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ashokbhatia

In our lives, you played the role of a dynamic and bustling airport,
From which we soared in life´s azure skies, enjoying our flights of high import;
Some took to exploring various corners of our Mother Earth,
Of diplomats, businessmen and bankers amongst us there is no dearth.

May 2014 049

Some flew literally high while others specialized in foretelling weather,
Some rose to positions of eminence in industries as diverse as IT and leather;
The allure of entrepreneurship and private sector careers proved irresistible to some,
Many found academics, social entrepreneurship and public services less worrisome.

May 2014 038

Probability theories taught us to manage uncertainty at life´s myriad stations,
Laws of motion led us to motivate people and have positive interpersonal relations;
Differential calculus taught us to analyze situations without tears,
Integral exhorted us to take an overall strategic view in all spheres.

0002 (86)

Structure of elementary particles made us discover forces of spirituality in…

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ashokbhatia

Can we identify a God who can be beseeched to preside over our Internet-ional GaneshaAffairs?

In Hinduism, for example, we are exposed to a mind-boggling variety of divine manifestations. Down the long corridors of time, since the dawn of history, the Hindu pantheon has evolved with a multitude of deities.

The deities offer an eclectic mix – some are highly specialized whereas others are all-purpose ones. Some are removers of any obstacles that a seeker may face in life. Some grant better learning abilities and wisdom. Some bestow immense wealth and prosperity. Then we have the generalist trinity – one is said to have crafted the creation, one runs it smoothly like a true blue CEO while another destroys and reconstructs. The latter two intervene in human affairs as and when they deem it necessary.Ravi_Varma-Lakshmi

In fact, there is no sphere of life which has not been touched by some…

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Netizens who happen to be on Facebook come in different sizes, shapes, hues and ethnicities. Their value systems, personalities, mentalities and quirkiness quotients form a captivating rainbow of humanity. The psychology of the individual varies for all. So do their posts.

Even though the Posters and the Postees on Facebook are merely prisoners of their own individual psychologies, one can discern broad patterns in their behaviour. Some are compulsive Posters who consider a day wasted if they are not able to pass by their Facebook account. Others are casual by temperament and saunter in occasionally, sharing something on their timeline and then getting busy with the mundane affairs of their lives. Many others, who form but a minority, create an account and then blissfully forget all about it.

(The term Poster here refers to those who post on Facebook. The term Postee alludes to the hapless souls who have no choice but to go through it in their daily feed.)

If Rupert Psmith (of P G Wodehouse fame) were to endeavour to classify different kinds of Posters normally found on this social media platform, the results may be somewhat along the following lines.

  1. The Conscientious Poster

The Poster posts something of genuine interest to many, gets beefed up by the number of ‘likes’ and comments received, and a healthy discussion ensues.

If the Postees happen to be chasing their own dreams in life and no ‘likes’ and comments ensue, the Poster is likely to get into a V-shaped depression which takes some time to wear off.

Such bouts of depression are not dissimilar to the kind of traumatic phases Lord Emsworth passes through when the Empress of Blandings starts refusing her daily dose of nourishment.

The popularity and longevity of a post depends on many factors: (a) Contemporary relevance of the topic, (2) The time at the disposal of the Postees, (3) The degree to which the topic is controversial, and (4) Whether the Poster keeps responding to the steady stream of comments pouring in.

  1. The Ghost Poster

The Postee gets a notification from someone like Stiffy Byng on her friends’ list providing a link to something which interests the Postee. However, upon visiting the link, the Postee finds the item alluded to missing, much like a fakir of yore doing his vanishing trick.

Perhaps the administrators, in their infinite wisdom, decided to dump the link, deeming it to be inappropriate for civilization at large.

  1. The Detached Poster

Such Posters follow the advice dished out by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. They merely exercise their right to post things which, in their opinion, could interest the hoi polloi. They do not crave for any results from such posts. Having posted, they move on to perform other duties in their lives, only to return with yet another post. ‘Likes’ and comments on their posts are none of their concerns. They post in the true spirit of a detached soul. They happen to be true practitioners of renunciation.

  1. The Share-a-Crap Poster

Some people are in the habit of unleashing every single thing they find in their notification upon all the unsuspecting persons on their friends’ list, leaving many of the Postees twiddling their thumbs trying to figure out the rationale of such posts. Many of them, particularly those who believe in the power of introspection, start wondering as to what they have done to deserve the honour of receiving such inane posts.

  1. The Political Garbage Poster

Nowadays there are many arm-chair political analysts who keep posting their political opinions disguised as deep analyses about everything happening on either the national or the international stage. They keep unleashing unwarranted garbage of all kind on the clueless Postees, while themselves living in a delusional bubble of superior knowledge and analytical stills on matters in which they have no real responsibility of their own. It is a superb exercise in flattering the fledgling ego of the Poster.

Come election time and such posts further heighten the decibel level of the kind of rhetoric and jingoism which is sometimes made to look like hyper nationalism. Roderick Spode would heartily approve.

The presence or absence of ‘Likes’ and comments on their posts fail to dampen their enthusiasm; they keep posting relentlessly on matters national and international geopolitics.

  1. The Religious Rowdy Poster

The Posters of such posts forward photos of some benevolently smiling God over Himalayas or a boon-granting Goddess with the backdrop of a jungle, both clearly a result of some clever photo-shopping. The hapless Postees are then threatened with dire consequences if they fail to share forward the post within 3 seconds of having set their eyes on it.

The fate of Postees who do follow such instructions is not known; what is certain, however, is that such chain-posts do keep the Facebook guys and the internet service providers laughing all the way to their respective banks.

When the same Poster keeps posting about the same God most of the times, he willy-nilly ends up offending the Gods left out, who take a jaundiced view of the proceedings. The risk of inviting their collective wrath keeps going up with each offending post.

  1. The Sympathy-gainer Posters

These are Posters who follow the rules of commerce laid down by Ukridge. They have perfected the art of playing with the Postees’ heart-strings. Emotional blackmail of this kind could take the shape of either a blood-smeared kid or an IV lined ICU patient whose photo is posted, claiming that Facebook gives them One rupee for every ‘Like’, Five Rupees for every Share and 10 Rupees for a comment. Some posts even try and touch the wallets of the gullible Postees.

One can be certain that poor Mark Zuckerberg has enough troubles on his plate other than facing the prospect of going bankrupt thus.

  1. The Narcissist Poster

In the universe of this brand of Posters, God is always in heaven. There is never a problem in sight. The sun never sets. Rain never plays a spoil sport.

Hourly updates concerning themselves, their families and friends, their pets, their escapades in life and anything that happens to them under the sun keep popping up at such regularity as to put even atomic clocks to shame.

It is common to find an apparently loving wife posting an anniversary greeting to her equally apparently loving husband; fathers greeting their sons on their birthdays, even when both are living under the same roof, and doting daughters wishing their mother on her birthday, etc.

The underlying belief obviously is that love for their near and dear ones needs to be expressed publically and not in private; that public approval of a private sentiment is necessary.

Imagine Bobby Wickham having access to Facebook. In order to get her mother to approve of her intentions of walking down the aisle with Reginald “Kipper” Herring, all she has to do is to announce her feigned plan of marrying Bertie Wooster on her timeline, accompanied by a selfie of herself and her mentally negligible fiancée beaming happily together at an exotic locale.

Under this category, there exist several sub-categories of Posters.

a. The Foodie (Bakasura) Posters, who post photos of what and where they are eating at any point in time.

Fast food joints like McDonalds’ and CCD just love such Posters, though it is not clear why they don’t offer freebies to such promotional creatures. For all the Postees care, they could be swallowing some form of poison or the other.

After all, drooling over the snaps of a 32 course meal dished out by a local Anatole is injurious to the lining of the stomach of any of the Postees who might already be suffering under strict instructions from their physicians and better halves to lay off the succulent variety of vitamins.

b. The Travelling Posters, who keep posting photos of their national or international sojourns, thereby keeping not only airlines, hotels and other service providers but even robbers back home in brisk business.

The destination as well as the mode of travel is often highlighted so as to make the Postees green with envy.

Often, the Posters forget that one is permitted to catch a flight or a train without having to compulsorily post it on Facebook. Sure enough, they believe in the sage counsel from Jeeves – that travel is highly educational.

c. The Emotional Posters: They could be feeling sad or elated at some event and would post a soulful quote of a famous poet or lyricist. They simply forget that when they cry, the Postees are not interested in sharing their bad fortune. Yes, some might make sympathetic noises. Also, when they laugh, quite a few may join in, but are not enthused enough to get out on the street and shake a leg or two.

  1. The Thoughtless Posters

It is a sad commentary on the kind of times we live in when we find that even terrorists decide to become tech-savvy Posters.

Gullible Postees who act like headless chickens, lose no time in becoming Posters themselves, thereby giving instant publicity and wide coverage to such heinous acts.

The case for a Social Media Detox

Some posts are amusing and anecdotal in nature. Some are entertaining. Few are educational. Quite a few are inane and eminently forgettable. But a vast majority of the posts basically share information about happier occurrences in the lives of a Poster with the Postees in their circle of friends and acquaintances.

Those who have become addicted to social media are more to be pitied than to be censured. Rather than using a platform like Facebook as a useful tool in life, they have opted to become its slaves.

Perhaps, there is a strong case for more of such hapless souls to join SPIN, the Society for Prevention of Internet Narcissism! Or, taking up an internet de-addiction course offered by the Droitgate Spa!!

(Note: Sriram Paravastu is an ex-Indian Air Force professional. When he decides to take a dig at some of our social ills, he uses the laser beam of a soldier-like discipline and precision to carpet bomb the issue at hand.

This blog post is penned by him. Yours truly is guilty of having taken quite a few liberties with his original text.

Illustrations are courtesy Suvarna Sanyal, a retired banker who has an eye and an ear for all there is to see, listen to and laugh at in this world.)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-who-is-the-smartest-of-them-all

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/01/05/the-droitgate-spa-now-offers-net-detoxification-programs)

 

 

 

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Creative persons often respond to crises in their lives with a renewed enthusiasm and vigour for their art and craft. Creative juices help them to not only retain a state of mental equipoise but also pour out some strikingly positive thoughts. The shadow of a deep sorrow within eventually decides to part company and move on to some other soul which happens to be more vulnerable. A pale parabola of joy becomes visible on the horizon, leading the tormented soul from an abyss of darkness to a brighter and cheerier environment. Goddess Saraswati provides a healing touch.

Late Shri Harivansh Rai Bachchan lost his first wife at a young age. One of the poems he penned at the time is a great composition which could enthuse anyone who is grappling with the sudden loss of a loved one.

Translation skills of yours truly are indeed debatable. However, the essence of the poem entitled, say, ‘What has happened has happened‘, is pregnant with some relevant lessons from one’s environment. But before we come to that, let us savour the original first.

जो बीत गई सो बात गई

जीवन में एक सितारा था
माना वह बेहद प्यारा था
वह डूब गया तो डूब गया
अम्बर के आनन को देखो
कितने इसके तारे टूटे
कितने इसके प्यारे छूटे
जो छूट गए फिर कहाँ मिले
पर बोलो टूटे तारों पर
कब अम्बर शोक मनाता है
जो बीत गई सो बात गई

जीवन में वह था एक कुसुम
थे उसपर नित्य निछावर तुम
वह सूख गया तो सूख गया
मधुवन की छाती को देखो
सूखी कितनी इसकी कलियाँ
मुर्झाई कितनी वल्लरियाँ
जो मुर्झाई फिर कहाँ खिली
पर बोलो सूखे फूलों पर
कब मधुवन शोर मचाता है
जो बीत गई सो बात गई

जीवन में मधु का प्याला था
तुमने तन मन दे डाला था
वह टूट गया तो टूट गया
मदिरालय का आँगन देखो
कितने प्याले हिल जाते हैं
गिर मिट्टी में मिल जाते हैं
जो गिरते हैं कब उठतें हैं
पर बोलो टूटे प्यालों पर
कब मदिरालय पछताता है
जो बीत गई सो बात गई

मृदु मिटटी के हैं बने हुए
मधु घट फूटा ही करते हैं
लघु जीवन लेकर आए हैं
प्याले टूटा ही करते हैं
फिर भी मदिरालय के अन्दर
मधु के घट हैं मधु प्याले हैं
जो मादकता के मारे हैं
वे मधु लूटा ही करते हैं
वह कच्चा पीने वाला है
जिसकी ममता घट प्यालों पर
जो सच्चे मधु से जला हुआ
कब रोता है चिल्लाता है

जो बीत गई सो बात गई

(Courtesy: http://kavitakosh.org)

If you had a star in your life which was bright and beautiful, the day it fell from the sky, it just fell. The sky does not grieve over it. When fragrant flowers fall, the forest of honey does not wallow in sorrow. The vessels of mud, containing tissue restoratives, fall and break. But those in a merry making mood move on with their celebration of life. There is not much point in mourning over the loved ones who have parted company for ever.

Life goes on. Look forward to tomorrow with some uplifting thoughts and ideas. Do not grieve over a lost opportunity.

A profound message, indeed.

(PS: If you liked this post, and happen to be a fan of P G Wodehouse, you may like to check this out as well: 

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/the-death-of-death-at-the-hands-of-p-g-wodehouse)

 

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ashokbhatia

Ever imagined living in a fairy land where all those you happen to know are smart, living their lives to the hilt? They could be visiting exotic locales, celebrating career achievements and other events in their lives, or simply having a blast. The sun is always shining, the flowers are forever in bloom, the birds are incessantly twittering and the bees are invariably busy collecting nourishment from delicate flowers. In other words, God is always in heaven and all is well with the world.internet image 1

In this land, the sky is never overcast. The harsh arrows and slings of life simply do not exist. No one ever falls sick. A business loss or a career setback never appears on the horizon. There are no villains around. Parents find that kids throw no tantrums. All denizens behave in an exemplary fashion. Everybody likes everybody else. Spirits are all buoyed up, what with…

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ashokbhatia

Whether it is the realm of politics, home affairs, civic issues or public transport, Sudhir Dar’s cartoons continue to regale us with their tongue-in-cheek humour.

You may enjoy these as well:

01 Strike and Lift

02 Car pools

03 Bus drivers

04 Old vehicles

05 Thieves

06 Men

07 Board meetingsDenizens of Delhi would surely relate to these works of art better. But the underlying messages happen to be global in nature.

The likes of Sudhir Dar, R K Laxman, Mario Miranda and Shankar have always managed to keep us amused with their timely and witty cartoons. But for them, and but for authors like P G Wodehouse, our lives would be so very dull and dreary.

(Source: The Best of Sudhir Dar, Penguin Books)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/this-is-it-part-1

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/the-inimitable-r-k-laxman

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/the-inimitable-r-k-laxman-2-0)

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(Lord Rama, hero of the iconic Indian epic ‘Ramayana’, is an epitome of virtue. His reign, referred to as ‘Ram Rajya’, is held to be an ideal in governance, wherein the citizens are contented and happy. They experience unparalleled prosperity and peace. Justice prevails. Here is a reality check in the current context.)

Shri Ram Chandra ji, were He to visit India one of these days, would be simply annoyed at finding His name being used for reasons of political expediency and for polarization of society, rather than for promoting high values, communal harmony, peace and an equitable treatment to all citizens of the country.

In case He decides to visit Thailand instead, He might be received with due honours by King Vajiralongkorn, who carries the title King Rama X. While being escorted through the ruins of Ayutthaya, He would be told of its 2,00,000 people and 4,000 Buddhist temples which were looted and destroyed by an invading Burmese army more than 200 years back. Also, about the Chakkri dynasty which restored the city and built the resplendent Buddhist temple which happens to be a major tourist attraction today.

If He were to visit one of the Western countries, He might be pleased to find a relatively better adherence to the standards of governance set by His ‘Ram Rajya’ in the days of yore. With lower crime rates, speedier justice delivery, better security, more efficient delivery of public services, higher respect for women and innovative welfare measures, the developed countries score much higher. Above all, the citizen’s respect for due process of law and a tendency to not only demand rights but also to acknowledge attendant responsibilities would likely meet His approval.

Yet another feature He would appreciate would be the attempt by some of His true followers to hold aloft the high ideals He stood for and to continue to spread the same through publication of scholarly works, holding of meaningful seminars and conferences, and by spreading the message of His unique life amongst the youth of today.

The relevance of Ramayana in the present context

It goes without saying that the story of Lord Ram transcends the vagaries of time and space. The lessons one can learn from any version of Ramayana remain as relevant today as they were eons ago. Respect for elders is one such lesson. Assisting the needy and the underprivileged is another. Showing due reverence to the environment and to members of different species is yet another. Vanquishing the evil amongst us, according top priority to one’s duty in life, sticking to one’s commitments, respecting women, keeping an open mind towards acquiring new knowledge, being proficient in statecraft, addressing concerns of common folks – these are some others which readily spring to one’s mind.

The impeccable manner in which He conducted himself sets the bar for today’s governments and rulers very high. Not for Him the kind of barriers – political, economic, social, attitudinal or otherwise – that we see rising most of the times. Not for Him the kind of back-stabbing, lip service and rampant corruption we notice in high places these days. Neither would He have approved of the absence of an inclusive and equitable society, leading to a meteoric rise of hit-and-run terrorism and communal clashes. Nor would He be happy looking at the kind of treatment meted out to the women folk.

Would ‘Ram Rajya’ remain a Utopia?

The questions that are topmost on the minds of some of us are simply these: Will ‘Ram Rajya’ forever remain a Utopian concept? Will a day ever dawn when the average person on the street would be able to savour the fruits of good governance?

The advent of Industrial Revolution 4.0, backed by rapid advances in technology, provides a faint glimmer of hope, though not without riders. We have witnessed not only an Arab Spring but also the power of social media to sway public opinion. If governments start adopting Blockchain technologies, Truth would stand a better chance to prevail.

As technologies become super-efficient, these could eventually bring about a humbling equality among all human beings, propelling us into an era where the principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity get really followed. But since a technology is as good as the intention behind its use, much depends on the intentions of our leaders who wield the resources to use it.

One might sound a little pessimist, but the answer to the question remains in the negative, at least in the foreseeable future. But we have hope. Hindu scriptures speak of the endless cycles of four different kinds. The end of Kala Yuga is likely to herald the advent of a Sata Yuga, followed by another Treta Yuga, which would then see the emergence of yet another ‘Ram Rajya’.

However, for Homo sapiens, this cannot be a cause for celebration and complacency. As long as Lord Ram is around, Ravana would not be far behind. The fight between the good and the evil would continue unabated. This fight exists not only in the external world but also in our internal thought processes. By purifying our thoughts and acting on the same, we can initiate a change which could eventually transform the society.

Ramayana sets an example of perfection which we all need to aspire for. It exhorts us to keep fighting the demons within and without us. It touches the innate divinity and goodness we carry within ourselves. Herein lies the secret of its enduring appeal.

Notes:

  1. This is an article accepted for publication by RamQuest, a scholarly
    journal which explores various facets of Ramayana. It is one of the
    publications brought out by Prof Omprakash K Gupta, Professor in
    Management at the University of Houston-Downtown, USA.
  2. Here is a link to an International Conference on Ramayana which is taking place at Jaipur in India shortly: http://www.ramcharit.org/irc2.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/management-lessons-from-ramayana

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/09/29/what-ceos-can-learn-from-ravana)

 

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