Archive for August, 2018

Happiness and Power …

Posted on August 31, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts |

As Received

I sat in the park after my morning walk, my wife came and slumped next to me. She had completed her 30-minute jog.

We chatted when She suddenly said she is not happy in life. I looked up at her in shock!   “I don’t know,” she continued. “Everyone says I have everything – but there is an emptiness, a void.”

I wondered, “Am I happy?”  – “No,” says my inner voice. That had me stumped.  I began to wonder —- “Happiness for me is the greatest possible development of my talents” – had opined The Little Corsican – but I am sure not in that league.

This Doc explained the scientific part. As per him – there are 4 hormones which determine a human’s happiness – Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin, & Oxytocin.

1. When we exercise the body releases Endorphins. This hormone helps the body cope with the pain of exercising. We then enjoy exercising because these Endorphins makes us happy. Shades of massochism???

But Laughter is another good way of generating Endorphins. We need to spend 30 mins exercising every day, read or watch funny stuff to get our day’s dose of Endorphins.

The second hormone is Dopamine. In life, we accomplish many small and big tasks, which release various levels of Dopamine. When we are appreciated at office or home, we feel satisfied and happy – because of release of Dopamine.

This explains why most housewives are unhappy since they rarely get acknowledged or appreciated for their work.

Once, we join work, we buy a car, a house, the latest gadgets, a new house so forth.  In each instance, it releases Dopamine and we become happy. Now, do we realize why we become happy when we shop?

The third hormone Serotonin is released when we act in a way that benefits others. When we transcend ourselves and give back to others or to nature or to the society – it releases Serotonin.

Even, providing useful information on the internet like writing information blogs, answering people’s questions on Quora or Facebook groups will generate Serotonin. 

That is because we will use our precious time to help other people via our answers or articles.

The final hormone, Oxytocin, is released when we become close to other human beings. When we hug our friends or family Oxytocin is released.

Similarly, when we shake hands or put our arms around someone’s shoulders, various amounts of Oxytocin is released. Now, we can understand why we need to hug a child who has a bad mood.

So – we have to exercise every day to get Endorphins, we have to accomplish stuff, get Dopamine. We need to be nice to others to get  Serotonin and finally hug our kids, friends, and families to get Oxytocin and we will be happy.  …………..

Now that was the Crappy Part but here is Stuff from an Oldie –

Adopt a fixed temperament by adoption of fixed habits which should include methods of living. No man can have a better friend, a more staunch and abiding supporter than such a fixed temperament.

Solicit the favor of sunshine and loving kindness and shower them wherever you go. It is the imperial temperament.

No man or woman has achieved a great life’s work unless the wee small hours of the mornings have been employed. The earliest impulse of the day lives and breathes into a strong and pure life all through the hours till night. We are affected in the daytime by the first mood of the morning.

A POSITIVE person loves to be doing something. It is the most virile of all virtues. To arise in the morning ready and eager to live a full day through. To see as many books, as many persons – friends or not, as many transactions, as many activities as can be crowded into a single day.

Do things that you dislike to do. Do not shirk, dodge, evade, and put off. Do not avoid worthy duties of life.

 It is the part of wisdom to waste less time in cheap reading and cheaper gossip and to put more into self-improvement. Laziness is an enemy. An undeveloped nature is inactive. We must be busy.

A working mind adds something to individual power. Constant change and variation increase magnetic vitality. Activity is the right arm of strength and variety the constant refreshment of all our faculties. The faculties are best preserved by their constant use; but not overuse.

MARGINS. Margins or never reaching the limits, are vital in each and everything.

AVOID too much rest, reclining, lounging, having someone else to do your work and errands. Much rest does injury to the faculties.

MONEY. Respect it. Expenditure should always be less than ones income. Save for a rainy day. Never buy anything that you do not really need – no matter how cheap it might be.

Follow a regime. A line of exact and careful conduct helps develops Power. Irregular living constantly subjects one to low vitality. Note the daily faults, which cause the vital power to slip away.

 To be sincere at all times is to be faithful to the trusts that have been reposed in you by nature and by GOD.

Few are those who respect the powers with which they are endowed. You are not true to yourself if you neglect your health, your mind, your body, your faculties and your essential being.

The true man or woman looks upon the necessities of life as incidents only of existence – useful at maintaining the faculties at their best.

He who has nothing beyond the care of the body is poor in the most abject sense of the term.

Always Be in Earnest – in Great Things and Small. This virtue will stamp itself upon your thought and affect your daily habits. Others will see it and you will be believed in and your power over others will rapidly become recognized. IT PAYS.

Do not trifle with body, with mind, with health and with any faculty. In every deed, in every remark, in play, in sport, in love and in labor – in all things, be in Earnest.

This temperament of Earnestness will stand you in good stead in hours of discouragement and conflict. It is your friend. It is the buoyant temperament.

The one great quality of the masses is Flippancy; of the successful men and women – Earnestness. Nothing is in vain that is in earnest. Want, Wish, Decide, Propose to Rise in Life – in Earnestness. 

Personal Power demands that you make yourself believed in. It demands an active body. The purpose of the Mind should be sincere, honest, clear, definite and thorough. 

We may become what we will but we must be in Earnest. For example, without a complete interest in what you are saying or doing, you cannot be in earnest. No lover can win the object of his adoration if his interest is dulled or weakened.

Personal Power is built upon Thoughtfulness. Aim at becoming attractive and thoughtful to the needs of others. Care for Quality and Style. Develop gentleness, sweetness and kindness in the family circle. Be ever watchful of the needs of others.

Anticipation is the Soul of Happiness. A wife likes attention. Neglect her and she will seek it elsewhere. There should be no fault finding in marriage. No right minded person corrects errors, mistakes or stupidity by scolding or offensive action.  A member of a family can be easily cured of a fault by using intelligence or by assuming the same habit to depict its total foolishness.

You cannot shut your eyes to the fact that you are in competition with all mankind and that others stand ready to push you to one side, once you no longer can hold your own. Personal Attainments are powers that defeat each in itself, some counter influence that seeks to put you down.

Charms are embellishments of manner, of method, of thought and even of feeling that cannot fail to lend power and advantage to those that possess them.

Charms and embellishments are necessary and enhance Magnetism or indeed, Attraction is enhanced by every physical and mental charm.

Charms enforce evenness of action and freedom from friction. They make you appear cool and free from embarrassmentWhen charm is strong, brain is strong.

Politeness builds Power. Study and practice it as an art before the near and dear and before the high and low. Sympathy is a Quality of the Heart.

Politeness is a Quality of the Mind and Muscles. 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.

Polish is the fairest of all accomplishments. To become refined and polished, imagine that those whom you wish to impress the most are observing you. A man must absorb the ideal he has created, into his own nature and he or she must be the one person above all others who is desired by the ideal that has been created.

In private and in front of others, want of careful conduct to yourself, is important. In marriage personal improvement – physical, mental and nervous – must continue. 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.

Argument is very little employed in higher business. It is the personality of the man that counts. The General who wins his battles is nearly always reticent.

Thinking should precede speaking. There is mystery about a man or woman who does not have an opinion on every subject and who is not frothy and exuberant in words.

Do not open your mind on all occasions to everybody. It is commendable to keep your most private thoughts to yourself.

Think, read, ponder Magnetism and all the great works of bygone ages. Shakespeare, the Bible, the Classics, Speeches. Reading may change the whole current of your life – inspiring and motivating you.

Silence commands respect, impressing others with a weighty regard. Still waters run deep. Unsolicited opinions are cheap. The rare talker is always held in esteem. Reticence helps magnetic telepathy.

Talking aloud excites thought. Memorizing makes the brain strong, giving a new power to memory. Greater the number of quotations you imbibe and incorporate in your mind, richer will be the run of your thought.

 The Great Men and Women of the World, as far as is known, have been reciters in solitude, of the powerful extracts of great works. Mere reading of uplifting thoughts is beneficial.

Mental wandering destroys power. Closing the mind injures it.

Expression and power go hand in hand. Vocabulary builds power. Add one new word to your vocabulary each day. The more words you can actually use with accuracy, the more control you will have over the thoughts and minds of others.

 All geniuses and leading characters fill examples of plainness and gentleness in their lives.

The great men and women of the world, as far as is known, have lived in their second self to themselves and in their outer self to others.

Place no value on the faults, which have dragged great men down. Greatness lives in the lives of those who serve it. Absorb and be uplifted by the nobler thoughts of the world. 

Cultivate solitude, biography, and fellowship of the Great.

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Great Soccer Players these Spaniards …

Posted on August 28, 2018. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Edited Version of Anjan Basu in The Wire –

For many the lumping together in a single memorial of the victims and the victimisers of the Spanish Civil War is outrageous.

Forty-three years after Francisco Franco’s death, Spain may have finally come to grips with a task that it has found so hard to complete – laying to rest the ghost of the dictator.

His tomb is housed inside the Basilica de la Santa Cruz which stands in the monumental memorial complex, not far from Madrid, dedicated to those who died in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39).

Appropriately called the ‘Valley of the Fallen’, the monument is spread over a staggering 3,360 acres, or 13.6 square kilometres, of Mediterranean woodland and granite boulders on the Sierra de Guadarrama hills, about 50 kilometres north-west of Madrid, with Mount Abantos standing guard over it.

As incredible as it may sound today, the Valley of the Fallen – Spain’s most significant memorial to the Civil War – was commissioned by the very man who had lit the fuse of that war.

After his bloody three-year campaign against the democratically-elected Republican government ended in Franco’s installation as Spain’s El Caudillo, the Leader, the general embarked on the grandiose project of erecting a monument that was to be “a national act of atonement and reconciliation”.

The dictator wanted the memorial to be built on a scale that would equal “the grandeur of the monuments of old, which defy time and memory”. It was indeed a gargantuan project, taking nearly 19 years (1940-1959) to execute and costing nearly 1200 million pesetas.

The centre piece is a gigantic 500-feet-tall cross – the tallest memorial cross in the world – that stands over a massive granite outcrop out of which was hewn an enormous basilica, the Basilica de la Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caidos, effectively the largest Christian temple in the world, larger than even the venerated St Peter’s in Rome.

The cross can be seen from over 30 kilometres away. One needs to ride a funicular to be able to reach the base of the cross itself.

In the valley, and scattered across its expanse, lie buried over 40,000 of the Civil War dead – both Nationalists and Republicans.

A Benedictine abbey that houses the priests who say mass for the repose of the dead also stands inside the memorial complex, on the far side of the hill that makes up the basilica.

And behind the main altar of the basilica, inside its central nave, lies Francisco Franco in one of the only two marked graves in the entire complex. The other grave, also lying inside the nave, belongs to Primo de Rivera, the notorious founder of the Falangist movement, who was executed for treason against the Republic in 1936 and whose remains Franco got interred here out of gratitude to his benefactor.

Franco happens to be the only person buried in the Valley of the Fallen who did not die in the war that he had ignited. His acolytes thought up the specious justification that the Catholic faith allows the sponsor of a church to be buried within that church’s precinct.

They were not bothered to explain why all the war’s fallen lay in unmarked graves, although the memorial has records relating to each of those buried there.

The most scandalous aspect of this surreal enterprise was that a very large number of Republican Army war prisoners – the government puts their number at no more than 2,700 while others estimate it to be around 20,000 – were made to work on the construction of this humongous project, though Spanish law prohibited forced labour.

Those who died in harness here did not, however, find their final resting place inside the complex. For many in Spain, the lumping together in a single memorial of the victims and the victimisers is completely unacceptable, if not downright outrageous.

The fact that the Civil War’s executioner-in-chief and his chief ideologue lay in state here while numerous patriotic, law-abiding Spaniards – whose only fault was their unwillingness to kowtow to an evil regime – lie inside cold, anonymous pits, makes the Valley of the Fallen a monstrous anachronism.

Most liberals, and all those whose hearts beat in sympathy with the ideals of the failed Republican enterprise – including many whose kith and kin lie buried here – have scrupulously kept their distance from this memorial.

Many abhor this monument while others have adored it over the years.

Every year till 2006, on November 20, the anniversary of Franco’s death, Spanish fascists, neo-Nazis and dyed-in-the-wool Roman Catholic conservatives congregated at the Valley in strength in celebration of their ‘dear departed leader’.

And, come rain or shine, Franco’s grave is known to have been adorned with freshly-cut flowers every day of the year.

Germany ruptured with its Nazi past violently, irrevocably in 1945. But in Spain, Franco was succeeded by King Juan Carlos, who had once memorably described the tyrant as “that exceptional man whom Spain has been immensely fortunate to have”.

The young king openly acknowledged that his own political legitimacy was based on the Civil War victory that cost “so much sad but necessary sacrifice and suffering”.

So Spain’s transition to democracy was necessarily a halting, wobbly process, and the fact that both the army and the church remained deeply entrenched in the country’s power structure, the change in the regime notwithstanding, handicapped the process of democratic transformation.

Western powers led by the US were also keen that the new Spain did not stray from the path of a conservative constitutional monarchy and that ‘radicals’ (meaning socialists) always remained a relatively weak political formation.

Indeed, all through the Cold War years, Francoist Spain had remained a valuable ally of the Western democracies.

However the repressive nature of the Franco regime could never be wished away. All dissidence was treated as criminal activity and ruthless suppression of political resisters, and even their summary executions, continued till 1975, the year Franco died.

Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards lost their lives during the Civil War years and subsequently, during the Franco years. Nearly half a million fled the country to escape persecution.

These wounds remained open, and Spain’s unique – many believe deeply-flawed – approach to the democratisation of its polity and society was the Pacto del Olvido (the Pact of Forgetting), a social-political contract that resolved to put the country’s past firmly behind – effectively saying, “Let us all forget and forgive”.

This compact to collectively not look back to the country’s recent violent past was made into the Amnesty Law of 1977.  While, for the time, nearly every side agreed to go along with it, the law soon began to be questioned on grounds of legitimacy.

Clearly, the Amnesty was loaded in favour of the perpetrators, rather than the victims, of the State’s crimes, and the victims – or their friends and families – could scarcely reconcile to such a law.

Angry debates raged through the 1980s/1990s over how and when to junk the Olvido, clearly no longer in favour with many Spaniards.

The socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, elected in 2004, challenged the continuing validity of the Amnesty Law. While it failed to scrap the law, it passed fairly comprehensive modifications to the Amnesty provisions by bringing in the Ley de Memoria Historica (the Historical Memory Law) of October 31, 2007.

Among other things, the new law gave sanction to recognising the victims on both sides of the Civil War, accorded aid rights to victims (and their descendants) of the war as well as the subsequent dictatorship, and formally – for the first time – condemned the Franco regime for its many atrocities.

Equally importantly, it decreed the removal of all Francoist symbols, memorials and statues from public places, and banned all political events at the Valley of the Fallen.

From 2007, it was no longer possible for Franco’s admirers to pay homage to his memory at the Valley memorial. Franco, though, continued to lie inside Spain’s most important Civil War memorial.

The Historical Memory Law was a bitterly contested piece of legislation, but even the conservative People’s Party (PP) of Mariano Rajoy, which succeeded Zapatero’s socialist government in 2011 and is intrinsically hostile to the reform, did not dare repeal or even amend it.

Then in June this year, the tables were turned on the PP government which had to resign following massive corruption allegations and Pedro Sanchez’s PSOE government was installed.

One of Sanchez’s election promises was to disinter Franco from the Valley of the Fallen by suitably modifying the Historical Memory Law.

He has delivered on that promise now by approving the legislative decree that will enable the exhumation without running the risk of a legal challenge.




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The Bronte Sisters …

Posted on August 28, 2018. Filed under: Books |

Hila Shachar, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, De Montfort University – in The Wire

With their fierce, independent heroines, brooding anti-heroes and all sorts of dastardly plots, it’s no surprise the Brontë sisters and their novels occupy a special place in screen adaptations of literature.

Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847) tends to attract different kinds of film and TV adaptations to the usual polite drawing-room dramas. This is partly because Wuthering Heights is a brutal novel, despite all the romance associated with it. But it’s also down to how Brontë is remembered as an author. In this, her bicentenary year, her enduring appeal as a romanticised figure is much discussed.

This can be traced back to her older sister Charlotte’s own myth-making around Emily following her death in 1848. The myth of Emily relies on her image as a noble savage: a child-like innocent who had little contact with the world beyond her Yorkshire village and beloved moors. Charlotte’s defence relied on the idea that Emily didn’t really know what she was doing when she wrote this extraordinary novel.

It’s easy to understand why Charlotte felt compelled to defend her sister. In the 19th century, writing was still considered a masculine creative act, and taking up the pen as a woman brought accusations of being “unfeminine”.

The Brontës existed in the real world and had to navigate their social reputations within it, especially if one of the aims of their writing was economic independence. But Charlotte’s defence of her sister set the scene for how adapters would later approach Emily and her work.

Bringing out Emily

A good example is the 1992 film adaptation of Wuthering Heights starring Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff and Juliette Binoche as Cathy. This version neatly does away with the novel’s complicated story-within-a-story structure and its two main narrators – housekeeper Nelly Dean and the pompous visitor Lockwood – and instead casts Emily herself as the storyteller.

Played by the waif-like Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor, Emily stumbles upon the ruins of a real house while wandering the moors and, under a mysterious hooded cloak, tells the viewer:

First I found the place … something whispered to my mind, and I began to write.

Emily as a mystical medium is the ultimate visual symbol of how authors are commonly conjured up – as divine geniuses, inspired from above. Of course this is far more attractive than showing the blood, sweat and tears that come with the real craft of writing.

But there is something more going on here – something which is representative of wider cultural politics and what often happens with authors like Emily Brontë: they are turned into easily consumable, harmless, generic figures.

Western culture tends to invest in ideas of transcendence around well-known writers. People like to think of them as unique beings who move above and beyond their own cultural and social moments. But when it comes to Emily Brontë, perhaps there is also an unspoken desire to neutralise her complex and subversive engagement with her own world.

An explosive tale, Wuthering Heights is unflinching in its depiction of domestic abuse, racism, women as property and the abuse of social power. The direct, unromantic way in which this is explored in the novel is itself threatening to the social order it portrays, and seems like a subversive act for a female author.

Adapting the story as romance sells better, and plays down the book’s uncomfortable brutality, as does the idea of Emily Brontë as an “unworldly” young woman who existed outside of conventional society.

This results in constant adaptations of her novel that rely on almost identical images of natural transcendence, beginning with an image from William Wyler’s hugely popular 1939 Hollywood version starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon.

It shows Cathy and Heathcliff together on the moors, which seems to encapsulate for many people what the novel is about. Most adaptations repeat this imagery, but you’d have to search hard to find it in the novel, as Cathy and Heathcliff aren’t really depicted as adult lovers frolicking on the moors.

This iconic imagery is not just due to Hollywood creating a visual “template” for the novel through romance; it’s also the product of how adapters have woven the myth of Emily as a transcendent noble savage into her own characters.

A more realistic Emily

A notable and recent exception is To Walk Invisible, the 2016 BBC biopic of the Brontës, in which the sisters are shown discussing the economic necessity of becoming writers. When debating whether to take up male pseudonyms, Emily, played by a straight-talking Chloe Pirrie, says:

When a man writes something it’s what he’s written that’s judged. When a woman writes something it’s her that’s judged.

This blunt assertion seems to summarise how authors of the past – particularly female authors – are dealt with: who they are as human beings and their specific cultural environment are often ignored. They are rendered harmless and powerless to speak to us in a politicised way about the past we’ve inherited, and about our own world.

With Emily, the emphasis is instead on romanticising the female author as a child-mystic, rather than focusing on her fiction as informed adult social critique.

Mythologising an author like Emily Brontë may provide a consistent and comfortable way to “consume” famous writers in contemporary culture, but it does a disservice to the potential for a more complex dialogue between past and present – after all, the realities of power, race, gender and class that Brontë wrote about in the 19th century are still issues being tackled today. The Conversation

The question is, in 2018, should adaptations continue to collude in the screen legacy of a “safe” Emily Brontë, viewed from a transcending distance, or could they consider a more dangerous, unpredictable Emily who compels the reader to examine forms of power and powerlessness in contemporary times?

It’s time to shed the romance for the reality.


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Mark Twain on Bombay 1885 …

Posted on August 27, 2018. Filed under: Books |

From The Wire –

In 1895, Mark Twain set out on a tour of the British empire. His primary aim was to make some money and pay off debts.

He landed in 1896 in Bombay and stayed at the city’s leading hotel, Watson’s. Watson was to become famous a few months later as the venue of the first ever screening of a film by the Brothers Lumiere – and for reportedly not allowing industrialist Jamshed Tata to enter, prompting him to build the Taj Mahal Hotel.

A decrepit structure now, renamed Esplanade Mansion, Watson’s was in the news when a portion of a balcony crashed onto a taxi standing right below.

At that time it was the most luxurious hotel in the city, hosting the British elite. Twain writes about the countries he visits with his customary wit, keen sense of observation and humanity, commenting on racism, religious intolerance and the imperialistic behaviour of the British empire.

Twain finds Bombay – India – an enchanting land, full of colour and beauty but also the plague that the city was grappling with. In Bombay, he met and was feted by British officials, Maharajas and merchant princes such as Premchand Roychand.

Excerpts from Mark Twain’s ‘Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World’ –

January 20th. Bombay!

A bewitching place, a bewildering place, an enchanting place – the Arabian Nights come again! It is a vast city; contains about a million inhabitants. Natives, they are, with a slight sprinkling of white people— not enough to have the slightest modifying effect upon the massed dark complexion of the public.

It is winter here, yet the weather is the divine weather of June, and the foliage is the fresh and heavenly foliage of June. There is a rank of noble great shade trees across the way from the hotel, and under them sit groups of picturesque natives of both sexes; and the juggler in his turban is there with his snakes and his magic; and all day long the cabs and the multitudinous varieties of costumes flock by.

It does not seem as if one could ever get tired of watching this moving show, this shining and shifting spectacle.

In the great bazar the pack and jam of natives was marvelous, the sea of rich-colored turbans and draperies an inspiring sight, and the quaint and showy Indian architecture was just the right setting for it.

Toward sunset another show; this is the drive around the sea-shore to Malabar Point, where Lord Sandhurst, the Governor of the Bombay Presidency, lives.

Parsee palaces all along the first part of the drive; and past them all the world is driving; the private carriages of wealthy Englishmen and natives of rank are manned by a driver and three footmen in stunning oriental liveries – two of these turbaned statues standing up behind, as fine as monuments. Sometimes even the public carriages have this superabundant crew, slightly modified – one to drive, one to sit by and see it done, and one to stand up behind and yell – yell when there is anybody in the way, and for practice when there isn’t.

It all helps to keep up the liveliness and augment the general sense of swiftness and energy and confusion and pow-wow.

In the region of Scandal Point – felicitous name – where there are handy rocks to sit on and a noble view of the sea on the one hand, and on the other the passing and repassing whirl and tumult of gay carriages, are great groups of comfortably-off Parsee women – perfect flower-beds of brilliant color, a fascinating spectacle.

Tramp, tramp, tramping along the road, in singles, couples, groups, and gangs, you have the working-man and the working-woman – but not clothed like ours. Usually the man is a nobly-built great athlete, with not a rag on but his loin-handkerchief; his color a deep dark brown, his skin satin, his rounded muscles knobbing it as if it had eggs under it.

Usually the woman is a slender and shapely creature, as erect as a lightning-rod, and she has but one thing on – a bright-colored piece of stuff which is wound about her head and her body down nearly half-way to her knees, and which clings like her own skin. Her legs and feet are bare, and so are her arms, except for her fanciful bunches of loose silver rings on her ankles and on her arms.

She has jewelry bunched on the side of her nose also, and showy cluster-rings on her toes. When she undresses for bed she takes off her jewelry, I suppose. If she took off anything more she would catch cold. As a rule she has a large shiney brass water-jar of graceful shape on her head, and one of her naked arms curves up and the hand holds it there.

She is so straight, so erect, and she steps with such style, and such easy grace and dignity; and her curved arm and her brazen jar are such a help to the picture – indeed, our workingwomen cannot begin with her as a road-decoration.

It is all color, bewitching color, enchanting color – everywhere – all around – all the way around the curving great opaline bay clear to Government House, where the turbaned big native chuprassies stand grouped in state at the door in their robes of fiery red, and do most properly and stunningly finish up the splendid show and make it theatrically complete.

I wish I were a chuprassy.

This is indeed India! the land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendor and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of a hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of tradition, whose yesterdays bear date with the mouldering antiquities of the rest of the nations – the one sole country under the sun that is endowed with an imperishable interest for alien prince and alien peasant, for lettered and ignorant, wise and fool, rich and poor, bond and free, the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the globe combined.

Even now, after the lapse of a year, the delirium of those days in Bombay has not left me, and I hope never will. It was all new, no detail of it hackneyed.

And India did not wait for morning, it began at the hotel – straight away.

The lobbies and halls were full of turbaned, and fez’d and embroidered, cap’d, and barefooted, and cotton-clad dark natives, some of them rushing about, others at rest squatting, or sitting on the ground ; some of them chattering with energy, others still and dreamy ; in the dining-room every man’s own private native servant standing behind his chair, and dressed for a part in the Arabian Nights.

Our rooms were high up, on the front. A white man – he was a burly German – went up with us, and brought three natives along to see to arranging things. About fourteen others followed in procession, with the hand-baggage; each carried an article – and only one; a bag, in some cases, in other cases loss.

One strong native carried my overcoat, another a parasol, another a box of cigars, another a novel, and the last man in tlie procession had no load but a fan. It was all done with earnestness and sincerity, there was not a smile in the procession from the head of it to the tail of it.

Each man waited patiently, tranquilly, in no sort of hurry, till one of us found time to give him a copper, then he bent his head reverently, touched his forehead with his fingers, and went his way. They seemed a soft and gentle race, and there was something both winning and touching about their demeanor.

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Slice of Russian History …

Posted on August 21, 2018. Filed under: From Russia with Love |

Anjan Basu in The Wire …

While convalescing in an Oslo hospital in September-October, 1935, Leon Trotsky wrote the preface to the Norwegian edition of his autobiography, ‘My Life’, which he closed with the following paragraph:

“On the table where I am writing these lines lies one of the hospital’s bibles in Norwegian. Thirty-seven years ago, I had on my table in the solitary cell of Odessa prison – I had not yet reached my twentieth birthday – the same book written in different European languages.

By comparing the parallel texts I practised linguistics – the style of the gospel and the conciseness of the translations make the learning of foreign languages easier. Unfortunately, I cannot promise anybody that my new encounter with the old and well-known book will contribute to the salvation of my soul.

But reading the Norwegian bible text can nonetheless help me learn the language of the country which has offered me its hospitality, and whose literature I already in younger years learnt to treasure and love”.

This was a man who, six years previously, had been banished by a state he himself had helped create. The borders of the Soviet Union had closed to Trotsky for good in January 1929. He sought refuge in Turkey, which was welcoming, but for only a few years. France offered him asylum in 1933, but soon found him too hot to hold, with Stalin seeking his deportation from France relentlessly, remorselessly.

The Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance of May 1935 rang the curtain on Trotsky’s sojourn in the land of the French Revolution. Norway agreed to have him and the Trotskys moved to a friend’s home in Honefoss, not far from Oslo.

Soon enough, a clamour for throwing Trotsky out of Norway also started building up, with both the political right and left baying for his blood. Trotsky, ever the clear-eyed realist, had no illusions about his acceptability to any European regime and wryly observed in My Life that, for him, the earth was ‘a planet without a visa’.

December, 1936 would see his deportation from Norway: he and his wife were to be put on an oil tanker bound for far-away Mexico, the country where he would eventually die at the hands of Stalin’s agents.

Trotsky’s own future could only have looked bleak to him at the time. Weighed down by ill-health and anxiety about his younger son Sergei (who was in a Russian prison, tortured and awaiting death), he perhaps found his energy at its lowest ebb. Even more troubling for him were the shadows that were lengthening across the Revolution that was his very life.

And yet incredibly, Leon Trotsky utilised the hospital interregnum learning a new language!

Second only to Lenin among the leaders of the great October Revolution; chair of the Petrograd Soviet (which was the engine of the Revolution) both in 1905 and 1917; the first commissar of foreign affairs of the Soviet state; a peerless orator and a brilliant writer; the undisputed leader – indeed the builder – of the formidable Red Army and, above everything else, an outstanding leader of men, he yet could say, in all sincerity, that “…with a book in hand, I felt just as confident as … in the Smolny or the Kremlin”, or that “(i)n prison, with a book or a pen in my hand, I experienced the same sense of deep satisfaction that I did at mass-meetings of the revolution”.

E.M. Forster liked to think of himself as always standing ‘at a slight angle to the universe’. The same thing is true of Trotsky in large measure. He had been born to a Jewish Ukrainian family but, as a militant socialist, his parents’ religious faith or nationality meant nothing to him.

Indeed, in the official paper-work he was required to fill out in the many countries he visited, he often described his own nationality as ‘Socialist’. And yet, when Lenin proposed his name as the commissar of foreign affairs in the first Bolshevik government, Trotsky remonstrated, arguing that as a Jew, he should be left out of such an important position.

Trotsky’s concern was that, in the hostile capitalist world outside Russia, a Jewish foreign minister would excite far greater misgiving and antipathy than a non-Jewish one.

Lenin of course dismissed this suggestion and Trotsky duly became the first foreign affairs minister in the first socialist state in the world. A certain degree of ambivalence can be read into his political alignments also for a significant period of his life prior to October.

When, in 1902, he escaped from his first exile in Siberia and came to London, he found himself in the company of émigré Russian revolutionaries and was soon writing extensively for Iskra, the revolutionaries’ mouthpiece. Only 23 then, he was already an accomplished columnist and political analyst whom the 32-year-old Lenin, by then one of the leading lights of Russian Social Democracy, took under his wing.

To the consternation of the old guard at Iskra led by the formidable Georgi Plekhanov, Lenin soon proposed that the editorial-board co-opt Trotsky as its seventh member, because he was “unquestionably a man of rare abilities, has conviction and energy, and will go much farther”. In turn, Trotsky greatly admired Lenin for the exceptional clarity of his thinking and the single-minded energy he brought to his work.

He was miffed by the somewhat patronising manner in which many of the other veterans – whose lack of purposefulness in any case baffled Trotsky often – treated him. And yet, when Russian Social Democrats split into the Bolshevik and the Menshevik factions during 1903-04, Trotsky sided with the latter even though his intellectual/theoretical inclinations made him a natural ally of Lenin’s Bolsheviks.

Alienation from the Bolsheviks

His alienation from the Bolshevik group was to last for well over a decade, and he began to come closer to Lenin’s position only around May/June, 1917. In between, he had emerged as the hero of the Petrograd Soviet after the Revolution of 1905 and was acknowledged as the Soviet’s most eloquent, most steadfast champion.

His position had moved away from the Mensheviks’ as early as 1905, and in vain did he try to bring the two warring factions together. In the process, he found himself an outsider everywhere, both sides looking at him with suspicion, considering him untrustworthy.

The bitter polemical battles between the various groups left many scars – some of them permanent – on the protagonists and on their relations with another. Relations between Lenin and Trotsky were also frosty or worse.

Trotsky later came to be among the October Revolution’s most recognised faces, one of its two tallest leaders, and yet he had little real access to the inner-party power groups all of which remained – with the sole exception of Lenin – deeply sceptical about Trotsky’s Bolshevik credentials as also jealous of his monumental achievements.

On the Revolution’s first anniversary, Stalin wrote in the Pravda:

“All political work in connection with the organisation of the uprising was done under the immediate direction of comrade Trotsky, the president of the Petrograd Soviet. It can be said with certainty that the party is indebted primarily and principally to comrade Trotsky for the rapid going over of the garrison to the side of the Soviet and the efficient manner in which the work of the military revolutionary committee was organised”.

Stalin rapidly outgrew his admiration for Trotsky, however, and identified him as his own arch-enemy. No trick in the book was anathema for Stalin, no stratagem too ugly or too cynical, when it came to cutting Trotsky off the mainstream and barring all doors to him.

A sick Lenin observed Stalin’s manoeuvres with rising dismay and unease and, concerned about a possible split in the party, proposed to the politburo on September 11, 1922 that Trotsky be formally made Lenin’s deputy in the council of ministers – apparently to clearly delineate the chain of command and succession. While the politburo approved the proposal, Leon Trotsky – the man who always ‘stood at an angle to the world around him’ – categorically refused the appointment. His reason, which he declined to share with others at the time, was that he hated to be seen as a pretender to the party’s top-most position.

Unlike Stalin’s other potential rivals like Grigory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev or Nikolai Bukharin who were liquidated systematically and ruthlessly through show ‘trials’ based on truly bizarre ‘confessions’, Trotsky was a giant demanding a more nuanced approach.

Hence Stalin’s decision to exile him, a decision he may have bitterly regretted later, as Trotsky, undaunted by the terrible odds he faced, waged an unyielding polemical war against Stalin’s domestic and international policies. Orders were passed on for destroying Trotsky. It was to be a cloak-and-dagger operation, so that it would be difficult to trace it back to the Kremlin.

Exile in Mexico

The Trotsky family had been welcomed into Mexico and put up with the well-known left-leaning painter Diego Rivera at his Coyoacan house. Trotsky felt at home and happy, and resumed work on the project then closest to his heart – the Fourth International that Trotsky fondly, if unrealistically, hoped would help resurrect the true spirit of October by freeing it from Stalinist shibboleths.

He continued to write prolifically, commentating on international issues, fascism, socialist re-construction and the great Moscow purges that Stalin had set in motion where Trotsky was now the main accused in absentia. His spirited reply to Stalin’s macabre allegations against him was presented to the Dewey Commission by way of an address titled I Stake My Life.

In April 1939, Trotsky moved out of the Diego Rivera home to a nearby house on Avenida Viena. War clouds loomed ominously over Europe and Trotsky’s own health was worsening steadily as his blood pressure kept rising.

By then, he had lost all his four children and his first wife had also been murdered in Stalin’s prison. He contemplated suicide but hated to think that it might be construed as moral capitulation. He had premonitions of his violent death at Stalinist hands. “Stalin would now give a great deal to be able to retract his decision to deport me,” Trotsky noted in his diary.

The first major attack on his life came on May 24, 1940, when assassins machine-gunned his home, wounding Trotsky’s 14-year-old grandson and abducting a young bodyguard who was later murdered.

Trotsky himself escaped with his life and, on June 8, wrote an article titled ‘Stalin Seeks My Death’. The next attack was not long in coming.

On the afternoon of August 20, Ramon Mercader, a young Spanish communist who had wormed his way into the Trotsky household by striking up a friendship with a house-maid, dropped in on Trotsky ostensibly to show him an article Mercader had written.

As the old man bent over his table preparing to read, the assassin rammed an ice pick-axe repeatedly into his head. Bleeding profusely, Trotsky was rushed to a hospital where he died the next day. Mercader served a 20-year sentence in a Mexican prison.

Joseph Stalin presented the assassin with an ‘Order of Lenin’ in absentia. And, upon his release from jail in 1961, he was awarded the title of ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’. Unbelievable, but true.

Six months before his death, on February 27, 1940, Trotsky wrote what later came to be known as his testament, a note of some 500 words which contained his parting message to the world.

He left instructions that the note be not made public before his death. In his testament, Trotsky speaks with great tenderness of Natalia (Natasha) Sedova, his long-suffering wife of thirty-five years, who had gone through so much pain and loss but had remained “an inexhaustible source of love, magnanimity and tenderness”. He goes on thus :

“For 43 years of my conscious life, I have remained a revolutionist; for 42 of them I have fought under the banner of Marxism. If I had to begin all over again, I would of course try to avoid this or that mistake, but the main course of my life would remain unchanged.

I shall die a proletarian revolutionist, a Marxist, a dialectical materialist, and, consequently, an irreconcilable atheist. My faith in the communist future of mankind is not less ardent; indeed it is firmer today than it was in my youth.

Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere.

Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full”.

Even at his nadir, Leon Trotsky dreamt of the full human life.


PS – From Getafix7 “But How Many Men and Women had he ordered to be killed? This is in context to a responce of Lenin to a Western Reporter Friend, “What is a little Bloodshed during a Struggle for Power”

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Man’s Best Friend …

Posted on August 21, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts |

Excerpted from TIME  ….  How Dogs Think: Inside the Canine Mind, now available at Retailers and Amazon.


You speak dog better than you think you do. You may not be fluent; that would require actually being a dog.

But if you went to live in a dogs-only world, you’d be pretty good at understanding what they’re saying. You can tell a nervous yip from a menacing growl, a bark that says hello from a bark that says get lost.

You can read the body language that says happy, that says sad, that says tired, that says scared, that says Please, please, please play with me right now!

Think that’s not a big deal? Then answer this: What does a happy bird look like? A sad lion? You don’t know, but dog talk you get. And as with your first human language, you didn’t even have to try to learn it. You grew up in a world in which dogs are everywhere and simply came to understand them.

That, by itself, says something about the bond that humans and dogs share. We live with cats, we work with horses, we hire cows for their milk and chickens for their eggs and pay them with food—unless we kill them and eat them instead. Our lives are entangled with those of other species, but we could disentangle if we wanted.

With dogs, things are different. Our world and their world swirled together long ago like two different shades of paint. Once you’ve achieved a commingled orange, you’re never going back to red and yellow.

But why is that? It’s not enough to say that the relationship is symbiotic—that dogs hunt for us and herd for us and we keep them warm and fed in return.

Sharks and remora fish struck a similarly symbiotic deal, with the remora cleaning parasites from the shark’s skin and getting to help itself to scraps from the shark’s kills as its pay. That underwater deal is entirely transactional; love plays no part. Humans and dogs, by contrast, adore each other.

The relationship began—well, nobody knows exactly when it began. The earliest remains of humans and dogs interred together date to 14,000 years ago, but there are some unconfirmed finds that are said to be more than twice as old. The larger point is the meaning of the discoveries: we lived with dogs and then chose to be buried with them. Imagine that.

It was only by the tiniest bit of genetic chance that our cross-species union was forged at all. Dogs and wolves share 99.9% of their mitochondrial DNA—the DNA that’s passed down by the mother alone—which makes the two species nearly indistinguishable.

But elsewhere in the genome, there are a few genetic scraps that make a powerful difference. On chromosome six in particular, investigators have found three genes that code for hyper-sociability—and they are in the same spot as similar genes linked to similar sweetness in humans.

Our ancestors didn’t know what genes were many millennia ago, but they did know that every now and then, one or two of the midsize scavengers with the long muzzles that came nosing around their campfires would gaze at them with a certain attentiveness, a certain loving neediness, and that it was awfully hard to resist them.

So they welcomed those few in from the cold and eventually came to call them dogs, while the animals’ close kin that didn’t pull the good genes—the ones we would come to call wolves or jackals or coyotes or dingoes—would be left to make their way in the state of nature in which they were born.

When humans ourselves left the state of nature, our alliance with dogs might well have been dissolved. If you didn’t need a working dog—and fewer and fewer people did—the ledger went out of balance. We kept paying dogs their food-and-­shelter salary, but we got little that was tangible in return. Never mind, though; by then we were smitten.

Our language reflected how love-drunk we’d gotten: the word “puppy” is thought to have been adapted from the French poupée, or doll—an object on which we lavish irrational affection.

Our folk stories were populated by dogs: the Africans spoke of Rukuba, the dog who brought us fire; the Welsh told the tale of the faithful hound Gelert, who saved a prince’s baby from a wolf. Aristocrats took to including the family dog in family portraits. Wealthy eccentrics took to including dogs in their wills.

Today, at least in areas populated by humans, dogs are the planet’s most abundant terrestrial carnivore. There are about 900 million of them worldwide, just shy of 80 million of whom live in the U.S. alone. The single species that is the domestic dog—Canis lupus familiaris—has been subdivided into hundreds of breeds, selected for size or temperament or color or cuteness.

The average American dog owner spends more than $2,000 a year on food, toys, medical care and more, and some people would be prepared to pay a much higher, much dearer price.

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, so many people refused to evacuate without their dogs that Congress passed a law requiring disaster preparedness plans to make accommodations for pets.

What began as a mutual-services contract between two very different species became something much more like love. None of that makes a lick of sense, but it doesn’t have to. Love rarely touches the reasoning parts of the brain. It touches the dreamy parts, the devoted parts—it touches the parts we sometimes call the heart. For many thousands of years, it’s there that our dogs have lived

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1965 War – Haji-Pir Victory …

Posted on August 18, 2018. Filed under: From a Services Career |

Gen Hardev Kler

The infiltration of Pakistani regular soldiers into India as part of Operation Gibraltar started on 1 August 1965.

The forces tasked to operate in the Kashmir Valley were designated as 1 Sector and those tasked to operate in the Jammu region as No 3 Sector. The former was placed under the command of Brigadier Fazle Rahim, MC. The latter was placed under the command of Brigadier Ahmad Kazi.

It was fortunate that we came to know about these operations, more by luck than by design. The first intimation that something was amiss came on 5 August, when a local reported to the police station at Badgam that he had been forcibly made to work as a porter for the infiltrators.

The counter offensive code named Operation Bakshi was launched. 68 Infantry Brigade was given the task of capturing the Hajipir Pass. The plan involved a two pronged attack as follows:

(a) 1 Para to capture Sankh and Ledwali Gali by 0500h, D Plus 1. (b) 19 Punjab to capture Ring Contour, Pathra and Bedori (Pt 12330) by 0500h, D Plus 1.

D Day – 24 Aug 65. Due to heavy rains, D day was postponed to 25 August. The attack on Sankh was launched on 26 August by two companies of 1 Para under the command of Major Dyal. Itwas held up due to heavy enemy machine gun fire and our troops suffered 21 wounded before the attack was aborted.

The Eastern pincer on Bedori also did not go off as planned. While advancing to Bedori they came under very heavy medium machine gun fire, and further advance on the extremely narrow ridge line was not possible. It was realised then, that the capture of Bedori would perforce have to take place from the northeastern approach and so 6 Bihar was detailed for the task.

Attack on Sankh was launched by 1 Para on 27 August 65 and the feature was captured. The assaulting troops pressed home the attack and Sawan Pathri and Ledwali Gali were captured in quick succession.

That evening, a column of A and D companies of 1 Para, under the command of Major Dyal, moved towards the Hajipir pass. The column descended from the Ledwali Gali and reached the Hyderabadi nallah by nightfall.

The terrain was difficult and rain further hampered movement but the troops pressed on, moving on the left bank of the Hyderabadi nallah. The column stopped for a much needed halt on reaching the old Uri-Poonch road at 0430h, about 10 km short of the Hajipir pass, and resumed the advance at 0700 hours. They reached the pass at 0900h, totally surprising the defenders.

Another attempt to capture Bedori from the North was made by 4 Rajput, but their assault too was held up. Lt Col Sampuran Singh, CO 19 Punjab, then volunteered to capture Bedori from the South. The attack was launched on the night of 28 August and the feature was captured after heavy fighting.

The official announcement of the capture of the Hajipir Pass was announced in the Indian parliament on 29 August 65 and all the members gave a standing ovation.

The advance elements of the enemy reserve battalion, that had been moved opposite Tithwal, had by now arrived here.

During this attack, 1 Para lost 6 killed and 22 wounded. Major Ranjit Dyal had a miraculous escape when three bullets hit his belt but failed to penetrate through, remaining embedded in the belt.

The historic link up with 93 Infantry Brigade at Poonch took place at 1000 hours on 10 September. Kahuta was captured by 19 Punjab on the night 11/12 September. India had indeed won a major victory.

Commissioned on 10 Oct 1943 in the Corps of Signals, H.S. Kler, commanded 95 Mountain Brigade in 1971, where he was awarded the MVC. While GOC 10 Infantry Division he ran afoul of the Corps Commander Gen KVK Rao,  and had to resort to legal action. This article was written before the General passed away on 27 May 2016.

Around 1961 he had been Our BM ….

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Of Standards and Flags …

Posted on August 16, 2018. Filed under: From a Services Career |

The first flags were not pieces of cloth but metal or wooden standards affixed to poles.

The Shahdad Standard, thought to be the oldest flag, hails from Persia and dates from around 2400 B.C.

Because ancient societies considered standards to be conduits for the power and protection of the Gods, an army always went into battle accompanied by priests bearing the kingdom’s religious emblems.

Isaiah Chapter 49 includes the lines: “Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people.”

Ancient Rome added a practical use for standards—waving, dipping and otherwise manipulating them to show warring troops what to do next.
But the symbols retained their aura as national totems, emblazoned with the letters SPQR, an abbreviation of Senatus Populusque Romanus, or Senate and People of Rome.
It was a catastrophe for a legion to lose its standard in battle. In Germania in A.D. 9, a Roman army was ambushed while marching through Teutoburg Forest and lost three standards.
The celebrated general Germanicus eventually recovered two of them after a massive and bloody​ campaign.

In succeeding centuries, the flag as we know it today began to take shape. Europeans and Arabs learned silk production, pioneered by China, which made it possible to create banners light enough to flutter in the wind.                                                                                             ..                                                                                                                 As in ancient days, they were most often designed with heraldic or religious motifs.

In the U.S., the design of the flag harked back to the Roman custom of an explicitly national symbol, but the Star-Spangled Banner was slow to attain its unique status, despite the popularity of Francis Scott Key’s 1814 anthem.

It took the Civil War, with its dueling flags, to make the American flag an emblem of national consciousness.

As the U.S. Navy moved to capture New Orleans from the Confederacy in 1862, Marines went ashore and raised the Stars and Stripes at the city’s mint.

William Mumford, a local resident loyal to the Confederacy, tore the flag down and wore shreds of it in his buttonhole. U.S. General Benjamin Butler had Mumford arrested and executed.

After the war, the Stars and Stripes became a symbol of reconciliation. In 1867 Southerners welcomed Wisconsin war veteran Gilbert Bates as he carried the flag 1,400 miles across the South to show that the nation was healing.

As the country developed economically, a new peril lay in store for the Stars and Stripes – Commercialization.


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A Book Review by CHAZ …

Posted on August 15, 2018. Filed under: Books, Uncategorized |


‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ – Mark Manson

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. – Goodreads Synopsis

This one has been at the top of the charts for a while, and after it has been recommended to me multiple times, I thought what the hell. I’m not one much for “self-help” books, (Maybe that’s why I have so many problems…) but this one promises to be different from all the rest.

I secretly thought that most books like this were just a scam trying to make a quick buck by telling you to just be happy. This one is a bit different (You can tell by the title alone), and that is because it knows the target audience – Millennials. (Scary OoOoOoOo)

Millennial has been tossed around in the media and from everyone else that is not a 1101130520_600“Millennial” and usually it is associated with a negative connotation.

The word “entitled” is always used in conjunction with Millennial as well. Mark Manson also knows this, and speaks in depth about this feeling of entitlement.

What really stuck out to me was how Mark explains that there are actually two ways to channel that entitlement. There is the first way that everyone knows: that you deserve something more because of who you are/what you’ve done, and the second way: that because when you make yourself a victim out of a negative experience in your past, you are also expecting different treatment.

Now that seems obvious to understand, I just never thought about how victimizing yourself is also a form of entitlement. There in lies the true power of the “self-help” books – changing your perspective.

Ok… So I am entitled. What now?

Now the main body of the book starts to come into play. Sure we feel that this hard work thumbnail_largewe have done deserves something special – I work harder than everyone else in the office,

I accomplish more, and I need that promotion now! Where the fuck is it?! Maybe the problem is that you are channeling all of your “fucks” into something that is not going to end up paying dividends later on.

Mark tells us that we need to take a step back from caring 110% (and getting 110% emotional) about everything and pick what is really going to matter to us in the long run.

Ask yourself: Why I am giving a fuck about this so much. Why is this so important to me. Why are my emotions going totally fucking berserk over this.

As it turns out, if you ask yourself why enough times, you might end up getting to the root of the problem and fixing your self-entitlement on the way. So stop fucking crying and figure out what really matters to you.

I am focusing on being happy! Where is my progress?

Nope. Mark wants you to actively seek out the negative experiences instead of the positive ones. (But this goes against all of the other self-help books!)

Why would we want to be OK with negative experiences? Because that is how we grow. We learn the most, and grow the most, from all of the negative experiences in our lives.

Mark understands this and makes an attempt to reach us through his own personal journey. Maybe we should have just listened to Alfred all those years ago:

Bruce Wayne: What have I done, Alfred? Everything my family… my father built…

Alfred Pennyworth: The Wayne legacy is more than bricks and mortar, sir.

Bruce Wayne: I wanted to save Gotham. I failed.

Alfred Pennyworth: Why do we fall sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.

Bruce Wayne: You still haven’t given up on me?

Alfred Pennyworth: Never.

It starts to get a little Buddhist, but we need to learn to accept the negative experiences that have come before, and that will come in the future. It is what will make us a better, and stronger, person.  Stop giving a fuck about trying to be happy all of the time.

My Takeaway

I’ve been going through some “Millennial” shit recently and I didn’t even know it. The main thing that has been irking me is my work life. I work too hard, I care toomuch, and I am too ambitious. All of that boils up to one great big pot of entitlement. Aside from the entitlement, I also feel empty. I feel that I am kicking ass all day, giving the world all it’s worth, using the most energetic years of my life, but for what? So some other entitled prick can benefit (or baby-boomer who crashed the houseing market and destroyed the environment)? Take a look at the chart below (shout-out to Kyle for showing me this) –



Ikigai: The Japanese concept that means “a reason for being.” Hmm ok then. So where do we see ourselves here? I am smack in the middle Good/Paid For/Need, AKA – “Comfortable, but feeling of emptiness”. Yes I am good at what I do, Yes I get paid a decent amount for it, and OK I guess someone has to do it – but I feel dead inside. I’m not helping anyone really, I’m not making a difference for the better in the world (which is common among Millennials I guess), so why am I trying so hard? That’s where Mark Manson has helped me. I need to sort out in my life what I should give a fuck about, and I need to bring back balance to the force. (Well maybe not that)

It’s time to stop rejecting the negative, time to stop feeling entitled, and time to sort out the fucks.

Want more Millennial context?

Check out this video. Simon Sinek really explains it better than anyone else I’ve ever heard talk about it. The guy is fucking sharp.

Thanks to Gioia @ My Crazy World of Books Blog for sharing this with me. Check out her blog!!

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India – 2019?

Posted on August 14, 2018. Filed under: Personalities |

Coalition Country

The great Akbar spent half of his life traveling across the Mughal Empire to pacify mansabdars turned feudal lords to retain their support and resist the “fitna” syndrome.

After Indeprndence the prime minister was primus inter pares who recognised the autonomy of the states. In fact, he had no other choice as he would have lost his support base otherwise. …

It is when prime ministers have tried to emancipate themselves from coalitions that the quality of governance has suffered the most.

The 2019 elections will be an important moment to see whether India can remain a civilisational state cultivating coalition politics as a way to perpetuate the “unity in diversity” formula the federalist way, or it will continue its recent march towards a unitary, ethno-religious state.



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