Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Sensitive is the New Strong - Anita Moorjani

Anita Moorjani, the bestselling author of 'Dying to be Me' and someone who has made her Near Death Experience  (NDE) an experience to change the world now writes about the world of the empaths, the ones who feel excessively for others at great cost to themselves. But she says that when we understand how empaths work we can actually bring all their wonderful qualities to work and make empathetic leaders who can make this world a better place. That's why 'Sensitive is the New Strong'.

Let's look at what empaths are like. They often make themselves invisible, absorb everyone else's energy, have this sixth sense of knowing when others are in distress. Empaths can make a huge difference if they are empowered, stay connected to their centre, allow themselves to inspire others and mainly protect themselves. Anita differentiates between being sensitive and being an empath - empaths feel and absorb others energies, become people pleasers who are continuously rescuing and helping people, who make others needs more important that their own to the point of exhaustion. They are what she calls six sensory people in a five sensory world. 

Anita gives a quiz of about 34 questions - on the scale of an empath. I scored between 20-28 which is second highest (need protection from others energies). Now the question is - is it good or bad? Empaths being sensitive people are highly averse to criticism, are addicted to approval, have negative thoughts and get physical reactions and behave like doormats. They do not like crowded paces, loud noises, are non-confrontationist. Anita urges empaths to claim back their power without losing their empathy - focus on your inner guidance she says, say no without feeling guilty, stop feeling like a victim and claim control over your life. To make friends with conflict instead of avoiding it.

If you block your sensitivity you block whats coming in from the other realm. Tune in, turn inward, realise the gift you have for caring she says. To improve our relationship with ourselves Anita suggest we tune in and find inner guidance from the inner mystic. You feel more guided, get insights, moments of rare clarity if we get in touch through meditation, or just keeping calm and focusing on our breath. Anita says the inner world is real so be present for guidance. Clear your emotional baggage - forgiving, gratitude, anything that elicits a feeling of lightness, relief or liberation.

Our natural state if one of freedom and liberation. Anita's own motto is to live fearlessly. To strengthen energies she says we must protect our aura, run our energies, find inaction in action and believe that gentleness will overpower strength.

An interesting observation which I read recently in another book is that the ego is good because it gives us a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Value your ego because self-care is important. Don't feel disempowered because no one has more authority on your life than you.

A lovely line -being passive is when others decide for you, being aggressive is when you decide for others and assertive is when you decide for yourself.

Anita says when our ego is low, our ability to receive goes down so dial it up and when we can give, our common awareness is dialled up. This can show up in our financial position in many ways. We cannot talk about ourselves, cant say no, feel undeserving, shy away form leadership. To counter all this develop a healthy ego. Embrace the many unique and individual traits (don't second guess and give your power away). Follow your own heart. Be compassionate without feeling guilty or sorry.

Anita urges us to be in connect with our inner mystic. To be centred all we need to do is to do nothing but focus on our breath for 10-15 minutes. do nothing. get guidance. Trust your intuition. Whether its a personal dilemma or a health issue - quiet your mind, breathe and turn inward. Focus on wellness, not the illness. 

To protect yourself and to love yourself, engage with those who are loving and appreciative towards you. Self-care is important because when our life energies are high we can lift others. we laugh more, we feel lighter. Don't take on the problems of others - its not our responsibility. Thrive, so you can help.

The 4 Keys to Healing are

1) Ask, what I can say no to

2) Learn to open your receiving channels

3) Get excited about life

4) How can I support my body

Optimise your life energy.

In our relation to the world we go through two stages 1) become aware you're an empath and 2) relate to the world and interpret the daily life around us. Since we live in a world that may not understand us focus on self-love, connect to your inner mystic, listen to you intuition, keep life energy high.

For better health feel higher states of energy. Understand you are not your body, race, image, culture or gender. Don't be fear-based, be love-based. Spend time alone talking to yourself, listen to messages that make you feel cared for, positive and loved. following higher voice makes you feel loved, recharges your batteries (where fear drains you, criticism causes guilt and anger). 

Open to abundance without guilt. Empaths are in tune with the rhythm of the universe and are in best position to channel money and power. But if we are in survival mode we don't have the resources to create solutions (center yourself, breathe, connect to the web of consciousness, see things differently, spark creativity). Live fearlessly.

Once you let go of the fear of judgment by others things change. 'When you charge what you deserve, you attract people who are happy to pay for your services, people you enjoy working with.'

To get money flowing - money is a sign that you're on the right path.

1) Recognise you are an empath, stop feeling guilty
2) Get clarity around life purpose (who am I? whats my life purpose?)
3) Open channels - you're worthy and deserving to be rewarded for following your purpose. Love all of yourself. Abundance can be had simply by receiving what has been given. Gratitude for what we have.
4) Be aware of your gift, you are a channel for money flow
5) Take focus of money and follow your purpose. Do things that make you feel joyful, learn to receive
6) Allow yourself to enjoy receiving the money - be grateful
7) Put money for your self-care, pleasure. Spend without guilt.
8) Love your business.

Empaths are best to be in positions of leadership. Share opinions, contribute from a place of love, pay attention to where you're putting your money. Make money a priority.

Resentment and depletion is not good. Have more alone time, You attract narcissists because they are the perfect match for empaths. Start saying No. Trying to avoid conflict leads to more conflict. Say No to unhealthy relationships. To be happy - feel acceptance and awareness, choose the better option when in a dilemma, be the observer, develop a gentle language to say no, learn to receive, journal, love yourself.

live fearlessly. Don't suppress your thoughts. We don't attract by our thoughts but by who we are. When you love and  value yourself you don't have to watch your thoughts. Be Who you are.

Anita makes a strong case for the super sensitive, the empaths and shows how by protecting themselves, empaths can make a huge change in the world. It's a nice and empowering read.                          

Monday, August 30, 2021

Launched 'Take Off' - A 10x Exercise

So I launched 'Take Off' - a 10x Workshop, from Shobha's Yellow Butterfly programs yesterday. It's based on the OKR principles and a group of us got together to experiment with it. The idea behind it is simple.

O stands for Objectives and KR stands for Key results. It's a concept used by Google and many other organisations and written about by John Doerr in his book 'Measure What Matters'. The idea however is something all of us have experienced - that big goals get better performance than small goals. Or rather, when faced with a big situation we cannot get out of, we somehow find the resources to accomplish it.

Which means, setting ourselves big goals is better than setting small goals because we use the same amount of resources at our disposal better.

1) Objectives therefore are the 10x version of whatever you are doing, the big goal, the WHAT you'd like to achieve that gives you the greatest leverage in a time frame. (3-6-12-24 months) It is concrete, inspirational, gets you in the gut and makes you feel its not achievable. It's so big you need to alter your current methods, take stock of all resources and use them. They are realistic yet significantly big.

To win the tournament (especially if you haven't won before)
To earn 50 lakh in one year (if you have been earning 5 lakh before)

2) Key Results are the HOW of achieving the objectives. Each objective has 3-4 KRs. They are specific, measurable (has to have a number), time bound, action oriented (but be clear it does not mention an activity but an outcome - as in wrote a book vs published a book), verifiable. Typically involves taking stock of available resources, seeking external help where needed to use existing resources to meet goal. 

Get team organised - pick the right team with correct balance by xx date.
Set goal (to win all matches), values (play fair but hard, team comes first, play for one another) by xx date
Plan (targets, roles), prepare ti win every match each match - (analyse, strategise, bring in routines that make team feel better prepared)

Some key insights on how it works

1) Same resources that we have are better utilised once bigger goals come into picture

2)  Forces you to change the way you are working and look for creative ways to achieve goal

3) Once objective is written, KR flow intuitively

We had an introductory session yesterday. Another session to set our OKRs and then we follow up once in a fortnight.



Friday, August 27, 2021

Vikrithi - Movie

 2019. Malayalam.

My love for Malayalam movies grows and this one is yet another gem. Based on a true story about a man lying down in a Kochi metro after a stressful time at home and mistaken to be drunk and trolled online affecting him, his family and social status. 

Fabulous performances by the actors Suraj Venjarammodu and Soubin Shahir. Watch.


Squared Love - Movie

 2021. Polish. I found it rather amateurish, with an almost second rate Telugu film sensibility. A teacher who has a double life as a top model - only to pay off her father's debt, meets a playboy, in both her roles, and after some issues, all ends well.

Don't watch.


Monday, August 23, 2021

Just Breathe - Joel Shared this Beautiful Poem

 Joel Wilson shared this poem with me the other day - said it was forwarded to him by a friend from HPS, R. I don't know who the poet is but I liked it.

Just breathe…..

my brain and

heart divorced

a decade ago

over who was

to blame about

how big of a mess

I have become


they couldn't be 

in the same room

with each other 

now my head and heart 

share custody of me

I stay with my brain 

during the week

and my heart 

gets me on weekends

they never speak to one another


    - instead, they give me

the same note to pass

to each other every week 

and their notes they

send to one another always 

says the same thing:

"This is all your fault"

on Sundays

my heart complains

about how my 

head has let me down

in the past

and on Wednesday

my head lists all

of the times my 

heart has screwed

things up for me 

in the future

they blame each

other for the 

state of my life

there's been a lot

of yelling - and crying


    lately, I've been

spending a lot of 

time with my gut

who serves as my

unofficial therapist

most nights, I sneak out of the

window in my ribcage

and slide down my spine

and collapse on my 

gut's plush leather chair

that's always open for me

~ and I just sit sit sit sit

until the sun comes up

last evening, 

my gut asked me

if I was having a hard

time being caught 

between my heart

and my head

I nodded

I said I didn't know

if I could live with 

either of them anymore

"my heart is always sad about

something that happened yesterday

while my head is always worried

about something that may happen tomorrow," 

I lamented

my gut squeezed my hand

"I just can't live with

my mistakes of the past

or my anxiety about the future,"

I sighed

my gut smiled and said:

"in that case, 

you should 

go stay with your 

lungs for a while,"

I was confused

  - the look on my face gave it away

"if you are exhausted about

your heart's obsession with

the fixed past and your mind's focus

on the uncertain future

your lungs are the perfect place for you

there is no yesterday in your lungs

there is no tomorrow there either

there is only now

there is only inhale

there is only exhale

there is only this moment

there is only breath

and in that breath

you can rest while your

heart and head work 

their relationship out."

this morning,

while my brain

was busy reading

tea leaves

and while my

heart was staring

at old photographs 

I packed a little

bag and walked

to the door of 

my lungs

before I could even knock

she opened the door

with a smile and as

a gust of air embraced me

she said

"what took you so long?"

Chaar - Movie

 2014. Bengali. Anthology of four short films based on stories written by three writers - Bateswarer Abodan by Parasuram, Porikkha by Sharadidndhu Bandyopadhyay, Kagtarua and Dui Bondhu by Satyajit Ray. It's directed by Sandip Ray.

Bateswar is a famous writer and his serial has caught the fancy of the masses - but strangely many different individuals come to him to get him to change the tragic ending of a lead part. In Porikkha, a young lady tests her future husband's character by paying him a late night visit. In one story two childhood friends make a promise to meet after 25 years at a given place and time - and find one another in unexpected circumstances. And in the last one, a ghost comes to redeem itself from a crime its been accused of.



Home - Movie

 2021. Malayalam. Another brilliant Malayalam movie. Loved it. The dynamics at home, the little dramas, the set up and the pay off, ah, beautiful. 

Watch, watch.

eCanteen Fundas - How a Common Purpose Unites Teams

 First step in team building - get a common purpose!


E-Canteen Fundas: Determine your team’s purpose to watch it win

Pic: Edex Live

Our basketball team can do so much better,’ said Rahul. ‘But we’re not able to play to our potential.’

‘Happens everywhere,’ said Rinku. ‘We’ve got great individual players but fail as a team. Wonder why.’

‘That’s because we behave like a group of individuals, not like a team,’ said Rakesh. ‘Be it with family, friends, college or society, it’s the same. Real teams work together to achieve a common purpose that helps the team and the individuals grow. Real teams achieve much more than the sum of their parts. And as the team achieves its potential, individuals perform to their potential as well.’

‘How can I get our team going in the next game?’ asked Rahul.

‘Just like you get an army marching forward in sync,’ smiled Rakesh. ‘Get them to work for a common purpose. An army’s purpose is to win the war. Your basketball team’s purpose is to win the tournament. An organisation’s or a relationship’s purpose is to grow to its fullest potential. When our team knows and works towards the common purpose, we achieve miracles.’

‘How do we set a common purpose?’ asked Rinku.

‘In any team, a good purpose to start with is to help the team grow to its fullest potential,’ said Rakesh. ‘Within that, you can set more specific purposes. Ideally, the leaders spell out the team’s common purpose with the team’s involvement. But if not, any member, even you, can articulate it, as someone who’s interested in the team’s growth.’

‘That’s it, bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.

‘That’s only half the job,’ said Rakesh. ‘The important part is getting every single member of the team to know and state the common purpose of the team. Can your team members state the common purpose of your team if you ask them now?’

‘No, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul.

‘Happens with most teams,’ said Rakesh. ‘Most of us assume that the others know the team’s purpose, which is why we end up moving in different directions and towards different goals. So Rahul, start your team-building exercise by making sure your team’s common purpose is clearly articulated and understood and everyone’s saying the same thing — we’re playing to win
the tournament. It focuses all your energy, all your effort.’

‘And make everything else subservient to the team’s purpose,’ said Rinku, ‘As working for the team’s common purpose helps individual members achieve their potential too. It’s a win-win.’

‘Thanks, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘I’ll set a common purpose for all my teams — family, friends and college — and make them more purposeful and growth-oriented.’

Pro Tip: To get the best out of all your teams and relationships, set a common purpose of growth and watch how it helps you, your team and your relationships grow

Get Out of Your Own Way - Mark Goulston and Philip Goldberg

There are 40 ways in which you can get out of your way that are written in this book. I felt they could have been presented before to make one point more deeply tan skim through many - especially when the authors give many takeaways and to dos at the end of each chapter. Also instead of saying this is the problem, I would like some insights on how much and when to get worried.

But here's a list and we can check off if we're doing OK or not. (on a scale of 10)

1. Chasing after love and approval from a parent (3)

2. Getting involved with the wrong people (4)

3. Procrastinating (4)

4. Expecting others to understand how you feel (8)

5. Waiting until its too late (5)

6. Getting so angry you make things worse (4)

7. Saying yes when you want to say No (7)

8. Holding a grudge (4)

9. Assuming they don't want anything in return (5)

10. Always having to be right' (5)

11. Focusing on what your partner is doing wrong (5)

12. Putting up with broken promises (5)

13. Trying to make up while you're still angry (4)

14. Not learning from your mistakes (4)

15. Trying to change others (3)

16. Rebelling just for the sake of rebelling (4)

17. Talking when nobody's listening (3)

18. Pretending you're fine when you're not (6)

19. Becoming obsessive or compulsive (4)

20. Taking things too personally (6)

21. Acting too needy (5)

22. Having unrealistic expectations (5)

23. Trying to take care of everybody (7)

24. Refusing to play games (8)

25. Putting on an act to make a good impression (5)

26. Being envious of others (4)

27. Feeling sorry for yourself (6)

28. Assuming the hard way is the right way (7)

29. Thinking I'm sorry is enough (5)

30. Holding it all in (7)

31. Quitting too soon (5)

32. Letting Others Control your life (5)

33. Leaving too much to chance (6)

34. Letting fear run your life (5)

35. Not moving on after a loss (5)

36. Not getting out when the getting is good (5)

37. Not asking for what you need (7)

38. Giving advice when they want something else (5)

39. Backing down because you don't feel ready (5)

40. Playing it safe (5)

I guess it would have been totally different if I rated myself on this years ago. Now I have 9 items on a scale greater than 5 which is what I must work on. I feel a couple of years ago that number would have been double. So its been a growing experience and most of the 5s would have gone the other way. Things to work on for me are

- Not asking for what I need

- leaving too much to chance

- holding it all in

- assuming the hard way is the right way

- feeling sorry for myself

- refusing to play games

- trying to take care of everybody

- taking things too personally

- expecting others to understand how i feel

- saying yes when I mean no

- pretending to be fine when I am not

More on this later. Interesting book. Thanks Shobhs.

Voices of the Youth - An Interview with Prarthana Nargundkar

So here's the third one this series - one I started with Anjali, Pooja and Prarthana. Just to provoke some thought. Prarthana knows her mind and commits to everything with a joie de vivre that's infectious. She's good at so many things that she can make a living off anyone thing she chooses - learning, teaching, writing, design, people skills, cooking, critiquing. Right now she is doing a bit of everything so i am waiting for her to settle down to what she finally decides.

Nicely done Prarthana. Here goes. 

Prarthana Nargundkar - Life on her terms

 Q. What are your dreams? What do you want to achieve?

It is indeed strange when one states the concept of dream as being something that is un-real and yet here we are contemplating upon how something un-real can be achieved and setting targets and strategies to achieve it. So as to answer the idea of having goals i would say that my goals are compartmented into financial, educational and travel (as of now in my late 20s'.) 

Financial- For the past few years my market value for my knowledge and efforts has been not as I expected. Hence I want to work upon getting a job that gives me financial stability where I do not settle with great work and less pay.

Educational- If one wants to survive in the indian institutions to bring about a genuine change in hands on training especially for languages you ought to be at that designation where you can implement the changes rather than just suggest and wait for them to be approved and hope for it to happen. So, with growth of knowledge; power is essential. After spending 12 years as a language educator, I feel ready for the plunge not to satisfy my bucket list of accomplishments but to come out of my comfort zone and explore a theory that belongs to my experiences and knowledge. 

Travel- One life, live it right! and what is better than discovering cultures, places and food??

I am not a loner. I always prefer to be in a pack. But, I now wish to discover parts of me in places across the globe. I am slowly gathering the courage to travel solo at least once in a year. 

Q. At full potential, what do you think you can do best?

Anything and everything. I take up a challenge only if I am confident I can attempt to pull it off. And once I commence a project- personal, professional or even culinary based I ensure I give my EVERYTHING. I believe one should always test their potential even when you feel you aren't made for something. Well you'll never know if you only keep actions as a thought.

I never give up even if I know I am going to fail. Failures are life's best lessons.

Q. What do you need to fulfill your potential?

Plan A and Plan B and little or sometimes tremendous self belief.

I strongly feel you should always know where your effort is headed towards. Without a destination heading on a journey is pointless. You may be lost, you may take a different path, you may stumble upon unexpected obstacles; but you'll know where you are headed and alter the way you complete this journey.

Q. What are the barriers to fulfilling your dream?

lack of time. I am an overachiever and this is my major drawback. Sometimes 24 hrs are just not enough for me. 

Q. Would you feel that you are deviating from your academic training?

No. I staunchly believe I am in a very satisfying space in this aspect as there is constantly give & take in this process. I am learning constantly, almost every other day.

Q. Your thoughts now  - On the education system

Kinesthetic Learning should be encouraged as a part of academics. By this, I mean a huge audience of parents and educators needs to comprehend that learners should be encouraged to excel through experiences of the concepts and theories rather than focusing on being simply familiar with concepts and theories. Our education system is so focused on ensuring there are a series of systematic courses and degrees but not on the outcome produced by the learners when they are on the field. Are we really applying the concepts learnt? More importantly, are they relevant?

Hopefully NEP 2020 should change that, if the implementation of it fulfills as promised and on time.

Q. If you were the education minister what would you do?

1. Introduce Vocational Education in all the schools.

2. Improve the educational standard of public schools so that parents have a choice of cutting down on unnecessary expenditure in private schools.

3. Definitely improve the quality of educators. However absurd this may seem, it is vital to know one's vision towards being a part of the education system and not merely having a degree to be a part of one. There is a reason teacher-training has become a priority in many schools and colleges as a course and workshops. 

4. Employment- Post 58, people must retire so that the youth gets a chance to engage, be employed and be a part of the system.

Q. On the opportunities available to the youth

The world is yours, Never Settle.

With rapid increase in technology, courses and productivity one must not restrict themselves from exploring their skills and professional assets. We are where generations of people have left us a legacy of opportunities and ground work.

Q. On today's youth

Complicated, Materialistic and Never Satisfied. 

I can put this thought in a refined concept of the proverb; the grass is always greener on the other side. And once you are on the other side either you look for another grass or prefer the previous side of the greener grass.

Q. Why are the youth easily influenced?

Because they are uncertain and unaware of following their intuitions. We don't know what they are because we are constantly told 'what to do'. 'what is the best for us', 'what others are doing' or 'why this isn't good for us.'

It's like we are in an extended tuition of the subject, life. It is never ending. We are worried that if we make a choice and fail, we will have a handful of people waiting to state, "I told you not to take that road."

Take that road, fail, fall and rise. It is THE most important lesson to survival. One need not do what others did or are doing. Make your own legacy.

Q. If you had to change something what would you want to change in the youth?

The need to do insane things in peer pressure. 

Q. Your view on politics?


Q: Your view on society around you?

For the next ten years we are going to be stuck with an audience of three generations who know the right, who are imposing the right and who don't know what is right!

Q. Your views on religion?

NONE. I am a spiritual soul.

Q. Your views on love?

Oh, I was wondering when this question would pop up!

After many years of trying to find a strategic definition for it, all I can say is stop searching for it in your parents, pets, partners, nature or wherever you are looking for it. It is all within you. Face your angel and demons and proclaim self love. Nothing is more relevant, magical and rational than finding happiness in one self. 

And with all the others mentioned above, give love without expectations. 

Q. Your role models?

None as of now.

Q. What are the 3 things to change in society?

None. A society is made up of a zillion minds not working towards one direction and constantly having changeable and irreparable views.

I don't wish to change or be a part of these. It's a lot of work!

Q. Your favorite books?

A palace of illusions by Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee, The entire Harry Potter Series (I can read them over and over at any age) and Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coleho

Q. Your favorite movies?

Before Sunrise, Barfi, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, Kal ho na ho, Shutter Island and The Illusionist

Q. Favorite places?
Crossword, Rajasthan and anywhere in the mountains.

Q. The single most impactful moment.

The last day of a batch, every year.

Q. Your favorite music?

Not very choosy. I am open to any soulful music. 

Lately, I have taken an interest to sufi music.

Q. What was the most courageous things you ever did?

If a thought counts, I have been thinking of owning a dog.

For those who know me, I am very scared of dogs.

Q. Your philosophy?

We are all placed in this world, in the lives of people for a purpose even if it means only for a certain duration.

Look beyond the normal progress you make everyday and find your greater good with every experience.

Q. Your most romantic moments?

Yet to come.

Q. What does success mean for you?

It means I have to aim for something more out of my comfort zone.

Q. What is your relationship with money?

That I am never hungry for more. I am content with what I have and that I can eat biryani 7 days a week.

Q. What are your great discomforts?

Expectations and insecurities.

Friday, August 20, 2021

A Ferocious Fight To Save a Bird's Life - Well Done Parijatha!

All life is precious and this is something most of us believe in but do not act on. We do not act when we see people lying by the side of the road and get on with our lives lest our precious time gets wasted. So when we hear stories like this one from Parijatha who shared her experience yesterday, we feel so inspired, so good.

The crow stuck in the branches

8 am
The saga began at 8 in the morning when Parijatha (who lives in Malakpet), noticed a bird caught in the branches of a tree, hanging by its wing. She realised the bird was trapped and asked for help from a few neighbours. Suguru Ramesh, who is also the Chairman of the Hari Hara Kshetram temple near their house responded and tried to rescue the bird but it was stuck so high up in the tree that he could not make much headway. He informed the Police and GHMC, deputed some help, and went away because he had some prior appointment. He asked Parijatha to call him for any further assistance.

Ganesh and Chetan fixing the bamboo sticks

9 am

Parijatha searched online for information about how to rescue trapped birds and found an article in Telangana Today encouraging citizens to report instances of birds trapped in trees – the problem being caused by Chinese manja (which is used by youngsters for flying kites) which is made of synthetic that does not break unlike normal manja from which birds can free themselves. Parijatha called the numbers of a round-the-clock helpline (Forest Department I think) given in the article (1800-425-5364) and (040-23231440). She finally got a response on the 1800 number. The person on the phone asked her to call another number. She called and it was redirected to Verma, (80199 83083) who said he would send a volunteer and asked her to post the location, pictures and videos. 

Verma is from Animal Warriors (9553061691, 8977911911, 096978 87888). Now Animal Warriors is a group of youngsters who rescue animals, birds, reptiles – work with Blue Cross, People for Animals and Friends of Snakes – and carry out the major chunk of animal rescue operations in the city. 

10 am. 

The bird was flapping its wing tiredly, barely able to hold on. Distressed at the bird’s condition and its helpless state Parijatha called Verma again to find the progress of the rescue operation. He informed her that they were busy with another rescue operation near Afzal Gunj and all volunteers were engaged there. He suggested that she inform the Fire Department and the Disaster Response Force (DRF). He insisted that she call the concerned departments herself for quicker action. 

Parijatha called the DRF. One person picked up and asked for location and pictures. She followed up and he sent a response that Fire Department has been informed. She simultaneously kept pursuing with Verma. He informed that some volunteers would arrive soon and also if DRF attended the issue they would not come as another rescue operation was pending. Parijatha told them that no one has come yet.

Meanwhile Ramesh had called the MLA and Councillor of the local area. Ramesh gave their contact numbers to Parijatha and told her to request for help in rescuing the bird. Parijatha talked with them and requested for quicker action.

11 am

In about an hour’s time the first help arrived - Ganesh, an Animal Warrior. Parijatha asked him how one person could save the bird so high up and he said he had a colleague coming in and shortly, Chetan arrived. ‘

The youngsters figured they needed several lengths of bamboo to get to the crow which was so high up, and free it from the Chinese manja. They went around to the nearby construction workers and fruit sellers, found out where they could get bamboo, kept their bike as security for the bamboo sticks and returned with the bamboo. They tied the three sticks of bamboo together, tied some lit agarbatti at the end of the bamboo sticks to burn the manja and started their rescue operations. 

12 pm

In these last four hours Parijatha looked up into the tree branches at the hanging bird several times. Hoping and praying that it survives. Sometimes the bird would be hanging lifeless, tired of flapping in the air to free itself. ‘Is it alive or has it lost its life?’, Parijatha  thought, as she looked at it keenly. She sighed with relief each time the bird would start flapping again after a few seconds of stillness.

Meanwhile Parijatha also called the local MLA and Councillor who might have called some authorities because the Fire Department arrived with a fire truck between 12 and 1 pm. However the fire truck's ladder could not access the place where the crow was stuck as electric cables and tree branches were obstructing the access. So it was back to the bamboo sticks.

Parijatha was updating Verma about the rescue operation through pictures and videos throughout.  Verma coordinated the entire effort with Ganesh and Chetan till the end.

1 pm

Meanwhile Ganesh and Chetan found out that the bamboo sticks could not take the weight of the contraption they had built - the middle one was bending - so the boys went and bought another length of bamboo - four in all now. The two Animal Warriors and the 6 personnel from the fire department then engaged in the effort to burn all the strands of the manja that tied up the crow. Finally, with great effort, the crow was free.

Ramesh and the crow, and the Fire Department personnel

'The bird leaned on the stick for a while after it was freed,' said Parijatha. 'It must have been tired after having been stuck there perhaps all night and all morning. It was so beautiful to see it resting on the bamboo stick for a moment. After resting a while, it tried to fly, could not hold itself, and fell to the ground. Perhaps its wing was injured. I gave a shoe box and some water and the Animal Warriors took the bird away to treat it. It was highly satisfying.'

Parijatha was busy in the wedding preparations for her niece's wedding when she got into the crow’s rescue. 'What's the use of ornaments and dressing up well when this poor bird was dying out here? Will my heart be happy?,’ she said. I asked Parijatha if she was an animal lover and she said - no, not just animals, all humanity. What a lovely sentiment.

Parijatha and the entire team of warriors - Well done!

How beautiful is it that so many people come together and rescue a life. I fervently hope the crow survives. I also hope that people stop using this Chinese manja. I hope that the Animal Warriors do more such good work (I got inspired and donated a modest amount to it). I hope the Fire Department continues to do this great work too. Verma, Ganesh, Chetan, Ramesh and all else, great job. And for her relentless effort spread over five hours of constant persuasion and more than fifty calls to various organisations and individuals including the Telangana Forest Dept, Animal Warriors, DRF, GHMC, Malakpet Corporator, MLA, Fire Dept. - to Parijatha who fought heroically and finally got the crow freed.

I know Parijatha as a plain speaking, clear headed and passionate student of mine at the Department of Dance, University of Hyderabad and I am not surprised that she took up something like this. In class we would discuss personal leadership - taking ownership despite lack of a position - and I remember sharing some stories of personal leadership I had seen. I will now use Parijatha's story as one of the shining examples of personal leadership and how we can use our personal power to make a difference in the world. Fantastic work Parijatha and I am certainly inspired by this and I hope a few more who might read this blog to stop and care for all life. You never know what might happen once you begin. The whole world might join you and support your noble act.

Some important numbers in case you find animals and birds in distress

Animal Warriors-9553061691, 8977911911

Blue Cross – 9966629858

People For Animals – 7680968798

Friends of Snakes - 08374233366

Forest Department 1800-425-5364

And do check out these links



Wednesday, August 18, 2021

eCanteen Fundas - How Spiritual Energy Gives Superhuman Strength

 It's only when we go beyond us that we grow - and that's what spiritual energy is about - connecting to the spirit that pervades the Universe with what's within us. Simply put, find a purpose bigger than yourself and you'll be surprised at what you'll achieve.


E-Canteen Fundas: Tapping into some superhuman energy isn't all that difficult

Pic: Edexlive

‘We discussed how to use our physical, emotional and mental energy to fully engage with work,’ said Rinku. ‘But does it translate to great work filled with passion, integrity and honesty?’

‘Yes bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘How do some people put in superhuman energy and create wonderful outcomes?’

‘Good question,’ said Rakesh. ‘There’s one energy that overrides all others. It’s called spiritual energy.’

‘Oh no,’ said Rahul. ‘Spiritual stuff is boring.’

‘Spiritual energy is nothing but aligning with ‘our’ spirit,’ said Rakesh. ‘Our inner self guides us to our unique purpose, to do things ‘our’ way. It connects us to something bigger than us, something that grows us and those around us, gives us strength beyond known limits and makes great things possible. ‘

‘Wow,’ said Rinku. ‘How can we access our spiritual energy bhaiyya?’

‘First, find and live your personal set of values, your building blocks - honesty, integrity, commitment, passion - whatever you value most,’ said Rakesh. ‘Secondly, work for a purpose bigger than you.’

‘How do we find our values bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.

‘Introspect, look at qualities you admire in yourself and others, and you’ll find what you value most,’ said Rakesh. ‘When you live your life built on the foundation of your values, you build character – the key muscle for spiritual energy. Your character gives you strength to pursue great tasks with courage and conviction and to overcome hardship and obstacles.’

‘Whoa,’ said Rahul. ‘How can we expand our spiritual energy bhaiyya?’

‘To expand our spiritual energy we must go beyond self-interest,’ said Rakesh. ‘We expand when we take up something bigger than us - our team, college, society, nation. When we’re driven by something beyond us, we find the strength to go beyond known limits – that’s what spiritual energy is all about. So, in every task you do, find a greater purpose and work selflessly for that. It’ll grow you and your talents beyond your imagination. For example, instead of playing for yourself in your college basketball team, seek to win the championship for your team. Instead of simply living in your neighbourhood, make it the cleanest. Contribute to the greater good of your team always and you’ll expand.’

‘So I can access this superhuman spiritual energy if I put myself aside and serve others?’ asked Rahul.

‘Yes,’ said Rakesh. ‘But as always, balance service to others with self-care. Your self-care comes first because when you’re cared for, you care wholeheartedly for others.’

‘Thanks bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘I’ve just decided to help stray cats and dogs in my area to find homes.’

Pro Tip: Spiritual energy gives us passion, courage and conviction to do great work. It comes from connecting deeply held values to a purpose beyond self-interest. Use your values to build character

Anjali - A Tough Decision - Sona and Zor Find a New Home

After much discussion and consideration,  Anjali took a brave yet tough decision to let go of Sona and Zor for whom we had found a foster home at my friend Choudary's farm at Shamshabad. A watchman couple he knows will take care of them - they have a nice clean yard, kennels and a secure perimeter where the pups can grow and play without harm. Considering the number of times they have been attacked here in my colony by bigger dogs (one incident even today), it felt like they might be safer there.

A few days ago - Sona, Zor and Anjali outside our house

Since their birth in April (10th I think), Sona and Zor somehow survived four turbulent months - where Kroor and Zindagi did not - and not easily. Both owe their life to Anjali - Zor after a highly traumatised three day gap which completely traumatised her and Sona after a car ran over her leg and caused a fracture and internal hemorrhage. She nursed them both back to good health and literally carried Sona like a baby.

A couple of days before - Anjali studying with all three keeping her company

But then came practical decisions - Shobhs and I are not much dog people - though I know Shobhs got attached to Sona in the past few days. The fact that Anjali would have to go full time to school in a few months perhaps, and college in a few years was a factor. We considered travel, how we may get home bound, and how if she does move out to study in three years, it might not be fair on the pup (or us) later. Anyway, there were two of them together and she felt they would be happier and safer together.

A moment before we left - Anjali holding Sona

So she said we would go today after school to give them over. I kept saying she could reconsider and maybe we could give one now and another later but she was resolute. During the school break we went and bought collars and leashes for them and Akela - and they all looked smart in them. They played around at home until it was time to go. For Zor this was the longest and farthest journey yet - Sona had been to the vet before.They sat in the car quietly.

In the car not knowing where they are headed

 At Beauty Green they played around while we waited for Choudary. Anjali let them gambol around in the lawn. And then Choudary came and we carried them to the place where the watchmen couple Ramesh and Bujji live, and gave them over to them. Shobhs gave them some money, Anjali told them their names and how to feed them - gave them a packet of Pedigree too. The pups settled down in a corner and surely will soon find their rhythm. Its quite a protected place. The woman called after an hour to tell us that they had eaten and slept.

Sona and Zor exploring Beauty Green lawns - after scaring away two bigger dogs

Anjali was naturally upset at the parting. All of us were. I will also miss the way Sona would frisk around the house - the way it would jump on the beds and the bean bags, the way it would look, find its way under nooks and crannies. But mostly I felt very sad for Anjai who had put her heart and soul into the pups and Akela. The way she cared for them, fought for them, held and nurtured them, loved them is something I can never do, am not remotely capable of. Only someone with so much compassion and love can do those acts, take such decisions - and like I always said - lucky is the person that Anjali loves. There's a quality about it, and intensity about it I cannot even touch. I am glad for her for that and so so glad she's been blessed with so much love and compassion.

Anjali playing with Sona and Zor

We spoke in the afternoon before we left and I told her how it had been such a superb manifestation by her - five dogs - the mom and four pups, when she had been yearning for a dog for years - and the whole gamut of experience from birth to death, illness to recovery, living with one to separation. We decided to look at this experience not with sadness but with a 'What else is possible' and 'How can it get better' outlook on life.

Anjali holding Sona while Zor explores

And I felt so bad when Anjali recovered in the car and patted us both and said 'thank you for everything'. But Anjali my dearest, like I said, let's be open. Maybe there are better things to come - for all of us - including Sona and Zor.

And Sona and Zor, for all the love and fun, your friskiness and mischief, your brave fighting along with your mother when those big dogs that would attack you, your attempts to protect Anjali from whatever you imagined - lots of love and farewell and have long and healthy lives. And yes, we'll see you soon!      

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Anjali - Sona Recovers Fully

 And finally the day came for Sona's bandage to come off and we were all glad to see that it was perfectly fine. It had made a full recovery and jumped around madly without the bandage restraining it.

In this time that it was hurt Anjali fully took her in and cared for it. Giving it medicines, food, cleaning up after it, taking it to the vet, picking off its ticks - she's a natural with dogs (and cats). Sona grew healthy in this period. She got comfortable inside the house and adopted certain places to lie down - couple of nooks in the hall, under the bed in the hall, the bean bag, the beds and sofas. In Anjali's room she is the queen - always on Anjali's bed - sleeping with her. She lies down while Anjali does her online school, an eye cocked for intruders like us. And more than once, she barked at me for daring to look into the room.

The big question now - what do we do with it and its sister Zor who is still hanging outside with her mother Akela. Anjali wanted to keep Sona and we all had a conversation about the practical issues. She listened. A call to be taken this week.

Thought for the Day - Talk More About What You Want

 If you really want something do this - talk more about it. To anyone who cares to listen or not.

What I realised is that most people (like me) do not talk about what they do.In fact they keep it close to their chest and struggle with it. I do that. I rarely talk about my work, my books, my themes. Maybe I grew up thinking modesty is a virtue.

But then, its not about modesty. Its about my work, something I am passionate about.

By not talking about it what I am doing is not giving it any attention. 

1) So using the law of attraction - pay attention to it so it grows. 

2) Secondly, and more importantly. I show pride and confidence in my work. 

3) Thirdly and even more importantly, when I talk about my work I get a lot of clarity about it. Many times I find answers that have been eluding me. I can see things I haven't seen before.

Try it. Go ahead and start talking about your work. 

(I must also share that I did get inspired by several of my friends and associates who talk a lot about their work and guess what, I found they are all successful at their work. Unlike the modest people who don't.) 

Kuruthi - Movie

 2021. Malayalam.

Muslim family - aging patriarch and two sons - one liberal and one extreme - is visited by a Hindu policeman who is trying to save a Hindu boy who accidentally killed a Muslim man. The extremist Muslims in the area want to kill the Hindu boy and surround the house. Much drama follows and many masks fall off. The old man Khader gets the best dialogues - 'whatever happens, mankind will never forget to hate.'

Writing Insights - Conversations With Krishna Shastri Devulapalli

 This one Krishna sent by WhatsApp

"I would add after 4

Why did they choose that particular path? And not some other."

This is really good stuff. Unless and until you can answer these questions, you won't have a clear path.

Thanks Krishna.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Those 80s Things

Was trying to make a list of those 80s things that aren't there anymore in Hyderabad.

Irani cafes, Udipi hotels

Parking spaces

Landlines, Phone books, 

Konica cameras, reels, negatives, developing and printing

Greeting cards, Greeting corner, post offices, inland letters, aerogrammes

TV with state channels - Dyanora, EC TV,

Mahabharat, Ramayana, Discovery of India, Hum Log, Subah,

Allwyn Pushpak, Vijay Pushpak, Bajaj Chetak, Yezdi, Java, Bullet, Luna, Suvega, TVS50

Fiat, Ambassador, Standard Herald, Gazel, Impala 

Thums Up, Limca, Thril, Goldspot, Rasna

Biryani joints, Alpha, Paradise

Chai at 70 paisa, chote samose, Osmania biscuits, tie biscuits

Cold coffee

Chermas, Johns Bakery, Real Bakery, Sabon Bakery

Cassettes and cassette players

Serving food at friends' weddings, 

Movies at theatres and first day first show with tickets in black, Sandwiches at Sangeet

Amitabh, Rekha, Amol Palekar, Shabana, Naseer, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Jackie Shroff, Meenakshi Seshadri, 

British library, Colony's Best Library

Butta and ice cream at tank bund

Dosa at Kamat, chocolate slabs, Tutti Fruti/Cassata/Chole bature at HavMor

Coffee and mirchi bajji at Minerva Coffee shop

Bell bottoms? Jeans from Chermas

Power shoes from Bata, Quo Vadis sandals from Bata

Unbranded pizza and burger joints

Paani puri stalls

Railway crossings

Train journeys in second class

Communal riots

Beer at 30 rupees? Kingfisher, Guru, UB, Old Monk, Golconda Ruby Wine

Late night trips to dhabas

Bicycle rental shops @Rs 1 per hour

Girls in half saree, salwar kameez and rarely jeans and tops

Drinking water from taps at railway stations, schools, colleges, public places 

Fish fry, sugar candy and samosa at the Exhibition

Boys meeting girls at bus stands, Birla mandir, Indira Park, 

Picnics to Gandipet, Shameerpet

Thought for the Day - It's the Final Thought that Matters, Hold On To It

 When we wish for something, affirm something or pray for something, we find a spot when we are most fervent and then comes one thought that brings it all down - one that says it won't happen. All the energy you built up creating your edifice comes crashing down and we don't have the patience to build it again. So we leave it as it is, rubble.

But I feel its part of the process. Ask, wish, affirm, pray, visualise - and stay as long. Then, since we are unused to it, the messy thought will come and destroy it. 

But don't leave it there. Hold your original thought. Leave that exchange between you and the devil on a slightly plus note. Every time it crashes, end the exchange with one positive, final visual or thought of what you want and hold on to it. The last thought should belong to you, what you want.

And when we do that on a regular basis, the negative thoughts reduce slowly. Whatever happens, we will hold our reality. I suspect that things may turn out differently. It did for me several times.

Worth a try.  

Shershaah - Movie

 Loved the movie. Feared it might over-dramatise but luckily thy didn't. Siddharth Malhotra fully looked and played the part of 24 year old Captain Vikram Batra who died in action during the Kargil war while leading one of the most crucial and tough conditions in the mountains. Shershaah is his code name.



Chernobyl - Movie

 Based on the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power reactor accident which is amongst the two worst nuclear disasters in the world, the story lauds the efforts of the liquidators who tried to set things right and save all those they can, at risk to their lives. Some sense into the disaster.

Story is set in the backdrop of Chernobyl - a fireman who is leaving Chernobyl on his last day there to start a new life with his new found family - he has to return to the site and make the supreme sacrifice. 


NavaRasa - Movie

Nine stories based on the nine emotions or rasas - compassion, romance, anger, disgust, laughter, wonder, peace, fear and valour. I liked the format because I can watch it one short story at a time. Nicely shot and done. And of course so many well known names of artists and technicians you have something going all the time.

Compassion is about a wife who forgives a stranger who killed her husband - who are we to forgive when we have not spoke to each other for ten years she says. Romance is a story about a successful musician who meets the love of his life - or someone who inspires him - and then fades away. Anger is felt by two siblings against their mother for compromising her values to give them a better life. Disgust is felt by a daughter against her father who holds grudges against everyone - his successful nephew mostly and tries to spoil the marriage feast on some trivial excuse. Laughter comes form the village prankster who tries to help his headmaster and ends up messing it up some more. Wonder is about a scientist who creates something and delivers it into the wrong hands. Peace is found in war - the LTTE fighters help a boy get his pet dog back and in a moment of madness - the peace that they found is lost. Fear is about a lady whose ghosts from the past come to haunt her. Valour is about a rookie commando who captures and loses the head of a naxalite band and then plunges in to capture him - in a moment of inspiration.

Nice stories and well told. Sometimes I felt the exact opposite emotion of what the story was about or did not feel it in the way it was meant to be. Like in peace I want to feel peaceful by the end of the story and not the opposite of it. I liked valour, the idea behind romance though I am not sure it got captured well, disgust, laughter and compassion.    

Thursday, August 12, 2021

eCanteen Fundas - How to Be Fully Engaged Mentally?

Get fully engaged - mentally!


Published: 06th August 2021

E-Canteen Fundas: Accessing peak mental capacity for high performance

‘I’m unable to concentrate for long bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘It’s affecting my performances everywhere.’

‘You need to manage your mental energy,’ said Rakesh. ‘Mental energy helps you concentrate for long periods and to shift focus flexibly - between big picture and detail-orientation, the internal and external. It boosts performance.’

‘How can we manage mental energy bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.

‘Thoughts are our building blocks for mental energy,’ said Rakesh. ‘Our brain, which constitutes 2 per cent body weight, consumes 20-25 per cent of our fuel, oxygen. What it means is that our thinking patterns affect our energy. We know optimistic thoughts help performance and negative thoughts drain us, so changing our thoughts helps. Use the flipping technique–catch negative thoughts and flip them into thoughts that are positive and energising. Positive visualisation and self-talk also help.’

‘Isn’t it unrealistic to be always positive bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.

‘Good question,’ said Rakesh. ‘Actually we’re at peak mental capacity when we’re in a state of ‘realistic optimism’ –grounded in reality, however dire, yet optimistic about creating a beautiful ending.’

‘Wow,’ said Rahul.

‘Now, to maximize mental energy, work in rhythms,’ said Rakesh. ‘Change mental channels intermittently to renew mental energy – switch creative and logical work, activity and rest. This oscillation activates different parts of the brain – our right and left brains, our creative and logical brains. Did you know that our most creative thoughts, deepest insights are triggered when we’re relaxing and not thinking, when there’s rhythmic engagement and disengagement between thinking and letting go, work and rest?’

‘And what about logical thinking bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.

‘The best mental work is a balance of creative and logical work,’ said Rakesh. ‘The creative process in any activity starts ‘creatively’ with the first insight, saturation and incubation of the idea, followed by ‘logical applications’ such as illumination and verification. So, to do your best mental work, set thinking aside periodically and relax, get critical insights, and build on it. Leonardo da Vinci for example, used to disengage from work intermittently for short intervals to improve his creative process.’

‘Any tips to further grow our mental capacity bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.

‘Even moderate physical activity improves brain activity considerably, so get that oxygen flowing,’ said Rakesh. ‘Also, the brain, unlike other organs, gets stronger and sharper with use, so push it beyond its capacity. Do something new. Challenge it with right brain activities - learn a new language, paint, solve puzzles - grapple with it. When exercised, it forms new neural pathways and builds speed, strength, endurance and flexibility – your mental capacity.’

‘Thanks bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘I can now manage my mental energy effectively.’

Pro Tip: Enhance mental capacity by oscillating between activity and rest. Our most creative work happens when we set thinking aside, so relax periodically