doakonsult

Consulting.Philosophy.Travel

  • There are three types of people in the world, those who don't know what's happening, those who wonder what's happening and those on the streets that make things happen.

Posts Tagged ‘life’

Bath Towels and Marketing

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on December 20, 2013

Seen in my hotel bathroom in Mauritius:

Before putting away the towels for wash think of the large amounts of detergents that go into washing them and the millions of such pollutants entering our waters.

A similar message in my hotel bathroom in India:

Millions of liters of water are used daily in washing bath towels. Put the towels away for wash only if you think they need one. Help conserve water.

I find the above two statements beautiful examples of using behavioral science in putting across messages that are effective. In Mauritius, there is water aplenty. It is not the scarcity of water that concerns people, but the pollution of this natural resource that they hold dear. In India, the depleting water levels are a major worry and wastage of water connects better with the locals. Pollution is secondary because no matter how the water is, we can somehow clean it. The primary focus is the presence of water.

A Marketing Manager would normally duplicate messages across different geographical regions. A Real Marketing Manager would study such underlying differences and tweak the message accordingly. I guess that’s the difference between Good and Great!

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Posted in Management Consulting, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

How to write a rap song these days

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on March 5, 2013

0:00-1:00: Name all the artists collaborating with you in the song. What sets you apart from other rappers is the you pronounce these names.

Chorus: Tell a fictional girl how badly you want to “do” her and how lucky she would be to let that happen.

1:15-1:45 : Bless the listeners by sharing which neighborhood you belong to, which country you come from, which country your mother and father, brothers and sisters come from (even though in reality they all hold US Passports!)

Chorus: Tell a fictional girl how badly you want to “do” her and how lucky she would be to let that happen.

2:00-2:30 : Glorify suffering, infact glamorize it. Narrate your struggles in life, the drugs, the abuse, the thugs, the gangsta neighborhood you grew up in, the bullets you dodged, the cops you beat up, how many times you’ve been out on bail. (even though in reality you were just another kid growing up in a wonderful family in quiet Farmington!)

Chorus: Tell a fictional girl how badly you want to “do” her and how lucky she would be to let that happen.

2:45-3:15 : Disclose your assets (imaginary as of now, but ones you will actually own once you sell this song)..the blings, the rocks, the bentleys, ferraris etc. Name your enemies and how you plan to kill them, make it sound more like an execution.

Chorus: Tell a fictional girl how badly you want to “do” her and how lucky she would be to let that happen.

3:30-4:00  : End by again naming all the artists that joined you in this song (those poor souls will never be heard of again), and make the listener feel blessed that he has by now memorized every word of your BS!

That’s it. I’m done.

images

RIP Rap

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Sunday Freebie!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on March 3, 2013

Click here for your free copy :)……and if you are late or prefer a pdf version….drop me a comment. I’d love to share a copy with you.

 

cover_final_1

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Immigration

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 19, 2013

Its not easy to be an immigrant. While in most cases it is in search of a better life, it does come with a price, Sacrifice. An immigrant sacrifices his cultural and family ties, he sacrifices the innate bond that he shares with his motherland, the land where he is born. Its not easy to swear allegiance to a new nation.

I find it bewildering that historical references are cited to support arguments on either side of the immigration debate. Here is a beautiful piece from the book “History of Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300” by Romila Thapar.

One of the current debates relating to the beginnings of Indian history involves both archaeology and linguistics, and attempts to differentiate between indigenous and alien peoples. But history has shown that communities and their identities are neither permanent nor static. Their composition changes either with the arrival of new people in an area, and the possible new technologies that are introduced, or by historical changes of a more local but far-reaching kind. Some areas are more prone to change, such as borderlands, mountain passes and fertile plains, whereas densely forested areas or deserts may retain their isolation for a longer period until such time as there is a demand on them for resources. To categorize some people as indigenous and others as alien, to argue about the identity of the first inhabitants of the subcontinent, and to try and sort out these categories for the remote past, is to attempt the impossible. It is precisely in the intermixture of peoples and ideas that the genesis of cultures is to be found. Such arguments arise from the concerns of present-day privilege and power, rather than from the reading of history.

The world was never an island, and will never be one.

Posted in Political Philosophy | Tagged: , | 8 Comments »

state of nature vs State Authority

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 29, 2013

“In the state of nature, therefore, sin is inconceivable; it can only exist in a state, where good and evil are pronounced on by common consent, and where everyone is bound to obey the State authority. Sin, then, is nothing else but disobedience, which is therefore punished by the right of the State only….in the state of nature, no one is by common consent master of anything, nor is there anything in nature, which can be said to belong to one man rather than another, all things are common to all.”

Benedict de Spinoza, Ethica

Somewhere along the road, we drifted from living in a state of nature and slid into a civilized society living under a State Authority. This transition is  reflected in the way our religions have evolved, from ancient beliefs that were so closely aligned to natural elements to modern tenets that reek of authoritarianism. In India, Vedic Hinduism gave way to the Bhakti and Brahmanic movements. In Europe and Middle East, the Abrahamic religions replaced ancient pagan beliefs. Tortured by the excesses of an authoritative state, people found comfort in the arms of an authoritative God. Only an aggressive protector could save us from the struggles of a life that was now being governed by a State. We did not believe in the “passive” Nature Gods anymore because we did not live in a state of nature anymore.

The bottomline though is that we are intrisically a part of nature. Solutions to problems relating to our bodies, minds and souls cannot be found in the artificial state we have created around us. Hence I encourage people to try to connect with our roots, to connect with the elements that have formed us. Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and Space hold the answers to all our questions. Adding to them the sixth element, our mind, completes the puzzle of life.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

If it sounds good, then it must be true – A Symptom of Denial

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 24, 2013

Denial is a dangerous state of mind. And most recently I have seen some of the best “leaders” display it.Much to my dismay.

Management consulting is a wonderful experience. I am usually called when something is either going wrong or is already in the pits. And many times it is too late. I wish people called me during there good times instead, because it is then that lasting improvements can be seeded in an organization’s working. I often mention Genesis 41:54 and how Joseph’s plan saved Egypt. In the corporate world it is even simpler. Preventive measures can keep the “famine” away forever. And these preventive measures need to be undertaken during good times.

We live in a world that bombards us with data. True data and false data. All conceivable calculations and estimations are presented to analyse trends and strategize businesses. However, sometimes excessive data is injurious. Especially during times of crisis. And this effect is amplified when the decision makers enter a state of denial. In such a state, people tend to look at data that conforms with their plan of action, no matter how wrong that action is.

If it sounds good, then it must be true. If the data presented to them justifies their ill-planned actions, then the data must be true. If the data does not agree with their plan of action, then it must be false. Alas! Denial is an easy state to slip into. It makes us see things the way we want to see them and not for what they really are.

Antidote:

Do not put the cart before the horse. Do not plan actions before analyzing data, both subjective and objective. Pre-conceived ideas and actions corrupt our analytical appreciation and interpretation of reality.

As always, comments welcomed.

Posted in Management Consulting | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Lets Do This

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 11, 2013

62 Fast Tips to Get UnStuck
By Robin Sharma
Author of the #1 Bestseller “The Leader Who Had No Title”

1.        Believe in your vision and gifts when no one else believes in your vision and gifts.
2.        Start your day with 20 minutes of exercise.
3.        Make excellence your way of being (versus a once in a while event).
4.        Be on time (bonus points: be early).
5.        Be a celebrator of other’s talents versus a critic.
6.        Stop watching TV. (Bonus points: sell your tv and invest the cash in learning and self-education).
7.        Finish what you start.
8.        Remember that your diet affects your moods so eat like an athlete.
9.        Spend an hour a day without stimulation (no phone+no FaceBook+no noise).
10.        Release the energy vampires from your life. They are destroying your performance.
11.        Write in a journal every morning. And record gratitude every night.
12.        Do work that scares you (if you’re not uncomfortable often, you’re not growing very much).
13.        Make the choice to let go of your past. It’s dusty history. And polluting your future.
14.        Commit to being “Mozart-Level Good” at your work.
15.        Smile more (and tell your face).
16.        Do a collage filled with images of your ideal life. Look at it once a day for focus and inspiration.
17.        Plan your week on a schedule (clarity is the DNA of mastery).
18.        Stop gossiping (average people love gossip; exceptional people adore ideas).
19.        Read “As You Think”.
20.        Read “The Go-Getter”.
21.        Don’t just parent your kids–develop them.
22.        Remember that victims are frightened by change. And leaders grow inspired by it.
23.        Start taking daily supplements to stay in peak health.
24.        Clean out any form of “victim speak” in your vocabulary and start running the language of leadership and possibility.
25.        Do a nature walk at least once a week. It’s renew you (you can’t inspire others if you’re depleted yourself).
26.        Take on projects no one else will take on. Set goals no one else will do.
27.        Do something that makes you feel uncomfortable at least once every 7 days.
28.        Say “sorry” when you know you should say “sorry”.
29.        Say “please” and “thank you” a lot.
30.        Remember that to double your income, triple your investment in learning, coaching and self-education.
31.        Dream big but start now.
32.        Achieve 5 little goals each day (“The Daily 5 Concept” I shared in “The Leader Who Had No Title” that has transformed the lives of so many). In 12 months this habit will produce 1850 little goals–which will amount to a massive transformation.
33.        Write handwritten thank you notes to your customers, teammates and family members.
34.        Be slow to criticize and fast to praise.
35.        Read Walter Isaacson’s amazing biography on Steve Jobs.
36.        Give your customers 10X the value they pay for (“The 10X Value Obsession”).
37.        Use the first 90 minutes of your work day only on value-creating activities (versus checking email or surfing the Net).
38.        Breathe.
39.        Keep your promises.
40.        Remember that ordinary people talk about their goals. Leaders get them done. With speed.
41.        Watch the inspirational documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”.
42.        Know that a problem only becomes a problem when you choose to see it as a problem.
43.        Brain tattoo the fact that all work is a chance to change the world.
44.        Watch the amazing movie “The Intouchables”.
45.        Remember that every person you meet has a story to tell, a lesson to teach and a dream to do.
46.        Risk being rejected. All of the great ones do.
47.        Spend more time in art galleries. Art inspires, stimulates creativity and pushes boundaries.
48.        Read a book a week, invest in a course every month and attend a workshop every quarter. 
49.        Remember that you empower what you complain about.
50.        Get to know yourself. The main reason we procrastinate on our goals is not because of external conditions; we procrastinate due to our internal beliefs. And the thing is they are stuck so deep that we don’t even know they exist. But once you do, everything changes.
51.        Read “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”.
52.        Know your values. And then have the guts to live them–no matter what the crowd thinks and how the herd lives.
53.        Become the fittest person you know.
54.        Become the strongest person you know.
55.        Become the kindest person you know.
56.        Know your “Big 5″–the 5 goals you absolutely must achieve by December 31 to make this year your best yet (I teach my entire goal-achieving process, my advanced techniques on unleashing confidence and how to go from being stuck to living a life you adore in my online program “Your Absolute Best Year Yet”).
57.        Know that potential unexpressed turns to pain.
58.        Build a strong family foundation while you grow your ideal career.
59.        Stop being selfish.
60.        Give your life to a project bigger than yourself.
61.        Be thankful for your talents.
62.        Stand for iconic. Go for legendary. And make history.

This is YOUR time. Now’s YOUR moment. Let’s do this! 🙂

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Divorced from the Soil

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 8, 2013

alone

Whatever disconnects itself from the land becomes rigid and hard. High culture begins in the preurban countryside and culminates with a finale of materialism in the world cities. Cosmopolitanism is the essence of rootlessness, because it is not tied to the land.

Oswald Spengler

My father was born in Peshawar, Pakistan. When India was partitioned, he and his family moved to New Delhi. My mother’s hometown is Srinagar, Kashmir. Ethnic cleansing by muslim militants forced her entire family out of Kashmir in the late 1980s. My father’s career in the Army meant that I kept changing cities every three years of my childhood. My work has taken me to several places and today I find myself in Haridwar, a new city, surrounded by new people. Been there before!

So when I’m asked where I belong to, I have no answer. I have no native or ancestral place. Unlike most Indians, I have no unique mother tongue. Is it my yearning to be tied to land that drives my passion for traveling? Am I in search of the Eden that I wish to tie myself to? Or have I developed a fear of tying myself to soil that makes me move whenever I find myself in a comfort zone?

I have often wondered how important the feeling of belonging is. I am still to find an answer. Until then, I remain divorced from the soil.

Posted in Philosophy, Travel | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

My mind today

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 8, 2013

Its cold here. A lot of you may think that 3 degrees Celsius is nothing to fear, but in India, it is scary. We are just not prepared for it. Our houses aren’t centrally heated nor are our workplaces. I walk into a factory and I see the shopfloor workers shivering while they assemble white goods. The pressure is high because its a shipment for the United States. Minimum wage workers earning less than $5 a day, fighting against all odds to earn a living. North India experiences terrible winters every year. Yet, I have not seen a single factory that is centrally air conditioned. I guess the hardships of the shop floor workers are not important enough for the management. Or maybe low cost production doesn’t allow us to install heating for assembly lines. The Indian economy is booming!

The cold wave in North India has claimed several lives. Ofcourse it will. We have millions of homeless who dare below freezing temperatures every night. Imagine going to sleep not knowing if you will wake up. I have been through that once and it is not pleasant. The cold this year is not unique. Every year we face similar drops in temperature and every year we lose lives. The government cannot provide temporary shelters and blankets to all the homeless. The Indian economy is booming!

I have always heard Indians boast that we are very family oriented people. We couldn’t be farther from the truth. I do not come across anyone leaving office before 7pm. In a city like Delhi, most people leave for office at 8am and return home at 8pm. They spend an average of 2.5 hrs in daily commute. While most companies officially state a 5 day week, I have rarely seen anyone free on Saturdays. And even when I leave my office in the evening, I can expect my boss to call me at any God forsaken time. When do we spend time with our families? Family oriented does not mean getting married to the person our parents pick for us. It means spending more quality time with our families. Sadly, very few Indians are truly family oriented today. The Indian economy is booming.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

A Lesson in Life

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 6, 2013

“People with interesting lives have no vanity.They swap cities.Invest in projects with no guarantees. Are interested in people who are opposite of them. Resign without having another job in sight. Accept an invitation to do something they haven’t before. Are prepared to change their favorite color, favorite dish. They start from zero countless times. They do not get frightened of getting old. They climb on stage, shear their hair, do craziness for love, purchase one-way tickets.”

Martha Madeiros

I learnt a lesson last week. Unfortunately, as in many cases, the lesson came a little too late. I was reminded that the present is the only thing we can be certain of. The future is nothing but a hope. It may or may not get realized. Live as if there is no tomorrow. Do things as if they were the last things you will ever do.

I moved into my apartment a little over a month back. The apartment was shown to me by the caretaker. A couple of phone calls with the landlord, Mr.Sharma and the deal was made. I shifted my stuff and started enjoying my new home. Every now and then I would talk to the landlord over phone expressing few concerns regarding faulty plumbing or electricity. And everytime, Mr.Sharma would take immediate steps to ensure my comfort and convenience. In a country like India, finding such a cooperative landlord is very rare and I felt blessed indeed. It just amazed me how  he, without having met me in person, allowed me to lease his house and even went out of his way to make me feel at home in a strange town. Our telephonic conversations were very friendly indeed and I sensed a spiritual connection with the jovial spirit.

Every week I would resolve to meet him the coming Sunday but end up being in office and put off the meeting to next Sunday. Five such Sundays passed. Monday 8:30 am, I opened my car door when I heard the caretaker’s voice from behind me, “Raunak, Mr.Sharma is no more. He passed away this morning due to a sudden heart attack.”

I rushed to Mr.Sharma’s house. I finally met him. He didn’t talk. My heart cried.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

A Glimpse of Diwali

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 14, 2012

Yesterday was my favorite festival, Diwali. A festival that sees a mass migration across India. It is a time when one returns home to be with relatives. Diwali has shaped one of the most important decisions in my life, the decision to return to India. I loved being abroad. Enjoyed Finland a lot and had a ball in New York. But the fact of being away from my loved ones hit me the most on Diwali. I remember the first Diwali outside India. Everything was eerily silent and somewhere deep in my subconscious mind I decided that I would return to India. So every Diwali now, I look up at the heavens and thank God for letting me be with my family and my loved ones. I left opportunities on Wall Street in exchange for the millions I made in the form of moments I spend with my family. Not every person is as lucky, some out of choice and others out of circumstances.

Here are a few images from last evening. Gone are the days when I used to burst loud and dangerous firecrackers. Nowadays, its more subdued. But the magic still remains. Happy Diwali everyone 🙂

Posted in Travel | Tagged: , , , , | 15 Comments »

Its not about “IF”….its about “WHEN”

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 12, 2012

Proposition 1: Our Life is a sum of Inflows and Outflows.

The more I delve into questions relating to Astrology, God, Fate, and study people around me, a belief is reinforcing itself in me. It is the belief that God fills our lives with equal number of opportunities. Lets categorize these opportunities as “inflows” and “outflows”. Inflows are windows of opportunities that allow entry into our lives. These could be material goods entering our lives, special relationships entering our lives or anything else that gives us positive energy. Outflows are times when we witness a going away of what we feel are important to us and our happiness. The attachment to these things or people being taken away from us is illusory and the pleasure we receive from these things or people is nothing but a product of our senses and/or ego. Our Life is made up of these inflows and outflows.

Proposition 2: Law of Natural Equilibrium

Number of Inflows=Number of Outflows=Universal Constant

We tend to forget that our life is not over till it actually is. Genesis as well as Vedic astrology considers a human’s life to be 120 years long. Thanks to lifestyle changes we have reduced it to around 75 years. So, by natural laws we still have 75 years to live. We should not judge God or His kindness on us by taking into consideration only 30 or 40 years of our lives.

In the long run, the number of inflows that God blesses us with are always equal to the number of outflows. And this number is the same for every individual. This is the universal constant.

Proposition 3: Karma determines the timing of the Inflows and Outflows

While as stated above, the number of Inflows and Outflows is the same, God rewards and punishes human beings for their past life karmas by changing the timing of occurence of these inflows and outflows in a person’s life. If He wishes to reward you during your youth, He will bless you with a phase where a number of inflows will come into your life one after another. Similarly, He might punish you during your middle age by filling your life with consecutive outflows. This, God fixes by judging your past life Karmas and then aligning your astrological planets to reward or punish you accordingly.

Proposition 4: Change is around the corner

Following the above stated propositions, it is evident that one of the keys to Happiness is knowing that nothing is forever. At times when inflows are prevalent in your life, be aware that a time of outflow is around the corner. Save for that time. Recall how Joseph (son of Jacob) saved Egypt by storing grain during the seven years of abundance to provide for the years of famine that followed.

Similarily, during phases in your life when outflows are weighing heavily on your mind, creating anxiety, fear and suspicion, know that God has not abandoned you. Good times are around the corner. Just hold on.

Proposition 5: Happiness is a state of mind and not meant to be connected to inflows and outflows. The one who has achieved this separation of Happiness from Inflows and Outflows, achieves eternal bliss and enlightenment.

It is not a question of “If”, but “When” does God want you to get the things you desire. And your past life karmas have a lot to do with that.

Comments welcomed.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

My Week so far…

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 10, 2012

Couldn’t find a better way to describe my state this week. I am sure you will now understand my irregular presence on WP this week. Its been a Tuesday all along. And while I daydream of a massage packed vacation to Thailand (an illusory motivation), hope you all had a Saturday every day 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 16 Comments »

Twelve Years of Fasting….Story of a Paradise Lost.

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 5, 2012

Irom Sharmila personifies greatness. This social activist has been on a fast for the last 12 years, demanding withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from her state of Manipur. She is being fed through nasogastric intubation to keep her alive.

When the nation of India was formed, it was a collection of extremely diverse provinces and states. Attached to India were the seven states of North East that could not be more different from the rest of India; Culturally, Religiously and Ethnically. Naturally the locals resented and out of this opposition arose several militant movements that fought the state demanding freedom from the Union of India. While most of these movements were quelled, either by bribing the rebels into submission or pumping alcohol and drugs into the veins of their residents, one state remains “disturbed” in the records of the Indian Government. This state is the beautiful land of Manipur.

North East India is “Heaven on Earth”. And Manipur is the capital of that Paradise. The most pristine landscapes, the most breathtaking views, a place hand made by Gods as their resting place. But Gods seem to have abandoned the state since the 1950s. Warring factions, militant rebels, vendetta driven Army have colored the land red. Thousands of lives have been lost, several atrocities committed. Yet, more than 60 years later, there is no peace. Or maybe, that is what groups with vested interests would like us to think. Hence, Manipur is still labeled “disturbed” by the government and this categorization is used to justify the implementation of the dark law that is AFSPA.

The colonial law used by the British in 1942 was adopted by the Indian Union and further tweaked to make it even more draconian. The law gives the Army and supporting operations groups unlimited powers. They can apprehend anyone without a warrant, not even an excuse. It gives Army officers legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law. Nor is the government’s judgment on why an area is found to be disturbed subject to judicial review. Needless to say, the law has been misused more than a few times.

While it sounds despicable, the law is required. However, it was always intended to be used for a very short time, for three to six months which would let the Armed Forces clean up the disturbed areas. But when the law is applied for a period beyond that, it takes on an evil character. In Manipur, the law has been in force for decades!

So this post is dedicated to the people of North East, who are my fellow Indians and I feel sad that they are being treated as unequal Indians by our government. Worse, no one seems to be giving two hoots about what is going on in land that we Indians should be grateful for possessing. Its a blot on our democracy.

I salute Irom Sharmila. She is the modern day Gandhi! I do wish she ends her fast and uses her energy to bring together like minded people and create a strong democratic forum to fight the system.Her fast is losing its bite. Because, like one analyst said, people have just gotten used to her fast.

But who cares. India’s GDP is growing at 8%. Some Indians are counting their riches while the rest are being bribed by alcohol, drugs and bullets.

Posted in Political Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

This one takes the cake!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 4, 2012

One of the several features I enjoy about WP is the “Search Engine Terms” section on the Stats page. This list sometimes pops up the funniest and wierdest search terms one can imagine. And just when I thought I had seen them all, this morning I notice one that takes the cake!

“DISE RONAK PAKISTAN SEX”

How in the name of God can something like that lead someone to my blog! So I decide to search it myself; lo and behold, Google pops up one of my posts as the very first search result. Holy Macaroni! Damn those Web Crawlers!

So next I decide to Image Search and this is what it revealed:

That’s NOT me! I wonder what the person had in mind when he or she was looking for “Dise Ronak Pakistan Sex”. Any ideas? Those who know me well are aware of my deep love for Pakistan (sarcasm intended). I would rather not come up on search results which have anything to do with Pakistan. I have been the random extra check on several American Airport queues and I do not intend to be tagged for life by the TSA!

I didn’t repeat the action with “Safe Search Off”, scared of what unknown dark secret it may reveal. You guys are free to do that 🙂 Happy Sunday!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 15 Comments »

[Repost] Why I Don’t Want To Believe in Rebirth

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 3, 2012

Five years ago I was walking down a road in Helsinki with a German friend of mine. It was a fine summer day and we had just stepped out of the Library. And right then a beautiful Audi whizzed past us. “Wow! I wish I could get my hands on that beauty”, exclaimed my friend. “Relax, what’s the hurry?” I replied. He smiled and said, “Raunak, you are a Hindu. You will be re-born and can have another life to get a car like that. I am a Christian.I have only one life to get one.”

And what he said is etched in my mind for eternity. He had in a simple sentence explained the psyche of the Indian people in general and one that could be responsible for all the ills that pervade our society. e.g. India will never see a Revolution. A Revolution requires people to rise against the injustice meted out by those in authority. But most Indians when faced with a problem blame their past life sins (bad karmas) for their poor condition now. A beggar will blame his own wrong actions for his destitute existence in this life. He will never blame the corrupt and evil authorities in power for his pitiful life. A man who falls into a puddle of water on the road will blame his stars for the fall, not the inept contractor who made that low quality crap from our tax money. And by suffering the pains of this life we believe we will be reborn into a better life.

And this is why I do not agree with the concepts of rebirth and karma. These tenets have been used for centuries to carry out social oppression and the perpetrators have gotten away with it. It breeds self-infliction of pain and a cowardly attitude that many misinterpret as forgiveness. The belief in rebirth also belittles human life. No wonder the value of human life in India is abysmally low.  Also, is this complacency the reason that since days of Alexander, India has always been the conquered land.

If only everyone believed that they have ONLY ONE LIFE, they would go all out to make it better. And in doing so, get rid of the real culprits of their miseries. We all need to live in the present with the realization that this moment is never going to come back nor is my soul ever going to come back to this world. We need to ACT to change our present and not give into apathy towards our sufferings for hope of a better next life. This is the only life that we have and it is time for a Revolution.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

Indian Cultural Diary: Karva Chauth

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 2, 2012

Today, millions of women across North India are observing a day long (sunrise to moonrise) for long life of their husbands. My wife has remained without food and water for ove 14 hours and it will be another hour or so before we see the moon. She has become fidgety and is giving me the “I can’t believe I’m doing this for you” look 🙂  But she’s taking it well and I’m glad to see her sense of humor coming to the forefront in this time of distress!

This age old tradition has never failed to impress me. The day is filled with beautiful rituals which are conducted by women dressed in some of the most gorgeous Indian outfits and adorned with sparkling jewels and radiating henna designs on their hands. The communal prayers are a sight to behold and nothing is more exciting than the manner in which women break their fast at moonrise. The wife performs her prayers while looking at the moon. She then looks at the moon through a sieve and then turns and looks at her husband through the same sieve. The process is better described here,

The fera ceremony concluded, the women await the rising of the moon. Once the moon is visible, depending on the region and community, it is customary for a fasting woman, with her husband nearby, to view its reflection in a vessel filled with water, through a sieve, or through the cloth of a dupatta. Water is offered (arka) to the moon (som or chandra, the lunar deity) to secure its blessings. She then turns to her husband and views his face indirectly in the same manner. In some regions, the woman says a brief prayer asking for her husband’s life. It is believed that at this stage, spiritually strengthened by her fast, the fasting woman can successfully confront and defeat death (personified by Yama).

Hats off to all wives who go through such a tough ritual for their husbands. I wish there was a similar way for us husbands to show our affection. Too bad the scriptures didn’t address this 🙂

You can read more about this wonderful festival and its mythological origins here.

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Guilty as charged!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 31, 2012

For the first time ever, women in Saudi Arabia are now allowed to drive!

In line with the cultural theme of my previous post, I had to post this image.

Talking about western intolerance towards new settlers and their ways, I was wondering whether an American woman who migrates to Saudi Arabia (I know it doesn’t happen much but let’s imagine) can walk around the streets of Riyadh in a Tee and Denims? Whether shes can enjoy a nice tan on the Saudi beach? So why does wearing a Hijab become such a big issue if the French government does not want it? Why do minorities have the right to protest and be heard more that the majority? Why is the selfishly devised scale of moralityand ethics more stringent for developed nations than it is for the rest of the world. I repeat, selfishly devised scale of morality and ethics.

I did laugh when I saw the above image. But slowly it revealed a dark side of this world’s hypocricy and evil. And we are all guilty. Just think about it.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , | 19 Comments »

It takes two to Tango!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 30, 2012

While a lot of people living in western countries have been blamed for racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance towards immigrants, I cannot help feel that they are not the only ones to blame. Social integration is a grave concern across Europe, and is rightly so. New settlers need to recognize their responsibility in facilitating peaceful coexistence. Culture is a collection of traits and activities that have been formed over centuries of living. Several factors contribute to the nature of a society’s cultural ethos. One critical factor is geography. In what climatic, topographical and  conditions a society evolves weighs heavily upon what it eats, what it wears and what it espouses as tradition. Hence, relocation from one’s motherland does not come without sacrificing some of these native habits. Immigration in many cases brings about a change in one’s environment and this demands a change in one’s lifestyle. To expect an immigrant to make this sacrifice is not hateful. It is a practical expectation. Such changes can easily be seen realized in third and fourth generation of immigrants. However, it is the reluctance of the first generation to let go of their cultural identity that creates friction between the settlers and the natives.

The point I am trying to make is clearly highlighted in this joke. Enjoy!

A young Arab asks his father, “What is that weird hat you are wearing?”

The father said, “Why, it’s a ‘chechia’ because in the desert it protects
our heads from the sun.”

“And what is this type of clothing that you are wearing?” asked the young
man.

“It’s a ‘djbellah’ because in the desert it is very hot and it protects the
body.” said the father.

The son asked, “And what about those ugly shoes on your feet?

His father replied, “These are ‘babouches”, which keep us from burning our
feet in the desert.”

“So tell me then,” added the boy.

“Yes, my son?”

“Why the f**k are you living in Bradford , England and still wearing all this shit?” 🙂

Disclaimer: This post does not intend to target any one particular community, nationality or religion. The joke is used only to depict a general opinion.

Comments welcomed.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , | 14 Comments »

100th Post :)

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 29, 2012

This is my 100th post. I didn’t think I would last this long but I have. And I’d like to thank my fellow bloggers from the bottom of my heart. Besides being a great learning platform, blogging has served as an amazing ego-buster! My strongly held beliefs have been challenged and in many cases shaken. At the same time, I would like to hope that I have put others through the same torture. At the end of it, we have all undergone a transformation that seemed inconceivable earlier. I couldn’t think of a better 100th post than republishing my 50th post.

Gratefully yours,

Raunak

My tryst with WordPress: Insights of a new blogger

Last night I published my 50th post. Yes, it is only a number, but a milestone that prompts me to share my experience of living in this man made world. A world where the five elements of nature: words, thoughts, images, comments and ego form the basic building blocks of it inhabitants. So here’s what I have learned and observed two months after I took a travel down the blindside, on this path called…Blogging.

Respect Opinion. Until someone comes up with the Universal Law of Truth, you have to accept the fact that there is nothing right or wrong in this world. Every thought that a citizen of this world shares, has risen out of experience, observation and well reasoned logic. Mind is a multidimensional space. Hence, reasoning can be executed at millions of different levels, each level influenced by a subconsciously embedded experience.  Hence logical reasoning in two different minds can yield two very different results.

Newton’s third law of blogging: For every dumb person on one side, there is an equal and opposite dumb person on the other side. Yes, if you find a post or an opinion downright dumb, the chances are, that the author of that source of idiocy finds your opinion equally, if not more dumb.

Meet the Stalkers: There are certain residents of this world who you will bump into in the “Like” row of every post that you view. Don’t judge them. Some of them truly are avid readers and are contributing tremendously to the goodwill of our world. Yes, a few have motives that only their egos can understand. Over time, you will be able to differentiate the two.

This is a “Thinking Network”: Unlike alien worlds that call themselves “Social Networks”, this world allows you to build relationships that are based on your thinking and not what you wear or what you eat or which fancy car you just bought. Just like on Earth, here too I have acquaintances, friends and close friends. In addition, and most importantly, I have thinkers and contributors. I have made good friends, discussions with whom carry on not only on posts but also through emails. Luckily, this world does not imprison you by limiting your communication channels.

A Number is really, only a number: A venture called “Klout” measures the influence that people have in the virtual world. Their algorithms judge this by not just focusing on the number of connections you have, but on the level of engagement you have succeeded in generating. Rightly So!

A Barking Loudspeaker Gathers No Ears: The key to good living in this world is two way communication. This is not the right world for you if you wish to be a one way broadcaster. Sooner or later you will find yourself alone and suicidal.

No Left, No Right. This is Utopia: The citizens of this world pay no taxes and do not have a government. When down, you will always find someone inspiring you to rise up. Free of cost! We have a one-party political system called Capitalist Socialism.

Etiquette: If a post does not display completely on your Reader, do not press the Like button on your Reader without reading the post. You may not think so, but any person with an IQ over 10 can figure out whether you have done this. If you don’t wish to read the post and still,for some reason known to yourself, wish to like it, at least open the post in a new window and press the Like button on the post page or the home page of the blog. But not from the Reader.

Nothing pleases a Freshly Pressed blogger more than when a new reader makes the effort to read posts besides the one that has been FPed. Do this more often, and add to you good karma count 🙂

And lastly, follow for a reason. I repeat, a number is only a number.

There you have it. Musings of a new and happy resident of the blogging world. Comments welcome.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , | 19 Comments »

 
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