Archive for May, 2012

Life at the Poverty Line …

Posted on May 27, 2012. Filed under: Guide Posts, Indian Thought, Searching for Success |

Can anyone really live on Rs. 26 (50 US Cents) a day, the income of the officially poor in rural India?

Late last year, two young men decided to live a month of their lives on the income of an average poor Indian. One of them, Tushar, the son of a police officer in Haryana, studied at the University of Pennsylvania and worked for three years as an investment banker in the US and Singapore.                    

The other, Matt, migrated as a teenager to the States with his parents, and studied in MIT. Both decided at different points to return to India, joined the UID Project in Bengaluru, came to share a flat, and became close friends

The idea suddenly struck them one day. Both had returned to India in the vague hope that they could be of use to their country. But they knew the people of this land so little. Tushar suggested one evening — “Let us try to understand an ‘average Indian’, by living on an ‘average income’.” His friend was immediately captured by the idea.

To begin with, what was the average income of an Indian? They calculated that India’s Mean National Income was Rs. 4,500 a month, or Rs. 150 a day. Globally people spend about a third of their incomes on rent. Excluding rent, they decided to spend Rs. 100 each a day. They realized that this did not make them poor, only average. Seventy-five per cent Indians live on less than this average.

The young men moved into the tiny apartment of their domestic help, much to her bemusement. What changed for them was that they spent a large part of their day planning and organizing their food. Milk and yoghurt were expensive and therefore used sparingly, meat was out of bounds, as was bread. Only a little refined oil. They found soy nuggets a wonder food — affordable and high on protein.

They found that they could not afford to travel by bus more than five km in a day. If they needed to go further, they could only walk. They could afford electricity only five or six hours a day, therefore sparingly used lights and fans.. One Lifebuoy soap cut into two. They passed by shops, gazing at things they could not buy. They hoped they would not fall ill.

However, could they live on Rs. 32, the official poverty line, which had become controversial after India’s Planning Commission informed the Supreme Court that this was the poverty line for cities (for villages it was even lower, at Rs. 26 per person per day).

They decided to go to Matt’s ancestral village Karucachal in Kerala, and live on Rs. 26. They ate parboiled rice, a tuber and banana and drank black tea: a balanced diet was impossible on the Rs. 18 a day which their briefly adopted ‘poverty’ permitted. They found themselves thinking of food the whole day.

 They walked long distances, and saved money even on soap to wash their clothes. They could not afford communication, by mobile and internet. It would have been a disaster if they fell ill.

Yet, when their experiment ended with Deepavali, they wrote to their friends: “Wish we could tell you that we are happy to have our ‘normal’ lives back. Wish we could say that our sumptuous celebratory feast two nights ago was as satisfying as we had been hoping for throughout our experiment. It probably was one of the best meals we’ve ever had, packed with massive amounts of love from our hosts. However, each bite was a sad reminder of the harsh reality that there are 400 million people in our country for whom such a meal will remain a dream for quite some time. That we can move on to our comfortable life, but they remain in the battlefield of survival — a life of tough choices and tall constraints. A life where freedom means little and hunger is plenty’.

“It disturbs us to spend money on most of the things that we now consider excesses. Do we really need that hair product or that branded cologne? Is dining out at expensive restaurants necessary for a happy weekend?’

“At a larger level, do we deserve all the riches we have around us? Is it just plain luck that we were born into circumstances that allowed us to build a life of comfort? What makes the other half any less deserving of many of these material possessions, (which many of us consider essential) or, more importantly, tools for self-development (education) or self-preservation (healthcare)?’

“We don’t know the answers to these questions. But we do know the feeling of guilt that is with us now. Guilt that is compounded by the love and generosity we got from people who live on the other side, despite their tough lives. We may have treated them as strangers all our lives, but they surely didn’t treat us as that way.”

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Another Convocation Address …

Posted on May 25, 2012. Filed under: Searching for Success |

Nipun Mehta was 2012’s Baccalaureate speaker at the University of Pennsylvania – an unconventional choice for an Ivy League school. As he addressed the newly-minted graduates, aspiring to dazzling careers, he showed his  true self. He is a man who has never in his adult life applied for a job, who hasn’t worked for pay in nearly a decade and whose self-stated mission is simply “to bring smiles to the world and stillness to my heart”.

His advice to rejuvenate is solidly unconventional. As he closed his speech, the sea of cap and gowned students rose to their feet for a standing ovation. Here are edited excerpts.

Right now each one of you is sitting on the runway of life primed for takeoff. You are some of the world’s most gifted, elite, and driven college graduates – and you are undeniably ready to fly.

So what I’m about to say next may sound a bit crazy.

I want to urge you, not to fly, but to – WALK.

Four years ago, you walked into this marvelous laboratory of higher learning. Today, heads held high, you walk to receive your diplomas. Tomorrow, you will walk into a world of infinite possibilities. But walking in our high-speed world has unfortunately fallen out of favor.

The word “pedestrian” itself is used to describe something ordinary and commonplace.

Yet, walking with intention has deep roots. Australia’s aboriginal youth go on walkabouts as a rite of passage; Native American tribes conduct vision quests in the wilderness. In Europe, for centuries, people have walked the Camino de Santiago, which spans the breadth of Spain.

Such pilgrims place one foot firmly in front of the other, to fall in step with the rhythm of the universe and the cadence of their own hearts.

Back in 2005, six months into our marriage, my wife and I decided to “Step it Up” and go on a walking pilgrimage. So we sold all our major belongings and bought a one-way ticket to India. Between the two of us, we budgeted a dollar a day, mostly for incidentals — which meant that for our survival we had to depend utterly on the kindness of strangers. We ate whatever food was offered and slept wherever place was suggested.

For us, this walk was a pilgrimage — and our goal was simply to be in a space larger than our egos and to allow compassion to guide us in unscripted acts along the way.

Stripped entirely of our comfort zone and accustomed identities, could we still “keep it real?[ We ended up walking 1000 kilometers over three months. In that period, we encountered the very best and the very worst of human nature — not just in others, but also within ourselves.

Soon after we ended the pilgrimage, we were popped the million dollar question, “So, what did you learn from this walk?” An acronym — W-A-L-K — encompasses the key lessons we had learned and continue to relearn,

The W in WALK stands for Witness. When you walk, you quite literally see more. Your field of vision is nearly 180 degrees, compared to 40 degrees when you’re traveling at 62 mph. Walking broadens your canvas and shifts the objects of your attention.

For instance, we would notice the sunrise everyday, and how, at sunset, the birds would congregate for a little party of their own. And instead of adding Facebook friends, we were actually making friends in person, often over a cup of hot “chai”.

Life came alive in a new way. Walking pace is the speed of community. High speeds facilitate separation. Slower pace gifts commune. As we traversed rural India at the speed of a couple of miles per hour, we learnt by watching the villagers’ way of life.

The multiplication of wants is replaced by the basic fulfillment of human needs. When you are no longer preoccupied with asking for more and more, then you just take what is given and give what is taken. Life is simple. A farmer explained it this way: “You cannot make the clouds rain more, you cannot make the sun shine less. They are just nature’s gifts — take it or leave it.”

When the things around you are seen as gifts, they are no longer a means to an end; they are the means and the end. And thus, a cow-herder will tend to his animals with the compassion of a father, a village woman will wait 3 hours for a delayed bus without a trace of anger, a child will spend countless hours fascinated by stars in the galaxy, and finding his place in the vast cosmos.

So with today’s modernized tools at your ready disposal, don’t let yourself zoom obliviously from point A to point B on the highway of life. Try walking the back roads of the world, where you will witness a profoundly inextricable connection with all things living.

The A in WALK stands for Accept. When walking in this way, you place yourself in the palm of the universe and face its realities head on. We walked at the peak of summer, in merciless temperatures hovering above 120 degrees. Sometimes we were hungry, exhausted and even frustrated. Our bodies ached for just that extra drink of water, a few more moments in the shade, or just that little spark of human kindness. Many times we received that extra bit and our hearts would overflow with gratitude. But sometimes we were abruptly refused, and we had to cultivate the capacity to accept the gifts hidden in even the most challenging of moments.

I remember one such day, when we approached a rest house along a barren highway. As heavy trucks whizzed past, we saw a sign, announcing that guests were hosted at no charge. “Ah, our lucky day,” we thought in delight. I stepped inside eagerly. The man behind the desk looked up and asked sharply, “Are you here to see the temple?” A simple yes from my lips would have instantly granted us a full meal and a room for the night. But it wouldn’t have been the truth. So instead, I said, “Well, technically, no sir. We’re on a walking pilgrimage to become better people. But we would be glad to visit the temple.” Rather abruptly, he retorted: “Um, sorry, we can’t host you.”

Something about his curt arrogance triggered a slew of negative emotions. I wanted to make a snide remark in return and slam the door on my way out. Instead, I held my raging ego in check. In that state of physical and mental exhaustion, it felt like a Herculean task– but through the inner turmoil a voice surfaced within, telling me to accept the reality of this moment. There was a quiet metamorphosis in me. I humbly let go of my defenses, accepted my fate that day, and turned to leave without a murmur. Perhaps the man behind the counter sensed this shift in me, because he yelled out just then, “So what exactly are you doing again?” After my brief explanation he said, “Look, I can’t feed you or host you, because rules are rules. But there are restrooms out in the back. You could sleep outside the male restroom and your wife can sleep outside the female restroom.”

Though he was being kind, his offer felt like salt in my wounds. We had no choice but to accept. That day we fasted and that night, we slept by the bathrooms. A small lie could’ve bought us an upgrade, but that would’ve been no pilgrimage. As I went to sleep with a wall separating me from my wife, I had this beautiful, unbidden vision of a couple climbing to the top of a mountain from two different sides. Midway through this difficult ascent, as the man contemplated giving up, a small sparrow flew by with this counsel, “Don’t quit now, friend. Your wife is eager to see you at the top.”

He kept climbing. A few days later, when the wife found herself on the brink of quitting, the little sparrow showed up with the same message. Step by step, their love sustained their journey all the way to the mountaintop. Visited by the timely grace of this vision, I shed a few grateful tears — and this story became a touchstone not only in our relationship, but many other noble friendships as well.

So I encourage you to cultivate equanimity and accept whatever life tosses into your laps — when you do that, you will be blessed with the insight of an inner transformation that is yours to keep for all of time.

The L in WALK stands for Love. The more we learned from nature, and built a kind of inner resilience to external circumstances, the more we fell into our natural state — loving. In our dominant paradigm, Hollywood has insidiously co-opted the word but the love I’m talking about here is the kind of love that only knows one thing — to give with no strings attached – purely and selflessly.

Most of us believe that to give, we first need to have something to give. The trouble is, that when we are taking stock of what we have, we almost always make accounting errors. “Now-a-days, people know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.”

We have forgotten how to value things without a price tag. Hence, when we get to our most abundant gifts — like attention, insight, compassion — we confuse their worth because they’re, well, priceless.

On our walking pilgrimage, we noticed that those who had the least were most readily equipped to honor the priceless. In urban cities, the people we encountered began with an unspoken wariness: “Why are you doing this? What do you want from me?” In the countryside on the other hand, villagers almost always met us with an open-hearted curiosity.

In the villages, your worth wasn’t assessed by your business card, professional network or your salary. That innate simplicity allowed them to love life and cherish its connections. Extremely poor villagers, who couldn’t even afford their own meals, would often borrow food to feed us. Street vendors gifted us vegetables and fruit. Every one, would be overjoyed to give us directions, even when they weren’t fully sure!

These people knew how to give, not because they had a lot, but because they knew how to love life. They didn’t need any credit or assurance that you would ever return to pay them back. Rather, they just trusted in the pay-it-forward circle of giving. When you come alive in this way, you’ll realize that true generosity doesn’t start when you have some thing to give, but rather when there’s nothing in you that’s trying to take.

And lastly, the K in WALK stands for Know Thy Self. Sages have long informed us that when we serve others unconditionally, we connect more deeply with the other. That matrix of inter-connections allows a profound quality of mental quietude. Like a still lake undisturbed by waves or ripples, we are then able to see clearly into who we are and how we can live in deep harmony with the environment around us.

When one foot moves, the other rests. Doing and being are in balance. Our rational mind wants to ensure progress. Our intuitive mind needs space for the emergent, unknown and unplanned. A melody, after all, can only be created with the silence in between the notes.

As we walked — witnessed, accepted, loved — our vision of the world grew clearer. When a poor farmer gave me a tomato as a parting gift, with tears rolling down his eyes, was I receiving or giving?

When we sat for hours in silent meditation, was the benefit solely me or would it ripple out into the world? When lifted the haystack off an old man’s head and carried it for a kilometer, was I serving him or serving myself?

Don’t just go through life — grow through life. That’s W-A-L-K. And today, at this momentous milestone of your life, you came in walking and you will go out walking.

As you walk on into a world that is increasingly aiming to move beyond the speed of thought, I hope you will each remember the importance of traveling at the speed of thoughtfulness. I hope that you will take time to witness our magnificent interconnections. That you will accept the beautiful gifts of life even when they aren’t pretty, that you will practice loving selflessly and strive to know your deepest nature.

I want to close with a story. There was this man of little wealth who still managed to give every single day of his life. Each morning, he had a ritual of going on a walk — and as he walked, he diligently fed the ant hills along his path with small pinches of wheat flour.

On your walk, today and always, I wish you the eyes to see the anthills and the heart to feed them with joy.

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India’s Political Leadership and its Millitary …

Posted on May 24, 2012. Filed under: From a Services Career, Personalities |

The writer of this piece is a former Pro Vice-Chancellor, M.S. University of Baroda , Vadodara.

Sad to say that currently the credibility of the political class is at its all-time low. The mindset of ignoring the advice of patriotic generals is not new.

 The first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa’s biography by his son Air Marshal K. C. Cariappa gives such instances of the past.

Gen. Cariappa led the Indian Army in Kashmir during the first war with Pakistan in 1947. The author recalls his father often being asked why the army did not evict the frontier tribesmen who, supported by the Pakistan Army, attacked India . The General used to reiterate that the government dictated policy. The Army was quite confident of clearing Kashmir . But the orders were to “cease fire midnight 31st December/1st January 1948-49.”

 Later, Gen. Cariappa asked Nehru the reasons for the ceasefire. “You see, U.N. Security Council felt that if we go any further it may precipitate a war. So, in response to their request we agreed to a ceasefire,” Nehru said.

But he sportily added, “Quite frankly, looking back, we should have given you ten-fifteen days more. Things would have been different then.”

In 1951, Chinese troops were caught with maps showing parts of the North-East Frontier Agency as part of China . Gen. Cariappa cautioned Nehru of the possible ominous designs of China .

Nehru ridiculed him: “It is not for the Army to decide who the nation’s enemies would be.”

Later in 1959, Gen. K.S. Thimmayya also warned of the threat from China. He said that Nehru and Defense Minister Krishna Menon, ignored the warnings and the result was a humiliating defeat by China in 1962.

It may be mentioned that Gen. Cariappa’s only son was shot down while carrying out an air attack during the 1965 war with Pakistan and was taken prisoner. President Ayub Khan, former colleague of Gen. Cariappa, offered to release his son. The General’s terse reply was: “They [POWs] are all my sons, look after them well.”

In 1986, the Rajiv Gandhi government struck a deal with A.B. Bofors of Sweden . Gen. K. Sunderji had recommended the gun as he considered it better than the French Sofma. Later in 1996 when the Bofors payoffs scandal surfaced, the CBI asked Gen Sunderji to testify on his role in the deal. This is what he said in an interview at that point:

Question: Didn’t you tell the Rajiv Gandhi government to scrap the deal when the scandal broke out?

Gen. Sundarji: Soon after the corruption charges began pouring in the foreign and Indian media, I immediately rushed to the office of the then Defence Minister Arun Singh and told him: “Let us scrap the deal.”… I insisted that the government should terminate the deal with the Swedish firm as by then only six Bofors gun had arrived in India .

Q: What did Singh tell you?

S: He told me to write my request on a piece of paper and submit it to the Defence Secretary, S. K. Bhatnagar, so that he can take up the matter with the Prime Minister’s Office. I did that and waited for days to get an answer from Singh. But one day Bhatnagar came to my office and told me to redraft the note and change my stand.

Q: What did you do then?

S: I told Bhatnagar that I could not agree to the suggestion. I then called on Arun Singh and asked why the government was insisting that the deal should go through. He told me that the PMO feels that the cancellation of the Bofors contract would jeopardise India ‘s security. By 1987 April, only six Bofors guns had arrived in India . I tried to convince Singh that the Bofors gun would not affect the country’s security and defence 

Q: Did Arun Singh agree with you?

S: It seemed to me that Singh agreed with my views. But he told me that “the order from above and obedience from below theory” is the order of the government. Singh soon left the Rajiv Gandhi government in disgust.

There is one instance, however, of an astute political leader listening to a military General.

In 1969, thousands of Hindu refugees from the erstwhile East Pakistan started crossing over to India as a result of East Pakistan’s conflict with West Pakistan . India decided to go to war as the large-scale movement of refugees imposed a great economic burden and necessitated intervention on grounds of human rights.

At the end of April 1971, Indira Gandhi asked Gen. Sam Manekshaw if he was ready to go to war with East Pakistan . Manekshaw replied in the negative, citing the dispersal of his formations, the state of armor, the pending harvest which would vie for rail carriage, the open Himalayan passes and the coming monsoon.

She asked the Cabinet to leave the room and the Chief to stay back. Gen. Manekshaw offered to resign on whatever grounds she chose. When she declined but asked for his advice, he said he needed time to prepare for the conflict and set a time frame and date and guaranteed victory.

She nodded approval. The rest is history…………… Also history is that Sam was made a Field Marshal but after he retired he was humiliated, his pension stopped and he was forgotten. Till President visited him when he was lying on his vitual death bed and gve him his arrears of pension of over a Crore …….

There was NO DIGNATRY Present at his Funeral …………but PAK gave him an Obit ……….


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Dr Devi Shetty Shoots from the Hip …

Posted on May 18, 2012. Filed under: Guide Posts, Indian Thought, Personal Magnetism, Quotes |

Dr Devi Shetty, the noted Heart Surgeon, was personal physician to Mother Teresa. He was on the BBC Hard Talk Programme recently where he held his own when being hammered about his life aim of reducing cost of Heart Surgery to One Thousand Dollars!

Here he shoots from the hip as he answers common Qs re Heart and Health.

Q: What are the thumb rules for a layman to take care of his heart?
1. Diet  – Less Oil and Carbs. More Protein. 2. Exercise – At the least a Half  Hour Walk Five Days a week. Climb steps and Avoid lifts. 

Avoid sitting for more than half hour at a time. 3. Quit smoking  4. Control weight  5. Control Blood pressure and Sugar.

Q: Is eating non-veg food (fish) good for the heart?

Q: It’s still a grave shock to hear that some apparently healthy person
gets a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?
This is called silent attack; that is why we recommend everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.

Q: Are heart diseases hereditary?

Q: What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?
Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in everything in life.

Q: Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise required to keep a healthy heart?
Walking is better than jogging, since jogging leads to early fatigue and injury to joints

Q: Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?
Extremely rare.

Q: Does cholesterol accumulate from an early age or only after30 years age?
Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.

Q: How do irregular eating habits affect the heart ?
You tend to eat junk food when habits are irregular and your body’s enzyme release for digestion gets confused.

Q: How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?
Control diet, walk and eat walnut.

Q: Which is the best and worst food for the heart?
Fruits and vegetables are the best and oil is the worst.

Q: Which oil is better – groundnut, sunflower, olive?
All oils are bad.

Q: What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there any specific test?
Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok. Check BP, Treadmill test after an echo.

Q: What are the first aid steps to be taken on a heart attack?
Help the person into a sleeping position, place an aspirin tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and rush him to a coronary care unit, since the maximum casualty takes place within the first hour.

Q: How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and that caused due to gastric trouble?
Extremely difficult without ECG.

Q; What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems amongst youngsters? People of 30-40 yrs age have heart attacks and heart problems.                               Sedentary lifestyles, smoking, junk food, lack of exercise in a country where people are genetically three times more vulnerable for heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.

Q: Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?

Q: Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems for the child?
Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities.

Q: Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times we stay late nights in office. Does this affect our heart? What precautions would you recommend?
When you are young, nature protects you against all these irregularities. As you grow older, Respect the biological clock.

Q: Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause other complications (short/long term)?
Yes, most drugs have side effects. However, modern anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.

Q: Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?

Q: Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?

Q: How would you define junk food?
Fried food like Kentucky , McDonalds , Samosas, even Masala Dosas.

Q: You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable. What is the reason?Europeans and Americans also eat a lot of junk food?
Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately, Indians are vulnerable for the most expensive disease.

Q: Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?

Q: Can a person help himself during a heart attack?
Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the nearest coronary care unit without any delay. Do not wait for the ambulance.

Q: Do low white blood cells and low hemoglobin count lead to heart problems?
No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to increase your exercise capacity.

Q: Sometimes, due to hectic schedule we are not able to exercise. So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing the stairs in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?

Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour continuously. Even the act of getting out of the chair and going to another chair helps.

Q: Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?
Yes. A strong relationship. Diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.

Q: What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?
Diet, exercise, drugs on time. Control cholesterol, BP, weight.

Q: Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease when compared to day shift workers?

Q: Does dispirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart attacks?

Q: Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?
Nature protects women till the age of 45. Present Global census show that the Percentage of heart disease in women has increased more than in men.

Q: What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?
There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the right combination for your problem. My suggestion is to – Aoid the drugs  Go for walks. Diet to reduce weight. Change attitude and lifestyle.

Q: How can one keep the heart in a good condition?
Eat a healthy Diet. Avoid junk food. Exercise every day. Do not smoke. Go for health check ups – if you are 30, at least once in six months.

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Of Politics and Politicians …

Posted on May 18, 2012. Filed under: American Thinkers, Personalities, The English |

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. ~Aesop. 

When those who are smart do not engage in politics, they are punished by being governed by those who are dumb. ~Plato. 

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising each to protect him from the other. ~Mark Twain.

A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.  ~Andrew Carnegie.

I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.  ~ Charles de Gaulle.

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river. ~ Nikita Khrushchev.

Why did I join politics? Because that’s where the power is! – John Kennedy.

The problem with political jokes is that some of them go & get elected!  ~ Will Rogers.

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These Magical Three Word Sentences …

Posted on May 12, 2012. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personal Magnetism |

These three word sentences have it all – Culture, Care, Courtesy, consideration, Thoughtfulness and even Courage! There circumstances and implications of the following three word sentences are self evident –

Let me help ………. I’ll Be There ……… .Count on Me;

It’ll be alright ………. Nothing to Worry;

I thank you ……….  Please forgive me;

Maybe you’re right ……….  Maybe I’m  wrong ……….  Agree to disagree;

I understand you ……….  I respect you;

I miss you ………. I love you;

Civilization is based on thoughtfulness. The really cultured are always aware of consideration to others. They also care for quality and style and exhibit gentleness, sweetness, politeness and kindness in the family circle and also outside.

Anticipation is the Soul of Happiness. Everybody including wives and husbands like attention. Neglect any one and they will  and seek it elsewhere.

Avoid fault finding – in marriage too. Errors, mistakes even stupidity cannot be corrected by scolding or offensive action.

All charms are embellishments of manner, of method, of thought and even of feeling. These never fail to lend power and advantage to those that possess them. Charms enforce evenness of action and freedom from friction. They make you appear cool and free from embarrassment. And surprisingly when charm is strong, brain is strong.

Study and practice politeness as an art before the near and dear and before the high and low. Talk to the least of your fellow humans as if you believed them worthy of your attention. Become skilled in the art of etiquette and polished in good breeding.

Sympathy is a Quality of the Heart. Politeness is a Quality of the Mind and Muscles.

Polish is the fairest of all accomplishments. Try and become refined and polished, In private and in front of others. Want of careful conduct to yourself, is important.

Whether alone or in company, take exacting care to behave and speak with the best culture. Diction should be free from coarseness and slang. Private refinement enriches the character. Form the habit of observing yourself and note the faults that will lesson the respect others may have for you.    

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Here’s How to Protest …

Posted on May 8, 2012. Filed under: Searching for Success |

O Ye Social Activists of the World  — Learn about ‘Protesting’ from this Guy ..  

United Airlines apparently damaged this Guys treasured Taylor custom made guitar.  He spent over 9 months trying to get United to pay for damages.   
During his final exchange with the United Customer Relations Manager, he stated that he was left with no choice other than to create a music video for youtube exposing their lack of cooperation.
 The Manager responded: “Good luck with that one, pal.”

So he posted this video on youtube which has since received over 6 million hits and United Airlines contacted him and attempted settlement in exchange for pulling the video. 
His response, “Good luck with that one, pal.”
Meanwhile Taylor Guitars sent the musician two new custom guitars in appreciation for the product recognition from the video that led to a sharp increase in orders.
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Basics of the Siachen Dispute between India and Pakistan

Posted on May 1, 2012. Filed under: From a Services Career |

The roots of the conflict over Siachen lie in the non-demarcation on the western side of NJ9842 (the end point of the Line of Control fixed in the 1972 Shimla agreement). The 1949Karachiagreement and the 1972 agreement presumed that it was not feasible for humans to survive north of NJ9842.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Pakistan permitted several mountaineering expeditions on this glacier so as to reinforce its claim on the area, as the expeditions arrived after obtaining a permit from it.

India launched Operation Meghdoot on April 23, 1984, to dislodge Pakistan which had occupied the Saltaro Ridge. Thus the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force established themselves on the glaciers strategic Saltaro Ridge. Pakistan responded with attacks in vain and a counter deployment.

India controls of most of the Ridge. Two passes — Sia La (18,000 ft) and Bilfond La (19,000 ft) — are with India while the Gyong La (16,000ft) pass remains under Pakistan control.

Since then both sides have maintained a hot war status.

The common misconception in the minds of politicians and bureaucrats is that the Siachen sector only comprises the Siachen glacier and that demilitarisation of the glacier should be no big deal as it has no strategic importance.

What is at stake actually is that Pakistan wants Indiato give up the Saltoro Ridge, a stretch extending nearly 120km on which runs the AGPL from the border of India with Pak-ceded Chinese territory in the north toIndia’s Kargil sector (east).

The strategic significance of the Saltoro Ridge and the Siachen glacier is:

A. India has strategic and terrain domination over Pakistan’s so-called northern areas (J&K territory merged into Pakistan) and Pakistan-ceded Kashmir territory to China.

B. Blocks routes of ingress to the vital Ladakh and Kargil sectors.

C. Indira-Col, the northern most part of Siachen, directly overlooks Chinese occupation that was illegally ceded by Pakistan to China.

D. Having a foot on the ground here is the only way for India to legitimately dispute Chinese illegal presence here.

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