. That is the lesson in this movie.

You will see a journey of these 3 competitors across america and other parts of the world just for spotting a bird. But these characters have different situations in their life and different challenges. This movie will teach you exactly by the end that how your passion can effect positively or negatively to your life.

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You see we all grow up doing different things; making different choices; loving something more than the other in our lives. But, at the end what matters is “your inner happiness and satisfaction” with the choices you made. 

This realization was the best moment in the movie. I must say you gotta watch it. Sometimes, not only the journey counts but it is also the ending or what some of us call the destination. Same quote I put down in the beginning of a chapter in my fictional book (as much as I love bragging about it, I confess I have hit a huge block in that fictional story which I haven’t managed to overcome in past month now. So, for now only moving on with my e-book. Thank God at least something is going on).

So, watch this movie and see if you find it interesting. I watched it just because the cast and crew sounded very interesting to me and at the end of the movie I felt I got away with more than just the entertainment.

Speedy Sparks is here. Now!

VICTOR :

Hi, I am Victor. You may remember me from the article about “glass theory”, about the glass being half full and half empty. Well, agreed I kinda dressed up a bit nerdy in that one. You gotta do weird things for money these days man, we all agree to that don’t we? Ha ha….. so, guess what happened few days back. It was around 2 in the morning I heard someone knocking on my door. As I approached the door to open, I heard someone running away. Finally, when I opened the door I found this guy – Speedy. Well, it’s a snail but a pretty strong one.

I kinda stepped on him as I walked out of the door, didn’t crush him to my surprise. Uhh, let’s not talk about that. When I found speedy he was having a little red bow tied around with a note sticking on it (it was actually sticking on him somewhere else that I do not want to talk about). The note said, “This is Speedy Sparks. He is the only hope. Take good care of him.” I thought it was funny for a snail being named “Speedy”. Ironic right?

Pretty shy guy he was when I saw him first. Didn’t want to come out of its shell, but we ended up getting friendly after all. He is pretty cool actually. Although he is so slow made me late to work on Monday. That is because I took him to the park playing “Fetch” on Sunday. Poor thing didn’t make it back till next morning, hahaha. Anyways, I am going to bed. Nightey night.

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SPEEDY SPARKS :

They call me Speedy Sparks…….Why?

I am the fastest snail on this planet.

I worked hard because I wanted to prove the world wrong, that believes Snails cannot be speedy.

I was born with those racing stripes on my back.

My name “Speedy Sparks” is the proof that with enough inspiration and believing in yourself you can do anything and you can be anyone you wish to be. I must tell you it is a challenge being Speedy when you are a snail. But hey, little challenge never hurts.

I have the spark within, and it is my job to spread the light ahead and further. Anyone lacking that spark gets a good one from me.

Are you comfortable in your own shell. Because I am. And If you tell my master about my secret, I am going to cut your head off.

I am Speedy Sparks, and this is my secret identity that my master is not aware of.

He himself is being pretty demotivated often and that is why I am here to inspire him.

To remind him that hope is alive, and with enough of inspiration that is going to go further.

so back to same question, “Are you comfortable in your own shell?”

My friend you can never convince the world totally no matter how much you change yourself from outside. In fact it will only lead you changing yourself from within before you even know it, and soon you will not be “YOU” anymore.

The best way to go with it is, being comfortable in your own shell….uhh, I mean in your own skin. So, keep it that way. I must go for now.

Peace out!

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Ladies and gentlemen I hope you enjoyed reading today’s article and most of all I hope “Speedy Sparks” is entertaining enough as a blog mascot. Please leave your feedback or suggesstion. That would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for bearing me around here, and still following me faithfully. Love you all. Thank you for all your likes that inspires me to come up with interesting inspiring stories you will be reading ahead.

Thank you thank you thank you. 

Like or Dislike, Just say it.

This happened long ago. I was invited to a dinner at my friend’s house. There were few things on the menu of different cuisines. What I did not like was the cheese dip they made. It just tasted a bit funny. His father did all the cooking and his mum was the one to serve everyone’s plate and I was down to try everything they had to offer me.

After I tried the 3 cheese dip that kinda tasted funny, I was thinking to leave it as it is. But then I thought he(my friend’s father) may feel that I am judging his cooking, by saying I did not like it or it tastes actually funny. So, my brain came up with a plan to kill that 3 cheese dip first and then go ahead to the rest of the better tasting stuff to make my mouth happier.

Now, as soon as I finished that funny tasting 3 cheese dip his father jumped by my seat with a bowl of the dip and served me even more saying, “I see you love it.”

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Now, don’t do this at dinner parties you are invited to. But the lesson I learned out of this was before it’s too late you must say what you like or you don’t. I remembered this whole incident last night when I was working out at the gym.

This girl who works at the child care/baby sitting department in the gym she was working out next to me. A trainer(he is sorta weird if I must say it clearly) was passing by and saw her, started talking to her and kinda insisting on trying some this and that workout. She looked like she wanted to pass and didn’t want to do it, but finally she gives in. It looked like she was not liking it a bit every time he touches her here and there.

As soon as he leaves after a long chat and less training given, this girl looks at me and says, “Oh my god, he is so weird and pushy. I really don’t like coming up here when these trainers are around.” All I could do is smile, didn’t say anything.

But this was the incident in the gym last night that reminded me of a story with 3 cheese dip and reminded me the lesson,

“If you do not like something do not give in, sometimes it is rather wise to say NO out loud.”

“If you give in easily, you will be forced to do things you do not like and life is too short to waste time doing things you do not want to do.” 

WARNING : Do not say “you don’t like something”, at a dinner party where you are a guest. That is not polite. This rule does not apply there. Just saying. 

And you are very close to meet speedy sparks. Thank you for reading, following and hanging on till now.

Love you mucho.

High Spirits – Where is all the excitement?

Hope everyone had a good Easter. Mine was great, especially the lunch at work.

Some of you know I am a cook and so I was working my Easter Sunday Lunch at the retirement home carving “honey and mustard roasted ham”. Now, the best part of working on a carving station is feeling the fun and energy in the room full of guests. It’s always been the best part of it, at least for me. While working for a hotel in Arizona I enjoyed Mariachi bands playing, mostly when I worked on a carving station. Yesterday I enjoyed live music. Music that was old school but great.

Now, in the middle of all this I took a pause just to look at every table in the room smiling and cheering. Everyone was happy enjoying the lunch. The best part was noticing most of the residents who are of course around 80 years old dancing to the beats on their way to grab the plate. Only group of people in the room not enjoying as much was the staff that was busy making this happen. Even they joined in the fun once they got in a smooth flow. There were so many thoughts rushing through my head in that single hour or two.

One way to look at this was, the “employees” who were not enjoying while making this happen. It reminded me of something similar to what trees do, they just give. They burn in the sun giving us the shadow; fruits and even rain eventually. It was these employees who were there working on Easter Sunday, so that these families can sit together and enjoy the lunch (thank you if one of those employees happen to read this). Honestly, for people who cook or serve; the holidays are toughest on them. It is the time when everyone else is on a vacation and they are working even more.

Another view was when I look at old folks dancing I was feeling the life and excitement still on the top at that age, while there are so many of us – the young ones who are just busy looking tensed; forgetting to smile; rushing in and out of apple store in the mall like machines. Our bodies are more energized than a body that has aged 80 years, yet we want to waste the energy running after money or  buses instead. If you look around it is hard to find someone just lost in a moment. May be no one does it anymore?

The thinking continued again arguing my own thoughts that there is a possibility these retired folks are enjoying now, because they passed the phase we are in today. Possibly they were just as tensed and busy running around at our age? But now may be it is because they are close to “pack the bags and go home” they are realizing the fun part of life in every little moment passing by. If this is the truth then shall we learn from them and start finding life in every second or a minute? Or shall we wait till we get retired and old, to realize this ourselves; to make best out of the time that is left? How are we going to work this out? Where is all the excitement that we should be feeling while we are young? Is excitement only left, reserved for the clubs when we get drunk to the beats full of abusing lyrics? (You would agree to this if you think why “Raindrops keep falling on my head” is not as much fun anymore.)

Why can’t we be little more excited for things? Why are we excited when things are new to us and the excitement melts away with the time? One thing I always notice with people is when they have a job they are too excited and thankful. I guarantee something strange must be happening that makes them curse that same job 5 months down the line. We do not carry the same excitement thoroughly to what we do or what we have and we really need to figure this out now before it feels like too late.

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My blog mascot “Speedy Sparks” is ready to appear in a day or two. Please keep an eye. Hope I manage to get you inspired and get you thinking with bit of fun with the help of Speedy. Thank you for reading and following.

Have a lovely Monday (who am I kidding, right?)

ways to get rich

There are 2 ways to get rich.

One,you earn a lot of money. If you choose to get rich this way, you must remember only way to succeed is where you do not compromise with your needs and wants. You just make more money to satisfy more of your needs and wants. You may have to cheat on your customers, and if you wouldn’t you at least will have to keep working hard n more everyday. Then you may get busier working because you want to keep going – want to get richer. That may affect you lose one or other important things around you; may be your bonding with family or your health. Getting rich may be easier; the tougher part is staying rich, that is where you may start losing patience and your health may be.

money

Another way to get rich is living simple and bringing your level of satisfaction higher. Start being more thankful create a perception full of satisfaction. Be happy with what you have and save more of your earnings. Use your money after healthy choices. Meet your needs, then your wants and desires eventually. This seems like a harder way to do it but it is definitely good for you at long run. This way will not create more hunger for money within you and so will stop you being a thief or being greedy.

Last night I was talking to a guy on the bus stop. Somehow the conversation led to the part where he started sounding that his employer or the government is being unfair to him for not giving him this and that benefit which he said he deserved. He carried on talking about his sad and poor life while he makes me hold a bottle of Bacardi he just bought, because he had to light his Marlboro to add more fun to the conversation. By the time the bus showed up I figured out it was not his employer or government being unfair about paying him money. It was rather himself who did not have money to buy cereal and milk occasionally, because he was spending his money on alcohol; cigarettes and Dr.Dre headphones.

How money smart are you? Do you really think you have lesser potential to get rich than the world to stop you? Think again.

Make valuable choices first, and then expensive deals.