Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Driving and Life - 13 Metaphors



13 parallels between Life and Driving.
We are already familiar with almost every idea that this analogy/metaphor has to offer. But I still like it packed in the cover of a metaphor.

1. Reduce your speed
Is it really nice to be rushing around and clucking (clutching & braking?) like a mad hen all the time? We need to remember to slow down quickly (heh heh) and frequently enough

2. Don't compete or race
This is a guaranteed way to make sure we lose it or feel stupid as we go about life. By all means, let's do it if we don't mind dents in our mental-makeup

3. Don't compare
Looking at other vehicles (hey, look, a Lamborghini) instead of focusing on the road in front of us. Drooling over what others have rather than driving down our own path joyously. We are bound to crash into something and slip into permanent depression

4. Fuel up
If we're not sure about the what, where, when and how of the fuel we need in order to go about our journeys, it's quite likely we may be stranded in the middle of nowhere. Must identify and store some fuel (inspiration) to help us run

5. Focus on the drive rather than the destination
Constantly worrying about where we need to be rather than concentrating on and enjoying the drive is a pity. Can't help it at times though

6. Don't let others tell you how to drive (But allow for companionship/encouragement/warnings/wisdom)
Sheesh. Sigh. No back-seat driving. Let's claim our lives. Shall we?

7. Don't obsess over the scratches and dents
Hard. It happened. It will be there. Maybe we can get it tinkered at an affordable cost. If not, can we just let it be?
Dealing with nasty co-travelers on the road is more difficult than this but perhaps the same philosophy can be applied there as well

8. Switch on the stereo
Tiddly tumty tum and Tra laa la. Got to energize ourselves and listen/dance to some music. Let's not forget the controls if we happen to be listening to music while driving. Shaking a leg, of course, requires us to stop for a while

9. Master your parking skills
At times, we'd have to make do with what we get and fit our lives into available or unusual slots. In other words, be prepared to play with the cards we've been given. Psst, we can either loosen up and go for it or, sometimes, pay for valet parking

10. Drop off your vehicle for service
Before or after some journeys, drop off the vehicle at a service station. The vehicle probably needs a complete wash/new parts/paint. Relax and rejuvenate at intervals

11. Know the important road rules
Especially the ones related to dignity, courtesy and safety. Let's not jeopardize other travelers' lives

12. Get a trainer or a coach
The right ones might instill some confidence and give us the essential practice and tricks necessary for survival and success

13. Keep the emergency support numbers handy
Do we know how to sort things out and resume our journey if and when there is a break-down? If yes, there's a lot to be proud of and happy about. Else, let's keep the emergency numbers accessible at all times

I declare you free. Run now. Call emergency if you must.

Dance of the Birds



Sit in a train to some place far away. Play music on a device of your choice. Melodies; not some fast and insane numbers. Look out of the window. 

Acknowledge the greenery, cows, and other fauna. But focus on the sky. Watch out for birds (alone or in a flock) that are flying, gliding, soaring or zigzagging along. You will notice that their movements more or less coincide with the rhythm of the song or the interludes more often than not. 

The birds, however, are, mysteriously, unaware of their ability to choreograph to songs they have never heard in their lives. If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it fall, did the tree make a sound?

Sharing



To knock someone's door and ask for something is an act of compassion at times.

If you trust yourself, are willing to give and enjoy collective happiness, when someone asks you for something, you might be surprised to discover how much you really have and are able to share....and that spans across many things......affection, knowledge and time.....

Communities. Coaching.



The gap between inspiration and insignificance
The gap between action and thought
The gap between perseverance and pessimism
The gap between understanding and ignorance
The gap between enjoyment and boredom
The gap between I did it and If only I had done it
May quite easily be filled by the combination of......
......a competent coach and a capable and concerned community

Truth



Truth is like a butterfly. Colourful. Fascinating. Fleeting. And there are many fluttering in the garden.

You can focus and chase one all the way but still make space for appreciating a few different others on the journey. You can simply watch all of them enchanted by the apparent diversity. You can pick up a magnifying glass to study one and dive deep into it without letting it blind you to everything else......

Share



It ought to be fine to.....

share your contemplations; they preceded the results

share your stumblings; they led you to smartness

share your learnings; they contributed to success

share your darkness; they nudged you to your glow

share your ruminations; they were replaced by your humor

share your doubts; they were pushed away by your dreams


The temporarily lost may - thanks to you - remember how to get over something or how to take the rough with the smooth


“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” - Maya Angelou

Gotta go for it



When life gets one brooding a bit.....

One mustn't WAIT for the spark to hit.

One, first of all, ought not to sit......

But go around and check if the area is lit.

Tap into some random source of wit....

And whip up some long-lasting grit.

Hoist oneself atop the pit.....
And gather a good motivation kit.

Because one, ultimately, gotta go for it.

How to make a mess of your life



Three simple and easy steps to make a total mess of all things 
Repeat every day to stay in the cage of misery and clip your wings 

One:
Find two things to complain and rant about
Sometimes you could murmur, sometimes you could shout 

Two:
Find two topics and appropriate people to fight or argue with
Don't pause to think if you are pursuing the truth or chasing a myth

Three:
Find some faults in people or situations around you 
Elaborate and examine till the concerned blokes turn blue 

Tip:
Take as many of these aspects from the past as possible 
As the past guarantees you things that are no longer changeable 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mother....



A child that has arrived,
Is one that has derived


the beverage of life from its mother's bosom
the warmth of affection from its mother's kisses
the courage of connection from its mother's umbilical cord
the gift of the gab from its mother's murmurings
the luxury of lazing around from its mother's lap
the depth of sensitivity from its mother's gaze 
the courtesy to contribute from its mother's hands
the confidence of doing right from its mother's advice
the bliss of being right from its mother's trust


Mother; the mother of all sources
Mother; the origin of positive forces

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Happy Chemicals in KM :-)



How to get a good D.O.S.E of the Happy Chemicals through KM. 

D-O-S-E: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphin. Don't ask. It just occurred to me. (All right, I came across the first three in many articles. Did a little bit of research and discovered the last one) 

Dopamine: When you find the knowledge asset you were looking for in the content sharing platform. Also, when you get a reward for writing the most popular asset in the repository - The reward chemical 

Oxytocin: When you discover, interact and bond with colleagues who have similar/complementary ideas or share your areas of interest via the social networking platforms - The trust chemical 

Serotonin: When you are the most favorite expert or most voted for expert in the expertise locator. When people approach you for help knowing that you have what it takes - The importance chemical 

Endorphin: When pain is replaced with happiness; When you solve a problem with the help of a knowledge asset someone shared, an expert you discovered or colleagues you connected with in the content and people platforms - The pain to pleasure chemical 

But, to start with, you need the action chemical:  

Adrenalin: When you present your thoughts and learnings in a meeting or write a blog to share your knowledge - The action chemical 

Service



I wonder if Life is but a desperate effort on our part to run between success (I define it here as 'pursuing an activity that seems meaningful, ethical and joyous to your mind and spirit - following your bliss - and sharing your gift with the world') at one end and a sense of belonging (feeling the oneness that is so often talked about in spirituality) at the other. 

The distance, methinks, is formidable for many. It is hard to imagine someone obsessed with ideas paying close attention to people and relationships. It is equally hard to imagine a compassionate person pursuing ideas with a zeal that ignores social consequences of any sort. 

There is one powerful exception though; A lot of wise people keep telling us that the best and surest way to find happiness is by serving others (not limited to conventional ideas). H'm. See the point? It reduces the distance between success and sense of belonging to zero. 

Belief



Buddha is quoted thus: "Don't believe everything you read". Abraham Lincoln also apparently warned people to not believe everything on the Internet. I don't know; Lincoln was the one quoted in that poster I saw on the Internet. 

Logically speaking, how could we anyway believe everything we read? Just when you had permanently concluded that laughter is good for health, some researchers come out of their isolated offices and tell you that your organs might get ruptured or displaced if you laugh too much. 

Just when you were sure that deep introspection is what might make you a better human being, some psychologists warn you about the side effects of deep thinking. Who wants to be a better human being but, at the same time, slightly insane? (Makes you wonder how they arrived at such a conclusion without thinking too much). 

Not a single so-called Universal truth is left untouched or unchallenged. There are many ways to use rational thoughts to either construct or destroy the same case. People, meanwhile, simply choose what they want to believe and ignore everything else. 

What next? We must simply wait for Mark Twain to tell us (via the Internet, of course) to start believing everything we read. That way, we'll take ourselves less seriously and life will be a lot more fun. 

Social Media



Disclaimer: Please ask your mobile service provider to activate your sense of humor before reading further.
Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, including you, except Yours Truly is merely and purely coincidental.

Selfies, sunsets, babies and cats
Some bouquets and a few brickbats

Like, comment or lazily lurk
Fool around, think a bit or just burp

Boast a bit or somewhat less or a lot
Declare whether life is cool or hot 

Birthdays, weddings, parties and all
Trips to everywhere, now on the wall

What was for lunch and what for dinner
Who is the saint and who the sinner

Sports, movies, politics and religion
What to embrace and what to shun

Obsess about an idea or a cause   
And garner some passing applause

Share nonsensical poetry 
Indulge in honest or random flattery 

Talk about this; talk about that
Go around in circles; say Howzzat 

Wonder what the heck is happening
And quit the whole damn thing 

Is your sense of humor intact? *Peace*
Please continue what you were doing.

The T&C of Life

Going past a huge cemetery is somewhat like a situation wherein you see the Terms & Conditions of an essential service (life, in this case) - but you don't really read everything; you just scroll down the page. 

But when you see a mortuary van on its way inside, you are reminded of the inevitability of the 'I agree' check box, irrespective of whether you really do agree or not. There is no way out.

Extending the metaphor, here's food for thought:

Do we dwell so much upon the T&C that we never reach the check box or realize its existence?

Do we jump, skip and hop across the T&C without a care and land on the check box with a jolly shout?

Do we read a bit of the T&C, get psyched out and surrender at the altar of the check box? 

Songs that Life Sings



Life has it all. Think about it; The most fascinating thing about life is life. 

It might play its million songs in the shuffle mode and give you just about everything - surprises, shocks, sobriety, success, serenity, serendipity or stimulation. 

It might play the same old song again and again in a loop and make you think you'd rather be dead (pessimist) or wonder how to get obsessed (optimist) with that one song. 

It may also, occasionally, play plenty of customized play-lists giving us the illusion of control. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Interested, Intelligent or Ignorant?


There are things (and times when) we constantly analyze, judge and evaluate; Categorize, take sides, conclude and declare. We are seen as keen participants; interested and perhaps intelligent. The inevitable consequence is to either cheat ourselves into believing that we knew it all or change with the climate a la a chameleon. Nothing really bad I guess - that is life as usual for so many of us because we are under constant pressure and have been conditioned to appear intelligent and interested.

On the other hand, there are times when we are nonchalant and 'matter-of-fact'ish about there being a hundred things we can't really know, a hundred and one things we know we don't know, a hundred and two things we don't know that we don't know. Something unknown sets us free and we decide to suspend judgment (and its sisters and brothers) and just be. Maybe there's a thought or two that makes a strong appeal to be adopted but it is kindly dismissed after an internal struggle. These are the times when we manage to simply observe and trace things with an open, un-argumentative and un-excited mind. It doesn't bother us that we appear not to exist or appear to be ignorant. Such moments are liberating. If we do not let thoughts from outside infiltrate our so-called ignorance.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Labels


Labels. We can't think without using them, can we? They turn into disastrous and murderous weapons when we employ them to judge people, events and ideas. How many times do we pause before sticking an imaginary label on someone or something? How many times are we willing to pull off that label despite realizing that perception is different from reality. How many times are we incorrigibly convinced that our labels are right forever? 

Is it possible to stop our conditioning, experiences and intellectual limitations from dictating to our labels? Can we settle for labels that are empty until we are sufficiently engaged with the person, event or idea to know that the labels must perhaps remain empty forever? I don't know (to quote my niece on most matters). 

The right place for labels is in the mind's lab where we secretly examine the label from multiple angles and don't let any of our prejudices and past experiences influence us while at it and......finally, shred them to pieces rather than let them splatter black on things yet to come. 

Peace



Some thoughts take off elegantly and enthusiastically into the bright and blue sky and your spirit soars along, with a song on its lips.

Some thoughts, meanwhile, speedily slide down into a dark and endless abyss and drag your spirit down even as it resists and trips.

To silently watch both with stoic equanimity and see that they both are equally unreal is what works, as 'spirituality' often quips. 

To Believe or Not to Believe



Buddha is quoted thus: "Don't believe everything you read". Abraham Lincoln also apparently warned people to not believe everything on the Internet. I don't know; Lincoln was the one quoted in that poster I saw on the Internet. 

Logically speaking, how could we anyway believe everything we read? Just when you had permanently concluded that laughter is good for health, some researchers come out of their isolated offices and tell you that your organs might get ruptured or displaced if you laugh too much. 

Just when you were sure that deep introspection is what might make you a better human being, some psychologists warn you about the side effects of deep thinking. Who wants to be a better human being but, at the same time, slightly insane? (Makes you wonder how they arrived at such a conclusion without thinking too much). 

Not a single so-called Universal truth is left untouched or unchallenged. There are many ways to use rational thoughts to either construct or destroy the same case. People, meanwhile, simply choose what they want to believe and ignore everything else. 

What next? We must simply wait for Mark Twain to tell us (via the Internet, of course) to start believing everything we read. That way, we'll take ourselves less seriously and life will be a lot more fun. 

Bird Murmurations


Perhaps the mother of all magical moments in nature 
The murmuration of birds mixed with lilting music

The magnificence of watching the winged creatures in rapture 
Merging and leaving in what seems like a divine trick   

The mesmerizing patterns that they draw in the sky
Makes one desire to belong to the unrehearsed dance 

As millions of birds prove they were born to fly 
Maybe man can some day learn to orchestrate so, once he comes out of the trance

Genius - Focus



“The secret of genius is focus. If you can laser your attention on any subject or project, it will reveal its blueprint to you. George Washington Carver discovered 325 uses for the peanut and 100 for the sweet potato! Great geniuses are powerful focusers. Many have been called eccentric or insane because they put aside worldly concerns for the sake of their music, art, architecture, drama, inventing, or writing. But they are the individuals who change the world, while those with scattered attention wade through mediocre lives. Geniuses don’t fritter their precious minds on mass trends. They create the trends that alter the masses.” ~ Alan Cohen 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

TIME vs LIFE


Question that I spotted recently- How does time influence us? HT: John Hovell

Such a critical question that many of us probably don't think about often! A movie I watched has helped me refine my thoughts on this topic. Thinking about it linearly, at one extreme end of the spectrum, we have people who are slaves of time and will dance to its tunes almost always. 

Ironically, these are the people who want to conquer time, squeeze in everything possible and stuff the 'Time' bag till they are sure it can't hold any more. Which implies they are always under pressure and the dark cloud of unfinished tasks constantly hovers over their heads. They are likely to just fleet through most things in life as they are waiting for the next thing to happen. I can't help but think that the problem has become more severe with the explosion of concepts like multi-tasking, social networking and the subsequent personalized information glut. (Earlier it was plain information glut, with no special messages attached to it which means it was easier to ignore). 

Those of us who are stuck in this constantly churning wheel of time would hardly enjoy the ride. And we have ourselves to blame for it. We are perhaps competing against others with time as the measure, have no clue about our real priorities and are addicted to busyness so as to shut off our wandering minds. 

At the other end of the spectrum, we have people who may have no respect whatsoever for time and would rarely care about its delicate rules or limitations. Such a strong lack of respect for time can be no good either. It smacks of a lack of purpose, lack of knowledge of situations, lack of awareness of other social elements and addiction to laziness. 

As in everything else, we need to hunt for Zen, the middle path, that lets us get the better of time when it really matters (a surgery, a relationship etc) and let it go when there is a need to pause for breath, joy, meaning and clarity of thought. A middle path that lets us take our eyes off the clock, slow down frequently and enjoy the moment that we occupy so much that the clock too is forced to stop in order to watch us. 

In short, too much focus on time will lead to a negative impact on the quality of our lives while a lack of focus on time will reduce the quality of the positive impact we have on life.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Restlessness



The spirit that often wants to break free
Amidst its ignorance of what will be

The determination to find the energy to soar 
The desire to breakthrough the silence and roar

Almost the entire world yet to explore
Piled up and untouched ideas galore 

Even as one sees the intense human spirit flow and grow
The heart of every cell wishes for peace to lend its glow

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Compassion



Gut-wrenching noise of the goat from across the street. 
It is hard to bear the sound of his agonizing bleat. 

He somehow knows what is in store but probably hopes for a miracle. 
What he does not know is half the world has to cry for the other half to cackle. 

Note: This post is not intended to offend or hurt anyone. It is only the expression of a personal feeling and can be applied in multiple situations.

How a Good Person Can Really Win - A Book Review



Book Review: Pavan Choudary’s “How A Good Person Can Really Win

I enjoy reading genuine self-help books that combine inspiring thoughts with compelling and actionable approaches, ideas and tips. A visit to a well-stocked book shop will prove to you that there is no dearth of books in the self-help sectionBut as a devoted pursuer of books, I think there are a few things to be wary of.

Depending on the phase of life you are in, your view of life in general and preferred approaches to dealing with its challenges, some books stimulate your thoughts and coax you into taking positive action while some other books are, at best, boring or misleading. Before you impulsively purchase a book, you need to relax, sit down, flip through the book, connect with its theme, structure and ideas. You also need to check if the writing style of the author appeals to your subconscious before you pick it up and rely on it to change your life. 

Well, for a change, I did not have to do any of this to read "How a Good Person Can Really Win" (HGPCRW). The book found me via my blog. To start with, I feel quite lucky about it. 

HGPCRW is not a book that one reads, feels good about and forgets. Nor is it a book that gives you something on the lines of a DIY (do it yourself) kit that you build and reuse everywhere. I think it is a book that you need to keep on your table and refer to regularly. It has plenty of interesting and thought-provoking stories and snippets that one cannot read once and absorb forever. It is a 'situational' book; a book that will give you something to ponder over in many important situations that you may find yourself in. 

The book is split into three parts and the author has done some excellent and appropriate anecdotal research for each of these sections. Part 1 outlines the characteristics of people who resort to vile-like qualities characters. Part 2 unveils advice for the naive and is focused on specific situations. Part 3 gives the reader a set of powerful values to derive inspiration from.

Part 1, to me, was interesting and somewhat like reading the Politics and Page 3 sections of the newspaper. :-) It also made me wonder if normally good-natured people would resort to any of the vile-like methods when under severe pressure. When I moved on to Part 2, I was excited and intrigued by the stories and the anecdotes. Some situations were so familiar that I found myself grinning and reading the insights with gratitude. Part 3 seemed shorter than the other two parts but was a fascinating read because it was packed with concise and powerful ideas. 

In a nut shell, I think this book will be a reliable "guide" that can be approached for advice during difficult situations. The insights will, I think, fascinate and appeal to many a mind.

Disclaimer: The publishers offered me the book for a review. However, the review is a pure reflection of my own experiences and thoughts and not influenced by any external entities

Thursday, July 18, 2013

To lead a meaningful life, all you need is a problem!


This post is in response to the excellent IndiBlogger contest "The Idea Caravan"  jointly conducted by Franklin Templeton Investments 

The contest presents a number of inspiring TEDx format videos that throw the spotlight on people passionate about a specific cause and let them share their stories 

Source:
Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.

******************************************

The talk that I've zeroed in on is the one by:

Arunachalam Muruganantham - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=u1iWhljEbTE

Watching this man talk, I am filled with as much positivism and hope as with wonder. If one were to use the phrase "Food for thought" in the context of his talk, what one sees is an exciting and quirky buffet; a long queue of healthy as well as tasty dishes!

This talk, in a nut shell, is profound at many levels. 

Ironically, I am, perhaps, not going to promote his cause per se as much as the other underlying messages that this man has for the world. 

  • To start with, the talk is delivered in the form of an engaging story, filled with passion and natural humor. A great way to connect with and influence the audience, whatever may be the cause! #Leadership
  • Even for a language enthusiast like me, the spelling mistakes and broken English were not distractions. It was easy to dive into his talk with the curiosity that is natural when one watches a 'little educated person' (in his own words) whose impressive ideas contradict such a declaration. #Passion
  • If it was not already clear, it becomes clear after listening to this man that real education is not necessarily about going to school, religiously running through prescribed text books and clearing exams with high scores. Raw talent, that highly sophisticated and not so well understood element, cannot be ruled out. But it needs to be supported by a lot of reading, observing, thinking, adapting and doing and this is quite different from formal education! For example, he talks about a fascinating management idea such as "fail fast in order to succeed"! #Ideas #Education
  • He goes on to passionately advocate that Business is not about chasing money; it is about pursuing something that will have a measurable social impact! The precise measure is, in my view, a point that needs to be very carefully determined, but if all corporate entities were to have such an attitude, it is hard to fathom the good that it can do to the world at large. #Values
  • It is more than obvious, as one watches him, that we can learn to achieve anything, however ignorant we may be at the start. The approach that he emphasizes upon as a solution is "trial and error". Of course, it needs to be backed by purpose, vision and patience. #Perseverance 
  • He declares "To lead a meaningful life, all you need is a problem!" Now, if that's not one of the simplest and most amazing philosophies in life, I don't know one when I see one. What a positive way of looking at a problem and turning it on its head in one swift and glorious gesture. #Wisdom #Positive_Thinking
  • Other subtle messages that come through are worth every minute of the talk - one needs to be prepared to take a lot of risks, throw caution to the winds, appear weird and maybe even lose the people because of whom one was inspired in the first place! #Paradox 
I'd like to finish by saying that this story is a perfect example of the fact that success does not come easy, but if one is obsessed with the purpose, dismissing the obstacles in the path of success begins to look extraordinarily easy

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Where Are We Going?


Arguably, the world at large is increasingly building low-quality products and services and is not able to support the multitude of greedily acquired customers because of wanting to scale up and grow (greed, unreal targets and what not) whilst not investing in equivalent support structures. 

This means excessive multitasking, absence or lack of well-placed specialists, lack of focus on the core product or service, complexity etc. At the other end, sometimes the supporting structure even when present is so detached and clueless that it does more damage to the existing equation. Think call-centers. 

Systems and individuals are stretching so much to keep pace with the world that they go beyond natural limits of elasticity and lose their original strength gradually or break. More alarmingly, such a misled world influences systems and individuals to lose sight of or compromise their real needs and values. :-/ #banks #insurance #outsourcing #retail #manufacturing #construction #you-name-it 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Chimp Behavior


Don't ever judge a Chimpanzee by the way it behaves while stuck in a cage, especially if it has never been locked up in a cage, in the past. (You may, however, arrive at a few thoughtful conclusions about its nature when you study it in its natural habitat). 

The poor creature will need to be locked up in a cage regularly and frequently enough for there to be a reliable pattern in its behavior. If it is true that apes learn from mistakes, then there could be an improvement over a period of time. Only if the Chimp is conscious of its behavior and desires to change it. What this implies is that you may end up changing its natural behavior when you subject it continuously to an alien environment. 

Coping with the World



The really ominous thing about today's world is that if one is overly sensitive, then one is likely to give in and dissolve into smithereens, one or more atoms at a time, when constantly faced with what the majority of society suffers from in one form or the other - incompetence, apathy, selfishness, superficiality, hypocritical-ness, meaninglessness, greed, cruelty, sadism, discrimination and a whole lot of other depressing things that I better stop making a list of. 

Arguably, you don't really need the media to blow it up and negatively impact your mind. Families suffer from it, organizations you work for suffer from it, banks you rely on to safeguard your earnings suffer from it, service providers you rely on to execute your tasks suffer from it and even the temple you go to for peace of mind is subjected to these ills. 

To feed into inspiring literature and thoughts and then swing back to reality might actually backfire as you struggle to cope with what you increasingly aspire for and the unyielding, chaotic and yawning gap you see when you come back to reality. If you're lucky enough to cross paths with many of those who are successfully endeavoring to make a difference, change and adapt themselves without impacting their values and attitude, little rays of hope begin to fall on you gently. If you are not filled with an infinite ability to bounce back and recreate your original strength to cope with reality as is, the only option begins to look like leaving reality, creating your own imaginary world and letting the delusion keep you ostensibly protected and happy. Buddha chose solitude and separation to understand life, Ramana chose solitude and silence and so did many other souls looking for liberation. 

A fascinating connection that occurred to me, in this context, is the mythological (Hindu) story of Ganesha (the Elephant God), Karthikeyan (his brother), Narada (the mischievous and wandering sage) and the mango that he used to create a rift between the brothers. I have listened to this story a gazillion times but this is the first time I am arriving at such an interpretation. 

Narada tempted the brothers with a single delicious-looking mango and said he could give it to only one person and suggested that they run a unique race to determine the winner. He said he would give it to the person who came around the world faster than the other. Without wasting a single second, Karthikeyan mounted his peacock and started his journey around the world. Ganesha, meanwhile, thought through it and mounted his mouse and quickly went around his Parents (who were nearby), Lord Shiva (one of the three super powers and the one in charge of re-creation through destruction) and Parvathi Devi. That, of course, took no longer than a blink of the eye. He then claimed the mango from the sage and declared that he had come around the world as His parents represented the world to Him. Narada could not deny the truth in it and therefore gave away the mango to Ganesha. 

Meanwhile, Karthikeyan returned from his world trip and went to Narada, confident that he was the winner. But, alas, he discovered that Ganesha had already claimed the mango and won it. Karthikeyan did not perceive the judgment to be fair and was enraged. He decided to leave all his possessions behind and go far away atop a mountain, and be a recluse. This, I now suspect, is a story to indicate what a person who is not tuned into worldly affairs and its subtleties will be subjected to, however sincere and dedicated he is with his tasks. Tell your child this story and see whose side she takes. You may see signs of either a worldly charlatan (I am not talking about a fraud exactly, but someone who knows how to twist things in his favor) or a person with an idealistic and simple view of what the truth is (and thinks that the world will see it the same way).  

In the modern world, there are many Karthikeyan-like recluses (such as Watterson) who have decided that happiness does not lie, for them, in coping with the real world (which in any case is not a one-time activity but something that has to be done for an entire life-time) but going away (literally) into their own shell, designed to be as self-sufficient as possible. This may, of course, call for relinquishing many materialistic and worldly desires. But the moral of the story may be that we should recognize whether we are worldly competitors who can figure out how to win the game or recluses who should carve out our own thing and stop complaining about the world. ;-)