How I Became a Hindu: My Discovery of Vedic Dharma

David Frawley spoke on ‘How I Became a Hindu: My Discovery of Vedic Dharma’ at the creatively named venue ‘Adjust Maadi’. Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) is a Vedic teacher and Hindu Acharya. He is the author of fifty books published in twenty languages worldwide. His fields of expertise include Yoga, Ayurveda, Vedanta, Jyotish and ancient Vedic texts. He has also written extensively on historical, social and cultural issues facing Hinduism and India today. Not to shy away from discussing contentious issues, Dr. Frawley began with describing his work of promoting vedic education, all paths of yoga, vedanta, jyotish, ayurveda, and other realms of the Indian system of knowledge under one umbrella of the Sanatana Dharma.

While stressing on the popularity of the Indian systems, he said – “India is not just a modern nation. India is millennia old vedic civilization that went inside the consciousness behind the universe. However, presently, modern India has lost its connection with its traditional systems.” He mentioned that there was no one Holy Book or one God or one Guru for the Hindus. There are more festivals, more Gods, more Gurus, more sampradayas, more books in the Indian system than in any other country or culture of the world. He added that the Indian festivals in particular should be regarded as World Heritage. He also pointed out that the courts in the United States did not interfere in the matter of religions and even the Indian courts did not do that in the matters of other religions. However, for Hindus, the courts and the state are controlling the religion from outside. Commenting later on the Sabarimala verdict of the Supreme Court, he asserted that when the courts and the state had no stake in the matters of religions and when they did not consult any of the Hindu Acharyas on such matters, they did not have the right to pronounce such a judgement.

David Frawley comes from a Catholic background and got interested in the Indian systems during the 60s movement, thanks to the Beatles, Maharishi Yogi, Prabhupada, Paramhansa Yogananda who he considers to be the Father of Yoga for the West. What he found lacking in the western philosophies, he found in Buddhism, Hinduism, and other eastern traditions. Gradually, he also studied Advaita Vedanta, Ramana Maharshi and Sri Sri Aurobindo’s works. He started correspondence with Anandamayi Ma and M.P. Pandit of the Sri Sri Aurobindo Ashram who later published his works in India. About 30 years ago, he was advised to become a Hindu and realizing he was already living the life of a Hindu, he adopted Hinduism. He continued his work on the ancient wisdom of India and was soon faced with ridicule for debunking the Aryan Invasion theory and showing Hinduism in positive light. Without naming the journalist of The Week magazine, Dr. Frawley informed the audience that the hatred amounted to him being labeled as a well known fascist. However, defending his position, he added that for the issues he had stood for in the United States, he had often been labeled as a leftist.

Dr. Frawley also expressed his bewilderment over the love Indians gave to Freud and Marx. According to him, all of Freud and Marx could be contained in a small corner of Aurobindo’s or Adi Shankara’s works. Dr. David Frawley appealed to the audience and the Hindus in general to become Sadhakas or practitioners instead of becoming academics in their traditional systems. “The Hindu wisdom is universal in nature and as such is relevant to everyone. The great knowledge of ‘I’m neither this body nor this mind’ comes from the Vedanta and the exposition of this thought must come from the inner practitioners and not the academics. Hindus must assert themselves because others are doing it already. They should understand and practise their wisdom and spread it to the whole world.”, he added.

Dr. David Frawley believes that India can only rise as India or Bharat and not by some imposed idea from outside. Q&A followed his concluding remarks where he answered questions on inner spiritual growth for the urban youth. He took up other subjects as well and impressed upon his audience that the idea that one can only be a born Hindu and not a convert was a propaganda, and the courts shouldn’t have intervened in the Sabarimala issue.

 

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The Trial Room

A huge, bulky, and drooping belly characterized the organism’s appearance. His back was bent to overcome the shoulders and the head at any moment. The thighs appeared as though transplanted from an elephant. The organism had the face of a basketball’s size. However, his legs were as thin as a grasshopper’s and it was incredulous to see that the giant whole rested on those fragile legs. His movements were slow, with heavy thuds on earth reminiscent of the times when Tyrannosaurus walked the planet. Flab hanging from every part of the body except the legs gave him the appearance of a cryptic creature worthy only of hatred and despise. When he opened his mouth to speak, it was the most abominable sight. One would wonder why such a creature needed to speak at all. Words were barely audible. Comprehension was impossible. The gigantic jaws distanced themselves from each other with sticky, greenish grime stuck in the passes between the teeth and floating from left to right and then right to left as the organism moved his head to retain them in his mouth. Why would he retain all the filth in his mouth – was beyond anyone’s understanding. The organism had perhaps made a promise to himself to become as loathsome as possible. One was not able to keep eyes on him for more than mere glances to just satiate the curiosity of the mind. Children were less afraid and they stared more consistently. It was the giant dinosaur straight out on the street from every movie they had watched. For them, it was a sight to behold and in their minds, they schemed for the destruction of this organism in case it turned rogue.

 

The organism was visibly naked but his genitals weren’t visible. A colony of bees swarmed on them and a grisly mix of honey and rotten blood dripped from the swarm. There were dogs pursuing the organism to get a drop on their tongue and were occasionally successful in laying a tongue or two on his genitals only to be attacked and stung by the bees that puffed their faces to double their size. The dogs never gave up and kept following the organism on the streets. Realizing he needed to get away from them, the incredible organism wanted to hire a cab and rush away.

Who would offer a cab to this monster though? Tired of signaling at the cabs, he resumed his slow, earth-pounding walk and climbed a few steps to a nearby clothing store. Before anyone could say anything, he picked up three t-shirts and entered the trial room.

It was a sham. He knew none of the t-shirts would fit him. However, he had to keep away from the dogs on the street and a few minutes in the trial room would perhaps bore the dogs and they would go away. The trial room had a mirror. He looked at himself and sat down with his head in his feeble hands. He wasn’t this monster always. The t-shirts he had picked were random but there is an order in randomness too. He had picked an XS, an S, and an M sized t-shirt.  All these three sizes fit him once when he was a kid, a teenager, and then when he entered his twenties. He entered his 30s becoming this monster and since then, he had to be naked all the time. There was nothing on the stores he could fit inside.

He looked at his loathsome appearance with disgust. However, with some kind of careless momentary zeal, he picked up the XS t-shirt to try. His hands occupied all the space inside it. A similar fate awaited the S and M sized t-shirts. He looked up in the mirror again and saw a man looking at him. The man wore a black coat and wielded a gavel in his right hand. There was a desk in front of him on which he rested his left hand. He looked into the organism’s eyes and hit the gavel on the desk. It sounded exactly like the organism’s loud thuds on the streets when he walked. There were two other people who stood in the mirror. Both of them wore black coats and were debating vigorously. One stood close to the organism and the other close to the one with the gavel. The organism stood in the witness-box and was being interrogated by the one who stood closer to him.

“Do you know what the charge against you is?”

“I do not know!”

“I do not understand. Can you speak with some clarity?”

 

The organism swallowed some of the grime in his mouth and answered.

 

“I do not know!”

“That’s better. You have broken into an outlet where they sell only XS, S, and M sized clothes. You know that’s illegal, don’t you?”

“I did not know.”

“That is illegal Mr. Monster. That’s a crime. You have barged into an out-of-bounds shop without permission and that’s why you were straightaway dispatched to the Trial Room.”

“But, I wasn’t dispatched away. I just ran in here to save myself.”

“Save yourself, from whom?”

“The dogs, the dogs were eating my genitals. I had to save myself.”

“Dogs, very well…”

At that moment, all the people in the trial room – the Judge, the two lawyers, and the audience transformed into rabid dogs and all pounced upon the genitals of the monster. Writhing in pain and wanting to yell for help, the monster couldn’t raise a sound till there remained nothing but balls of brown blood in place of genitals on his body. As the dogs licked the last drop of blood on the floor, they caught a sight of the organism standing in the trial room, charged towards him, and leaped out of the mirror. Stupefied in horror, the organism sunk his eyes into his tiny arms.  

 

A dull silence ensued. The dogs had turned back into Judge, lawyers, and audience. The organism found a witness box around him. The Judge scribbled on his desk and pronounced – “The trial room finds the accused guilty of gluttony and forbids him to enter any regular and healthy society. The trial room also awards the convict with a house arrest till such time as the convict makes himself fit for the XS, S, or M society or dies while trying, whichever is earlier.” The sentence was brought into force. At home, he was put on a running treadmill by his family members and his fragile hands were tied behind him. He began to lose his breath within a minute. His pet dog stood by his side, salivating and waiting for his end.

 

 

From Ideas to Iconic Brands – Giles Lury

Giles says at the end of his book -“… This book was never meant to complete with them or play that role; rather I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to complement those other books….”

Giles claims to have written a storybook and not a textbook, he succeeds in that attempt and makes you go through the stories of 101 brands in the most lucid manner. With the brands that have been successful, he has also added stories of brands who got it wrong and sunk into oblivion, and this has, to the benefit of the author, imparted contrasting hues to his work.

I liked reading these stories and I would certainly recommend it to people around me instead of letting them dig the entire web without direction. However, I see a particular pattern emerging out that worries me as a writer as well as a reader. As with the startup scene, are we seeing an aggregation age in book publishing too where a collection of x items is turned into a book without caring for an often cited term ‘creativity’, of the author’s mind? I hope that the publishers recognize the sincere from the lazy and do not overdo the business part in this complex Creativity-Business equation. Most of all, I hope this book doesn’t fall on the shelf that is meant to mint money at the expense of originality.

Giles Lury has written a book From Ideas to Iconic Brands. He is the Executive Chairman of The Value Engineers, a leading marketing and advertising agency. The book is published by Jaico. Giles Lury has an affable way of writing and keeps you with him from first page to the last. Push in one addendum that most of the brand stories in the book can be found on the web, his work gains a more difficult skin – what difference has he made to the stories already out there while bringing them down in his book?

I would add two more things to Giles’ note at the end of the book about his purpose – Context and Objective. The writer tacitly adds a context to each of the story he tells and has an objective, a motivation in his head to tell a story when he tells it. This makes it easier for the readers to take what they would usually take from the book and also receive an extra message on writer’s own conclusions to the stories. By the time I reached the other end of his book, I felt I had more wherewithal with me to use at work and life as compared to when I started reading it.

We are a Generation of Media Zombies, We Need a Ghar Wapasi!

If you are outraged by the rise and rise of Dhinchak Pooja, I ask you where were you when a man called Arnab Goswami was essentially puking noise into your ears and still fetching highest TRPs of all other mortal pukers on television. Or, where were you when another man known as Ravish Kumar converted your TV into a Radio with darkness in your eyes and NDTV’s ‘holier-than-thou’ garbage in your ears?

 
Of course, you have no answers to these questions. You were not there to outrage then, you have no right to make any noise now. You’re a hypocrite who is suffering from selective amnesia. You’re a patron of the fiberals, you sleep with the presstitutes, you have pawned your brains to sickulars.
News channels invite 100 panelists for a debate and you are supposed to think they are serious about the subject. The moderator showers the choicest insults at the panelists and those panelists come back on the channel to take more insults on the very next day, and you are supposed to think all those camera-deprived spineless people will make a difference to your life. Award winning journalists tell you that your new currency notes will have satellites embedded in them and you are supposed to give them hours of viewership.

 
Journalists tell you the religion of every muslim killed in the country and you still think they are the doyens of journalism just because they tell it in English. A stringer pays to a child to say things on camera and you continue to watch that channel. You are steadily metamorphosing into something terrible!

 
When all that all these media agencies spit out is hate and you, otherwise a lovable person who loves his neighbour, fan the dark side of your spirit every day and each night, you become someone I call a Media Kill.

 

Who is a Media Kill?
Anyone who converts from an otherwise ‘minding-his-own-business’ person to someone who judges others 24×7 under direct or indirect influence of the media is a Media Kill.

 
One of the defining features of the present day’s media is not being able to look inside themselves. As a result, you won’t find an Arnab Goswami debating any wrong done by the Times group (remember the tale of Times of India and one Miss Deepika Padukone?) as long as he works there. You won’t find Ravish Kumar debating NDTV’s misdemeanours while covering 26/11 attacks while teaching the standards of journalism to every other network. You won’t find a Sudhir Chaudhary discussing his own lies about the new currency notes during what became an orgastic festival for the news networks that loved Mr. Modi, better known as Demonetization.

 

Media throws open its entire hand while pointing fingers at others. Human beings on the other hand, (I refer here to the ones who are not yet converted), are born to think, introspect, question, think again, and find answers. Media hates thinking individuals.
Hence, the primary objective of today’s media is to increase the numbers of their kind. An inward looking person is a bad panelist for their debates, an introspecting soul is a failed commerce for their TRPs, a person who judges himself instead of others has no use for the media. So, they are out there to convert you, so that they exist for eternity. Every person they convert thus, is a kill, and should be counted as Media Kill.

 

Question – When did you last see a Scientist or a Teacher on any Indian newsroom’s panel discussion?

 

How do these conversions happen?
There are different means. One is by not letting you think. Such hunters show you all that they speak in text form on the screen. Your ears, your eyes, and your mind are all engaged. After a while, you start ignoring the sound and begin waiting for the texts on the screen. The channel has effectively blocked your ears. Some channels do the opposite and block your eyes. The point is to induce thoughtlessness in your mind.
Another way is to keep shouting so loud that the noise dashes into your brain and drowns all your thoughts. You get tired and you sleep while the newsperson keeps shouting judgmental lullabies in your ears. Next day, you decide to not watch it but cometh the 9pm moment, reacheth the remote control! You sleep only after you have got your daily supply of scream-pills.

 
These methods are still superficial. One of the more dangerous means to gain a Media Kill is to distract you from real issues, say, you have no water in your house but media will make you believe that there are no minorities in the country because all of them have been killed by the majoritarian system, or while a community is fighting to be allowed to sing if they want to, these media vultures run a debate on whether Vande Mataram is anti-that community, or while you lament the fact that India is not doing enough on cancer research, they take you on temple runs with Rahul Gandhi and hold discussions on what’s printed on Modi’s suit. So, you keep thinking of cancer research in India for 3 days and then comes the fourth day, the day of your conversion, you start thinking about Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi!

 
From ‘Maut ka Bathtub’ to ‘Amitabh Bachchan ko thand lagi’, from ‘kya alien gaay ka doodh peete hain’ to other ‘sansanikhez khulasas’, media knows how to keep the kill count increasing and create a generation of Media Zombies who are going to spend their lives criticizing everything instead of creating anything!

 

First they bore you, then they shout at you, then you like them, then they deliver their lies to you, then they run a Save Tiger Campaign, then you convert!

 

Unless someone starts a Ghar Wapasi channel, I am waiting for the media to perish. I can no longer watch television until the day I get to switch to a news or entertainment channel where we are allowed to use our minds and convert back to the ‘Thinking Man’ we used to be when there was life on Mars and before the Martian media wiped it off. India TV, are you listening?

Spoilers for Karnataka: Indignity War

Why is it that after every dreamy manifesto every five years from all parties in any electoral contest, nothing changes for our country? Why is it that many people I have interviewed in Karnataka don’t really care who gets to sit on the throne after the elections? Why is it that the pre-poll promises are never taken seriously in our country? Will Karnataka become a better state if the BJP comes to power? Will it worsen if the Congress gets the power back? What can Mr. Yeddyurappa do this time after getting elected that he couldn’t do in his previous term? What can Mr. Siddaramaiah do in the next five years that he couldn’t do in his current term? What are they going to change? Like many others, my answer is – nothing, because we are trapped in the time loop, not very different from the one created with the Eye of Agamotto by Dr. Strange. Only that, this time, the eye is blinded and in place of Dormammu, we sit there, too bored to look into the details of a disaster fomenting before us. Or maybe not, maybe all this is for some greater good. Hold on, before you pelt generalisation stones at me, I have a few things of my own to throw.

Are you a pornography consumer? Would you like to watch porn videos in the Karnataka assembly? That’s not an entirely unrealistic fantasy to live by. BJP provides tickets to live such fantasies, thanks to their Achhe Din promise. Laxman Savdi and CC Patil were the two MLAs caught watching porn in the Karnataka assembly in 2012. Guess what, they are here to be reelected. BJP has given tickets to Savdi from Athani and to Patil from Nargund.

The situation is brighter than you would guess. BJP has fielded 83 candidates with criminal charges, Congress has fielded 59, and JD(S), touted as the kingmaker has 41 candidates with criminal charges. When all the criminals get concentrated inside the assembly, we can obviously hope for less crime and more peace in other parts of the state. In all, out of 2560 candidates analysed by The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 391 have criminal cases against them. 25 of them have Attempt to Murder cases against them and 23 have cases related to crimes against women in their names. 4 of the candidates have Murder cases against them at present. In case you are interested in knowing the names of these candidates who are going to keep us safe, hide here – adrindia.org

Congress coming back to power will also mean the continuation of the good present days wherein voters would be allowed to set the state on fire for their rights on issues like Kaveri water sharing etc.

In other good news, Dr. G Parameshwara of the Congress gets his ticket from Koratagere. This is perhaps his reward for speaking truth to power after the Bengaluru Mass Molestation Case – “such things happen”. He is going to obliterate all the western influence on us or at least half of it once he gets all the Infinity Stones from his chosen constituency and will call it mercy. Why would the mining barons be left behind? Reddy brothers are coming to a constituency near you very soon, of course, as Yeddyurappa says, “Winning each seat is important.”

Also, try hiding your excitement at this – Siddaramaiah is the same MLA who got DIG D. Roopa transferred overnight after she tabled her report on the VIP treatment for Shashikala inside the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison, Bengaluru. For his proactive step, Siddaramaiah gets tickets from 2 constituencies – Badami and Chamundeshwari. He gets an additional reward for his superhuman efforts to clean the Bellandur lake, a ticket for his son Yathindra too from Varuna.

Manifestoes are out! Parties are enunciating their glorious vision for the state. Thanos has used the Time Stone to take Mr. Modi and Mr. Amit Shah back to 2014, so they are doing a rally on every-feet-road of Bengaluru. Mr. Rahul Gandhi has taken help from Thanos to find out that one situation where he gets to be the Prime Minister out of 14 million outcomes and hence, is going temple-hopping with his face turned towards 10 Janpath saying, “there was no other way, Mom

There are more rumours out there. Please your ears and eyes by clicking on the links mentioned below –

Satyamev_Jayate_India

India is being gang raped every day

Usually, I cite numbers and data while putting my point across. However, that’s not how I want to say things here. In a country like India, where most of the cases of rape or for that matter, any other crime go unreported as well as under-reported (media), numbers won’t help us reach anywhere. We, the people of different religions, castes, states, and political affiliations, might be able to congratulate ourselves over lower rates of crimes when compared to the other competing groups. So far, it seems that data has been used only to impress upon others that things are worse elsewhere and hence, we have nothing to worry at present. Yes, we are waiting for our hell to be as terrible as that of the second person on the street. Once we provide equitable distribution of hell to everyone, we will perhaps start thinking of the ways out of it.

 

In any case, a lot of data has been cited over the last few days by sections in the media to bring home the point that Hindustan is Rapistan in disguise. Should I contest such claims? You don’t have to go very far. That some people who never used the name Hindustan for India, find a sudden spike in their love for it, is not a coincidence. That most of these part time activists continue to spawn wealth showing misogyny, glorifying eve-teasing, and encouraging the pursuit of unrequited love on screen, makes it all the more ironical. The question ends there. They are not to be trusted. You can’t look up to them. You should not look up to them.

If you are sound of memory, you should remember how the protesters were subjected to lathicharge during the Nirbhaya Case protests at Raisina Hills. Bengaluru mass molestation evoked a response to the effect of blaming the molestation on western culture by the then Home Minister of Karnataka. In case the media didn’t tell you, he is currently the President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. What did you expect, that he would be suspended from the party? Politics doesn’t work that way. So, it is beyond any doubt that we can’t look up to the politicians of the opposition party at the centre.

The apologists for the party in power at the centre have only one agenda at every unfortunate incident in the country – “Where were you when this happened to a Hindu?” So, they are fighting the leftist liberals from the media establishments and the party in opposition tooth and nail over their hypocrisy when the fight should have been about something else. Not that it’s a bad thing but our Prime Minister who remembers the birthdays of all the leaders of the world and wishes them religiously on twitter, talks to the country so passionately when he has to count the achievements of his government but doesn’t consider speaking to the people of his country directly in such times, particularly when members from his own party are in the dock, paints a grim picture for us. When a government stops talking to its people and engages only the opposition, the country should be worried. We have nothing to look up to here either.

There were sections from the media who didn’t have their dinner after the conviction of Salman Khan in the Blackbuck poaching case. In a parallel world, I would have imagined them to have demanded swift action on such cases in contrast to about 20 years our judiciary has taken, however, that cannot be the case in India. Do remember, this is the same media that zoomed in on the father-son feud of Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav for weeks. Nothing strikes strange about it? Well, Mulayam Singh Yadav is the same person who once said – ‘Ladke hain, galtiyaan ho jaati hain (after all they are boys, mistakes do happen)’. In a parallel world, I would have imagined a complete boycott of this man from our television screens, sound boxes, and printed papers. Well, not in India. We can go to the extent of feeling sorry for one Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav, the single most important factor for the miseries of the state of Bihar. In all likelihood, the media of this country stands confused about its role. Is media just a messenger? In that case, the stakeholders won’t be able to peddle their personal agenda and bias in the name of news. Can media also do activism? Yeah, but please let me do my activism from my dinner table watching twitter live feed. Also, let me do my activism when I am tired talking about Virushka wedding and Saifeena wedding. Also, let me do my activism after I have told the world how Taimur missed his poop today. Also, let me do my activism when the accused or the victim falls into my self-concocted definitions of Hindu, Muslim or Dalit. Also, let me do my activism when the establishment stops distributing me sops or declines my invaluable services on offer. In all other times, my activism will be holidaying in the Bahamas.

 

I have been reading all kinds of reports in the last few days, from blind narratives to depraved decoction of toxic minds. One of the reports mentioned that Indians are looking for the video of the kathua rape on porn sites. There exist other videos with hashtags on the victim’s name. If the report is correct, who are these people – Politicians? Media? Bureaucrats? Hindus? Muslims? Part-time activists? Dalits? We know these categories are born from us. We know the ones deriving voyeuristic pleasures from rape are walking amongst us. Where is the blame to be fixed then? On us! The truth is we have taken sides, right from our personal lives to social, we tolerate and encourage gender discrimination and gender crimes. Not that this is a foolproof example, but it may act as a cursory indication of how deep the rot is within us, here is what I am talking about – पिलपिलाते-हुए-आम-लोग. The truth is India is being gang raped every day, after administering the sedatives of politics, religion, fake journalism, lazy intellectualism, and a deep support for personal and social nepotism in all these spheres. The truth is the ones who are changing the world the good old way of changing themselves have been silenced by design. The truth is that all the potential agents of change have disappointed our country once again and on top of that list sits the sorry figure of the most crucial agent of change – the Individual – dejected and degenerated.

I hope something comes out of this chaos. I hope we understand that unless we choose to join politics en masse, our politics will remain rotten. I hope that someday we will create more movies like Pink or Parched instead of maintaining a consistent irony between our speech and action. I hope that as journalists, we will report the everyday hearing of a rape case for 20 years if it comes to that and not wait for the survivors’ father to die to spring into action. I hope that we get the basics of our religions right which have love and peace as their fundamental tenets. I hope India learns that the narrative of its religions is being hijacked by mercenaries across the spectrum who force us to keep looking outside for validation.

 

I hope Indians stop helping the TRPs of news channels that have brought one entire community in the dock for the crime of few. I hope that Indians stop becoming the business pastures of the actors from the film industry who get deaf and mute when one of their own stands as the accused but obsess over shaming Hindustan over ‘Devi’sthan. I hope India learns that the online narrative is fast eating up the real space of this country. I hope we realize that we have started believing that our responsibility ends with a post, a placard, a tweet, a blog, a day’s heartache, or a month’s shock. I hope Indians learn to look away from the light-hoggers and give a chance to the voices of thousands of activists who are working every day of their lives to prevent rape and help the survivors. I hope that when I reflect upon my action or inaction every day, I don’t find myself to have encouraged crimes of any nature, sexual or non-sexual in any way. I hope that someday as a human being, I will be able to look inside my being before pointing accusatory fingers at others – people or institutions. I hope this country sees through this and sees this through.

 

 

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Stigmatizing Capitalism is a problem in India

In the preface to the Economic Survey of India, 2017-2018, Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India, Arvind Subramanian writes, “The Survey strives to combine rigour with readability, a challenge that increases in the same proportion as attention spans shrink (from absorbing op-eds to scrolling down tweets). The Survey’s aim is always to build a portfolio of contributions, combining description, new data creation, deep-dive research, and provocative policy ideation.”

Continue reading “Stigmatizing Capitalism is a problem in India”

जो पुल बनाएंगे | Agyeya

कवि होते हैं। उनकी कृतियाँ होतीं हैं। कई कवियों की कृतियाँ कालजयी होती हैं। पर क्या ऐसा होता है कि किसी कवि की सभी कृतियाँ कालजयी होतीं होंं? नहीं। कई गणमान्य, सर्वसम्मानित कवियों ने भी बहुत सारी साधारण कृतियाँ रची हैं। कालजयी कृति की छाया में उनकी साधारण कृतियाँ भी अनमोल लगने लगतीं हैं।

Continue reading “जो पुल बनाएंगे | Agyeya”

In conversation with Jasmin Waldmann | Part 2

Is Natalie Kofman your own reflection?

Yes.

What brought you to India? Also, you’ve got a lot of Indian things right in your book. How did you manage to do that?

Sportsfit by M.S. Dhoni asked me for my services in early 2012, to come and work with them in India. Developing and training the trainers, bringing up a new system, educating personal trainers and bringing up my own product Pilardio® here.

I agreed and after press release and the opening of Sportsfit, I relocated to India.

I am here since mid 2012 in India. I learned all about the north Indian culture, including the food, music and the typical habits.

I also give cross cultural difference programs for foreigners coming to India or Indians relocating abroad soon. When it comes to writing I have in my team a few Indian writers who support me. When I started writing on Change Me in 2014 I had a lot of interaction about Indian families and cultures with one of my writers. That gave me again a different add-on to know about the culture even deeper.

You’re now equally an ambassador of India to Germany as you are of Germany to India. German writers and philosophers have been taking keen interest in India since long. What do you think is the reason behind that?

That is true. Well, Germany is the land of thinkers, as we know. No wonder that they are interested in the spirituality from the east. And the home of spirituality was/ is India.

Speaking of the book Change Me, what made you do the self help through story when the norm is formulaic instructional approach?

I wanted to create an easy time to read and get guidance from my book. That means if my book would have been non-fiction, it would have been very factual. That would be for some people boring or soon tiring. Specially for people who don’t read frequently.

But everybody loves stories and through stories one learn and make almost automatically use of what was read. So I wrote this book for everybody who wants to change. My readers can enjoy reading and learning out of it, become self-motivate and to take action.

According to the book, it is possible to go inside our mind palace and heal old wounds. However, it may happen that we, in the process, inflict more wounds upon ourselves. Would you suggest a way to avoid that?

If you look inside and touch your wounds it can be healing. Of course it depends on how deep you feel hurt, sad, even numb because of this happening in your past. But if the first (big) step is taken- identify and allow that memory to come up into your consciousness – it is a sign that you can digest it mentally now.

Going then inside, you need to know what to do. Worse case is that you feel again the pain from that time without solving it. Means you simply live (experience) it again.

Going inside does not inflict more wounds. Here I can give you some inside. A way is to see happenings from the past dissociated, means from the point of view as an observer. In that way you see yourself in the past, doing, talking, listening, whatsoever was the painful scenario. And as an observer you look without feeling what you felt at that time. You learn out of this situation. In therapy the therapist would guide you far more in this.

Best is to get some support to make it as less painful as possible and as fast as possible. No need to invent the wheel yourself. It costs unnecessary some energy and power. You can get specialists.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Do you like any particular self help coach or writer? What are you reading at present?

A lot of my inspiration comes from sheer observations. I sit with a coffee and observe people. Also I get inspired when I interact with a colleague of mine. He is a Life Coach in Germany. My inspiration comes also when I read philosophy and talk with some Coaches from my team.

I am inspired from biographies (last one I watched about Coco Chanel);

When it comes to writers, other coaches, therapists, and inspirational speakers, I have a few great people who I listen to. Like Les Brown, Swami Rama, John Bradshaw.

I usually read 3 – 4 books at the same time. As I am writing on my second book, I read a lot of literature related to nonviolence communication, about family therapy by Virginia Satir and John Bradshaw’s book “Homecoming”. I read some special books again and again. Right now I read Meditation, by Marcus Aurelius and a book from Gretchen Rubins.

The business makes us speak only of success stories. Failure is seldom spoken about. Have you had clients who you couldn’t help in spite of your best efforts? Did they have something in common?

I love that you point this out. The world is full of success, which lead not to the desired outcome. We call it failure. I don’t believe in this word. It demotivates and is simply wrongly used in most of the cases. I call it learning.

I had a client when I was a pretty inexperienced Coach, many years ago. She was a lawyer and wanted to reduce weight. I realized after two months that she wasn’t able to reduce weight as her problem was pathological. So I told her that she needed some other specialist and suggested her psychotherapy.

I learned a lot out of this experience. Mainly that we need to check carefully if we can really help this person or somebody else could help far better. From that day onward, I choose my clients very carefully and tell them to do the same.

‎Amit Malhotra Recognizes and Realizes through a couple of incidents in his life. Let me call them triggers. Did you have such triggers in your life where-from you started to change things for yourself?

I had many triggers/ happenings in my life. My grandmother who mainly raised me, as my mother was hard working, died when I was 12 years old. My father never lived with my mother, grandmother, and elder sister.

Then my mother died when I was 13 years old. I was alone from one day to the other. No proper guidance, no talks, no therapy. I struggled for very long – unnecessarily. To overcome those happenings I needed to find my way out. I started reading books, had behaviour therapy, turned then to a Life Coach and Gestalt and Family Therapist. The latter was the most helpful one. And I learned how amazing those work is for people – sometimes life saving. That was also the reason for me to become then a Life Coach myself.

Amit Malhotra is rich and successful in a conventional world. Was it an intentional device used in the story or was it a compulsion? A lower middle class or a poor Amit Malhotra perhaps couldn’t have afforded a personal coach. Is quality personal coaching the privilege of the rich and mighty?

The character Amit is an accumulation of my clients from the past 10 years. Usually my clients have a specific income and can afford Coaching and Training sessions.

My intention with the book is very simple. If you know you want to change, you need some guidance. And if the barrier is very high (distance and money) it would be a no-go for some people. A book can reach almost everywhere in India and is very much affordable.

Not only rich people need and want to change – actually almost everybody can utilize the services of professional Life Coaching as well as Personal Training.

Easy with a book. At least to start with!

Jasmin Waldmann is an International Life Coach, a Happiness Guru and a Mind and Body & Transformation Expert. She lives and works in Gurugram, India since July 2012. She recently published her first book Change Me through Jaico Publishing House. Bookstalkist spoke with her after reading her book.

Click here to read Bookstalkist’s review of the book Change Me.

Click here to listen to the first part of this interview.

Jasmin-Waldmann-Change_Me

Jasmin Waldmann’s Change Me

One of the protagonists says that the idea of life coach is relatively new in India. It’s a point to ponder upon. A lot of formulations have been known in our country from the longest period of time man can remember through culture and literature.
However, through years of self deprecation and looking for joy in west-imitation, we have let those formulations rust away in the dingy corner of our forgetful mind. Should we seek support from outside in times of need? Can an external force drive us to help ourselves to become a better version of what we are? Or is the external force just a misnomer for someone who reminds us of our internal energy which in turn drives us to change ourselves? In the Mahabharata, Krishna himself didn’t fight. However, he did become that external force for Arjuna to remind him of his duty, responsibility, skills, and power. Krishna who himself is known as the Yogiraj (King of Yogins) taught Arjun lessons in JnanYoga, KarmaYoga, and BhaktiYoga. Arjun channelized his own energy and went on to win the war of both the external and the internal world. Bhagwad Gita was perhaps the first book written for the ‘Self-Help’ shelf.

As with the Bhagwad Gita, we tend to forget our own worth and dreams in the rat race of the world. Change Me enters a chaotic world with an objective to impart a sense of purpose to all the rats. Calmly but assertively, this book tells the rats to stop, breathe, enter their mind palaces, and observe their ratness. It maybe that they are not rats after all and are running a race of someone else. Natalie Kofman is arguably the Krishna of the book and Amit Malhotra is her Arjun.

The author Jasmin Waldmann, life coach and fitness expert, speaks to the readers through the character of Natalie. Amit Malhotra represents the set of readers who are willing to change themselves. Published by Jaico Publishing House, Change Me is life coaching made palatable through storytelling.
I have read quite a few books on self help. Most of the times, I have put them down after reading a few pages or even half of the book because of the monotonous preaching of the author in the books. So, the bait of storytelling in Change Me worked for me. The author lays out the focus areas of her chapters through the titles and goes phase by phase into Amit’s transformation. The journey from Recognize to Resurrect is a story many of us would relate to. On the way, Jasmin has packed up quite a few practical lessons on physical exercise, breathing techniques, and meditation which makes sure that the book is more than just a marketing material for the author and her coaching programs.
However, you must bear in mind that this is a self-help book and hence, you must not look for an epic story in these pages. The characters and their conversations are sometimes clichéd, the plot is often predictable, and the text is at times ordinary. It doesn’t help that there are a few typos as well. However, what the book loses in such shortcomings, it gains in the pace of storytelling and the practicality of lessons imparted through conversations between its protagonists.

My favourite part of the book would be the dialogue between Amit and other characters when Natalie takes Amit to his childhood to heal some wounds from the past. I would have liked a few more practical points or To Do things in the book but I believe that there is only one test for any self-help book. Did the book inspire enough to invest more time into my self-improvement? The answer for me is Yes. This is a good, earnestly written book and ends at a sweet length for you to read less and do more.

Modi’s Pakoda Politics for 2019 and Chidambaram’s Joblessness

“Mitron, humne pakode khaane chaie ki nahi khane chaie?”
“Modi! Modi!”

“Mitron, pakodon ke saath chai peeni chaie ki nahi peeni chahie?”
“Har Har Modi! Ghar Ghar Modi!”

“Mitron, wo chai mmain aapko pilaauunga kyunki mmujhe chai pilaane ka experience hai! Platform pe chai bechne ka dard kya hota hai, ye mmujhe maloom hai!”

 

Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi in one of his recent interviews asked if a pakoda-seller earning 200 rupees a day could be considered unemployed. Mr. P. Chidambaram who held the finance ministry in the UPA rule has suggested that by Mr. Modi’s logic, beggars should also be considered employed. The twitter town is abuzz with exchanges between sides.

Mr. Modi on his part is frying his pakodas like he always does – well in advance. Like for everything else he does, he also becomes the first Indian Prime Minister to bring pakoda-sellers into the national discourse. However, one may ask, why pakodas singularly? There are other things sold by the street-side entrepreneurs, say, pav-bhaji, vada-pav, 99 types of dosas, etc. Shiv Sena has already laid its claim on vada-pav politics by offering free vada-pavs to Shobha De earlier. Let’s leave pav-bhaji for Uddhav’s cousin in the name of Marathi-Asmita. Dosas would have obviously offended the Dravidian parties for it would have meant Gujarati appropriation. Modi had already used up the khakhra card by waiving off the GST before Gujarat elections. Here, I summon the spirit of Shekhar Gupta of the Walk the Talk, The Print, the NDTV, and the Lutyen’s Dhaba to answer this. Pakodas are eaten across the country in varying forms and with different names. The country is 80% Hindus, so naturally, most of the pakodas prepared are consumed by the Hindus of this country. Mr. Modi being the Hindutva icon that he is, used the case of pakodas to polarise the electorate and gain Hindu votes in 2019 elections. 

 

To be honest, this is the closest thing to confession that voters of this country can get from both the leading parties. Confession 1 – the present Government is selling pakodas in the name of job creation. Confession 2 – the opposition sits unemployed in the sixth row waiting for pakodas. The stage for 2019 elections is set. After spilling chai all over the kurtas and suits of the opposition leaders in 2014, Mr. Modi is all set to play with some pakode ka tel in 2019. P. Chidambaram is making things difficult for Rahul Gandhi by protesting against pakodas. At a time when Rahul Gandhi is looking to increase his pakoda tally from 44 to 545, P. Chidambaram should just fall in line and start begging for more pakodas right away. He will at least have a job that way. All the watering attempts at pakodas are going to cost the Congress party a lot of oil in face with no pakoda in hands.

 

 

Image Source – Karnataka for Employment (KFE)

Disha’s Corporate Avatars by Jaico

What was the need for such a book?
The book Corporate Avatars was needed because yet another of the bright alumni of IIMs wanted to become a writer and dump all her management-experience borne gyan on us hapless chaps who have nothing better to do than to listen to the rant of a person who is frustrated with everything going around her in the corporate world. In short, this book was not needed.

 

Or wait a minute, am I just being a whining kid here? All the bosses had a fight at my workplace about a couple of days back. It was loud, it was public, and it was ugly. I am not speaking of the Supreme Court Chief Justice controversy here, though that sticks for an example as well. Somehow a fight between seniors or the elders is always uglier when compared to that between the relatively younger ones. A tussle between younger people can always be swept under the rug with a nonchalant – ‘Don’t fight like kids. Grow up!’ But what do you tell these senior-most people in the team who can’t keep their volumes in check while having an altercation or a difference of opinions. They have all the right in the world to fight and I do not in any way mean to take away the child inside them but there are children outside too and that they are taking keen interest in their behaviour is something they should give a thought about. Disha has a name for at least one of these members of the corporate fight club – Mr. Matchstick.

In her book, Disha has a long list of people you will encounter in a corporate world. She explains the symptoms, gives a name to the disease, and also provides antidotes. Whether the antidotes work is for you to try them out and decide. The book is an easy and short read. It will keep your funny bones tickling every once in a while.

I would have liked the book to be a tad more humorous than it is and also a tad more serious than it is. Also, the usage of Hindi words and phrases in Roman for characters may confuse the non-Hindi readers, thereby limiting its humour quotient for somebody who doesn’t understand a phrase like Mr. Gadha Prasad and its connotations. Maybe a footnote with meanings would have helped. Also, the book needs a sharper editing as I could find multiple occurrences of spelling error and word repetition.

In the initial days of my corporate journey, I had a colleague who used to get extra touchy while working. There were times I would find her feet almost tapping my toes while having an intense discussion about some product requirement. I couldn’t understand this behaviour. Initially, I presumed it to be an act she was not aware of and ignored it. However, things didn’t stop. I didn’t want to escalate this to the HR department and tried to take control of the situation. I decided to always keep a distance of about four feet from her during any discussion thereafter and things got better. Ms. Stand Closer & Closer finds a place in this book and I could easily relate it to my personal experience. For anyone out there preparing to enter the corporate world, reading Corporate Avatars can help you transition better in a world of ironies and hypocrisies.

While a lot of issues that have been spoken of in the book remain a challenge for researchers in the field of human psychology and behaviour, and while their answers are rarely simple, Disha has managed to pack easy-to-implement solutions to the anthropocentric problems that we face everyday at our workplace. The book manages to preserve its wacky tone throughout.

Whether we are a new entrant to the industry or have spent long years working inside it, we walk into or are put into situations with people where we hit a deadlock. Either we fail to reach a solution or act in haste to damage our working relationships at workplace. In such times, this book can provide some cursory, plug and play if not foolproof solutions. The objective of the book is to prevent you from coming in harm’s way and it keeps its promise.

I would have loved a note on the avatars the author is seen in by her colleagues. It could have added some self-deprecating humour to the book and would have made an interesting read; to Jaico and Disha, if you are reading this, in the next impression perhaps?