Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ant and the Grass Hopper

CLASSIC VERSION...

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

MODERN VERSION...

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

BBC, CNN, NDTV show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house.

Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticizes the Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the grasshopper.

The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the grasshopper.

Opposition MP's stage a walkout.

Left parties call for "Bharat Bandh" in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act [POTAGA]", with effect from the beginning of the winter.

The ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government and handed over to the grasshopper in a ceremony covered by BBC,CNN and NDTV.

Arundhati Roy calls it "a triumph of justice".

Koffi Annan invites the grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A SWEET LOVE STORY

He met her on a party. She was so outstanding, many guys chasing after her,
while he was so normal, nobody paid attention to him. At the end of the
party, he invited her to have coffee with him, she was surprised, but due to
being polite, she promised.

They sat in a nice coffee shop, he was too nervous to say anything, she felt
uncomfortable, she thought, please, let me go home. suddenly he asked the
waiter: "would you please give me some salt? I'd like to put it in my
coffee."

Everybody stared at him, so strange! His face turned red, but, still, he put
the salt in his coffee and drank it. She asked him curiously : why you have
this hobby? He replied: "when I was a little boy, I was living near the sea,
I liked playing in the sea, I could feel the taste of the sea ,just like the
taste of the salty coffee. Now every time I have the salty coffee, I always
think of my childhood, think of my home town, I miss my home town so much, I
miss my parents who are still living there". While saying that tears filled
his eyes. She was deeply touched.

That's his true feeling, from the bottom of his heart. A man who can tell
out his homesickness, he must be a man who loves home, cares about home, has
responsibility of home. Then she also started to speak, spoke about her far
away hometown, her childhood, her family. That was a really nice talk, also
a beautiful beginning of their story.

They continued to date. She found that actually he was a man who meets all
her demands; he had tolerance, was kind hearted, warm, careful. He was such
a good person but she almost missed him!Thanks to his salty coffee!

Then the story was just like every beautiful love story, the princess
married to the prince, then they were living the happy life...

And, every time she made coffee for him, she put some salt in the coffee, as
she knew that's the way he liked it. After 40 years, he passed away, left
her a letter which said:" My dearest, please forgive me, forgive my whole
life lie. This was the only lie I said to you---the salty coffee. Remember
the first time we dated? I was so nervous at that time, actually I wanted
some sugar, but I said salt it was hard for me to change so I just went
ahead. I never thought that could be the start of our communication!

I tried to tell you the truth many times in my life, but I was too afraid to
do that, as I have promised not to lie to you for anything.. Now I'm dying,
I afraid of nothing so I tell you the truth: I don't like the
salty coffee, what a strange bad taste..But I have had the salty coffee for
my whole life! Since I knew you, I never feel sorry for anything I do for
you. Having you with me is my biggest happiness for my whole life. If I can
live for the second time, still want to know you and have you for my whole
life, even though I have to drink the salty coffee again".

Her tears made the letter totally wet.

Someday, someone asked her: what's the taste of salty coffee?

It's sweet. She replied…..

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Faith

One day I decided to quit... I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality... I wanted to quit my life.I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.
"God", I said. "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?" His answer surprised me...
"Look around", He said. "Do you see the fern and the bamboo?"
"Yes", I replied.
"When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo." He said.
"In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit.” He said.
“In year four, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would not quit." He said.
"Then in year five a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant... But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle." He said to me.
"Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots?"
"I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you."
"Don't compare yourself to others." He said. "The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful."
"Your time will come", God said to me. "You will rise high"
"How high should I rise?" I asked.
"How high will the bamboo rise?" He asked in return.
"As high as it can?" I questioned
"Yes." He said, "Give me glory by rising as high as you can."
I left the forest and bring back this story. I hope these words can help you see that God will never give up on you.
He will never give up on you!
So… Have faith in God....
Let us journey together in
"Increasing the meaning of life with more awareness in strong belief and get Inspiration For Better Life"
to influences/lead our lives towards Wellness, Harmony and Balance.
Enjoy & Have Fun
Make the Most of Every Moment Count

Monday, September 05, 2005

NO OVERPOWERING

Many relationships fail because one party tries to overpower another,or demands too much. People in love tend to think that love will conquer all and their spouses will change the bad habits after marriage.

Actually, this is not the case. There is a saying which carries the meaning that "It is easier to reshape a mountain or a river than a person'scharacter." It is not easy to change. Thus, having high expectation on changing the spouse character will cause disappointment and unpleasantness. It would be less painful to change ourselves and lowerour expectations..

CREATING PERFECT RELATIONSHIPS?

A person visited the government matchmaker for marriage, SDU, and requested "I am looking for aspouse. Please help me to find a suitable one."
TheSDU officer said, "Your requirements, please."

"Oh,good looking, polite, humorous , sporty,knowledgeable, good in singing and dancing. Willing to accompany me the whole day at home during my leisure hour, if I don't go out. Telling me interesting stories when I need companion for conversation and be silent when I want to rest."

The officer listened carefully and replied, "I understand you need television."

There is a saying that a perfect match can only be found between a blind wife and a deaf husband ,because the blind wife cannot see the faults of the husbandand the deaf husband cannot hear the nagging of thewife. Many couples are blind and deaf at the courting stage and dream of perpetual perfect relationship.Unfortunately, when the excitement of love wears off,they wake up and discover that marriage is not a bedof roses. The nightmare begins.

NO POINTING FINGERS

A man asked his father-in-law, "Many people praisedyou for a successful marriage. Could you please sharewith me your secret?"

The father-in-law answered in a smile, "Nevercriticize your wife for her shortcomings or when shedoes something wrong. Always bear in mind that becauseof her shortcomings and weaknesses, she could not finda better husband than you."

We all look forward to being loved and respected. Manypeople are afraid of losing face. Generally, when aperson makes a mistake, he would look around to find ascapegoat to point the finger at. This is the start ofa war. We should always remember that when we pointone finger at a person, the other four fingers arepointing at ourselves. If we forgive the others, others will ignore ourmistake too.

TRUST

TRUST is a very important factor for allrelationships. When trust is broken, it is the end ofthe relationship. Lack of trust leads to suspicion,suspicion generates anger, anger causes enmity andenmity may result in separation.

A telephone operator told me that one day she receiveda phone call. She answered, "Public UtilitiesBoard." There was silence. She repeated, "PUB."There was still no answer. When she was going to cutoff the line, she Heard a lady's voice, "Oh, so thisis PUB.Sorry, I got the number from my Husband'spocket but I do not know whose number it is." Without mutual trust, just imagine what will happen tothe couple if the telephone operator answered withjust "hello" instead of "PUB".

Friday, August 26, 2005

The first phone call

The Scene: The Girl is a 23 year old investment banker, working in New York. The Boy is doing his residency in Boston and was given her number by his mother, who is a friend of the Girl's aunt's brother-in-law's cousin's uncle's wife in Chicago.
Time: Monday night, 10 PM

Girl: Hello?
Boy: Shit, she's home! Umm, hi! Is this Pooja?
Girl: Speaking.
Boy: My name is Karan. I don't know if you know who I am. God, what if she doesn't know who I am? I don't even know why I'm doing this!
Girl: Oh, you live in Boston, right?
Boy: Yeah. Ok, so she was told about me, that's some relief. I wonder what she was told - "He's a resident, tall, and fair and he graduated from Ivy League school!". God, she probably hates me already!
Girl: Yeah, my mother mentioned you had my number. I can't believe he actually called!
Boy: So, how are you? Oh yeah, that's real original, but what the hell else I am supposed to say- Umm, hi, I don't know you, but do you want to be my wife?
Girl: I'm fine. And you? Ok, this is off to a great start
Boy: I'm good. Ok, think, think! So, I heard you're an investment banker? Oh, that's a real winner. Now I can be a bad conversationalist and an idiot!
Girl: Yes.
Boy: Ok, she is not helping me at all! Where do you work?
Girl: Merrill Lynch.
Boy: Hey, that's a great firm! I sound like a complete moron. I should just hang up except my mother would somehow find out and kill me!
Girl: Yeah, it's a nice place to work. God, this guy sounds like a complete loser
Boy: So... Stall, Stall!
Girl: So you're doing your residency in cardiology? Like my mom didn't tell me that 500 times already!
Boy: Ok, I can handle this... Yeah, I'm in my second year. Alright, now say something else, but what do I say? Do you drink? Cause if you want to marry me, you can't be one of those goody goody Indian girls who think that if they kiss a guy, they've practically gone all the waySo, what do you like to do in your free time?
Girl: Umm... get wasted... Oh, you know, hang out with my friends, go to movies...
Boy: Where do you like to hang out in NY?
Girl: Shit, what am I supposed to say? This guy could be some religious freak! I can't say bars - I'll say clubs, you can go to clubs and not drink... Oh, sometimes we go to the movies, or there's a couple clubs that are good... That was good, I made it sound like I like clubs, but I'm not really into them...
Boy: Ok, she goes to clubs, that's a good sign. If she was really religious she wouldn't do that. Yeah? I like to dance also.
Girl: He likes to dance- that's a good sign. He can't be that stiff! So where do you hang out in Boston?
Boy: Should I say it? Alright, I'll say it, what the hell! Umm, the same, bars, clubs, stuff like that.
Girl: He said bars! So he probably drinks. Good sign. I should explore this further... Are there any good bars in Boston?
Boy: Yeah, there are some nice ones, I mean, I'm not a huge drinker, but I like having a good time. Ok, that gives the impression of someone who enjoys drinking but is not an alcoholic - pretty good, if I do say so myself
Girl: That sounds really positive. This guy sounds kind of cool. But if he's so cool why is he calling me? Shouldn't he have a girlfriend? Or not need to call random girls his mother tells him about? God, what if he's completely ugly? Yeah, me too. Although I hope my parents never find out.
Boy: Yeah. I know exactly what you mean.
Girl: Ok, so he didn't freak out at the living a double life reference- another good sign. I just wish I knew what he looked like... So...
Boy: Or she could be really fat with a huge mustache. Well, there's only one way to find out! So... I know this sounds a little crazy, but I'm visiting some friends in NYC next weekend and I wonder if you'd want to get together for coffee sometime.
Girl: Coffee. That's totally safe. If he's totally nasty I can have a quick espresso and run like hell! Yeah, that sounds great.
Boy: Alright that went pretty well. Coffee's pretty harmless. And who knows, maybe she'll be cool. Now I have to get the hell out of this conversation... So I have your e-mail, should I just e-mail you soon and we can figure it out?
Girl: E-mail is sooo much better than the phone. Thank God for e-mail! Yeah, just e-mail, I check it all the time at work, so - God, this is getting painful
Boy: Alright, I'll e-mail you soon. Meaning in two days, cause I don't want to look too desperate, but at the same time I don't want to look like I'm trying not to look too desperate
Girl: Cool. Well, I'm glad you called. I think...
Boy: Me too. Well, I'll see you soon. Please be hot, please be hot!
Girl: Alright. Bye. I can't believe he called! Too late to back out now. Besides, maybe he's cool. He didn't sound so bad on the phone.
Boy: Bye. I did it! I am the man. I think she wants me. Yeah, she definitely wants me...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

SUNSCREEN by Bazz Luhrmann

SUNSCREEN by Bazz Luhrmann

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience... I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth - oh, never mind, you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.Don't worry about the future; or, worry. But know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blind side you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.
Sing.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts.
Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Floss.Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind....the race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember the compliments you receive, and forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
Stretch.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life... the most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives.
Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't.
Get plenty of calcium.
Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.
Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40. Maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.

Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance.
So are everybody else's.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can.
Don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it.
It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
Dance.
Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do NOT read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents.
You never know when they'll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings.
They are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle - because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
Live in New York city once, but leave before it makes you hard.
Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Travel.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise, politicians will philander, and you too will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.Don't expect anyone else to support you.
Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.
Don't mess too much with your hair; or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it.

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts, and recycling it for more than it's worth.But trust me on the sunscreen.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

What JRD means to me ....



The people at Infosys have been unabashed admirers of JRD Tata, who sought excellence in everything and pioneered the notion that ethical business is possible in India. A tribute by N R Narayana Murthy on JRD’s 101st birth anniversary.


IREMEMBER a 1970s film called Chupke Chupke, in which the hero (Dharmendra) gets sick of his wife’s (Sharmila Tagore’s), penchant for turning every conversation into a paean for the virtues of her Jijaji. Dharmendra finally decides to teach Jijaji a lesson and succeeds very well at that! My case was not much better: most conversations with my thenfriend and now wife, Sudha, were spent in her extolling the virtues of “Apro JRD”, as she always called him. Unlike Dharmendra, when I got to meet Sudha’s hero, I was bowled, neck and crop, by his simplicity and affection for his younger colleagues.
It was a wintry evening in 1979, when I took a taxi from my Nariman Point office to pick up Sudha, from her office at Bombay House, on my way home. I had been delayed in the office. It was completely dark and I was worried that she would be alone on a deserted road. As the taxi ground to a halt, I saw a tall, old gentleman talking to Sudha. When I got out of the taxi, I met JRD for the first time. His words, which I remember even today, were a gentle admonishment that I should not make my young wife wait in the dark. I believe he saw her waiting alone outside Bombay House when he was leaving the office, and decided to wait with her till I picked her up. I was stunned by this gesture from India’s biggest industrialist to a young and lowly executive in his company. Most great people are remembered for their small acts of courtesy. This is what makes them great. To them, these are natural rather than put-on.
A few years ago, my daughter, studying in the US, wanted to profile an industrialist as part of her course on Leadership. I suggested she profile Ratan Tata. Sudha and I took her to meet Ratan. The perfect gentleman that he is, Ratan gave her two hours as against the scheduled half an hour. During this talk, we asked if ever he saw JRD abandon his principles, even slightly. Ratan was unequivocal. He said the old man always came on the right side of every issue no matter how tough the choices. That, to me, is JRD — a man who had simple values and stuck to them every time. We, at Infosys, have been unabashed admirers of what he stood for. In fact, the first hitech conference room we built in our heritage building, was named the JRD Hall. Of course, we had the privilege of Ratan inaugurating our even more impressive and, perhaps, Asia’s most advanced corporate conference room named after Jamsetji N Tata, a hero to many of us, but particularly to my colleague, Nandan, and Sudha.
Most of what I learnt about JRD was from Keynote, a compendium of his speeches, a gift from Sudha on my 40th birthday in 1986. Many of my own values and opinions were fortified by JRD’s views. In fact, there are only two public figures whose death evoked deep emotional reaction in me. The first was our young, dynamic and idealistic leader, Rajiv, whose ghastly murder deprived India of a fine leader. The second was JRD, who demonstrated, much before all of us, that ethical business was possible in India.
JRD sought excellence in every thing he did. When I irritate my colleagues with my insistence on excellence, I have sought refuge in JRD’s words — I confess to being excessively intolerant of slipshod work and irritatingly insistent on pursuing excellence even in tasks which hardly demand it.
To him, honesty was extremely important even from people who opposed him. He admired and respected people who were honest in voicing their opinion even if he did not agree with him. No wonder, his favourite politician was Jayaprakash Narayan. He had tremendous affection for even fiery union leaders like Prof Bari because they were honest with him. He believed that the high growth rate (he once put it as monstrous growth) of India’s population would be a burden for the country’s stretched resources. He did not lose a single opportunity to call for serious effort in controlling our population. Unfortunately, even today, our politicians do not pay heed to his advice.
HE TOTALLY believed in the welfare state, whose aim should be to assure every Indian the basic necessities of life, the right to work, and the right to earn a decent living. In his speech to the Rotary Club of Bombay in 1970, he said: “In the economic, if not the philosophical plane, a welfare state is the very essence of 20th century socialism to which I subscribe unreservedly”. He did believe there was a role for the public sector but a public sector removed totally from political and bureaucratic interference which has progressively increased over the last 30 years and emaciated every institution of promise in the public sector.
JRD was equally clear about his antipathy for what he termed negative socialism mindset of our politicians and the bureaucratic rigidities “which aimed at and have been aiming at preventing undesirable things being done rather than encouraging desirable ones; at reducing the income of the relatively well-to-do rather than increasing that of the poor; at restraining initiative and action by good elements because of misconduct by a few bad ones; and at pursuing ideological goals, however detrimental to the economy rather than harnessing all forces for producing wealth and taxing them for welfare purposes”. In a speech given by him at a Planning Commission meeting of industrialists in 1968, he said: “In fact, the only fearsome concentration of economic power, that exists today, lies in the hands of ministers, planners and government officials. It is this concentration of power which is a real threat to democracy.”
On communism, he was very clear: “The Indian socialists cling to a 19th century Marxist form of socialism notwithstanding the fact that almost every economic theory and prophesy of Marx has been falsified in the last hundred years.” His belief in corporate social responsibility was pioneering. His sense of fairness and transaction-orientation is something that I have come to cherish and practise. Such qualities generated warmth for JRD in even fiery union leaders like Prof Bari. What would his dream for India of 2030 be? In his lecture — India 2030 A D, delivered in 1981, he envisioned an India which will control her population growth rate; where women will see value in family planning; where Indians will make spectacular success in genetics, molecular biology and other sciences and technologies; and an India which will have reached 6% annual growth rate in GDP. Well, successive governments from Narasimha Rao’s to Manmohan Singh’s have made this possible. If only our communist friends show a little bit of foresight, I am confident we will be able to fulfill the worthy dream of one of Inda’s finest sons.
(The author is chairman, Infosys)