Aug 11, 2014

One Five-Year-Old Day

"I should not have watched a wizard story a night before my interview", Tejas muttered to himself, disbelieving what he saw in the mirror.

"How can I go like this to the interview? I look like a five year old kid!", he talked to his reflection. "You always wanted to be a kid, don't you?", the mirror asked in reply.

"Whatever", he gestured as if he disagreed with his own choice at the moment. "Thank God, at least I have my kid's dress to wear!", he exclaimed. He took a quick bath, wore his kids dress and rushed to the bus stop.

"Hey kiddo, is your father coming to drop you in school?", the bus conductor asked him.

"No. Please give me a ticket to textile stop"

"Oh, so your father works there", the conductor continued handing over the ticket to him.

Tejas got down at his stop, walked towards the entrance to the company that had invited him for an interview. At the entrance, the security officer sized him up with his look and stopped him.

"Whom do you want to meet son?", the officer asked him.

"I want to meet HR manager. Please tell him I have come to attend an interview".

"Good joke kiddo. Go to school. You should not be here at this time".

"Dear Lord, how can I make him understand!", he sought out divine's intervention to bring him out from this mess.

After a brief minute, he asked, "could you please call the HR manager? May be I could explain to him".

Giving a confused look, the officer asked him to wait a minute, went inside and dialed an internal number from his desk. After a few minutes he gestured Tejas to come in.

"Sir, I have a boy here, he must be five or six. He says he is here to attend an interview today!".

The HR manager must have blasted him for wasting his time with such a silly request, for a change in expression on the security officer's face was apparent.

While he was trying to pacify the manager, Tejas found an opportunity to sneak in through the entrance and ran up to the reception hall where other candidates were waiting to be interviewed.

Fortunately, nobody noticed him more than a glance. The security officer must have thought that the boy had left the place after playing prank with him, for Tejas did not see him after he sneaked in.

After about half an hour, his name was called. Taking a deep breath, he walked in to the interview hall.

"Looks like the candidate did not come to the interview today", Tejas heard one of the interviewer talking to the other. How can they see the presence of a small boy who is not even taller than their work table!

"No Sir, I am right here", he raised his voice to gather their attention.

"Who are you son? How did you get in here?"

"My name is Tejas. I am here to attend the interview today. Hearing his response, the entire committee laughed together as if they heard the joke of the year.

"Please ask me questions, then you will not laugh at me", Tejas replied.

"Let us have some fun. After all, we need some entertainment to increase our energy level", head of the interview committee said and others nodded their heads in agreement.

Tejas reply to their first question must have surprised them, for their face expression suddenly changed to become serious. Question after questions were asked and Tejas replied to most of them.

"Kid, I appreciate your knowledge. Even people with experience some times struggle to answer some of the questions we asked you today. However, we cannot give you a job as it is illegal", the head of the interview committee said, summing up the interview process.

Tejas returned home with disappointment. Tears filled his eyes and he sobbed continuously. He slept not knowing how to come out from his dreary world. When he got up again, it was already next morning.

Cursing his fate under his breath, he took the newspaper and went to brush his teeth. He could not contain his laughter when he read the news headlines, "Five year old kid aced a job interview".

When he looked at the mirror, he realized that that five year old kid does not exist anymore.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Jul 31, 2014

Vegetarianism and God

"Are you a vegetarian?". 

I have been asked this question several times at different occasions by different sort of people. Am I a vegetarian?

To find an answer to this question, I tried to list things that I do not eat. I do not eat fish, meat, pork, chicken, not even egg. In short, I do not eat anything which I think has a right to live.

Or so I thought. Does not vegetables have life of their own? Every vegetable and fruit is an outcome of the growth of a plant or a tree. It may or may not have feelings like other living beings, but still it has a life of its own.

If I stick to the principle of not eating anything which has a right to live, I have to eat either rock, sand and water or should wait till a living being, be it an animal or vegetable, dies on its own to feed myself. Most probably I would starve to death before I get my next meal.

But coming to think of it I realize that by adhering to such a principle, I acknowledge the fact that I am not the owner or enjoyer of other life in any form. It may be possible for us to take the life of a being, but it is never possible for us to give life. Science may strive to reach that point some day, but the fact is we are not there yet.

The only choice I have at this point is to accept the presence of a supernatural power (God, nature, time or whatever that is) who is the giver of life. All forms of life, including the life in me, must have been created by such supernatural being(s). So this points out to only one thing, that the supernatural power is the owner and enjoyer of all life, including the life in me.

So now, how do I feed myself? How do I prevent myself from starving to death? Do I have to kill some life in order to protect my living?

If we look at life of fish, cow, pig or chicken, they lose their life the moment we kill them. However, some vegetables and fruits when plucked from the tree, does not give their life instantly. They continue to live for a brief period. This is because some vegetables or fruits contain seeds inside. In order for such species to survive, those vegetables or fruits should be plucked from the tree (or fall down naturally) and planted elsewhere. For this reason, such vegetables and fruits continue to live for a short period of time even after they were plucked from the tree or plant.

If I still want to stick to my principle, I have to pluck the vegetable or fruit when it has life and eat it before they die. But won't they die when I eat them? This is a moral dilemma. The only way to address this issue is to consider the supernatural element as God.

If I can pluck a vegetable or fruit, eat them and pray for mercy of God, I can very well kill a living being such as fish or cow, eat them and still beg for his mercy. So considering the supernatural element as God is not enough. I need to have faith in His existence.

By having faith in Him, I pluck a fresh vegetable or fruit and offer it to Him as food when it is still alive. The faith gives me a belief that the food that I am eating for my survival has left its life in its own wish to serve God.

Whether God really accept my offering, or whether a vegetable or fruit willfully leave their lives to serve God are the questions that can never be answered. But if I have to strictly adhere to my principle that I will not eat anything that has a right to live, and still want to survive, having faith in God is the only choice I have.

Apr 26, 2014

Inside a Little Brain

A few days ago when we were at my friend's place, my little one was crawling towards where the food was kept thrice. On all those three occasions, I picked her up when she came near to the food. On her fourth attempt, she crawled in the opposite direction towards her mom. Half way between me and her mom, she stopped crawling and looked back at me. Since she was going towards her mom, I was not making any attempt to stop her. Sensing this, she suddenly reversed her direction and reached food in no time! She almost succeeded in dodging me!

The following incident happened a few times at my home. I have observed that she likes to go through a door even if it is only slightly open. If the door is wide open, she would crawl through it, but if the door is kept ajar, she would stand straight, position her body such that she could go through between the narrow space.

These incidents made me think how my little one's little brain works. To put her little brain to test, I made her a challenge taking help from my wife and observed how our little one performed. I kept a room door wide open and placed a steel rack on the way. The steel rack had space between the two shelves which is enough for my little one to crawl through, but not enough for her to walk in between. 

Seeing the way blocked, she stood up and tried to position herself to go past through the door. She cried at first, then applied brute force to push the steel rack aside thereby making a way for herself!

I placed the steel rack again, but this time in such a way that she could not move it by force. She cried a lot and put a sad face as if asking me for a clue. I asked my wife to make her sit in crawling position and show the gap between two shelves.

Our little one got the clue immediately, and felt elated after knowing that she was able to crawl between the shelves and go through the door!

After repeating the test one more time, I found that when I make her stand and asked her to go through the door, her reaction was to apply brute force. When I make her sit in crawling position, she gets the clue and crawl through the door.

So much for her little brain!

Apr 12, 2014

Pursuit of (Eternal) Happiness

Some people say if I do "this..this..this", this will make me feel happy.

Some others will say if I do "that..that..that", that will make me feel better.

Yet some others would say if I get "this..this..this" or "that..that..that", it will make me happy.

This begs a question, Can someone feel happy by doing "this" or "that" or by getting "this" or "that"?

May be. But how long can one remain happy with "this" and "that"? Is eternal happiness really possible?

Time and again, people's experience have shown that nothing can make one eternally happy. This statement has been warranted by scriptures as well which says one gets eternal happiness by serving the Lord.

Though scriptures are very clear with this point, human tendency is to ignore what scriptures say. Our tendency is to think of scriptures rules as ideal which we could never achieve. We accept that we are at lower level of consciousness and we deserve to be happy only by doing/getting this and that.

There is nothing wrong with this kind of thinking. But the issue gets bigger when one strives hard to change temporary happiness to an eternal one. This can never happen!

Let us for the sake of an argument say that if a person do "this/that" or get "this/that", he feels happy eternally. Extending this argument to all the people in this world, then people from this entire world will remain content with their own "this/that". When this happen, the earth will stand still! There will not be any progress, no newer ideas and development.

Assuming that no one is bothered about not getting newer ideas or development, one may still feel jealous of other people's "this/that". I may have what I want, but I still want what the other person has!

Even if one person in this entire world thinks along this line, like butterfly effect, the whole scenario would change in no time. Negative forces such as jealousy, possessiveness, etc are always at work. No matter how hard one strives, eternal happiness with materialistic desires is beyond one's reach.

Wise are those who are in pursuit of eternal happiness. Those who pursue mere happiness are otherwise.

Mar 15, 2014

Indru Oru Thagaval: Anger Management

I heard the following story on anger management narrated by Thenkachi Ko. Swaminathan in Indru Oru Thagaval (Today's fact of the day), a popular radio show during early 90's.

Once there lived a very short tempered kid who gets angry at slightest provocation. In a fit of rage, he would break any object that comes to his hand. His father tried several methods to teach him how to control his anger.

One day, his father called his son and said, "Listen son, I have been trying to advocate you that anger is not good for your health. But you keep getting angry and break lot of objects. Destruction is the character of a demon. To teach you a lesson, I am going to try a last resort."

At this point, the boy got curious. For every time in the past the boy met his father, he has given nothing but advices. But now he is going to stop doing it for good (or bad). "What is it father that you are going to teach me this time?", he asked.

His father replied, "I am not going to teach you or advice you any more. I now realise it does not work. I am going to adopt a strategy. Every time you get angry, I am going to hit a nail in the banyan tree outside our house", saying thus, his father went outside and hit the first nail.

At the beginning, the boy did not understand how this strategy is going to make him overcome his anger. But after a few months time, he saw that his favourite banyan tree which provided shade during scorching days, swing during evenings to play, cool breeze to take a mid-day nap is bearing all suffering for his anger. He soon found that a good portion of its bark is now covered with nails.

He went to his father and said, "My dear father, I now realise that I am getting way too angry even for mundane things. Help me to get rid of my anger. Help me to control my sense".

Hearing this from his son, the father felt elated. He called his son to come near him, gave him a warm hug and replied, "Son, there is a way to control your anger. Every time you get angry, try helping someone in need in whatever way you can. And when you do that, remember to remove one nail at a time for every service you render".

The boy obeyed his father's order. After a few months time, he had removed all the nails from the banyan tree. He was so happy that he jumped in joy, went to his father and screamed from top of his voice, "Dad, today I removed the last nail from the banyan tree".

His father held his hand, took him to the banyan tree, pointed towards the nail marks and said, "Son, no matter how much you try to help others, you must realize that your anger has left a scar on the tree". At this point, the boy fell down and cried.

"Dad, I am extremely sorry. I did not realize that by getting angry, I hurt others. What should I do now?"

Being his father, he felt pity on his son. He lifted him up and said, "Do not worry my dear son. Pray to God. Think of all the times when you got angry and hit a nail. Beg for his forgiveness".

After this, every time the boy came out of his house, he would sit next to the tree and pray to God, "Dear God, I have made a grave mistake because of which I have left scar in people's heart, just like this banyan tree. Please forgive me for my shortcoming".

With time, all the scars on the bark of banyan tree was healed. The boy realized the greatest truth of all time, "getting angry is not only bad for the person's health, it also hurts people's heart and leaves a scar".

Thenkachi finished his narrative with the following quote from Thirukkural,

Theeyinal sutta-pun ullarum, aaradhe
Naavinaal sutta vadu.

Theeyinal: by fire
sutta-pun: wound caused
ullarum: heal completely
aaradhe: does not heal
naavinaal: by spoken words
sutta: caused
vadu: scar
(Wounds caused by fire would heal completely with time but the scar from wounds caused by angry words would never heal)