Friday, March 30, 2012


The term democracy has taken on two meanings and both of them are disjointed and nowhere near each other. First meaning which is classical in its reach and impact, it is a system where representative are selected and elected from amongst the population who are segregated according to either geography or some type of classification, such that a bunch of representatives standing in for those who have elected them, guide to safeguard their common economics in a manner in which the life of the entire population improves and wherein their common voice is understood to be the voice of the majority numbers amongst the population. The other meaning more modern but narrow in its perception, winning election is more about number games, money, strategies and less about representing the will of the people because people have an inherent obligation to vote even if they can’t align with the will of the candidate, the body of such elected candidates is considered supreme in all decision making within the combined geography of the people that they are no more representative of the people but of themselves. It can be easily inferred that the latter is a crude misrepresentation of the former line of thought. Today in India we are living with the second and inferior form of democracy whether we like it or not. The optimists keep pointing at the fact that people can reject a candidate or its party in five years’ time and therefore they do have real power in their hands. This is a false perception because all political parties have accepted this as a fundamental fact that each party rules for five years at a time. Since elections are held in five years it is possible to fool the people for five years at a time but fear of losing an election is no reason to surrender the power of decision making to serve the good of the maximum. Mark that I have underlined the words rule and serve.

It is my understanding that democracy was never a philosophy that originated or prevailed in this land of India. It is a foreign concept which we have suddenly applied without a discussion and debate under the naïve assumption that it would be the best thing that could happen to us. When one looks at traditions happily or unhappily this land since the age of the Vedas has always been moving through phases of united or fragmented rule of powerful men and women, always a disorganized bunch of autocracies. We the people of this land have always aligned our will to the will of the most powerful person in the locality or region. One was born powerful and therefore power was to be retained or otherwise snatched. It is quite silly for the ordinary people to imagine that they can dictate their will on the most powerful person in the locality or region. Therefore whenever there was a good king who apart from being powerful also looked after the benefits of the weak people, such a king was considered great and remembered with awe, credited with representing a golden period in the time of the locality or region. A good king is praised in our scriptures; duties of a good king are laid down in the scriptures. That is the psyche of the average Indian. It is therefore not a surprise that today the politicians and the industrialists have assumed the mantle of the erstwhile kings, in charge of their small kingdom, controlling their subjects, working hard to expand and preserve their kingdom.

Anna Hazare is a man who is an absolute misfit in the circumstance; he is neither a king because he is without a kingdom and neither a modern leader as we now understand the term because he is sans the election route. That he is loved and accepted by the masses is a mystery to the politicians, they are numbed, unhappy and hurt and like a player against another who breaks the accepted rules, all they can call out is “Foul”. All that Anna Hazare is doing goes against the basic rules of politics and rules of kingdom-hood. For starters he is asking the elected representatives to align themselves with the will of the people who elected them. This however has never been the tradition of this land. Next he is asking the elected representatives to serve the people instead of filling their personal coffers. This again is against the traditions of this land. He says that people are the kings and the elected representatives are their servants, a potentially preposterous and evil thought. He is asking for laws to be enacted that will forever break the strangle hold that the corrupt and the inefficient have established over the governance system. Ludicrous - that will destroy all the apparent benefits of being a modern king. He wants laws that will prevent the moneyed and powerful people from having any nexus with the officials of governance. This man wants to kill all the powerful people in one stroke, why don’t people see through his game? Why do they love him so? Foul, Foul and more Foul.

Anna Harare’s appeal for a strong Lokpal bill has struck a strong cord with the people of this land. There are a few reasons for this. One, having experienced and understood the process of democracy and having seen the eye wash that politicians shell out in the name of democracy, people see him as an opportunity to project their assertiveness. By supporting him, people want to send a message to the rulers that better behavior is envisaged. Second, because of the free flow of information people have become aware of the difference in the standards of living in this country and in the west and the primary reason for that, they are also aware that China which was as good as us fifty years ago during our independence, is now streets ahead of us and that too only because of sensible governance. People see Anna Hazare as a harbinger for better times. People are aware that neither has China or the USA been able to do away with their kings or their modern avatar the Minister’s and the Prime Minister, but they do wish that if our Minister’s and Prime Minister can start applying themselves to their task like their counterparts, India will become a better place to live for everybody and not just the powerful. Our politicians need to wake up. The days of the wicked, irresponsible or inefficient kings are over. The king is now expected to look and learn from his peers in other advanced countries. Anna Hazare today has done enough to ignite a hunger for change. He has single handedly altered the political finger-prints of this land to such an extent that those now playing the game gasp at the change they are required to face.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

On Trusting Your Life

    A recent study has revealed that people who trust their feelings or follow their heart are able to perceive future events more accurately than those who subdue their feelings. On the conduct of a number of tests the results consistently revealed that people with higher trust in their feelings were more likely to correctly predict the final outcome than those with lower trust in their feelings. “When we rely on our feelings what feels right or wrong summarizes all the knowledge and information that we have acquired consciously and unconsciously about the world around us. It is this cumulative knowledge, which our feelings summarize for us, that allows us to make better predictions. In a sense, our feelings give us access to a privileged window of knowledge and information, a window that a more analytical form of reasoning blocks us from.” This privileged window hypothesis is a study conducted at the Columbia Business School lead by Mr. Michel Pham Professor of business and marketing and is referred to as the ‘Emotional Oracle Effect’.
I was swept off my feet when I read this. This is a part of the message that I have been saying through the title of my blog ‘Trust Your Life – all your needs are provided for’. Trusting our feelings and following our heart means to acknowledge that our life energy knows and understands what is best for us. So instead of running around pursuing a number of directions it is better that one listens to one’s heart and trusts the inner gut feeling which has the knowledge to choose correctly. Normally in our daily life circumstances we start thinking and apply our brains to the issue on hand, weigh the plus and minus and then try to reach a rational decision. More often than not we are led by our desires and aspirations and therefore end up making choices which do not fit our ability, resource, and our current physical as well as psychological condition. The right fit thus eludes us.

To follow the heart and trust one’s feelings means to be objective and brave, to be able to accept a choice that does not correspond to the voice of the ego, to accept ourselves as we really are, to be contended with the present. Such a person is bound to be happy, without a strain and at peace with the world. It would be a surprise if such a person fails to take the right decisions all the time. Unfortunately such an exalted state is enjoyed by a privileged few. The rest of us are busy rolling in the quicksand of the ego that we fail to hear voice of the heart, the famous ‘I-me-myself’ syndrome.

Man is generally opposed to this philosophy of trusting our own life. This perception is viewed in a way that it symbolizes we should stop dreaming and that no progress can be achieved when we apply our brains. However, this is not true. To trust our life does not mean to stop pursuing our goals. The objective is to know and accept who we are and to live in harmony with the whole universe in that understanding. It is to be able to distinguish between the real and the false and thus desist in the pursuit of false.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I have been a wanderer for as long as I can remember. I never had a permanent address, a permanent work, a permanent lifestyle, a permanent relationship, a permanent path. The perceptible temporariness about every little and big thing that I do have been the most permanent feature in my life, many a times stretching into being ridiculed. Not that I make any deliberate attempts at fastidiousness at best or casualness and unenthusiastic at worst. In fact I don’t have a clue about whatever happens with me. A very kind word to fit this condition would be ‘stupid’. To be honest about this, all my activities seem to lose their charm the moment I realize that it does not make me happy. Even this blog writing that has been going on from 2009 may suddenly stop one fine morning. Matter of fact, nothing holds my interest for long and I don’t know what will. From a distance it looks as if I am trying to stumble into something or some place without any pre-determined direction. Surprisingly however, for some good work done by me sometime in the remote past I am living comfortably. The current boiling issue in my mind as of now is that I am not able to decide whether I am going to continue working as a practicing CA or whether I am going to give up my profession and ………..

I must admit that I have been very consistent over a long time about this fact that I don’t enjoy this profession. Now it has become so full of fear that I have started detesting it. We take up every unethical type of work, adopt every unethical principle, all for the purpose of earning some extra rupees and in the bargain we accept fear into our thoughts that we could be unmasked, punished and also that the flow of money should ever stop. We are such cowards and such hypocrites at the same time that while on the one hand we believe we are doing the right thing and on the other we never lose an opportunity to criticize the levels of corruption. It is not that we are earning a great deal of money which in fact we are not. The reality is that we don’t have the ability to earn an honest rupee. When the next man is getting away with dishonesty we are inclined to do the same. We simply refuse to apply our minds and work hard or otherwise accept our levels of intelligence and karma and be satisfied with what we get. This practice is taking us nowhere near prosperity. We are still earning less than what our counterparts earn and we are earning it through wrong methods. The whole tangle is making me frustrated because I am able to neither leave it nor accept it. I cannot see this condition continue for long because on one hand every moment I get a feeling that I am loosing time or wasting time on useless activities which could be utilized on doing something better. On the other hand I don’t have any idea about what else I could do. Even if I select another activity how long would it be before I got bored and dissatisfied once again. This phase of indecisiveness is bothering me immensely.   My partners obviously don’t want me to walk away because my work and the money which it brings in are being shared by everyone. However I am in fact using that as an alibi to feel needed and indispensable. How further stupid can I get.

Worldly prudence, practical common sense tells me that I should continue doing whatever I am doing because it is the only thing that I know about. I cannot do anything else. On becoming a CA I tried to get a good job but was not selected, later I have tried to become an entrepreneur and failed, recently I tried to join academics (social service) and got rejected, I also try my hand at teaching but there is no real calling. I was doing all these only to be able to earn a decent amount every month. Therefore if I stop doing this I would not be earning anything. This has become my major insurmountable block. Even though I have scaled down my living style, I have not been able to free myself entirely from the strangulating clutches of money matters. The day I kick this ghost I will become a free man. This indecisiveness is also affecting me in another manner; I am not able to look far ahead into the future because I am not certain what course I will finally decide on. I am in the process of buying a flat and by God’s grace in another two years it should be fully paid for. But I am not able to decide whether I should take up the buying of another flat for Biki and his family the payment of which will take another five years. I am unable to decide where I would settle down for which it has become high time considering my age. I do not have a retirement fund to fall back upon for emergencies and I am unable to decide whether I really need one. Mark that, I doubt whether I really need funds for emergency. If that is not rich!

Well everything has a purpose and nothing happens without a reason. I pray that I somehow manage the ability to understand the cause and be able to see the goal. Until then it will continue to be the vagabond living.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Tranquil fluidity all around is your presence,
Sounds emanated on purpose is your lesson,
Silence being the music of life is your essence,
Balance by all for all and of all is your fashion.

Different lives have a distinct sound,
Threat or fortune is interpreted on the ground,
Friend or foe is for the listener to sound,
Could be a partner or the hungry, moving around.

Every call is given either to attract the mate,
To drive away rivals and warn of a fate,
Progeny and security on every date,
Love and fear are the only two shores of your state.

Some creatures can fly, some can crawl,
Some in between, some not at all,
While some are welcome, others they fall,
Every creation is unique inside your mighty wall.

Flowers and leaves of every hue,
Fruits and fragrance to attract the few,
Nourishment in exchange of life to sew,
For preserving the cycle of existence, every role is due.

Sunlight steals softly incline,
Storms to a height and then slowly decline,
Morning rays wakes all the active to fall in line,
To industry and the evening to rest and recline.

Nothing goes waste in the Jungle ‘Bo’,
Dry leaf or branch or even dead bone,
To recycle you teach with a humble tone,
Our universe is one, to us from the urban clone.

Every life form is sourced from the basic wealth,
Universal energy is the root of every breath,
From where we come is to where we go in death,
The Jungle endures this law as a glories wreath.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I saw a movie last month ‘Agnipath’ and I saw a movie again this month ‘Paan Singh Tomar’. Last month I was in Goa with Biki and so all the boys said lets go and watch a movie. This month I went by myself because I wanted to see Paan Singh Tomar. For me this is a puzzling phase because I don’t see movies anymore for months and years together. Two movies in two successive months is an odd change, big time. There was a time twenty five years ago during 1984 to 1986 when I was new in Nagpur, with no friends and used to see atleast a movie every week. I maintained a dairy about the date the actors and the songs and saw more than two hundred movies during that period. The reason for the sudden surge in movie watching apart from loneliness was also because my father had a long time ago scolded me for watching too many movies and therefore I had totally stopped going to the theater. I was kind of doing overtime then for all the movies I had missed. Slowly over the years I came to realize that movies were a waste of time. Main stream Hindi cinema is always over the top, always unrealistic. The non-main stream or parallel cinema was very boring and the third option ‘slapstick comedy’ movies were only bearable on certain days. They had stopped making those mythological movies decades back. Many a times I had suffered because I misinterpreted the life as depicted in the movies to be real life. The relationship, emotion, thinking, and action as shown in the movies used to impact my thought process and this led to many disappointments. I was impressionable and stupid, I still am but then I managed to move away from the movies. One day the realization dawned upon me that by watching movies I become completely dependent for my happiness on the happenings with some fictional character all outside of my control and my life. In fact I was pawning my personal inner growth for some unrealistic stories and unfortunately calling myself happy. My friends like everybody’s friends discussed movies with a passion as if their life hinged on it. The popularity and non-admiration of the star cast became the central focus of their lives. This behavior is being justified on the grounds that movies make us forget the harsh realities of life. But I reckon that we humans like to see movies because we love our image and our ego and cannot stop imagining ourselves in the shoes of the character weighing emotions and executing impossible actions. We love to roll in the ego, firmly believing in the triumph of goodness and in automatic deliverance in a God fearing society. Therefore emotions that seize and captivate our heart like laughter, thrill, dare-devil feats, sacrifice, romance, anger, hatred and sex are very popular. Sadly that takes us away from understanding who we really are, from understanding what real life is about and what permanent happiness really is. Ironically the make belief and the false triumph. Alas!

Well, both Agnipath and Paan Singh Tomar are similar in story-line. They are about the vulnerable good folks who when unjustly treated by bad oppressors, succumb to the emotion of anger, seek vengeance and in the process sacrifice their life. The broad theme is about self-respect and the non-tolerance of injustice. But while the former is over the top and loud the latter is very practical, down to earth and artistic. Paan Singh Tomar was a treat to watch. Since it was based on a real individual I wanted to understand why an achiever lost his balance, I should mention that I came back satisfied. The treatment of a man’s vulnerability and his pride has been very delicately handled. After very many years I really wanted to see a movie and I am pleased that my instinct was right.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


A thought that has constantly been playing on the strings of my mind is the wish to retire. Retire from work. Work means doing something with the sole objective of procuring food, clothing and shelter; it has nothing to do with one’s interest or liking, and least of all with satisfaction. Obviously, it is a sad reflection of my state of mind and a sadder one of the kind of work that I do for a living. Since a very long time my dream activity has been to be always seated on a chair, with a book in hand, doing nothing else, no worries about food and money and no desire either. If I feel bored with reading I could walk around the chair or lay down on the floor and sleep. I don’t need a bed either. No going to work, no office clothing, no driving in the traffic, no clients expectations to cater to, no hankering for fees, no thoughts about the next meal. Of course apart from reading I would also be doing meditation and write. Ah! the thought itself is so stress free, so relaxing, so dream like.

Let’s ignore the dream portion and spend efforts on deciphering the idea of retirement which has a big connotation in today’s world. Majority of the people whom I have talked to cannot conceive the thought of retirement before their time. People mostly identify retirement with entry into the age of 60. Old age and dependency are looked down upon with despise and something so shameful that could happen to anyone else but not to self. No one wants to grow old, so no one wants to retire either and so those with unfulfilling work drag themselves along the unhappy road. Some people identify retirement with cessation of physical activity and therein lurks a fear - loss of importance and of becoming unwanted. A man’s ego does not permit such playful and mischievous thinking and therefore the idea of retirement gets thrown out of the window. They ask queer questions like what am I to do after retirement? Next, retirement is often viewed as the end of income earning phase which gets enhanced into the negative state of loss of freedom. And then there also are two other major deterrents to retirement; one, it is not a choice for people who are in the midst of shouldering family responsibilities and second, it is not a choice for people who entertain personal ambitions.

I sound to be pushing the envelope on retirement without any rationale. Why would I fancy retirement when there is no grounds to justify the same. Well to defend my argument let me begin with defining that retirement to me is to simply jump out of the rat race.  Irrational as it may sound, I think it is not worth leading a life burdened by desire. Retirement has nothing to do with any superannuation age, or reduction in physical activity, or even not earning money. Retirement is just a choice that my life won’t be bound by and held captive by events and people around me. It is the ability to call my life my own, to lead my life on my terms. Retirement is not to pursue goals and objective that will satisfy my image or assuage my fears. It is the freedom to stop and smell the flowers. Retirement is where an invisible inner satisfaction and peace is more important than exhibitionism and external display of achievements.

Bhagwat Gita says that in life one has to partake in action and it is inevitable but that action is supreme which is undertaken without any desire for fruits. That state of mind is supreme which is equanimous towards success and failure, when they don’t matter. However people lead lives moving from one desire to the next. When expectation exceeds performance they call it failure, otherwise it is called success. In both events they remain unhappy because they fear failures to prolong and success to be short lived. Gautama Buddha proclaimed that desire is the root of all unhappiness. Therefore is it not better to retire from such a life where desire controls the shots. Man does wonderful work when there is no stress and pressure of performance. Great works of art and science have been achieved by those working without fear or disregard to fear of goals. When the passion to perform becomes more important than the result of performance high standards are created.

 Coming back to where I started, I wish I can lead a fully retired life from today. In fact I am leading a semi-retired life but there is still a gap between what I do and wish to do. Certain obligations and fears still hold me back. I pray that someday I will be able to cross this chasm into the worlds of my dream.