Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Reflections, Stories Around the World

Do we need these “stickers” ?

“Be a good human being, a warm hearted, affectionate person. That is my fundamental belief.”  Dalai Lama

A car ahead was moving like a turtle and not giving me way in-spite of my continuous honking! I was on brink of losing my cool when I noticed the small sticker on the car’s rear!
“Physically challenged; Please be patient.”
And that changed everything!! I immediately went calm & slowed down!! In fact, I got a little protective of the car & the driver!!! I reached home a few minutes late, but it was ok! And then it struck me. Would I have been patient if there was no sticker? Why do we need stickers to be patient with people!? Will we be more patient & kind with others if people had labels pasted on their foreheads?
Labels like “ Lost my job” , “Fighting cancer”, “Going through a bad divorce”,
“Suffering Emotional abuse “, “Lost a loved one”, “Feeling worthless”,
“Financially broken” and more like these!!
Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about. The least we can do is to be patient ,kind & compassionate. Let us respect the Invisible Labels !!!????
Have a Great day.

-CA Devanand Jethanandani ( Read more at: /forum/ let-us-respect-the-invisible-labels-461171.asp )

This was one of the posts that had popped up on one of my social network services. Reading the above message had set me thinking for quite some time. The underlying question that the author had asked, “Do we need “stickers” to remind us to be human, empathetic and compassionate” continues to remain unanswered. Very often when stuck in traffic jams as well as the regular traffic, the car in front of us holds labels so that the driver behind remains aware of the situation within the vehicle at front. More as a precaution, these stickers help all to remain safe and above, to practice patience and stay calm on the road. Keeping them will save a number of lives. For putting the fickle nature of man into perspective, not everyone will take heed of caution or realize that their actions will have a drastic, immediate consequence on others’ lives.

“We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity; more than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.” Charles Chaplin

When the society reforms to be the Utopian concept of being compassionate, patient and obeying the laws, keeping the calm and staying sane; then no reminders are needed to stay safe. To reach this, each one should respect the other, their struggles and practice a little patience laced with kindness. Although this may sound simple, this is quite a remarkable feat to achieve remembering the practical difficulties as well as the innate fickle and impatient human nature. Yet to try and fill each day with love, kindness, compassion and empathy would be good, for one never knows which day, hour or moment is going to be their respective last.

Keeping the very fragile aspect of life in mind, trying to change for the better would make the journey and time in this world more fulfilling leaving us both happy and satisfied.

“Each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity.” Marie Curie

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Quotes, Reflections, Stories Around the World

Seeing through “Piper’s” Eyes

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” Aldous Huxley

As a part of restricting “media-time” for my toddler, an allotted period of one hour is given for viewing any “smart screen” device. Being too small to understand complex cartoons, the tastes range from the all-time favourite of “Mickey Mouse”, to “Tom and Jerry” among the few that he likes. Yet once in a while, animation movies feature in the list, especially over the weekend. Last week it was “Piper”, the Oscar Animation Movie Winner (2018) which though lasted for around three minutes carries a wealth of meaning.

“Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you.” Jon Bon Jovi

This short animation film revolves around the dog who when accompanying his master on the morning fishing trip, chases away a heron who tries to repeatedly snatch the worms stored as bait in the can. After the successful attempt of chasing it away, the dog watches as it flies back to its’ nest of three young kids where its’ small young ones refuse to feed on the “hard” fish and are crying for “soft” food. With understanding and compassion on its’ face, the little dog offers an entire ball of worms to the stork. A little while later, the dog is startled when the fish is being dropped on the deck by the heron. Realizing that the numerous fish caught in the heron’s beak is for them, in return for the kindness shown earlier, both the dog and the master are elated with the morning’s outcome.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” W.B. Yeats

Highlighting the concept of “humaneness”, this movie brings to light how the “real life” may actually differ for one person, when another views them as a “nuisance”. Each one of us have their own set of struggles everyday. Some will receive help, others will not. Few will use the help the right way, while the rest may waste it away. With varied sets of worries wearing one down, no one can be viewed as “bad” unless given a chance to “reform” and set things right.

Humanity does matter, for there in lies the core of man’s social co-existence and inner peace. When one opens the doors of humanity, one realizes that the “shades of gray” do colour the world and set a different picture from what was initially perceived. Each one of us need to give others’ a second chance and deal with others’ with humanness; for one day when we are in despair or in a downfall, we may need it too. As we learn to practice the art of humaneness with patience, fortitude,  love, kindness and hope; the chain of events started off will make a difference for the better in the lives of those around us too. 

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” William Blake

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World

“Doing Good”, From Within

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” William Shakespeare (The Merchant of Venice)

One of the feelings that man is silently on the look out for, is the feeling of being  loved, recognized or appreciated. One tries seeking it many places, known or unknown to them. When one strives to do something good, kind or be generous by actions, words or thoughts; one secretly harbours the feeling and hope that these would be appreciated, whether those feelings come by knowingly or unknowingly.

“Know you not that a good man does nothing for appearance sake, but for the sake of having done right?” Epictetus 

What one often forgets is that, “doing good” doesn’t come with a tag that says “thank me” but with a hidden code that reveals how much comes from truly within. We can do good or be kind; because we want to or, just because we hope that some one would do it for us when we need it or, for some one of our own who may need it. Whatever the reason may be, unless we do “good” from deep within our hearts, all these would be in vain. For the real meaning of “doing good” would be lost, if it never began from within first.

“Be happy, noble heart, be blessed for all the good thou hast done and wilt do hereafter, and let my gratitude remain in obscurity like your good deeds.” Alexandre Dumas(The Count of Monte Cristo )

One woman baked two tortillas every morning. One for family members, and the second, additional, for the casual passerby. The woman always put the second flat cake on a window sill, and any person passing by could take it. Every day, when a woman laid a cake on the windowsill, she offered a prayer for her son, who had left the house to look for a better life. For months, the mother knew nothing about her boy and always prayed for his safe return.

Soon she noticed that a hunchback came every day and took the second cake. But instead of the words of gratitude, he only muttered: “The evil that you do remains with you, and the good returns to you!” and went on his way. This went on day after day. Not receiving the expected words of gratitude, the woman felt deceived. “Every day this hunchback says the same thing! But what does he mean?”
And one day, being especially irritated, she decided to end this. “I’ll get rid of this nasty hunchback!” She said to herself and added poison to the second tortilla. But when she was about to put her on the windowsill, the woman’s hands trembled. “What am I doing?” – she thought. And immediately threw the poisonous tortilla into the fire, cooked another one and put it on the windowsill. The hunchback, as usual, took the cake, muttering the constant words: “The evil that you do remains with you, and the good returns to you!” and continued on his way, unaware of the emotions raging inside the woman.

That same night someone knocked on the door. When the woman opened it, she saw her son standing in the doorway. He looked awful: hungry, thin, weak, in torn clothes. “Mom, it’s just a miracle that I’m here! I was just a mile from home, but I was so hungry that I fainted. I probably would have died, but just then some old hunchback passed by and he was so kind to me that he gave a whole cake. And he said that this was his only meal for the whole day, but he sees that I need her more than he does. ” When the mother heard these words, her face turned pale and she leaned to the door so as not to fall. She remembered the poisoned morning cake. After all, if she had not burned it in the fire, her own son would have died! It was then that the woman understood the meaning of the words: “The evil that you do remains with you, and the good returns to you!”

Moral of the story: Strive to do good always, even if no one appreciates it now.

“Every time you do a good deed you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is, when you’re gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.” Charles de lint

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Quotes, Stories Around the World

Kindness Beyond the Haste

“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.” Henri Frederic Amiel

Among the many conveniences of the modern world, one of the qualities that is too often lost in the melee of achieving something in our lives, is true humaneness. Very often acts and events related to sharing in society happen, where it involves giving one when having two or giving away the “extras” or “what we no longer use”. Yet when we share while sacrificing a bit of the materialistic pleasures for ourselves and not bragging about it; that merits a true sense of humaneness not restricted simply to what we can share if we have, but lending a hand whenever and how ever we can.

“Don’t let fear or insecurity stop you from trying new things. Believe in yourself. Do what you love. And most importantly, be kind to others, even if you don’t like them.” Stacy London

We all have our own set of people who we don’t really like or approve of. It may be true that they may done us harm at some point in our lives; yet we also have worn their shoes for time. As in there may have been many instances when we may have unknowingly caused hurt to others. No one can please everybody and one can never be always in everybody’s good books. We all have our days. Yet when ever we can, we should burn down all the grudges and learn to help. For man is a collective being, we learn from , through and with others. No matter who or what anybody has done to us at some time, be the reason to do them treat them unkindly when we can.

“It’s not our job to play judge and jury, to determine who is worthy of our kindness and who is not. We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, even – or rather, especially – when we’d prefer not to be.” Josh Radnor

“In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. ‘How much is an ice cream sundae?’, the boy asked. “50 cents,” replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it.
‘How much is a dish of plain ice cream?’ he inquired. Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient. “35 cents,” she said brusquely. The little boy again counted the coins. ‘I’ll have the plain ice cream,’ he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed.

When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were 15 cents – her tip.”

Posted in Daily, Food

Beyond the “C”

What connects Camellia sinensis, Coffea seeds, Kola nuts as well as the yaupon holly leaves, Amazonian holly guayusa leaves. The common factor is a simple but bitter, white crystalline purine, a methylxanthine alkaloid compound popularly consumed globally as “Caffeine”. The growing role of “caffeine” related beverages is evidenced by the celebration of March as the National Caffeine Awareness Month” by foodimentarians globally.

Like the two sides of a coin, caffeine has its’ own merits and demerits. Primarily playing its’ role as a central nervous stimulant as well as inhibitor of two major enzymes, phophodiesterase and adenosine; caffeine of coffee, tea as well as the medically available pure form has its’ indicated uses and merits.

From treating to preventing major diseases in neonates (like bronchopulmonary dysplasia, apnea of prematurity) as well aiding asthmatics in reducing their exacerbation; caffeine aids in reducing fatigue, drowsiness and improving coordination and reaction time. Imagine the endless night shifts, cramming before exams, pulling all nighters before the term exams in university and aiding to stay awake during classes after late night events; caffeine was always a life saver. In moderation, caffeine aids in reducing depressive symptoms as well as suicide idealizations.

“It was a pleasant cafe, warm and clean and friendly, and I hung up my old water-proof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a cafe au lait. The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of the coat and a pencil and started to write.” Ernest Hemingway

Not just students or night shift workers, for the gym goers, caffeine helps in improving their endurance, aids weight loss as well as increase the training or exercise volume. Moderate consumption of caffeine reduces dementia and Alzheimer’s risk, neuroprotective for Parkinson’s patients, reduces liver fibrosis and cirrhosis as well decreases risk of throat, mouth, colon and skin cancer.

On the other hand, more than 400 milligrams of caffeine intake has been associated with health risks ( Health Canada limitations) while toxic doses are in the range of ten grams or more of caffeine (50 -100 coffee cups with 80-175 mgs of caffeine per cup). Adverse effects of caffeine have a physical as well as psychological manifestation. In the former group would include raised blood pressure, headaches, increase gastrointestinal motility, increase bone loss in postmenopausal women, stained teeth, increased eye pressure in glaucoma patients, loss of essential minerals like iron and calcium as well as decreasing collagen synthesis i.e. more wrinkles.

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?” Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

From a psychological viewpoint, increase caffeine can lead to addiction, mood swings, dependency, anxiety disorders, tremors as well as irritability and sleep less nights. For the pregnant women, balancing the daily intake to two or less cups of coffee ( less than 200mg ) helps to reduce the caffeine induced pregnancy complications.

Caffeine consumption, highly depends on the way and reason we take it. From a simple homemade coffee to the “calorie laden coke” (laced with additional compounds) or the simple morning and evening ritual of tea, caffeine intake can be regulated. The more carefully we regulate the caffeine intake, the longer we can enjoy the merits than be affected by their demerits.

“Adventure in life is good; consistency in coffee even better.” Justina Chen, North of Beautiful

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, Photography Art, Quotes, Reflections

Finding the Harmony

“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” Rabindranath Tagore

In the chaotic existence of the days, as we come across many people and numerous interactions, there is one set of people that I admire the most. They are open to all ideas, listen to entire narratives with infinite patience, kind to many but rarely allow others to interfere in their lives. They look for the truth by themselves, gathering their world bit by bit and at times with gentle subtleness, not paying attention to the surprised and condemning views of those around them.

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity. From discord find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein

These kind of people are so rare being many-sided and beautiful. They are open to others, but they will never knock on doors where they are not welcome. They live in harmony with themselves, as their heart tells them. Usually they are considered insane, but these people love life, and she reciprocates them, giving them their best gifts. Harmony is the word that centers around these people.

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.” Thomas Merton

The peacefulness and concurrence with each other cannot be born in a day. For harmony to be attained it needs each one of us to be aware of the expectations and requirements that encompass us as we adapt in our own particular approach to life. To be in concordance with others will happen when we are in agreement with ourselves, living consistent with our most profound feelings of what is genuine and what matters most. The joy of life can be seen exemplified through the quiet power of harmony. When the state of harmony is balanced, one often discovers that life blossoms even through the tired, difficult, bleak and lonely days. All we need to do is find and synchronize the rhythm within to the thoughts, desires and dreams in our mind. Though this may seem difficult, it is never impossible to do so.

“The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one’s life.” Peace Pilgrim

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Quotes, Reflections

Screen “Timed”

The other day, my colleague and I were sitting at a cafe during our break hours. While enjoying our coffee, it was interesting to note that couples or groups at various tables were mostly on their phones. In the case of singlets, I would be able to understand but for couples to be mostly on phones felt strange. Late that day, during my drive back to home, the similar situations were seen among the students waiting for or on the bus, passengers on the bus, at the grocers’ – everyone were on their “screen time mode” be it phones, iPads or tablets. The question that popped in my mind was “how much of screen time do we attend to each day ?”

The sad fact is we all live in our screens. Trips are taken to showcase photos as proof of fun, not vice versa. If one disagrees, then why do we cram up so much sights in one day to see when we go on a break instead of enjoying each hour that we spend.

Sometimes you have to disconnect to stay connected. Remember the old days when you had eye contact during a conversation? When everyone wasn’t looking down at a device in their hands? We’ve become so focused on that tiny screen that we forget the big picture, the people right in front of us. Regina Brett

Screen time has cost us our ability to talk. We lack communication primarily, because we are too busy staring at the screens, or tired from staring at the screen all day or we are too caught up on thinking about what is happening on the screen. Each one of us have our own coat of interests, acquaintances offline and online, yet when they interfere with our social bonding, family ties, relationships and health; its’ time to re-evaluate.

The drawback of modern communication is that we “message, chat or pictorize” but we don’t communicate or really know how one is feeling or understand and listen to each other. Consequently we lose out on real love, kinship and bonds; instead we get swamped by bouts or periods of loneliness, inattention, superficiality and emptiness. There are many instances in families, communities or campuses, where individuals live under the same roof but know squat about each other. Privacy should be respected, but knowing basics of whether you like tea or coffee, vegan or not, healthy or unwell, address or one’s dislikes and likes is essential to forge and maintain bonds.

“It’s not just about limiting screen time; it’s about teaching kids to develop good habits in real life As well as managing their screen time.” Cynthia Crossley

The worst hit from excessive screen time are families. They live together but sit in their gadgets, completely oblivious to each other speaking “different languages”. Parents and children forget to talk to each other. There are exchange of words but no connection, intimacy, enjoyment or relaxation to just be together. “The key is to teach them how to be safe with technology, because ultimately, we want our children to be in charge of technology, rather than feeling technology is in charge of them,” as said by Elaine Halligan, London director of The Parent Practice

Knowing to delegate screen time is necessary, as each year in life happens only once. Adults can’t relive their childhood years like their children. Each one will grow up quickly and time will fly. Kids will grow up quickly, and we will not be able to sit with them, read books or just have some fun. We adults might find it late to spend time with someone dear, because life in general is lived quickly. We need to distribute our time to one another. When “screen time” becomes “screen life”, its’ time to change before we too get swiped by a tap.