Categories
Personal

Coping

I don’t remember feeling this overwhelmed by the news of happenings in the world.

Nature: Wildfires, Hurricanes, Droughts, Climate Change.

Human Suffering: People displaced due to above, Refugees, People most impacted by COVID-19, Black Lives, Police Brutality.

Bankrupt Leadership: Current US President; his party supporters ; COVID deniers.

Amplification of Misinformation: Social Networks and people that traffic in conspiracy theories.

Amidst all this, there are people doing special things and having special moments in their lives. We get to hear about them too, thankfully.

The negative stuff is overwhelming.

Hope you have figured out your coping mechanism and navigating this time to the best of your abilities.

Good Luck!

Categories
Personal

Sense of Balance

If you have never experienced vertigo, consider yourself blessed.

It’s estimated that 20% of vertigo is due to displacement of calcium crystals in our inner ear. These crystals (“otoconia”) are super important as they act as balance and orientation keepers of our body working in conjunction with a gelatin environment and fine hairs that send signals to the brain telling it the orientation of your head. If the Otoconia get displaced and escape into the ear canal, they need to be “moved” back to their original position. A physician named Epley invented a procedure to put the otoconia back into position. This whole condition is called BPPV Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.

It’s pretty cool that Nature has crafted such intricate engineering to help you maintain balance.

When you lose physical balance we know it immediately and react to it. It’s an involuntary response.

It takes us a while for us to respond to aspects that go out of balance or to change behaviors that promote balance. A life long pursuit, in my opinion.

In the Bhagavad Gita in Chapter 14, Lord Krishna says that Nature has three GunAs (qualities). It’s also described as three modes of Physical Nature.

Satthva – the quality that attaches to Happiness, Knowledge

Rajas – the quality that causes us to act, the quality to change, to cause turbulence, seek power.

Tamas – quality of disinterestedness, ignorance, inertia.

Initially, I thought to try to tie the balance theme to the three GunAs, but didn’t really succeed in convincing myself about the balance between them. The Gita doesn’t advocate for a balance between the three, but states the effects of each and highly encourages the promotion of the pure Satthva GuNa.

To explore this further, here is an interesting article I came upon.

Stay grounded as there is a lot happening now that’s throwing us off balance.

Categories
Personal

Positive Thinking

I liked this recent one from Seth Godin very much. So I’m reproducing it as my post for the day

If your team is up by thirty points at halftime, it’s not optimistic to expect that you’re going to win–it’s a realistic assessment.

Optimism is an attitude and a choice. It involves context and focus. We’re not deluding ourselves with the reassurance that everything is going to be okay (because that’s not productive). Instead, we’re committed to finding things we can contribute to, work on and improve. We’re devoted to seeking out useful lessons and to discovering where the benefit of the doubt might be helpful. Positive thinking doesn’t solve every problem. But it’s a much better tool than negative thinking.

Seth Godin
Categories
Life People Personal

The Bully Pulpit

A Short Story / Illustrations by Jayashree Krishnan

Ashokar was a tall, lanky student in Venu’s school. He was too tall for his shorts, but that didn’t stop him from occasionally sporting the jock look. Ashokar was a few classes senior to Venu, and the two seemed to enjoy a cordial relationship. Beneath it however, Venu often felt tense and afraid. He couldn’t put a finger on why that was. Perhaps it was how Ashokar looked at him, greeted him, or played cricket with others in the school courtyard. Venu would frequently notice Ashokar intently staring at him, while in conversation with his protégé, Sundar, who happened to be Venu’s classmate. It was widely known that Sundar and Venu did not get along. Venu couldn’t put a finger on that as well.  

Sad Venu

“What’s the matter, Venu?”, enquired his aunt Jhansi as she saw him skulking in his study room. “Nothing. I’m just tired”, he said, attempting to deflect her attention. But he couldn’t control his sniffles. “Aiyayo, Vasantha, come here”, Jhansi exclaimed. “Venu is crying and doesn’t seem well. Something is wrong”, she emoted. 

Venu’s mother, Vasantha, and his aunt tried to get to the bottom of the matter, but they gave up after a while and started to walk away. “Ashokar pushed me and hit me”, Venu mumbled. 

“What did you say?”, exclaimed Venu’s mother. Venu could no longer control his tears. Between breaths, he recounted what Ashokar had done to him as he left school. 

“Where do you think you are going?”teased Ashokar as he cut into Venu’s path. Venu was heading home from school later than normal one day, as he took some special classes. “I’m going home Ashokar. I had some special classes today.”, replied Venu. “Oh, special classes, eh? Just for you?”, said Ashokar with sarcasm dripping from every syllable. “No, there were a few other students”, Venu replied in a muted voice, as the tall, gangly Ashokar leaned into Venu’s face. Venu quickly looked around and saw that there were very few people around. He made a mental note that this was a premeditated move from Ashokar. Venu swallowed in fear. “Leave me alone”, pleaded Venu as he looked at the gate watchman, hoping he would notice. The watchman averted Venu’s gaze and conveniently pretended to be busy with something else. Venu had observed the watchman and Ashokar in frequent friendly conversations.

“I have been meaning to teach you a lesson for a while now. I don’t like how you treat Sundar”, Ashokar threatened, as his hands moved closer to Venu’s chest. “That rat“, Venu thought to himself, as he pictured the cowardly and envious Sundar call in the school thug to teach him a lesson.  

Venu crashed into a brick planter as Ashokar shoved his chest. Thankfully, his backpack cushioned the fall. Ashokar menacingly approached Venu as he struggled to get up. In an instant, Venu decided to run as fast as he could out of the school. Having achieved his objective, Ashokar did not chase after Venu. 

“Oh my god”, exclaimed Venu’s aunt Jhansi, as Venu finished recounting his experience. She vowed to visit his school and talk to the principal. Venu’s mother agreed with her and they planned to make a trip to his school. Venu didn’t want to stop them, as he couldn’t fathom a way to deal with Ashokar by himself.

Ashokar was a man of few words. Venu thought Ashokar compensated for it by surrounding himself with cronies. Ashokar contested the school election, but lost as his campaign was quite silent. Venu thought that Ashokar didn’t take the loss too well and led to the incident a few days ago. 

The daily School Assembly was in progress. Miss Kannamal paced up and down as she led the students in the final song of the day. She was a master teacher of the Bhagavad Gita slokas and her signature sing-song style made her popular with the students. Before Miss Kannamal dismissed the students, the Headmistress came on stage and made an announcement.

“It gives me no pleasure to do this”, she said sternly, as she gazed around the assembly. “Kamakoti is no place for bullies, it’s not a place where you play rough with each other instead of using words to solve your problems”, she declared. Venu trembled with excitement. Was she going to name names?, he thought to himself.  

The Principal called Ashokar to the stage and told him to apologize to Venu. The assembly was abuzz. Ashokar shamefully mumbled a few words, and ran as fast as possible back to his line. Venu was pleased at how his mother and aunt had advocated for him. In the back of his mind, he wished he had done so himself. For now, it was time to celebrate.

Venu in Celebration

Little did he realize that the story was just about to begin.

Categories
Life Personal Thinking

Catch while small

When our washing machine left some dirt in my white clothes, I thought it was that “specific” load problem.

This happened repeatedly and I kept ignoring it, but every time I washed white dhotis I would get annoyed because there was some small gunk that would stick.

Today, 3 months from first notice, I am in the process of removing the pulsator cap to see if there’s any gunk underneath the wash plate assembly. Meanwhile a bleach cycle is in process to break the gunk down. I’m waiting on a tool box that magically disappeared from home a few days ago when a close one visited. I’m considering instituting a customs area.

Most of us tend to ignore small problems as they occur either because we don’t have the time to pay close attention or don’t feel impacted enough to try to fix it immediately. This may apply to machines, relationships, own behaviors, health, politics and what not.

It’s not that we need to have an always on alert antenna out for life’s problems. But if we find ourselves attacking big problems that could have been better dealt with when it was much smaller, time to make a serious note of it and re calibrate.

Have a good weekend. And maybe use it to work on some of the small problems that you paid attention to.