Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I had read this piece some time ago.
A long time ago there was a great General who was faced with a situation which made it necessary for him to make a drastic decision to insure his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his army on shore to face a powerful enemy, whose men outnumbered his.

He loaded his soldiers into boats, and sailed to face the enemies on shore. When they reached the shore, he ordered them to unload the soldiers and cargoes. He then ordered for all the ships and boats to be burned.

Addressing his men before the battle, he said, "You see the ships and boats going up in smoke? That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now, have no choice - either we win, or we perish."

They WON!!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Giant Tree

This is a small piece written by Paulo Coelho and I thought I should reproduce the same.
A carpenter and his apprentices were travelling through the province of Qi in search of building materials.

They saw a giant tree; five men all holding hands could not encompass its girth, and its crown reached almost to the clouds.

“Let’s not waste our time with this tree,” said the master carpenter. “It would take us forever to cut it down. If we wanted to make a ship out of that heavy trunk, the ship would sink. If we tried to use it to build a roof, the walls would have to be specially reinforced.”

The group continued on its way. One of the apprentices remarked:

“Such a big tree and no use to anyone!”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” said the master carpenter. “The tree was true to its own destiny.”

“If it had been like all the others, we would have cut it down. But because it had the courage to be different, it will remain alive and strong for a long time yet.”

~ Paulo Coelho

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Let them know young

In an interview of a young boy, the director discovered from the CV that the youth's academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, never had a year when he did not score.

The director asked, "Did you obtain any scholarships in school?" the youth answered "none".

The director asked, " Was it your father who paid for your school fees?"
The youth answered, "My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.

The director asked, " Where did your mother work?" The youth answered, "My mother worked as clothes cleaner. The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

The director asked, " Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?" The youth answered, "Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.

The director said, "I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother's hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.

The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to the kid.

The youth cleaned his mother's hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that.
It was the first time he noticed that his mother's hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.

This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fee. The bruises in the mother's hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.

After finishing the cleaning of his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.

That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.

Next morning, the youth went to the director's office.

The Director noticed the tears in the youth's eyes, asked: "Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?"

The youth answered, "I cleaned my mother's hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes'

The Director asked, "Please tell me your feelings."

The youth said, Number 1, I know now what appreciation is. Without my mother, there would not the successful me today. Number 2, by working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done. Number 3, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationship.

The director said, " This is what I am looking for to be my manager.
I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.

Later on, this young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company's performance improved tremendously.

A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop "entitlement mentality" and would always put himself first.
He would be ignorant of his parent's efforts. When he starts work, he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others. For this kind of people, who may be good academically, may be successful for a while, but eventually would not feel sense of achievement.
He will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying the kid instead?*

You can let your kid live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano,watch a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it. After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow gray, same as the mother of that young person. The most important thing is your kid learns how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The wisdom of a mountain

In ancient China, on top of Mount Ping stood a temple where the enlightened
one, Hwan, dwelled. Of his many disciples, only one is known to us, Lao-li. For more than 20 years, Lao-li studied and meditated under the great master, Hwan. Although Lao-li was one of the brightest and most determined of disciples, he had yet to reach enlightenment. The wisdom of life was not his.

Lao-li struggled with his lot for days, nights, months, even years until
one morning, the sight of a falling cherry blossom spoke to his heart.
"I can no longer fight my destiny," he reflected.
"Like the cherry blossom, I must gracefully resign myself to my lot."

From that moment forth, Lao-li determined to retreat down the mountain, giving up his hope of enlightenment. Lao-li searched for Hwan to tell him of his decision. The master sat before a white wall, deep in meditation. Reverently, Lao-li approached him.

"Enlightened one," he said.But before he could continue, the master spoke,
"Tomorrow I will join you on your journey down the mountain." No more needed to be said. The great master understood. The next morning, before their descent, the master looked out into the vastness surrounding the mountain peak. "Tell me, Lao-li," he said, "what do you see?" "Master, I see the sun beginning to wake just below the horizon, meandering hills and mountains that go on for miles, and couched in the valley below, a lake and an old town."

The master listened to Lao-li's response. He smiled, and then they took the first steps of their long descent. Hour after hour, as the sun crossed the sky, they pursued their journey, stopping only once as they approached the foot of the mountain. Again Hwan asked Lao-li to tell him what he saw. "Great wise one, in the distance I see roosters as they run around barns,cows asleep in sprouting meadows, old ones basking in the late afternoon sun, and children romping by a brook."

The master, remaining silent, continued to walk until they reached the gate to the town. There the master gestured to Lao-li, and together they sat under an old tree. "What did you learn today, Lao-li?" asked the master. "Perhaps this is the last wisdom I will impart to you."
Silence was Lao-li's response. At last, after long silence, the master continued.
"The road to enlightenment is like the journey down the mountain. It comes only to those who realize that what one sees at the top of the mountain is not what one sees at the bottom. Without this wisdom, we close our minds to all that we cannot view from our position and so limit our capacity to grow and improve. But with this wisdom, Lao-li, there comes an awakening. We recognize that alone one sees only so much - which, in truth, is not much at all. This is the wisdom that opens our minds to improvement, knocks down prejudices, and teaches us to respect what at first we cannot view.
Never forget this last lesson, Lao-li: what you cannot see can be seen from a different part of the mountain." When the master stopped speaking, Lao-li looked out to the horizon, and as the sun set before him, it seemed to rise in his heart. Lao-li turned to the master, but the great one was gone. So the old Chinese tale ends. But it has been said that Lao-li returned to the mountain to live out his life. He became a great enlightened one.

Harvard Business Review
Parables of Leadership
by W. Chan Kim and Renee A. Mauborgne

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


A group of geography students studied the Seven Wonders of the World. At the end of that section, the students were asked to list what they considered to be the Seven Wonders of the World.
Though there was some disagreement, the following got the most votes:
Egypt's Great Pyramids, Taj Mahal, Grand Canyon, Panama Canal, Empire State Building, St. Peter's Basilica and China's Great Wall.

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student, a quiet girl, hadn't
turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The quiet girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many." The
teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help." The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:"
to touch, to taste, to see, to hear ....
She hesitated a little, and then added ... to run, to laugh and to love.

It is far too easy for us to look at the exploits of man and refer to them as "wonders" while we overlook all God has done, regarding them as merely "ordinary." May you be reminded today of those things which are truly wondrous and colorful.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Whose parachute are you packing?

Here is another of my favorite story from the book “The habit of winning” by Prakash Iyer. You may find this interesting!!

Charlie Plumb is an incredible guy. A decorated US war veteran, a navy fighter pilot. And a fabulous example of the indomitable human spirit.

He flew the F-4 Phantom fighter aircraft on seventy-four successful combat mission over North Vietnam. With five days to go to his return home, on his 75th mission, disaster struck. His plane was shot down. Luckily, Captain Plumb managed to eject out of the aircraft and activate his parachute. That saved his life. Unluckily for him, he was captured and jailed, confined to a tiny cell--8 feet by 8 feet. He spent the next 2103 days--that’s six long years--being tortured and humiliated as a prisoner of war before he could finally return home.

Charlie now spends his time sharing his story with others, helping people discover the strengths they need to tap into to overcome challenges in their own lives. He talks of the fear and the loneliness, the stench emanating from the bucket that served as his toilet, the darkness and the gloom in his cell. And he talks of surviving, of not letting the spirit take a beating, of never giving up.

But my favourite Charlie Plumb story is set in happier times. It’s not about the six years of misery in a Vietnam jail but about a calm evening in a restaurant in Kansas City, several years later. Charlie was enjoying his meal when he noticed a gentleman seated a few tables away. He had to notice him. The gentleman was staring at him.

Charlie didn’t think much of it until, a few minutes later, the man walked up to him and said: ‘You’re Charlie Plumb?’

‘Yes,’ replied Captain Plumb, standing up and extending his hand in greeting.

‘You flew jet fighters in Vietnam. You were on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down. You parachuted into enemy hands and spent six years as a prisoner of war,’ continued the stranger.

‘How in the world do you know all that?’ asked Captain Plumb.

He replied. ‘I was the guy who packed your parachute.’

Captain Plumb was left quite speechless, a sense of shock mixed with awe, even as the man continued with a twinkle in his eye, ’I guess it worked!’

Captain plumb thanked the man again, and again, and before parting, he couldn’t help asking: ‘Do you remember all the parachutes you packed?’

‘Not quite,’ came the reply. ‘It’s enough for me just to know that I have served.’

Later that night, as Captain Plumb tossed about in his bed, his mind flashed back to his days as a fighter pilot. He wondered how many times he may have passed by the ‘parachute packer’ without even acknowledging his presence. He wondered if he ever said ‘Good morning!’ or ‘How are you?’ to the man. After all, Captain Plumb was a fighter pilot and the other guy was just a sailor. He couldn’t have cared less.

We may not all be fighter pilots but we all have our parachute packers. People who build our safety nets, encourage us and, in their own small ways, make our successes possible. They remain unsung but somewhere inside, you know they made a difference. It could be that teacher from primary school, that salesman in a faraway town, that workman in the factory, that super-efficient secretary or that accounts clerk who always seemed to have the information you urgently needed…Through life’s challenges, through the take-offs and crash landings in your career and life, they were the people who made it all possible when the going got tough, they kept you going. They just did their jobs—but boy, they sure made you look good. Who do you turn to when the chips are down? So who is packing your parachute?

Unlike Captain Plumb, we aren’t always fortunate enough to come face to face with our parachute packers. So we often don’t get the chance to say thank you. Good idea then to think of the parachute packers in your life, and pick up the phone to thank them. Today. Now.

More important, it’s also good idea to ask the question: whose parachute are you packing? Who are the people you provide strength and encouragement to? Which people will put your name in the list of folks who made a difference to their lives? Real success and happiness often emerge not from the personal glory of winning but from the joy of having helped someone else win. Making a difference to someone—that’s really what makes the difference in life. Time to practice your parachute-packing skills!

Thanks Rohan for suggesting this book and Nisha for urging me to get back to blogging.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Lord Sasta, also popularly known as Lord Ayyappa is known to be the offspring of Shiva and Vishnu (as Mohini, in his female form) and is widely worshipped in Kerala. The most famous and well known shrine of Lord Sasta is the Sabarimala (mountain) situated at Kerala, India. Every year millions of people visit this shrine and seek the blessings of the Lord.

On 14th January every year, the Makara (Capricorn) star is shone on the sky, and a flickering flame (jyoti) appears on top of the neighboring hill, Kantha malai, and is considered to be celestial divine light. Devotees see this light as Lord incarnate and millions of people wait patiently to witness this beautiful sight.

At Mumbai (earlier Bombay), the Lord Sastha festival, known as Sasta Preethi is celebrated at several places. One of these, which I am writing about in this post is the Nurani Sasta festival which is being celebrated at Mumbai for the last 88years. Nurani, primarily is a small village in Palakkad, Kerala where this festival is being celebrated for long. Many of the people from Nurani who descended in Mumbai for a livelihood have been celebrating this festival at Mumbai to ensure the tradition is maintained.

The Sasta festival started in a place called Parel, Mumbai where most of the people from Nurani initially stayed as bachelors. Years later when most of them shifted to another locality in Mumbai named Matunga, the festival was celebrated at various halls namely Napoo Hall, Rambaug, Bhajana Samaj and finally at Asthika Samaj where it is being celebrated even today. The function consists of hymns (bhajans) being sung in the praise of the Lord to invoke his blessings. People in large numbers from distant places come for the festival which is held on the last Saturday of December or the first Saturday of January every year. Loud chants of ‘Saranam Ayyappa’ and ‘Sasta Saranam’ are heard, thus hailing the Lord for his bounty. People present their offerings to the Lord in the form of milk, coconuts, fruits and flowers.

Till the year 1991, at the end of the rituals, devotees were given neyappam/payasam (sweet preparations) as blessings from the Lord. In 1991, in remembrance of Shyamalam, brother of Dr. NS Doraiswamy), it was decided by Dr. Doraiswamy to serve food to all the devotees who came for the function.
This practice of serving lunch continued thereafter and even today the managing committee continues the practice of serving the devotees with delicious food which is a three course South Indian serving consisting of Sambhar, Rasam, Curd accompanied by rice and other side dishes. Payasam made of rice and milk and sugar/ jaggery is the favourite of one and all and is generally gormandized in true south Indian style( where the entire palm is covered with this delicacy and straight it goes into the mouth).

What a gastronomical delight this is? Proof of the pudding is in the eating. Till 1990, the festival was celebrated on Saturday evenings and since 1991, it is being celebrated on Saturday mornings. Around four hundred to five hundred people come for the pooja to invoke the blessings and partake in the afternoon lunch. Afternoon siesta is a must after getting drunk with DELICIOUS MOUTH WATERING PAYASAM and CHATACHATAYAM.

Another significant aspect of the celebration is the melodious singing of the bhajans (hymns) and some of the devotees are so much taken over by these bhajans that their whole body starts shaking and they lose themselves totally gripped due to their deep devotion. It is said that Lord Sasta appears to them and they get totally captivated by the Lord’s divine presence in them. Typically, this phenomenon has been happening to the family members of Late Capt. Chellappa and Kutty Mama. This year, Mani and Dorai of these families were totally gripped by the divinity of the Lord.

As is the case, there are always stalwarts who are behind the success and continuance of this festival which has been in existence for eighty eight long years. The pioneers were Nana Mama, Cheecha Mama, Chidambara Ayya, Paiyyan Mama, Appathorai Mama, Kutty Mama, Capt. Chellappa, NSV Iyer, Neelakandan mama, Natesan mama, Dr. Dorai, Sivarama Mama, Akka Konthai Mama, Keerai Ambi Mama, Kali Raasu, Aamu, Dr. Anand, and the like. The present committee has stalwarts like Ramani, Dr. Bharat, Seshan, Kuttan to name a few and they have been shouldering the responsibility with great élan. Kudos to these stalwarts for making this happen. If some names are missed out, it is unintentional and totally due to my ignorance. I am apologetic for errors of omission and commission.

This year the function was held on 7th January. The function, Sasta Preethi, as it is known, was always held on the same day both at Nurani, Pallakad, and at Mumbai. This year, however, a change was made and it has been decided that the Sasta Preethi at Mumbai will be held a week after the same is conducted at Nurani to facilitate people at both places to attend the functions. The function was a grand success this year and around four hundred people had attended the same.

Parashu a.k.a. Bhajji and Rajaram brought in the requisite energy and enthusiasm with their very presence and rendition of bhajans that proved to be the icing on the cake. Bhajji requires special mention since he left a special mark on the function and ensured that all of us present fully participated. We need more folks like Bhajji who can bring in this ‘infectious enthusiasm.’

Overall it was a grand festival and a day to remember. All of us were the recipients of Lord Sasta’s blessings, and I am sure that it would have spurred all those present to ensure that this festivity of Lord Sasta grows from strength to strength each coming year. I request all Nurani ites to send their comments and add details I have missed. Thanks.