Saturday, May 25, 2019

Bitter Truths!

(Humourous Article)


Ravi and Rani had very happy twenty three years of their lives. After that they met and married.  They felt incomplete until they married. After that they felt that they were finished. Both of them had reasons to blame the other for the problems…

Ravi didn’t have a clue about what real happiness was until he got married. But then it was already too late for him. Rani got upset quickly even on small matters. At that time a simple “Calm down” in his soothing voice was enough to get her more upset.

He learnt many bitter truths within a year of their marriage and he wrote them in a diary on their first wedding anniversary day. He wrote:

1) Women have more imagination than men. But they need men to tell daily how wonderful they are. 

2) Women have a number of faults. Men have only two – everything they say and everything they do.  

3) Any married man should forget his mistakes – it’s no use two people remembering the same thing. 

4) A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument. 

5) Arguing with wife is a lot like trying to read the Terms of Use on the internet. In the end you just give up and go to “I Agree”.

Rani read the diary and their house was like a battlefield for a whole week. One day Ravi confessed to his friend, “I seriously wanted to throw my wife in pond of crocodiles in the zoo”

His friend asked, “What prevented you?”

Ravi said thoughtfully, “I do not want to be harassed by Animal Rights Activists in a court of law for being cruel to the crocodiles! Don’t you remember Salman Khan’s case?”

Another day he asked his friend, “Do you know why our law doesn’t permit a man to have two living wives?”

His friend didn’t know. He asked “Why?”

Rave said solemnly, “Because our law protects us against cruel and extreme punishment.”

One day Rani was complaining to her husband that only women are capable of doing more than one thing at a time and how unfair that was.

Ravi told her to just shut up her mouth and walk away.

As he expected, she couldn’t manage to do either of that and a new quarrel started immediately.

Rani soon found out that Ravi had neither steady jobs nor money. She said to him, "If I’d known you were this much poor, I’d never have married you."

He pointed out, "Don’t pretend I didn’t warn you! How many times did I tell you that you’re everything I have?"

Rani equally hated many of his character traits especially his laziness, drinking habit and the way he spoke. Soon she found out that her husband’s every sentence had entirely different meaning. 

His "Can I help with dinner?" really means.... "Why isn't it already on the table?"

His "You don’t understand me." really means.... "Why can’t you just believe my lies, fool"

His "I was listening to you. It's just that I have things on my mind." really means.... "Who cares your nonsense dear"

His "That's interesting, dear" really means.... "Are you still talking?"

His "Honey, we don't need material things to prove our love" really means.... "I forgot your birthday again." 

Trying to get rid of his laziness Rani made Ravi to do many household works. Ravi refused to do the works citing health reasons. So she sent him to a doctor. After taking some tests the doctor asked, “Do you and your wife share the same blood group?”

Ravi said bitterly,   “It could be so, by now. She’s been sucking my blood for years.”

Doctor asked, “Do you play dangerous sports?”

Ravi said thoughtfully, “Well, sometimes I talk back at my wife”

Ravi told the doctor that he’s incapable of doing all the things around the house that he used to do. He said, “You have taken all tests, Doctor. Can you tell in plain English what’s wrong with me?”

“Well, in plain English,” said the doctor, “you’re just lazy.”

Ravi nodded. “Now Doctor, give me the medical term so I can tell my wife.”

Ravi’s drunken habit worsened and he lost his job. Unable to tolerate, Rani left the house with children and went to her parents’ house. Ravi became very sad. Pondering over the situation he noticed a crate of whisky bottles and walked toward it. 

He took out an empty bottle, smashing it into the concrete wall swearing, "You are the reason I don’t have my wife with me". 

He threw second bottle, saying "You are the reason I don't have my children with me" 

Smashing third bottle, he said "You are the reason I lost my job".
He noticed the fourth bottle is sealed and still full of whisky. 

He took the bottle, put it aside and said "Stand aside my dear friend, I know you were not involved....” 

Unable to stay in parents’ house permanently Rani returned with her children. But she and children began treating him harshly for his every wrong behaviour. They didn’t allow him drink liquor inside the house. Eventually he changed his ways to some tolerable level because of their dominance and found a job.

After a few years he fell seriously ill and admitted in hospital. He called Rani, their son and daughter to his side. He asked for two witnesses to be present and a camcorder to record his last wishes. When all were ready he began to speak:

"My son, I want you to take the R.S.Puram and Saibaba Colony bungalows”

"My daughter, you take all the apartments in Race Course”

"Rani, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings and shop complexes in Town Hall and Big Bazaar area”

The nurse who heard that and two witnesses were blown away as they could not believe about his extensive holdings. 

The nurse said appreciatively to Rani, “Madam, your husband must have been such a hard-working man to have accumulated all this property.”

Rani replied contemptuously, “The jackass was lastly a newspaper delivery man and he was telling us to take the paper routes."


- N.Ganeshan

(This humourous article won second prize in our Bank Magazine’s last contest)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

‘Being Happy’ is a challenge of Today’s Era

In the olden days due to limited wants and simple life style, people didn’t link up their happiness to their material possessions and they used to enjoy the simplest and free pleasures of life. Since their lives were less intensive, they were able to follow more closely their internal clock. So they used to lead very happy, healthy and contented lives.

In recent decades the pace of life has accelerated dramatically and science and technology made available lots of material things. Most of the   people always have a bucket list of things to buy! And, unfortunately, their happiness is always linked to buying those things.

Why is happiness a challenge?

Every child is nothing but a bundle of joys, but as we grow up, somewhere, we lose those joys. A child smiles 400 times a day. When a child grows up and becomes an adolescent, he smiles only 17 times a day, and when he becomes an adult, he smiles occasionally and that too when someone else smiles.

Is happiness receding from modern society as we grow older or is modern society receding from it? Is it becoming more elusive to us or are we becoming blinder to it? Is it becoming more difficult to attain or are we setting the bar too high? Is happiness on the same vanishing path as the panda bear and the rhinoceros?

Wherever we turn we see a world that is discontent, grasping and floundering. We see a world at war with itself, a population of carnivorous shoppers, and people with excess attitude, explosive tempers, and insatiable drives to acquire "things." What has happened to us? What are we becoming? Where is the happiness?

To answer the questions, first we have to find out what is happiness.

  
What is happiness?

“Happiness” is not only hard to measure, but it is also difficult to singularly define. You can’t define happiness without using a synonym for happiness, and you can’t interpret it to everyone’s satisfaction.

Psychologists define a happy person as someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest, and pride, and infrequent (though not absent) negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety and danger. Happiness has also been said to relate to life satisfaction, appreciation of life, moments of pleasure, but overall it has to do with the positive experience of emotions.

The key to these definitions is that positive emotions do not indicate the absence of negative emotions. A "happy person" experiences the spectrum of emotions just like anybody else, but the frequency by which they experience the negative ones may differ. It could be that "happy people" don't experience as much negative emotion because they process it differently or they may find meaning in a way others have not. Nobody is immune to life's stressors, but the question is whether you see those stressors as moments of opposition or moments of opportunity.

“Happiness really is an inside job,” Los Angeles-based therapist Sarah Schewitz adds. “You can change the way you think, you can change the way you feel, and be happier.”

The philosopher Albert Camus put it, "But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?"

What prevents us being happy?

It may be tempting to think that happiness is achieved by solving life’s problems. But if you wait to be happy until all your problems are solved you will never be happy, because when today’s problems are gone others will take their place. If you are going to live happily you have to live with at least some of your problems.

Living happily depends mainly on your inner life, meaning your thoughts, emotions, and desires. Happiness is about what you think and believe, how you feel, how problems affect you. This may sound obvious, but often we focus instead on our external lives, on getting and spending and “having fun” and then wonder why we are not happy. But it’s when our inner lives are serene that we are happiest – and this is inner peace.

The difficulty is that our inner lives are based on patterns and habits. You don’t choose, occasion by occasion, how you respond inside. This happens and you feel angry; that happens and you feel sad. Because of these habits, events don’t necessarily leave you with inner peace.

If happiness is a destination you are waiting to arrive at then you could be in for a long ride. The assumption here for people is that happiness comes from outside of you. While there are obviously things that happen in your life that make you feel either happy or unhappy, the fact is that these experiences come and they go. The better equipped you become at handling the events that cause you stress the less impact it will have on your health and happiness.

Until you learn to handle this, your emotional well-being and happiness will be in the hands of the events that happen to you. The more power your events hold over you to control how you think and feel about life, the less room there is for you to be happy and at peace.

The mindset of waiting for happiness is a never-ending cycle. You get a better job and then immediately start thinking about what your next promotion will be. You get a nicer house and immediately start looking at how nice your neighbours’ houses are, or the faults in the house you have. You try to change your spouse or kids, and if that works (good luck), you’ll find other things about them that need to be changed. It keeps going, until you die.

Accumulating things never made any one permanently happy. When you buy something you desire very much, you may be very happy for a very few days. How long one can feel very happy for having bought a new iPhone or latest model car? After a month or so it becomes very routine possession we’ve and the novelty wears off as well as the happiness associated with the buying of the same.

Barry Schwartz, in his book “The Paradox of Choice”, aptly said, “The more options you have, the higher your expectations; and when your expectations are sky-high, you’re destined for disappointment... no matter how good things get”


How to be happy in today’s Era?

We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we're frustrated that the kids aren't old enough and we'll be happier when they are. After that, we're frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with. We'll certainly be happy when they're out of that stage. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice vacation, when we retire.

The truth is, there's no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when? Your life will always be filled with challenges. It's best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.

Alfred D. Souza said, "For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."

This perspective can help you to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have and treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time with...and remember that time waits for no one.

So, stop waiting until you finish school, until you go back to school, until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds, until you have kids, until your kids leave the house, until you start work, until you retire, until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night, until Sunday morning, until you get a new car or home, until your car or home is paid off, until spring, until summer, until fall, until winter, until you're off welfare, until the first or fifteenth, until your song comes on, until you've had a drink, until you've sobered up, until you die, until you're born again to decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Someone once asked me what I regarded as the three most important requirements for happiness. My answer was: A feeling that you have been honest with yourself and those around you; a feeling that you have done the best you could both in your personal life and in your work; and the ability to love others."

To lead a real happy and contended life we should understand the truths in following major aspects of our life:

Values: Values are essentially what we must care about most in life. They provide us with motivation, they give us energy and/or calm us down, and they give us a sense of fulfillment. Values are what drive you toward what it is you want out of life. When your actions and thoughts are in line with your values, you are able to be your authentic self more easily. Being your authentic self is ultimately going to provide you with a greater sense of happiness.

Self image: We compare ourselves with the images in our mind of perfection — movie stars, models in magazines, other people who seem to have it all together — and we can never measure up to those perfect images. But those images are not real. They are an imagined ideal. Even the beautiful people have bad days and feel flabby, and if you take away their photoshopped and heavily-made-up facade, you see that they are every bit as human as you are. Even the people who seem successful, living exciting lives — they have the same self-doubts you have. So if they don’t live up to this ideal image, why should you? And even if they did (which they don’t), why would you need to? When we let go of this image of perfection, we realize that we are already exactly who we should be. And then, all our need for moret, and all the activity and effort and pain that implies, fades away. We are happy with ourselves, and nothing else is needed.

Relationships: If you are true to yourself, you are more likely to be a good friend, partner, and parent. You are more likely to be happy and friendly and loving, more likely to be as accepting of others as you are of yourself. Relationships improve, especially when others learn to be content with themselves, from your example.

Health: Much of our culture’s unhealthiness comes from unhappiness — eating junk food to give ourselves comfort and relieve stress, not exercising because we think we can’t (because we have a bad self-image), being glued online because we think we might miss something if we turn off the computer or iPhone. When you realize that you aren’t missing anything, and you don’t need junk food to be happy, and you are good enough to exercise, you can slowly return to health.

Possessions: The overload of possessions in our lives comes from unhappiness — we buy things because we think they’ll give us comfort, coolness, happiness, security, an exciting life. When we become content with ourselves and our lives, we realize none of that is necessary, and we can start getting rid of these extraneous crutches.

Busy-ness: Much of our busy-ness comes from fear that we should be doing more, that we might be missing out, that we aren’t enough already. But we are enough, and we don’t always need more, and we aren’t missing out So we can let go of a lot of unnecessary activity, and just focus on doing what we love, and give ourselves the space to enjoy a contented happy life.

Acceptance: Most of the time we are not happy because we want to change the outside world. Some people will never behave the way you want, no matter what you do. Everyone’s nature and thinking is the result of the environment and conditions they have lived in. Everyone will be right in their own eyes no matter how bad they do. The only thing you can change is your thinking and accept the people the way they are. Be with people who make you feel better and stay away from the ones that depress you. The only time a person will change is when he himself wants to. The Earlier you accept, the happier you will be.

Gratefulness: We are always complaining about things that we don’t have and when we acquire them, there are only few moments of joy and we again start wining about more things and the cycle goes on. Take some time and be thankful for what you have. Some might be dying for the food that you are disrespecting. There are children who have never seen their parents and don’t know who they are. You are blessed that you have them, spend time with them. Just imagine once, how will life be without them. Someone might be dying just to have a sight of how this world looks like and you don’t ever thank God that he has blessed you with good health and properly functioning organs. And this list goes on…..

If you start counting, you will find lots of things in your life that you are blessed with but don’t appreciate. It is wise to remember- Happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they make the best of everything.

Judgement: Another big source of discontentment is trying to control the people around us. We have standards or ideals for what we believe is right or good, and then we try to impose our standards on our spouse, children, family, and friends. We want them to think the way we think, believe what we believe, dress the way we think is appropriate, and spend money on things that are our priorities. When they don't comply, we get upset and judge them as wrong or bad. Allow those around you to be themselves. Stop judging and accept them to keep your happiness.
       
Conclusion:

As it is rightly said, ‘Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it’. Well, life depends upon choices. And the choices results in the level of happiness. So the art of being happy isn't hard to master even in today’s era. If we remember the great truths of life and act accordingly every moment of our life, happiness will remain our natural state of being.

N.GANESHAN

(First Prize winning article in our Vijaya Bank house magazine’s last contest)
      

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Simple Meditations to reduce Stress and Tension


The word meditation is derived from two Latin words – meditari (to think, to dwell upon, to exercise the mind) and mederi (to heal). Traditionally, the classical yoga texts describe that to attain true states of meditation one must go through several stages. After the necessary preparation of personal cleanliness, physical position, breath control, and relaxation, come the more advanced stages of concentration, contemplation, and then ultimately absorption. So in early days, meditation was considered something just not meant for modern people.

But after publication of many scientific and medical evidences that proved its benefits clearly, meditation seems to be more popular than ever. This is great news, as meditation does so much to the body, mind, and spirit. It can help to reduce stress in the body. It assists the mind in feeling peaceful and less attached to the outcome of things. It lifts our spirits and makes us feel connected to the larger world. So the importance of simplifying the traditional meditation techniques was felt and simple meditation techniques were developed by the meditation experts to enable it to reach the modern common people.

Let us see some basic and simple meditation techniques. One thing you need to first understand before you get started: Methods vary because people vary in their attitudes, character, and nature. So when coming to pick the right method of meditation, you will have to fit the meditation into your nature, and not try to fit your character into a certain technique. When you fit your natural self into the right meditation method you will feel a certain ease and comfort in your practice. Like most good things, meditation requires practice and can be hard work, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.


The key to developing a successful meditation practice is finding the right fit for you. In order to figure out what kind of meditation works best for you, you’ll have to put a few types of meditation to the test and try. In fact, by finding the type of meditation that's right for you, the process can be very enjoyable indeed. Ideal time for beginning meditation is twenty to thirty minutes. If you find it difficult, at least try each of these meditations for ten minutes to begin with, then extending the time gradually as you get more comfortable with the practice that suits you.


Mindful Meditation

It is also known as Vipassana or insight meditation, mindfulness practice entails focusing bare awareness on the object of meditation – be it the breath, physical sensations, outside sounds or all of the above.

Simply following the breath is an easy way to start your practice before moving on to other more in-depth practices. Because the breath has such an impact on our whole being, focusing on breathing brings about a restful and calm nature.

Assume a comfortable but alert upright position. Gently bring your attention to your breath, and note each inhalation and exhalation – without trying to change anything or breathe in any specific way. When you notice your mind wandering (as it most certainly will, over and over!) gently bring your attention back to the breath and start again.

According to the teachings of the Buddha, applied mindful meditation, along with strong concentration and appropriate moral conduct, leads to enlightenment or liberation from suffering. As an added bonus, mindfulness meditation has been found to lower stress and fight mental health issues. When you start becoming aware of your body, you’ll notice tension in different parts of your body. Therefore, it is very important to learn how to release the tension in the body.

Famous Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh explains how: “So next time you’re stopped at a red light, you might like to sit back and practice the fourth exercise: “Breathing in, I’m aware of my body. Breathing out, I release the tension in my body.” Peace is possible at that moment, and it can be practiced many times a day—in the workplace, while you are driving, while you are cooking, while you are doing the dishes, while you are watering the vegetable garden. It is always possible to practice releasing the tension in yourself.”


Mantra Meditation

Mantra meditation is similar to mindfulness meditation, with the addition of a repetition of a simple word or phrase. People who follow transcendental meditation or chant a mantra are following this path. This is where a mantra or sequence of mantras are repeated (silently) to get the mind to become calm and centered. Pick your mantra – it could be a simple word like "relax," or "peace," or something more spiritual like "ohm" or "so-hum" (ancient Sanskrit words meaning "nothingness" and "I am that"). Find a mantra that you connect with, and repeat it over and over in your head.

Assume a comfortable but alert upright position, and spend 30 seconds just sitting with your eyes closed before starting your mantra. As effortlessly and silently as possible, begin repeating your mantra to yourself (not aloud), over and over. There's no need to try to change or stop your thoughts in anyway – just keep whispering the word silently to yourself.

The repetition of a mantra quiets the breath and as a result the mind, according to New Age guru Deepak Chopra, bringing the meditator into the field of "pure consciousness." From a beginner's perspective, using a mantra can help focus and sharpen a mind prone to wandering during meditation.


Walking Meditation

Walking meditation is developed by Thich Nhat Hanh and it can be just as profound as sitting meditation, and helps bring strong awareness to the body and to physical sensations.

Choose a small, flat path on which to walk back and forth, preferably 10 to 20 paces in each direction or a circular path. Before you start moving, stand still for a few moments and consciously bring your attention into the body. Notice the sensations of your feet on the ground, clothes on your body, and sun and wind on your skin. Begin walking as slowly as you can while still feeling natural, keeping your attention within the body. When the attention drifts to outside sights or thoughts (and it will!) gently bring it back to the movement in the lower half of your body – the soles of your feet on the ground, the bending and extending of the knee and the curl of your toes.

The simple exercise of stepping from foot to foot naturally creates a meditative state, calming the mind and cultivating sharper awareness. Walking meditation can be a fantastic stepping stone to bringing mindful attention to every part of the day – from walking to work to cooking or doing the dishes.


Visualization Meditation

This meditation method involves going within, with our eyes closed, and seeing some object such as our chakras or our heart and holding that image as an object of meditation.

Find a quiet area and sit in a comfortable position.

Close your eyes and breathe deeply, and begin to visualize yourself in a calm environment – perhaps an empty beach, a meadow, or a hill top. Engage all of your senses by imagining how your peaceful place looks, feels, sounds, smells, and even tastes. The more vividly you capture your imagined location, the greater the healing effects of the technique, according to practitioners. If you find that your thoughts are drifting from that image, reimagine it and focus on it again.

To enhance the experience, you can listen to ambient sounds related to your imagined environment (such as a recording of ocean waves if you're visualizing a beach). You can also try out these recordings and scripts to guide you through the exercise. Visualization meditation has been found to lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, by quieting the body and the mind. Specific visualizations can also be used to help achieve specific goals, by picturing success and confidence before the event.


With regular practice of these meditation techniques, the energy of the body and mind can be liberated and the quality of consciousness can be expanded. This is not a subjective claim but is now being investigated by the scientists and being shown by an empirical fact.

The benefits of meditation are greatest when practiced daily. Ideally, meditation can be done first thing in the morning upon rising and then again at the end of the day, preferably prior to dinner. Meditation can help you do much more than just reduce stress. It can activate that inner spiritual part of you that is already calm, content and wise. Through simple Meditations, you will discover easy steps to connect with the replenishing peace and beauty of nature. These meditations will help you to improve your relationships, tap into psychic abilities and use quantum energy to release blocks to your health and happiness.


-      N.Ganeshan

(This article is published in our bank’s house magazine Vijaya Vikas recently)

Monday, May 28, 2018

MISCHIEVOUS INNOCENCE



On the very first day itself Nitin made a distinct impression in his class teacher’s mind. The class teacher asked, “What’s your Name?”

Nitin said “Nitin”

Trying to teach the boy importance of respect, the teacher said, “You should say Sir”

Nodding his head Nitin said, “Ok. Sir Nitin”

The teacher looked for any sign of mischief in the boy’s face and found none. But he was not sure. His doubt was confirmed next day when he asked “Nitin, how do you spell 'elephant?'

Nitin spelled it “A-L-I-F-A-N-T”

The teacher said, “No, that's wrong”

Nitin said, “Maybe it is wrong, but you only asked me how I spell it”

The teacher thought, “I have to be careful with this boy.” But he realized soon that normal carefulness was not enough with the boy when he had asked the boy to frame a sentence starting with 'I.'

Nitin began, “I is...”

The teacher interrupted, “No, Nitin... Always say, 'I am’ “

Nitin obeyed and said, “All right... 'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.”

The entire class laughed. The teacher needed a few minutes to regain his composure. In his ten years service as a teacher he had not come across such a mischievous boy. The boy’s answers to any question were never normal.

It seemed too much to the teacher. In next class, purposely he asked a tough mathematical question, “If you add 34,875 with 76,989 and divide the answer by 81, what do you get?”

Nitin quickly said, “The wrong answer”

The teacher decided not to ask any study related question to keep his peace of mind. But still Nitin annoyed him in other matters. He was actively naughty in the class and lazy to do homework.

One day he asked his teacher respectfully, “Teacher, would you punish me for something I didn't do?”

 The teacher said, “Of course not”.

Nitin was very much relieved and said, “Good, because I didn't do my homework”

Next day Nitin’s excuse was different. “I didn't do my homework because I lost my memory”

Suspiciously the teacher asked, “When did this start?”

“When did what start?” Nitin asked. Unable to control his rising of blood pressure the teacher requested the school management change of class and got it. 

Nitin’s class got a new lady class teacher, Revathi. She had learnt so much about Nitin and came with prepared mind. As her twin kids are of Nitin’s age and they are also very naughty, she didn’t mind. 

On first day there was a constant stream of “Miss”, “Miss” calls from her students.  Fed up with the calls, she said firmly, “Do you think we could go for just five minutes without anyone saying ‘Miss”. 

Immediately the classroom was quiet. Then, from her back, Nitin’s soft voice said, “Um ... Revathi”

She couldn’t suppress her laughter. Unlike earlier class teacher she had good sense of humour and loved kids. She also found it difficult to make the boy to do homework. One day seeing his finished home work she said, “This home work looks like your mother’s writing”.

Nitin said in convincing tone, “Of course. I used her pen”

Next day Nitin told Revathi truthfully, “Miss I’m tired of doing homework”

Revathi patiently said, “Nitin, hard work never killed anyone”

Nitin worriedly said, “I know, but I don’t want to be the first”

Suppressing her smile she told Nitin to bring his parents to school next day. Nitin said in serious tone. “They won’t come, miss”

Revathi asked, “Why?”

He said gravely, “They don't like school any more than I do.”

Next day Nitin was absent. Revathi got a phone call, “My son has a high fever and won't be able to come to school today.”

Noticing Nitin’s voice Revathi smiled and said, “Nitin, tell your father to speak with me”

Immediately the reply came. “My father only speaking”

Disconnecting the phone Revathi laughed till tears filled her eyes.

Next day she asked Nitin, “You missed school yesterday. Didn’t you?”

Nitin said, “Not very much”

The boy was a good mixture of mischief and innocence. Though playful, he was also smart and intelligent. He could think really different. 

One day all children were advised to draw something unique and different. The subject of the drawing was left to the choice of the children. Revathi was observing the children while they drew. Seeing Nitin  thinking deeply and drawing seriously, Revathi asked Nitin what the drawing was? Nitin said, "I'm drawing God."

Revathi exclaimed, "But no one knows what God looks like."

Without missing a beat, Nitin replied, "They will know today."

One day a special guest speaker came to his class to give moral lessons. His lecture was boring even to the ears of Revathi. After explaining heaven and hell, he went on explaining the ways to go to heaven by merit. Finally he wanted to test the kids how much they understood his preaching. He asked, "If I sold my house, my car and all belongings and gave all my money to charity, can I go to heaven?"

Everyone was silent except Nitin. He said, "No!"

The speaker was surprised and asked, “If I pray God whole day and involve myself in public service activities can I go to heaven”

Again, Nitin’s answer was, "No!"

"Well," he asked, "then how can I go to heaven?"

Nitin confidently answered, "You've gotta be dead!"

Entire class burst into laughter and the speaker also joined them.

As Nitin’s father got transfer to Delhi, Nitin left the school soon. Revathi missed his humour and mischief very much. She loved those random memories of that kid that always made her smile.

N.Ganeshan
(This article won a prize and published in our bank’s house magazine Vijaya Vikas)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

An end and a beginning!

(Short Story)


The insistent sound of loud bells crashed abruptly through the silence. Gopinath jerked upright in his bed, groggy with sleep. The ringing continued and he slowly became aware that it was the telephone. The bedside clock read 2.45 a.m. He snatched up the phone. “Hello?”

A distant male voice asked, “Dr.Gopinath?”

“Yes. Who is calling?”

“I’m sub inspector Sadasivam, sir. I’m afraid I have bad news for you”.
Gopinath’s heart began to pound. He looked at his sleeping wife. She was in deep sleep.

The sub inspector continued. “It’s about your son Deepak….”

Gopinath’s hand clenched the phone. “Has…. has my son been in some kind of accident?”

“He’s dead sir. He has committed suicide. He has jumped in front of running train a few hours ago.”

“No!” It was a scream. The call must be a prank call. Some idiot was trying to frighten him. There was nothing wrong with his son.

The sub inspector’s voice was softened. “Sorry sir. I hate to break it to you in this way”
                                        
So it was real. It was a nightmare, but it was happening. He could not speak. His mind and his tongue were frozen. Slowly he woke up his wife Anandhi.

Hearing the news, a cold chill went through her. “That’s impossible…… Why would he kill himself? He had everything to live for!” Her voice was ragged. She began to cry…

For three days, Gopinath and Anandhi had no time to think, no time to feel, just time to exist. They functioned as wooden puppets whose jerky movements were the result of strings pulled by an invisible hand.  Their relatives and friends quietly kept order in the house in those days.  Fourth day they left.

Gopinath and Anandhi were alone in their big house to brood over the painful reality. Gopinath was a busy doctor and Anandhi was an executive in a MNC.   They worked hard and earned a lot of money. They gave everything that money could buy to their only son.  Deepak had costly bike, costly car, costly dresses, costly education and a lot of pocket money.  So the parents thought that their son was living like a prince.  But the suicide proved that they were wrong.

Their son left no suicide note or farewell letter.  But slowly truth began to surface. His close friends told them that Deepak was in drugs. They said that he was a drug addict for the past two years. The news was a great shock to them. Both of them were too busy to notice their son’s drug addiction.  They were in the habit of leaving their home early in the morning for work and arriving very late at night. On holidays they were relaxing in front of television or social networking on smartphones.

With their son’s suicide, something had died in them forever and they were left with guilt and loneliness. They checked Deepak’s room and found some drugs that he used to consume and his diaries.  Deepak had written about his loneliness. He had written that his parents were seldom home, and he was raised mostly by the maid, who was also his primary companion.  He had described about spending much of his childhood in their big house, playing with toy soldiers, alone. They couldn’t read further. But they wanted to understand why their son had committed suicide.

Gopinath gave the diaries to his psychiatrist friend. The psychiatrist friend said that he would do a "psychological autopsy" (an evaluation of someone based on information from writings or other sources). A few weeks later, he called them to his house.

He told them that Deepak was manic-depressive. He said that Deepak knew his drug habit was not right, so he had been tormented by confusion and shame. He explained that the chemicals in Deepak’s mind were imbalanced and that they had altered his perception of reality. That chemical imbalance had also produced his thoughts of suicide.

He said, “The first place we feel love or acceptance or hatred and a lack of acceptance is in the family. We learn who we are, if we are valuable or not, all through how we are raised. When the home environment isn’t healthy, a child can’t be mentally healthy. With the majority of homes having two parents working in full time careers, parents may be so involved in their own lives they erroneously give too much trust to their teenage children to raise themselves and be responsible. They may neglect their children unintentionally.”

The word ‘neglect’ pricked the parents’ conscience. They looked at the psychiatrist friend painfully.

He explained in kind voice. “When people hear the word "neglect", they usually think of parents not providing their children with the food, clothes, or a safe environment to line in. However, there are other ways in which parents can neglect their children. Emotional neglect is as dangerous to a child's well-being as physical neglect is to a child's health and safety. Inadequate attention to a child's emotional needs, need for affection, and lack of emotional support constitute emotional neglect. It is important to find a balance between work and family life to avoid neglecting your child…..”

They were heartbroken. Memories of their son came flooding back into their minds.  If they had known Deepak's last day alive would have been that fateful day, they would have focused on him exclusively. Anandhi would have quit her job to spend more time with her son. Gopinath would have unplugged the telephone and television, so he could listen to his son more carefully. They would not have let their son out of their sight for even a nanosecond, so they could have savoured his presence. Nothing else would have mattered. But they did not know.

They regretted now for their choice of life and the way they lived. As he said they could have found a balance between their work and their family. They would remember the psychiatrist friend’s final words forever in their life. “We should treat those we care about with extra attention and sensitivity every moment of every day, or we may plod on about our lives, oblivious to the reality that each moment could be our last or theirs. It only takes a little more effort to listen carefully, to give an extra hug, to say kind words. A moment given now may prevent a lifetime of regret. The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”

For some days they missed their son’s affectionate nature, his great sense of humor, and even the small things like hearing his feet bouncing up and down the stairs, the smell of his cologne—just everything about him.  One day they saw a quote in a magazine -

“There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in."
                  -Leonard Cohen

The quote made them think deeply. Eventually they learned that they didn’t have to be defined by their past or by their pain. They hoped that their life could count for something positive yet. They could do something in the memory of their son.

They started a support group for rehabilitation of drug addicted youths. They were committed to educating young people about the incredible danger of addiction to drugs.  With the help of their psychiatrist friend they arranged counseling sessions both for the addicts and the parents. They put all their money and wholehearted attempts in that service. They were hoping that their son would forgive them from the other world!

N.Ganeshan

(My Prize winning short story published in our house magazine “Vijaya Vikas”) 


Monday, October 2, 2017

Understand and Manage anger!

How to control and manage anger at all times? Here are ways to understand the roots of anger and controlling it -
N.Ganeshan

Monday, September 4, 2017

Truths you should never forget!


Without understanding these truths you can never get peace and achieve real success in your life......

N.Ganeshan