Saturday, December 29, 2007

A pat on the back

You do things because you like them that way.
How many people understand the matter?
In this world appreciation is one thing that is hard to come by.
I have been sincere in whatever I did.
I was also pushing myself into things that never were my business.
This has landed me in trouble some times.
Fewer were the times when some one eappreciated my role.
But, they work like a big booster to your morale.

All said and done, I have never looked forward to appreciation from any quarter.
I always am generous with my compliments to all, when they do even simple things.

There is this joke I always keep telling people when this matter comes to discussion.

There was this gentleman trying to teach his child the multiplication tables.
The boy was a little slow in picking them up.
He was asked to get the tables by heart.
It was painfuly slow progress.
One evening there was this session when the father was testing the boy.
He asked "How much is nine nines?"
The boy said " Seventy nine!"
Father started appreciating the boy saying " Very good, Good progress!" and all such things.
A gentleman who was witness to the evnt went mad.
He asked the father " Look! Your son is wrong. And, you are appreciating him instead of telling him the truth! What madness is this?"
The father coolly said " Look! Yesterday he said it was seventy seven. Today he is that much nearer to the right answer. Tomorrow he may tell the right answer. If I shout at him today, he may get disheartened and never learn anything!"

So, the moral of the story is, appreciate people even when they are wrong.
Give them a chance to improve!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Can you do that?

I really do not remember what I said, but, Joseph said, I have great sense of humor.
I do not think that I am all that humorous.

I had a friend named Surya Rao when in the university.
I clearly remember him walking along a tall friend ( Perahps Jagannath) near the mess.
I was walking towards them.
Surya Rao called me and said " Gopalam! When I am standing next to this man, does it not look like a Zero next to One?"
Do I have to tell that Surya rao was a Plump and fat man?

That is Surya Rao and his sense of humor was perhaps unparalelled.

We were all as usual sitting on the stairs in front of the hostel.
Surya Rao walked towards us. There was nothing peculiar about it.
But, unusually this man has tucked his shirt in, that day.
He never did that ever because he was a fat man.
No one said anything, lest they embarass him.
He walked past and looked back saying nonchallantly "Fault is not mine! It is the new belt!"
He said it in Telugu.
There was a movie those days with a similar sounding title.
We could not contain ourselves and laughed heartily along Surya Rao.

I wish wherever he is, my friend is equally happy as he was!

Monday, November 19, 2007

We will email you!

Sastry is very good at these 0ne liners and repartees!

I was talking about my deafness!
I said my left ear is working only 10% and the right ear is also going deaf. It now is working 90% and very soon there will be a day when you people have to shout to make me listen something. I meant I will be totally deaf very soon!

Sastry very simply said," Don't worry! we will email you!"
It is a fact that we all have computers before us all day!

Sastry also told one more thing the other day!

We were talking the other day about the word, co-brother.
Then some people also call this relative a " Co-son-in-law"
He is the husband of your wife's sister.
Interestingly both the words are wrong!
The right word in English for this man is 'Brother-in-law! '
We think only the brother of your wife is a Brother-in-law!

Sastry then explained that anyone who becomes a relative because of the marriage is an 'in-law!'
He continued that after the marriage, all those earlier relatives who are related to you not beacuse of the marriage but otherwise will be 'out-laws!'
That is how, father and mother become out-laws accordingly!

How is that one?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

All Yours!

Sampath borrowed my pen.
He said it will give him luck! In what ? I never asked.
He returned the pen saying thanks.
I also said "Thanks".
And then narrated these two stories.

Swami and the richman.

There was this Swamiji or is it a Zen master?
And there was this rich man.
Rich man wanted to give some money to Swamiji. He took a bagfull of money and placed it at the feet of the Swami.
Swamiji kept quiet.
Richman waited for a while.
He waited further till he lost his patience.
Then he asked the Swmiji "What is this?"
Swamiji asked "What is what?"
"You do not even thank me!"
"For what?"
"For all this money! You don't even acknowledge the gift!"
Swamiji told "Yu ahve decided to give the money. I really do not need it. You have also decided that I will accept it! Now you ahve to thank me because I am accepting it! No question of my thanking you!"
Richman now knew what it is!
I told Sampath that my thanks is for returning the pen promptly.
He asked " Can I dare take it?"
" If you asy the pen is good. I may have to gift it to you" I said and narrated the second story.

Nizam of Hyderabad and King Kothi

Nizam of Hyderabad, perhaps the last one had a habit.
If he says something is good, he expects that thing to be gifted to him.
I really heard this from some elders that it could even be a woman.
There was another rich man by name Karimuddin Khan.
He constructed a palatial building.
Foolishly he invited the Nizam for the inauguration of the place.
Building was really good.
Nizam said this openly.
Karimuddin Khan acted as if he never heard it.
At the dinner Nizam once again said the place is very good.
KK acted as if he heard nothing.
There was a third time too.
KK could not escape this time and had to say " Aap ke nazar mein pesh!"
It meant "At your service!"
The structure now belonged to the Nizam.
But, there was a hitch.
The rich man got made windows and arches in color glass.
The letters KK were engraved in all those frames.
It stood for Karimuddin Khan.
Now the building no longer belonged to the Khan.
Some wise man suggested the building be named "King Kothi!"
That is the King Kothi building which now lodges a Hospital.

I really do not know, if this is true.
People more knowledgable should tell!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Egos at Work
Managing a Co-worker's Superiority Complex

Egos – we all have them! They're part of what makes us want authority and status, and what gives us confidence. Egos drive our need to be recognized for our accomplishments. This is perfectly normal.

But what happens when someone's ego goes too far? You know the type: the colleague who will do just about anything to claim credit or gain power; the person who takes over every discussion and tries to grab the spotlight; or the team member who continually criticizes other people's ideas. These people are undermining the team's mission with their behavior.

Ego is at the root of many workplace issues. From poor communication to failed negotiation, to faulty decision making, ego can lay a dangerous path of destruction. The obnoxious and overbearing behavior that comes with it can damage creativity, undermine effective problem solving, cause stress, and adversely impact morale.

Many of us know how hard it is to work with – or for! – egotistic people. Unfortunately, there's a good chance you'll encounter this trait in a colleague, boss, or customer at some point in your career. After all, the competitive nature of the workplace can naturally cause people to look out for themselves. To protect yourself, you need to manage and contain these larger-than-life personalities.

But first, how do you know you're dealing with an oversized ego and not just a healthy dose of confidence and assertiveness? Watch for some of these common egotistical behaviors:

  • Wanting or demanding credit for every idea.
  • Using "I" and "me" (instead of "we" and "us") almost exclusively.
  • Dominating conversations and meetings.
  • Reminding others of their superiority or excellence (real or perceived).
  • Stopping others from expressing their ideas.
  • Rewarding those who support them (and perhaps punishing those who don't).
  • Bullying, or trying to exert power they don't really have.


Do you recognize yourself in any of these behaviors? Do you feel you need to prove your worth all the time? A healthy ego is part of healthy self-esteem. But egotism can emerge when you feel your accomplishments don't measure up. If you have a habit of seeking outside approval and recognition, or if you try to control everything, this can be a sign that you don't believe you can control very much. For tips on building self-esteem and confidence, see our article on Building Self-Confidence.


Be careful not to "kill the goose that lays the golden egg." You wouldn't be surprised if your star salesperson was just a bit egotistical. And your CEO may have a strong sense of the wisdom or his or her own views!

Do what you sensibly can to minimize the impact of egotism, but make sure that your actions are aligned with the interests of your organization.

OK, now you know how to recognize the signs of a big ego – but the people with out-of-control egos probably don't, so you're not likely to get them to change their behavior. Instead, focus on changing your reactions and communication style, and changing the work environment. Remember, the only one who can change the situation is you!

Changing Your Reactions and Communication Style

Try these strategies for communicating with people who have big egos.

Don't Let Them Bait You

It's tempting to fight back with an even bigger ego of your own. But you probably won't win that battle, and you can look bad in the process. If people insist on always being right, let them express themselves. In fact, let them exhaust themselves and run out of steam. Then, when they're finished puffing their feathers, state your points calmly and confidently.

This can be especially effective if the egotist is your boss or in a position of authority. You want to ease the situation, not make things worse. By remaining calm and listening to what the person has to say, you can avoid further conflict. Then you can come back to discuss the issue, later in the meeting or at another time.

Use Their Names

This is a subtle tactic that can really work. When you address people by their names, you take control and command their attention. When you speak to an egotist, use the person's first name as often as you sensibly can.

Assert Your Needs

Egotistic people can be bullies, but don't allow them to walk all over you. Establish your boundaries, and define what is and is not acceptable. Then make sure you follow up. Don't give an egocentric person any room to manipulate or dominate you.

If the egotist is your boss, this is critical. Clearly communicate what you need (support, resources, direction, feedback) to get the job done. When you make requests, talk about wanting to do your best and creating a great working relationship.


If bullying is an issue, see our article on handling bullying in the workplace.

Speak Your Mind

People with big egos may not expect to be challenged. They can be so full of their self-importance that they don't think anyone could possibly oppose them. If you clearly state why you object to something, or if you make a solid counter-argument, you'll weaken the egotist's armor. However, don't go in for the kill or embarrass the person. Just reveal the weakness in the argument, and clear the way for your ideas to be heard.


Depending on your relationship with the egotist, you may be able to offer constructive feedback to help the person understand the impact of his or her behavior. Be sensitive and compassionate, and remember that a big ego can be a sign of deeper personal insecurity.

Focus on the Team's Mission

Where the egotist's behavior is negatively affecting the team's mission, bring everyone's focus back onto the mission, and – subtly or otherwise – challenge the behavior in this context.

Changing the Work Environment

If you don't get results by changing your reactions and communication style, try to change the workplace itself. If you're a manager or supervisor, you may have this authority. Otherwise, you'll need your manager's support to make the necessary changes to promote workplace harmony.

Reduce the Emphasis on Workplace Competition

Ego tends to surface when someone's reward and recognition are tied to being better than the rest of the team. If you reward teamwork instead individual performance, you may reduce the incentive for egotistic behavior.

Force Cooperation

Put the egotist in situations where he or she must rely on a colleague's input and direction to perform successfully. The nature of working together tends to foster respect and understanding. It may force the egotistic person to realize the value of other people's contributions. Remember to provide adequate support to the people who are working with the egotist, since doing so may not be easy.

Minimize Team Involvement

This is a last resort, but if the egotistic behavior continues to cause problems, you may need to keep the person away from the team as much as possible. Delegate specific tasks that can be accomplished separately, and then include the egotist in team discussions only when necessary.

Key Points

Egotism in the workplace is common, and it can be very challenging for everyone involved. Whether the egotist is your team member or your boss, the person's arrogance and know-it-all attitude can harm morale and team spirit.

To protect yourself and the team, you need to first recognize the egotistic behavior for what it is. You then have two choices: to change the way you relate to the person, or to change the work environment. With either approach, use gentle reminders of what is and is not appropriate behavior; this can effectively plant the seeds of change. Eventually, the egotist should get the message….

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Not you!

There was this Puranam programme in the temple premises.
Puranam, if you do not know , is a programme of narrating stories from epics.
There were not many people to listen.
Those present also went away after few minutes of the programme.
There were only these two people left.
The Pundit who was narrating the story, passionately commented that these two are real devotees.
One of them told, it is not the story that is of hos interested.
The mat on which the Pundit is sitting belonged to him.
He is ther only because the mat is there, under him.

( This story in this form is known to many people.
Sastry garu, my good friend added a bit to it.)

Pundit asked the other man why he was still there.
The second man said " I am not interested in you or your story! I am only looking for the man who commissioned you for this programme. I will settle my score with him!"

(Stories can be extended like this if we are imaginative)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Do it now!

Yes, Do it now!

It is now or never.
Yesterday was a sunday.
We were all in a good mood perhaps.
Mother has returned from hospital.
Lot of cleaning happened.
During the course of some discussion I narrated couple of jokes to my wife.
We are usually a silent family.

These days we dont even laugh much.
For the jokes I told, all laughed.
They were some philosphical kind of jokes.
The kind that make you think.
Immediately I thought I should write them in the blog.
Computer was not on. I was doing somthing else.
So, I thought I will do it later.
Evening we went out.
Not exactly an outing, but for grocery shopping.
The trip became a big fiasco.
Even before we started, asked my wife whether the car will fail again.
She said she is using another car.
It would not fail.
We went some distance and came back to the usual shop.
Just before parking the car stopped. It wouldn't start again. My wife had call my brother who came with some petrol.
The car started. We did our shpping. We even bought and ate some chocolate.
Came home and did some usual kind of things and slept off.
This morning when I want to recollect the jokes that I wanted to include in the blog, I am just not able to remember.
This is only an example.
You may like some thing. You have to tell the matter then and there.
If you wait for an opportune moment, that may never come.
Even when you are unhappy about some thing, I used to tell then and there.
Many took it amiss.
I told, that if I wait till another time, the feeling may change.
I may rethink and water down the whole idea.
If you think of doing something, better do it then and there.
Wait, and the idea may disppear.
Even if it is ther, it may change, at least the intensity of it.
My wife decided that she will buy a new car.
She is buying one today.
How do you like it?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What do you see?

What do you see?

A friend of mine narrated this recently.
There was a school where the test was conducted on the boys about their psychology.
They were shown two photographs.
In the first photo there was a man reading a book.
In the second one, a man was chopping wood.
Boys were asked to tell what they were doing.
The first boy who came said, the man who was reading was at work.
The other man cutting wood according to the boy was passing time.
Then a second boy came.
He said exactly what the first boy told.
According to this boy, the boy chopping wood was working for livelihood.
The man reading was at leisure.

Who of them is right?
Both of them were right in their own place.
First boys father was a teacher. Reading for him was a part of the work. When he finishes his reading, he may go for cutting some wood or doing some physical work that gives him some pleasure.

The second boy was the sun of a worker who does physical work for livelihood.
Reading for him is perhaps a far fetched activity.

There lies the difference.
You see what you are used to see.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Who is Happy?

This story was in circulation in our circles for a long time.
They say, it is also used in a film recently.
Stories are not the sole property of any one.
The story goes like this.

There was this man trying to catch fish.
He was patiently waiting with his rod in the waters of the village tank.
There was this other man who came there, spread his upper cloth under the tree and started sleeping.
The man who was fishing got disturbed and started chiding the one who was trying to sleep.
He asked him, " Why sleep? You can also catch some fish!"
The other one asked "Why?"
" Because you can sell the fish and make some money"
"Then what?"
"Buy a lot of things!"
"Then what?"
" Cook and eat well!"
"Then what?"
" Sleep well!"
The man said " I am doing that same thing now! Why take so much trouble to sleep well?"

I really do not know what the answer he got was!
But there is a question here.
Who can sleep well?
The one who struggled for his meal and had it, or the one who is perhaps hungry?
A good friend of mine used to tell that even happiness is of two kinds.
One is devoid of any fear. The other is laced with fear.
You perhaps bought some food with borrowed money and are happy after eating.
Heart of hearts, you are really worried that you have to pay back the money.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Phani's Rambles: Life, blocked.

Phani's Rambles: Life, blocked.: "I spend most of the day at work. I'm too tired to do anything when I go home. Whatever is to be done is done in a hurry, or pushed to the weekend. So basically I'm living life in the weekend. Or am I? Whatever."

This is an excerpt from my son's blog.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sunday Ahoy!

There is a so called Israeli quotation.
It goes something like this!
"Who says nothing is impossible? We have been doing it for ages!"
Looking at the history of that country, I dont believe that an Israeli said this.
Doing nothing is impossible.
If you are doing nothing, you are doing "nothing!"
I think any person with a head on the shoulders can understand this.
For a long time, because of various reasons, I was doing nothing.
I was perhaps sitting and brooding.
Something happened and I started thinking of doing something better than what I was doing.
If you really want to do something, I think people will get to know it!
Otherwise how do I expalin this invitation from nowhere to join a team which is really planning to do something really great.
The team is still being built.
The plans are being tested.
I am sure, very soon, I will be really busy.
I am waiting for that day.
Till then, what to do?
You have all kinds of things to do, as long as you are willing to forget your past.
And, then, comes this Sunday.
They never give you your food at the usual time on the day.
So, you keep doing odd things waiting to fed.
Yes, you had your food.
My goodness! All these people are so tired that they go for a siesta.
One needs rest, no doubt about it.
How about some one like me who is looking for some meaningful work?
Life has been a big vacation till recently.
If you sleep during the day, you are awake all the night. So no sleeping.
So much reading and internet, you are already sick with it!
It is so boring doing nothing.
I really do not know how people can remain doing nothing!
Meditation they say, is about going blank.
Thinking nothing!
I tried it and it never worked.I can not sit like that doing nothing. So, you are suffering reading these lines!
People are sleeping. I am typing out my random thoughts.
I will now on try to put some order in waht I type here. Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 5, 2007

What are you doing?

I know it is a long time since I wrote anything here.
It is always like that. You start something. You also think you will do it without a break.
Right on the second day, you tend to find something more pressing and important.
So, you give this job up.

Every year I start writing a diary.
Interestingly, I never bought a diary.
That means I wait till someone gifts one.
It never happens before the start of the new year.
So, I never start writing diary on the new year day.
People do give diaries. But, we look for a better one.
Thus, every year I start writing diary much later.
Then the question is what to write in it?
I really do not like to write the events of the day.
Many days there would not be anything worth remembering.
So, I write about the interesting happenings of the day.
That is about the people, events and ideas.
The last one is more interesting.
ideas do occur. Not all of them are interesting.
Some of them are! But never did I write a diary till the end of the year.
One has to record these ideas and that is what I did for a long time.
Some of my diaries do read well.There are friends who read them and told me that they are good reading material.
Only then I thought that I should write blogs also.
I started one elsewhere.
There were no takers.
As such net is awash with such writings.
Many people write all kinds of things here.
What we write should be at least of interest to some people around.
When I ask myself whether people like what I write, the answer is evading me.
The counter says there are people who are visiting the blog.
For the last few days, I am engaged in some new kind of work.
Hence I could not do anything on the net.
Let me see, if I can reveive my activity.
Let not lethargy take over me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I found it!

This young man came home.
He does not come very often. When he comes, he starts a good discussion.
The same happened today also.
We talked about a lot of things. One thing lead to another and we ended up talking about culture. He straight asked me what is there to feel great about Telugu culture?
I really got excited. I said Kuchipudi dance is out and out Telugu!
No answer. Then he asked me what in music?
I got wild this time. I said entire classical music in south India is ours!
There started a very good discussion. And thsi si what I said.

There is a very famous composer in Carnatic music by name Mysore Vasudevacharya. By birth he was a Tamilian, The Maharaja of Mysore took him into his court and made him the court musician. The best part is Vasudevacharya composed most of his songs in Telugu! It appears the Maharaja called the musician and asked a straight question. " You are a Tamilian. Me, who is sponsoring you, am a Kannadiga. How is it, you compose your songs in Telugu?" I really do not know the answer from the great Sri Vasudevacharya, but he continued to compose his songs in Telugu later also.
Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar, who is also known as Poochi Iyengar also composed songs in Telugu. Many other composers followed suit.
I really have this question in my mind for a long time. Why did they do so?
I have my own answer too.
We now, thanks to Nehru and his language states idea, think of immediate boundaries to the language. Back in those time everyone spoke all the languages. They never thought some particular language is not theirs. Tyagaraja and the others laid a path and the later composers followed the same. If Tamil brothers and sisters , even when not really aware about the sahitya bhava, sing the Telugu songs and enjoy, what is wrong with us, to at least to listen to them and feel proud of the language?
Telugus have a wonderful character.
Looking down upon themslves and their culture!!
I am also a Telugu man.
Back in history my people were not.
My blood pressure raises today, if some one speaks easy of this language. I am equally fond of all languages. I learnt Urdu just for the beauy of it.

I think, thanks to this young man, found something to talk about!
His wife was waiting in the hospital to deliver their first baby! After a long talk, he went to my wife and told, "After talking to Mama, the tension in me has disappeared!" The tension of first fathering he said. My wife was to conduct the delivery. I believe the boy or girl born after this discussion will at least be named suitably!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Passing the buck!

I keep telling this story again and again.

Here it goes once again!

Once there was a king.
He had seven sons.
Seven sons went fishing and brought seven fish.
They laid the seven fish for drying.
One among them was not getting dry.
"Fish! O Fish! Why are you not dry?"
"The hay stack came in the way!"
"Oh Hay Stack! Why did you come in the way?"
"The cow has not eaten me!"
"Hey Cow! Why did not you eat the grass?"
"The cowherd never took me there."
"Cowherd! O Cowherd! Why did not you take the cow to the grass?"
"Old lady did not give me food."
"Old Lady! Why did not you give food to the cowherd?"
"The little boy is crying."
"Little boy! Why are you crying?"
"The ant bit me!"
"Ant O Ant! Why did you bite the little boy?"
"What will I do if he puts his finger in the golden anthill?"

That is the end of the story.
Did the story end there?
What happened to the fish and the princes who brought them?
This is what usually happens.
The main point is forgotten in the name of details.

What shall I write?

I really do not know what should I write?

I can write about the past and the life in the village and the like.
History has become irrelevant these days. The other day I read a small artice in The Hindu about the uselessness of history. History is at two levels. We all know that India became independent on 15th August 1947
If we do not know and remember this date I am sure heavens will not fall. If you remember the date however, you will feel more attached and concerned about the matter. This is history at a national level.

Everywhere you go, you claim a certain lineage by quoting your family name. You also tell that you belong to a cetain place. I am sure it is about history at your personal level. An Akbar or Chandragupta ruling this country is not as well connected to you as the family history.
I am really concerned about the lack of this sense in people. I really do not know about my own grand father. I do not have the faintest idea about how his father looked and what he did or said.

I have a question for all of you. How mnay of you know about your village and the people thereof, say 100 years back?
This can perhaps be called as micro history. History at your own level.

Many people, great ones, write what is called an autobiography.
Otherwise ther are biographies written about equally great people who did not bother to record their past. There are novels about people. These are all books of micro history.

I firmly believe that every soul has a history to tell. It is notenough to know about only great people. Commoners have a life too. Even that will be interesting, if only you can look into it from the right point of view.

Now a days you have the possibility of recording the events even in visual form. Back in the days of yore, even writing was not possible. We lost so much of precious information just because no one thought of recording it. People should look into their geneologies and find out about their forefathers. Get what little information is possible. I have a surname. I do not know how I am related to that place. Many people are like this, I found. I am told that there is a village by that name in Karnataka. Is it still there? I would like to know. When and how we reached our present place. There are people who give contasting information. It means they do not know for sure.

This is one thing that can be written about.
There are many more things to write about.
What shall I write?

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Oh God!
I thank you, and the three great hearts who chose to comment on my work.
I was under the impression that blogs are a waste of time and nobody is serious about them.
I am so happy that a netizen not only proved it wrong, but also chided me about my attitude.
Thanks friend, for the comment!
I dont think I have ever boasted that I am great man.
I am still trying to find my footing in this world.
I have written so much. But I shudder to claim that I am a writer.
Did I really bring to the readers at least one idea that I can call really mine?
Back in the university days, poet friends of mine called me "an ever budding poet". I still remain an ever budding everything.

I have a small web site too. The metre there shows that many people are visiting the pages. Hardly anyone takes time to send a word, not necessarily appreciation. Still,I am doing what all I do, to just satisfy myself. Now I will take this work a little more seriously. I will not be indulging in this talk about me and my ideas. I will do something that helps me first and then others too.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Who Knows!

Long back I read a Chinese poem. Ofcourse, I read translation.
It goes something like this.
"I know that people will not listen to what I say.
That does not stop me from saying what I have to say.
I have to say because I can not keep quiet."

Exactly following in the footsteps of this idea, I am also saying what I have to!
I was reading a book by Bono. He quoted someones saying. It says, " You need not be recognised after you are recognised."
Banks, it looks , give loans to people who prove that they don't need money.
The situation is just like that.
As long as you are looking for recognition, no one takes notice of you. Once you are somebody to reckon with, you never worry about that recognition. And, the whole world keeps going around you.
The paradigms these days, have changed, though.
People are not looking for recognition. They are mad after the benefits in the form of bank balance. If you have the real dough with you, you care a pin about what people think about you.
I have perhaps become an old man, in this regard. I still crave for recognition. A smile on your face after you read these few words is worth the time I spent typing it out!!
Thanks for making my day!!

Monday, July 2, 2007

You and Your Work

It is a long time I wrote anything.
I continue to write the stuff that gives me money. There are not many around who live only by writing. I do! So, I have to write whether I like it or not. Most writers talk about mood. Classical poets went further asking for umpteen things before they could write a few lines. But, if you are making money by writing, you can not complain about not having the right mood etc.
It is called a profession. Creative writing can be a profession too. My friend Devipriya used to produce a funny poem everyday on the current political affairs. So does every cartoonist. Columnists, of which I was one, are of the same breed. They have to poduce something readable at regular intervals. I am sure editors will pick up only such people who can do that.
I was a columnist for long periods in various magazines. I did not put any editor to trouble beacuse of my mood or such things. I remember one of those sub-editors telling me that he will even make the page up without my piece. When the piece arrives it exactly fits the ususl slot. Working in radio perhaps gave me that awareness of space and time.
You can not go on telling your story. I did it once. I think it was when Rakesh Sharma went into space. I was to talk about the event in the children's program. I spoke and spoke for too long. The producer in charge , a kind lady, said that the information was very good and b'cast it over two weeks.
Blogs are totally different story. You really do not know who is reading them. Unless you have a periodicity and some kind of expectability, you can not expect people to come to your pages often.
I was not writing anything. I really mean to write a series on two or three topics dearer to my heart. I wish I can do it!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Should I?

I some times feel dejected and feel I should not be working so much. Nobody cares about your work, in fact!

Then, there are the others who worked without letup even when they were not expected to. This Mr. Ramachandra Rao, whom I could call a friend was one like that. He was 95.

He went to the publishing house, collected some addresses and was making a mail packet when he collapsed. He was taken to the hospital and he found his way from there to the promised land. Never to come back.

A few days before that we spoke on the phone. I told him that translation of his book is finished and asked him to send some one to collect the same. I also asked for the money. He owed mw a lot. He asked me how much I should get. I said that he knows it better. He said he will come personally to take the book and also perhaps settle the account. Usually he used to kind of make an appointment and used to be really on time. This time he said he will come at six in the evening. Never mentioned the day. I will now wait till he comes.

This man was a great soul. There were not more than 20 people in the memorial meeting. Those who spoke never really knew him well. May be Subbarayan and me were the exceptions. Mr. Bharadwaja, the organiser was of course an exception beyond my imagination. He was the only man feeling bad about the departure of the person.

I feel bad that a man like Ramachandra Rao is not cared for. Nobody knows him. The erudition and the scholarship. The diligence in whatever he did, at the age of 95 was a model for dull heads like me. At that age Rao was still writing and producing the video documentaries as seriously or more seriously as a young man. It is a paradox. I struggle and do all the things that I am doing now. When I die like Mr. Rao and everyone else, no one mourns. I am not talking about my family and friends. I am talking about the world which considers me as a writer and creator of mental material etc. The question is, should I not bother about any one noticing and patting on my back, and continue to do my thing? Should I give up now because it is all of no consequence? I am in affix!

Do we do things because we want to do them? Do we do things because the world will notice and appreciate us? It is both. You do your thing and feel relieved. You have to do it! It urges you to come out with it, the idea! Then, if others notice and say a good word about your effort you will be doubly happy. Simple! This appreciation is the force that drives all the endeavors in this world. I remember the dialogues in the Telugu stage drama Keertiseshulu. The protagonist is a stage artist. He is left in the lurch in the hour of need. He talks about what kept him stuck to the acting. People clap because of the excellence in his present performance. The dialogue then is about the claps. He says these claps of people made him to continue as a performer.

When in esnips I find that many people are coming and seeing my collection of books and music etc. I feel I should do much more there. The same goes with my site on tripod. Why am I doing these things? Not because I know computers or internet. Because people will see what I feel and what I do!

I am at a loss! May be I will quit all the activity and turn my energy to some thing more useful Definitely not to me! It should be useful to people!

Once again the problem starts. Do people appreciate what I do there either?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Vegetables in your family

I was having food with both my children, when I recollected this anology from childhood. I am sure it was my father who told it to us then.

It is said there are vegetables in your family.

Vegetables in the Family

A son is a cucumber.
He can be and will be useful in many ways.
Cucumber can be eaten raw, made into a chutney with some salt and pepper even without cooking. It can be also made into salad, curry, sambar, pickle and many more things. It is for the father to make proper use of the son. After all it is the father who trains him.

The daughter is a Brinjal.
It can not be eaten raw.
You have to make a little effort to make it eatable.
A little bit of spices and it becomes so tatsty that you will forget all the other vegetables. It can be added to any other vegetable and cooked too. Many dishes can be made with it.
Father or the mother has to keep the daughter in good humor. Then she will be better than even the son.
The daughter is as good as you are. If you are cold. She will be cold too.

The daughter -in-law is a bitter gourd.
Whatever you do to enhace it's taste, the bitterness still remains.
Not that it is not tasty. It is! But, a lot of effort is needed to make it tasty.
You have to like it along with the bitterness.

Do I have to add that this is all old thinking. This also essentially Indian thinking. But, pray tell me has the story changed?

Friday, April 6, 2007

RVR - A great man

I did not know Prof. RVR Chandra Sekhara Rao so very much.
He was the Vice Chancellor of Ambedkar Open University. May be that time it was only AP Open University.
One day I went there to record a lesson.
Paradox, all the other days people used to come to us to record things, all kinds of things. I was not very particular about teaching Zoology without the benefit of seeing my students. I had already burnt my fingers in trying to teach.
The recording was over.
Then, my good Friend Umapati Varma proposed that I see their VC.
I was not very serious.
He was after all a great educationalist and an expert in many things. Apart from paying my respects what could I talk to him?
I was surprised that he already knew me. Great people are like that, I thought.
After a couple of minutes of talking he got up from his office chair and came and settled on a couch. I think that is indication to his staff that he was in no mood to see office matters. No one came in after that.

I really do not remember wht we talked on that day.

When departing as a courtesy I said " I have perhaps, wasted your valuable time."
"No. It Was Satsangam. ( A good meeting with good discussion)" he said.
I was dumbstruck.

later whenever he came to our office on any kind of work. he used to make it a point to say hello to me. He was a great and VIP kind of man. Me, a fledgling of an officer. He showed a brotherly love towards me.

On one of those days when he visited me in my room, I was seeing an electronic encyclopaedia on the computer. Being an old timer he was not much aware of computer and the things related. When I told about the content of the CD he was delighted like a child. He asked me hundred questions. I took pleasure in showing him my possession. You have some thing, that excites a famous and knowledgeable man! He was almost child like when exploring the things on the CD.

I vividly remember his asking about the painting " Last Supper of Jesus". May be, he was reading about it or was very serious about painting in general.
Interestingly, the painting was available in the encyclopaedia. To my surprise Dr. Rao became an encyclopaedias and started reeling out facts about that painting in particular and painting in general. He told about the number of people originally painted in it and told that a man's picture is deliberately removed from it. If you look into the picture, you really see a gap there. The history of the picture mentions about retouching or restoration, but not about this fact.

Leaving aside the matter I was impressed by the interest and the enthusiasm Dr Rao showed on that day. Such enthusiasm becomes contagious. you cant help being impressed. We spent a lot of time that day with the Encyclopaedia.

I left Hyderabad. Dr Rao left India. He was the chief of an international organisation with HQ in Canada. I came back to Hyderabad. He also came back to Hyderabad. It is not a wonder if I remember him. Interestingly he remembered me. He came to our office. I never knew that he was to come. He came all the way to my room in the office looking for me, and was asking my PA for permission to see me. I was stunned when he walked in. He spoke to me with the same child like enthusiasm. He enquired what was I reading those days. He remembered that I read. He was carrying an interesting book. He promised to pass it on to me once he is finished with it.

I was thrilled to know that such a great man considers me a man worth talking to.

I am a useless fellow. I did not even to bother to keep in touch with such a nice man! Where is he now? I saw the painting "Last supper" and immediately Dr Rao came to my mind.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

It is not my work!

Managers understand this. Workers would understand it much better.
I have been a manager myself.
That too in a Governmant department.
All the appointment orders carry a sentence " any other work assigned from time to time" at the end of the work you are expected to do.
In spite of that we keep saying " It is not my job!"

There is a beautiful story narrated to me by my good friend Late sri Mallik ( B.Mallikarjuna Rao) about this problem.

Read it and use it if possible.

The Palanquin bearers.

Once there was a rich man. Since there were no cars in those days, he had a palanquin and four people to carry it around.
The rich man also had a big herd of cattle.
One day the most favourite cow of the rich man was lost.
The rich man asked the palanquin bearers to go in search of the cow.
May be he has sent the cowherd already.
Our friends, the palanquin bearers, like the employees of the present days said

పల్లకి మోయుట మా పనిగానీ ఆవును వెదుకుట మా పనిగాదని బోయీలనిరి.
" Our work is to carry the palanquin and not searching the lost cows."
The rich man promptly asked for the palanquin to be made ready and started the search himself.
Do I have to say that the bearers were carrying him?

Friday, March 30, 2007

Science and belief

I read this article somewhere, some time back. I thought people will be interested.

Where belief is born

Scientists have begun to look in a different way at how the brain creates the convictions that mould our relationships and inform our behaviour. Belief can make people do the strangest things. At one level, it provides a moral framework, sets preferences and steers relationships. On another, it can be devastating. Belief can manifest itself as prejudice or persuade someone to blow up themselves and others in the name of a political cause.

"Belief has been a most powerful component of human nature that has somewhat been neglected," says Peter Halligan, a psychologist at Cardiff University. "But it has been capitalised on by marketing agents, politics and religion for the best part of two millennia."

That is changing. Once the preserve of philosophers alone, belief is quickly becoming the subject of choice for many psychologists and neuroscientists. Their goal is to create a neurological model of how beliefs are formed, how they affect people and what can manipulate them.
And the latest steps in the research might just help to understand a little more about why the world is so fraught with political and social tension. Matthew Lieberman, a psychologist at the University of California, recently showed how beliefs help people's brains categorise others and view objects as good or bad, largely unconsciously. He demonstrated that beliefs (in this case prejudice or fear) are most likely to be learned from the prevailing culture.

When Lieberman showed a group of people photographs of expressionless black faces, he was surprised to find that the amygdala - the brain's panic button - was triggered in almost two-thirds of cases. There was no difference in the response between black and white people.
The amygdala is responsible for the body's fight or flight response, setting off a chain of biological changes that prepare the body to respond to danger well before the brain is conscious of any threat. Lieberman suggests that people are likely to pick up on stereotypes, regardless of whether their family or community agrees with them.

The work, published last month in Nature Neuroscience, is the latest in a rapidly growing field of research called "social neuroscience", a wide arena which draws together psychologists, neuroscientists and anthropologists all studying the neural basis for the social interaction between humans.

Traditionally, cognitive neuroscientists focused on scanning the brains of people doing specific tasks such as eating or listening to music, while social psychologists and social scientists concentrated on groups of people and the interactions between them. To understand how the brain makes sense of the world, it was inevitable that these two groups would have to get together.

"In the West, most of our physical needs are provided for. We have a level of luxury and civilisation that is pretty much unparalleled," says Kathleen Taylor, a neuroscientist at Oxford University. "That leaves us with a lot more leisure and more space in our heads for thinking."
Beliefs and ideas therefore become our currency, says Taylor. Society is no longer a question of simple survival; it is about choice of companions and views, pressures, ideas, options and preferences.

"It is quite an exciting development but for people outside the field, a very obvious one," says Halligan.

Understanding belief is not a trivial task, even for the seemingly simplest of human interactions. Take a conversation between two people. When one talks, the other's brain is processing information through their auditory system at a phenomenal rate. That person's beliefs act as filters for the deluge of sensory information and guide the brain's response.
Lieberman's recent work echoed parts of earlier research by Joel Winston of the University of London's Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience. Winston found that when he presented people with pictures of faces and asked them to rate the trustworthiness of each, the amygdalas showed a greater response to pictures of people who were specifically chosen to represent untrustworthiness. And it did not matter what each person actually said about the pictured faces.

"Even people who believe to their core that they do not have prejudices may still have negative associations that are not conscious," says Lieberman.
Beliefs also provide stability. When a new piece of sensory information comes in, it is assessed against these knowledge units before the brain works out whether or not it should be incorporated. People do it when they test the credibility of a politician or hear about a paranormal event.

Physically speaking, then, how does a belief exist in the brain? "My own position is to think of beliefs and memories as very similar," says Taylor. Memories are formed in the brain as networks of neurons that fire when stimulated by an event. The more times the network is employed, the more it fires and the stronger the memory becomes.
Halligan says that belief takes the concept of memory a step further. "A belief is a mental architecture of how we interpret the world," he says. "We have lots of fluid things moving by - perceptions and so forth - but at the level of who our friends are and so on, those things are consolidated in crystallised knowledge units. If we did not have those, every time we woke up, how would we know who we are?"

These knowledge units help to assess threats - via the amygdala - based on experience. Ralph Adolphs, a neurologist at the University of Iowa, found that if the amygdala was damaged, the ability of a person to recognise expressions of fear was impaired. A separate study by Adolphs with Simon Baron-Cohen at Cambridge University showed that amygdala damage had a bigger negative impact on the brain's ability to recognise social emotions, while more basic emotions seemed unaffected.

This work on the amygdala shows it is a key part of the threat-assessment response and, in no small part, in the formation of beliefs. Damage to this alarm bell - and subsequent inability to judge when a situation might be dangerous - can be life-threatening. In hunter-gatherer days, beliefs may have been fundamental to human survival.

Neuroscientists have long looked at brains that do not function properly to understand how healthy ones work. Researchers of belief formation do the same thing, albeit with a twist. "You look at people who have delusions," says Halligan. "The assumption is that a delusion is a false belief. That is saying that the content of it is wrong, but it still has the construct of a belief."
In people suffering from prosopagnosia, for example, parts of the brain are damaged so that the person can no longer recognise faces. In the Cotard delusion, people believe they are dead. Fregoli delusion is the belief that the sufferer is constantly being followed around by people in disguise. Capgras' delusion, named after its discoverer, the French psychiatrist Jean Marie Joseph Capgras, is a belief that someone emotionally close has been replaced by an identical impostor.

Until recently, these conditions were regarded as psychiatric problems. But closer study reveals that, in the case of Capgras' delusion for example, a significant proportion of sufferers had lesions in their brain, typically in the right hemisphere.
"There are studies indicating that some people who have suffered brain damage retain some of their religious or political beliefs," says Halligan. "That's interesting because whatever beliefs are, they must be held in memory."

Another route to understanding how beliefs form is to look at how they can be manipulated. In her book on the history of brainwashing, Taylor describes how everyone from the Chinese thought reform camps of the last century to religious cults have used systematic methods to persuade people to change their ideas, sometimes radically.

The first step is to isolate a person and control what information they receive. Their former beliefs need to be challenged by creating uncertainty. New messages need to be repeated endlessly. And the whole thing needs to be done in a pressured, emotional environment.
"Beliefs are mental objects in the sense that they are embedded in the brain," says Taylor. "If you challenge them by contradiction, or just by cutting them off from the stimuli that make you think about them, then they are going to weaken slightly. If that is combined with very strong reinforcement of new beliefs, then you're going to get a shift in emphasis from one to the other."
The mechanism Taylor describes is similar to the way the brain learns normally. In brainwashing though, the new beliefs are inserted through a much more intensified version of that process.

This manipulation of belief happens every day. Politics is a fertile arena, especially in times of anxiety.

"Stress affects the brain such that it makes people more likely to fall back on things they know well - stereotypes and simple ways of thinking," says Taylor.
"It is very easy to want to do that when everything you hold dear is being challenged. In a sense, it was after 9/11."

The stress of the terror attacks on the US in 2001 changed the way many Americans viewed the world, and Taylor argues that it left the population open to tricks of belief manipulation. A recent survey, for example, found that more than half of Americans thought Iraqis were involved in the attacks, despite the fact that nobody had come out and said it.
This method of association uses the brain against itself. If an event stimulates two sets of neurons, then the links between them get stronger. If one of them activates, it is more likely that the second set will also fire. In the real world, those two memories may have little to do with each other, but in the brain, they get associated.

Taylor cites an example from a recent manifesto by the British National Party, which argues that asylum seekers have been dumped on Britain and that they should be made to clear up rubbish from the streets. "What they are trying to do is to link the notion of asylum seekers with all the negative emotions you get from reading about garbage, [but] they are not actually coming out and saying asylum seekers are garbage," she says.

The 9/11 attacks highlight another extreme in the power of beliefs. "Belief could drive people to agree to premeditate something like that in the full knowledge that they would all die," says Halligan of the hijacker pilots.

It is unlikely that beliefs as wide-ranging as justice, religion, prejudice or politics are simply waiting to be found in the brain as discrete networks of neurons, each encoding for something different. "There's probably a whole combination of things that go together," says Halligan.
And depending on the level of significance of a belief, there could be several networks at play. Someone with strong religious beliefs, for example, might find that they are more emotionally drawn into certain discussions because they have a large number of neural networks feeding into that belief.

"If you happen to have a predisposition, racism for example, then it may be that you see things in a certain way and you will explain it in a certain way," says Halligan.
He argues that the reductionist approach of social neuroscience will alter the way people study society. "If you are brain scanning, what are the implications for privacy in terms of knowing another's thoughts? And being able to use those, as some governments are implying, in terms of being able to detect terrorists and things like that," he says. "If you move down the line in terms of potential uses for these things, you have potential uses for education and for treatments being used as cognitive enhancers."

So far, social neuroscience has provided more questions than answers. Ralph Adolphs of the University of Iowa looked to the future in a review paper for Nature. "How can causal networks explain the many correlations between brain and behaviour that we are discovering? Can large-scale social behaviour, as studied by political science and economics, be understood by studying social cognition in individual subjects? Finally, what power will insights from cognitive neuroscience give us to influence social behaviour, and hence society? And to what extent would such pursuit be morally defensible?"

The answers to those questions may well shape people's understanding of what it really means to believe.

Monday, March 19, 2007

New Year and Change

New year and Change

కొత్త సంవత్సరం
కొత్త ఉత్సాహాన్ని ఇస్తుందని
మనసారా నమ్ముతున్నాను.
-- మీ విజయగోపాల్

మనవారికి ప్రతి విషయంలోనూ అనుమానమే. పండుగ ఎన్నడా అని అనుమానం వచ్చింది. పెద్దలను అడిగితే తలొక తీరు చెప్పారు. ఇక మిగతావారు కీచులాటలకు దిగారు. టీవీ వాళ్లకు సంబరం. కెమెరా ముందు కాట్లాట ముగిసిన తర్వాత, “మీ యిష్టం వచ్చిననాడు పండుగ” అని తేల్చి చెప్పారు.
ప్రపంచం మారిందనడానికి ఇంతకన్నా మంచి ఉదాహరణ కావాలా?

I know some people are not able to see my new year message here.
I am bringing you the good wishes for a new year which started today!
Many people have many new years!
That itself is a testimony of the diversity that there is, in the human beings.
New year is supposed to bring new cheer into the lives of people.
After all it is in our calculations.
If you are not aware that a new year starts for some people, you are happily living in your own old year.
It is only the calendar that changes on a new year.
You can still choose to feel happy baout it and look forward to better days.
Change is a matter of mind.
If you want to change, you can do so on the last day of the old year1 That is the right occassion to change.
I bring to you another story that I read recently. It is once again about change. Tell me what do you feel in this regard!!!

Carrot, Egg, Coffee
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.

She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," replied her daughter.

The mother asked her daughter to feel the carrots, who did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, the young woman observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity--boiling water--but each had reacted differently.

"Which are you?" the mother asked. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, wilts and become soft and loses strength? Are you the egg that appears not to change but whose heart is hardened? Or are you the coffee bean that changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, your very essence will change your environment for the better, making it sweet and palatable."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A chinese Story

I bring you a Chinese story which I read long back.
I have a large collection of such stories which we should be reading and discussing too.
Here is the story.

The Four Dragons

Once upon a time, there were no rivers and lakes on earth, but only the Eastern Sea, in which lived four dragons: the Long Dragon, the Yellow Dragon, the Black Dragon and the Pearl Dragon.
One day the four dragons flew from the sea into the sky. They soared and dived, playing at hide-and-seek in the clouds.

"Come over here quickly!" the Pearl Dragon cried out suddenly.

"What's up?" asked the other three, looking down in the direction where the Pearl Dragon pointed. On the earth they saw many people putting out fruits and cakes, and burning incense sticks. They were praying! A white-haired woman, kneeling on the ground with a thin boy on her back, murmured:
"Please send rain quickly, God of Heaven, to give our children rice to eat.."

For there had been no rain for a long time. The crops withered, the grass turned yellow and fields cracked under the scorching sun.

"How poor the people are!" said the Yellow Dragon. "And they will die if it doesn't rain soon."
The Long Dragon nodded. Then he suggested, "Let's go and beg the Jade Emperor for rain."
So saying, he leapt into the clouds. The others followed closely and flew towards the Heavenly Palace.

Being in charge of all the affairs in heaven, on earth and in the sea, the Jade Emperor was very powerful. He was not pleased to see the dragons rushing in. "Why do you come here instead of staying in the sea and behaving yourselves?"

The Long Dragon stepped forward and said, "The crops on earth are withering and dying, Your Majesty. I beg you to send rain down quickly!"

"All right. You go back first, I'll send some rain down tomorrow." The Jade Emperor pretended to agree while listening to the songs of the fairies.

"Thanks, Your Majesty!" The four dragons went happily back.

But ten days passed, and not a drop of rain came down.

The people suffered more, some eating bark, some grass roots, some forced to eat white clay when they ran out of bark and grass roots.

Seeing all this, the four dragons felt very sorry, for they knew the Jade Emperor only cared about pleasure, and never took the people to heart. They could only rely on themselves to relieve the people of their miseries. But how to do it?

Seeing the vast sea, the Long Dragon said that he had an idea.

"What is it? Out with it, quickly!" the other three demanded.
"Look, is there not plenty of water in the sea where we live? We should scoop it up and spray it towards the sky. The water will be like rain drops and come down to save the people and their crops."
"Good idea!" The others clapped their hands.
"But," said the Long Dragon after thinking a bit, "we will be blamed if the Jade Emperor learns of this."
"I will do anything to save the people," the Yellow Dragon said resolutely.
"Let's begin. We will never regret it." The Black Dragon and the Pearl Dragon were not to be outdone.

They flew to the sea, scooped up water in their mouths, and then flew back into the sky, where they sprayed the water out over the earth. The four dragons flew back and forth, making the sky dark all around. Before long the sea water became rain pouring down from the sky.
"It's raining! It's raining!"
"The crops will be saved!"

The people cried and leaped with joy. On the ground the wheat stalks raised their heads and the sorghum stalks straightened up.

The god of the sea discovered these events and reported to the Jade Emperor.
"How dare the four dragons bring rain without my permission!" The Jade Emperor was enraged, and ordered the heavenly generals and their troops to arrest the four dragons. Being far outnumbered, the four dragons could not defend themselves, and they were soon arrested and brought back to the heavenly palace.

"Go and get four mountains to lay upon them so that they can never escape!" The Jade Emperor ordered the Mountain God.

The Mountain God used his magic power to make four mountains fly there, whistling in the wind from afar, and pressed them down upon the four dragons.

Imprisoned as they were, they never regretted their actions. Determined to do good for the people forever, they turned themselves into four rivers, which flowed past high mountains and deep valleys, crossing the land from the west to the east and finally emptying into the sea. And so China's four great rivers were formed -- the Heilongjian (Black Dragon) in the far north, the Huanghe (Yellow River) in central China, the Changjiang (Yangtze, or Long River) farther south, and the Zhujiang (Pearl) in the very far south.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Will my language become extinct?

Many people speaking many languages and belonging to many cultures are asking this question. No language or culture would really disappear. They may at best undergo a big change whereby become hard to identify. Like the Ranga who turned Ringa in Mauritius

The language that remains will sound some thing different for those who know the present form of it. Same is the case with any vernacular world over.

It is the tongue, style, traditions and practices that make a culture. They continue for generations and give an identity to a group. People very proudly claim they belong to a particular culture or a language group. They take pleasure in speaking the language wherever they are. All this depends on the memory and intellect of the people.

We remember the festivals had their own distinct identity in the past. Now, particularly in cities all of them are celebrated in the same fashion and perhaps with the same food. Those who have not witnessed the diversity of the past can even feel the number of festivals redundant. They do not remember and distinguish one from the other.
They refuse to equate the new ethos with that they knew.

We can not even complain against them. After all they are also true. There are many standards for the diversity in a culture. One of them is the religion. Language is perhaps the most important.

We can even say the change in the language is a pointer to the change in the culture.

Some languages are spreading like the plague of the yore. There are many who do not have an idea about this word plague. In the name of science knowledge, business, politics, and the universalisation or is it globalisation, English is spreading dramatically. The other languages are receding equally fast. There are around 6000 languages spoken around the globe at present. It is estimated that half of them would not last till the next decade. This fact is corroborated by the officials of the trust looking after the languages threatened with extinction. Half of the languages are spoken by less than ten thousand people each. Such of them will disappear very easily. A quarter of the present languages are spoken by only a thousand each. They are as good as gone.

We must be aware that none of the Indian languages fall under these categories. People speaking Maori dialect in New Zealand have opened special schools to spread their language.

There are many, complaining about the disappearance or the changes in Telugu or other Indian languages. As long as you also share such a feeling your mother tongue will never disappear.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Self and not Self

What is change?

The true portait of a man is a fusion of what he thinks he is, what others think he is, what he really is and what he tries to be. says, Dore schary. It is tue. we are all a clmination of a jigsaw puzzle pieced together sometimes with gaps. Why sometimes? Most of the times!!

We grow old and change. This is something we never realise. We think that we are seeing the same face everyday in the morning! We never realise that the face is changing bit by bit! We have grown old even comapred to yesterday!You maight have become better in appearance and in other respects. You might have grown some characters unwanted. You may be pleasing on one day and irritating on the next day.

You are doing all these things without the awareness. If you are aware of your mental attitude, the life will be much better. You cannot do much about the physical appearance. May be avoid eating too much and be careful about the health. Even then may be a paunch will come about.

Be aware that we are changing. We think we are not. People tell us we are changing. We try not to change. But what is the reality?

Make your choices wisely. Tread your steps carefully. Be what you want to be and tell the world the same. Don't do something and say something else!!



That is the way people in my part of the country greet each other.
It is the Sanskrit equivalent for Salutation.
So, some of my people make it plural and say, Namaskaralu.
Some elders say it is wrong. There could be only one Namaskaram at a time.

When you look into this word from a spiritual point of view, it is said that it it declares your surrender to the other person whom you are greeting.
Na maha!
means I am nothing. No capital I. No ego.
What a way of greeting!
Sastram has also told that you can and have to greet people of all ages both young and old alike.
Tradition does not agree with this idea. Only elders are greeted with a Namaskaram.
It is the youngsters who always are to greet first.
However, the new age thinking is in agreement with the Sastram.
Greet people, because there is God in them irrespective of age.