Wednesday, January 4, 2017

MOB vs Us


What  happened in our capital city recently  is without doubt very disturbing but didn’t take anyone much  by surprise. I want to give you my perception and experiences about such situations so we understand things better.

Few facts

1.    Mobs- Men find strength and power in a group; the larger the better. It is said that when men are in a mob they lose all fear . The thought process and behaviour alters drastically. The crowd becomes a separate entity- a powerful entity. They unite as one despite all differences.  We are aware of countless  terrible incidents when mobs go on a rampage, provoked or not, with reasoning or without,  attacking men, women and children alike.

2.    Alcohol- Men in a mob are bad enough! Drunk men in a mob is something else. Our brains rely on a delicate balance of chemicals and processes. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it can disrupt that balance, affecting our thoughts, feelings and actions


3.    Opportunities- Men in this state look for the smallest opportunity to act and when they do, nothing can stop them. Cops nor cctv cameras. And women become the most coveted and sought after opportunity, which the men wouldn’t miss for anything.

4.    Darkness- Whether its  day or night doesn’t matter to a mob. They take more comfort in the dark because it gives them  anonymity and safety. They tend to act more brutally and fearlessly in darkness.


With these facts in place, I want to share couple of experiences with a mob that made me realise how fragile and vulnerable we are.

A few years ago, a girlfriend and I went on a Kinetic Honda for the Usha Uthup show held in a hall in one of the main roads of the city at around 6.15 pm. We parked the scooter on the opposite side of the road and went to the gate with our passes. But we weren’t allowed inside. There was a small crowd and about 6 armed policemen there. We came back and got onto our scooter and within seconds we were surrounded by 50 men in a perfect, tight  circle formation  ( there must have been at least 20 circles  and all this was done telepathically and like they were trained in these formations ) and about 20 hands started groping us from all sides. Luckily, my friend  had the presence of mind .She started the scooter and we flew- over several feet , knocking a few men down  and we didn’t stop until we reached our home! We were in a complete state of shock for multiple reasons! One that this happened in broad daylight, two- it happened in the main road , three- there were police men there and nobody cared!  Fourth- No one could do anything even if they wanted to.  Fifth and most important- The realisation that we are vulnerable and helpless .  Our first terrifying brush with the MOB

The second time was in a music concert that was a fund raiser for the pain and palliative center of our city. It was mainly sponsored by the Enfield bikers from UK who were touring India  ( They buy Enfield bikes from India, tour the country and when they leave they sell the bikes and donate the sale proceeds to deserving causes and our centre was one of them) Back to the concert- the families were in the upper section and the men were below. Halfway through the bikers came in ( after all they were the donors) both men and women. They were standing in the back of the hall. And all of a sudden, within seconds a large group of men  surrounded one woman and started molesting her ( the same perfect circle formation ) We were watching from up totally horrified and few of the men ran downstairs. But nobody could break through this; not even the 6 footer bikers.  The music stopped and I think it was with divine intervention, a couple of men managed to get in and they bodily lifted this woman over their heads and carried her out! Again MOB power. And we were all watching from above, helplessly.

Reality

When there is a mob ( whether sober, drunk, educated, young, old doesn’t matter) , there’s very little anyone can do. Whether you are the law or armed or the President of the country.

Bottom line

We have to be smart and use our common sense and decide what is safe for us and what we are in control of. All this funda about gender equality, woman power, lets show what we are is good on paper, not when you are in a crazed united mob. Its definitely better to be safe than sorry


Friday, December 30, 2016

my Ode to Dangal


One thing  about Aamir Khan- he is the personification of the adage- “ Work is worship”! This shines through  every  actor, dialogue and  scene in his masterpiece film- Dangal. What a movie! It has to be seen and  experienced to be believed.   Every word, dialogue and scene  keeps the audience mesmerised until we sync with the movie completely, go through the real experience.

This film is about real people  and real situations. Real challenges faced with fortitude and grit ;  overcome with complete dignity and grace. And the director got out the truth in its rawest form possible. The total lack of  empathy and support for less known sports, not only by the authority but by everyone. It brought out the fact the heartache,  elation , victory, failure is the same no matter who or what.  The film showed wrestling in different light altogether, bringing to this sport the recognition and respect it deserves; like all other.
Aamir khan as Mahavir Singh Pogat became  the character  . His brilliance shone through each and  every moment  and im sure every person  in the audience could relate to him totally. His willingness to give his all, sacrifice, at the cost of his family ; the hard work, perseverance and dedication put in evoked in us feelings and emotions, we didn’t know existed.

As an actor, Aamir is , without doubt, a master craftsman;  an artiste in the truest sense. He  breaks his own record in performance and delivery. He is in serious competition- with himself and his interpretation of  art. He just keeps getting better and better.  Not to mention, he’s a perfectionist to the core and that is what we see in this entire film. Every actor, regardless of their role,  was brilliant and gave it their all.

There is so much of soul searching ,  contemplation and introspection. The movie lingers on for days , with bits and pieces of it flashing through your mind, reliving the wonderful experience of Dangal.

The take home message  of Dangal- “nothing is impossible” . What stops us is our mind. If we believe in something and we can work towards it with dedication, patience and sacrifice, we can achieve it.
Hats off to you- Aamir and team. Cannot wait for your next film.





Monday, May 12, 2014

More is Less

More is Less

Human beings are strange species with a plethora of conflicting and contradictory  emotions. There is a mix and at times a blend of both positivity and negativity. What dominates your personality is what makes all the difference. We are born with the capacity of intense and pure feelings of love, compassion, kindness, gentleness , sensitivity and empathy. Then what happens along the way? What makes us mean, selfish, self centered, rude , manipulative and uncaring among others? We can blame circumstances, conditioning, family, friends, environment etc. Ultimately we are what we are just because we choose to be so!

Let us explore certain qualities we have. I  understand  lust, jealousy, anger, pride and even hate. What I cannot understand or even accept is GREED! Greed is nothing but excessive or rapacious desire for wealth , possessions, status or power ; much more than what one would need for this lifetime. Erich Fromm described greed as "a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction." Greed is a human beings  worst incurable disease.
It’s not the end that is crucial here ( there is NO end) it’s the means in their pursuit of ‘more’  and what it does to people. It changes them totally- making them manipulative, conniving, compulsive  liars, malicious, vain, competitive, tyrannical, dominating, think they are invincible , selfish and  worse devoid of feelings and consideration. They live half  their lives plotting and planning how to make more )most of the times this can happen by denying it to  or depriving others ) and they live the other half in fear and worrying- fear of  losing what they have or  worrying about the uncertainty !

So then where does this all lead to? Nowhere!  Except a life of chaos, confusion, fear and constant worrying.

Five of my friends are fighting legal battles for ‘inherited’ property and wealth with their own family members. Such a terrible mess! But very sadly they forget the following:

1.     They haven’t earned it neither have they worked for it . Someone else has worked hard for it and forgot to spend it on themselves! ( very stupid I must say)

2.     They are getting it just by virtue of birth and not because they deserve it or done much to deserve it.

3.     Whatever they get is just a BONUS, so they better be grateful and content with it.

4.     If they don’t get it, maybe they don’t deserve it anyways.

5.     If the will or other documents have been manipulated its because the other person was smarter and definitely greedy.

6.     What you are destined to get-  you will, without any courts or judgments.

So in a nutshell they are fighting over something that they made zero contributions to.

Where will greed end? It doesn’t. It just consumes your entire life just like cancer! Eventually you just wither away and die! And when you die, you take nothing with you! So this life greed was  for nothing!

Remembering Alexander the great’s quote- “A tomb now suffices him for whom the whole world was not sufficient.”

It is never too late to change and learn to be content and to live in love and peace.




Tuesday, September 10, 2013

AHAM BRAHMASMI


We are never in the present. We either live in the past or are thinking about the future. So we are pining , regretting or dreaming and  planning.  When and where do we actually LIVE? Where is the NOW?

Life  is dynamic , unexpected , mysterious, fickle  and at times ruthless. But what fills us with fear, trepidation, anxiety and confusion is the UNCERTAINTY and not knowing. We all have this deep need to have control and  to know. We don’t like surprises, but hey, life is full of surprises, sometimes nasty ones!  

“Man proposes, God disposes”- this adage is so true. We plan and when things don’t go our way ( most of the time they don’t ) we go through feelings of  frustration, fear, insecurity, confusion, anger, negativity or depression which results in high level of  stress, illnesses , disturbances and conflicts that affect us personally, psychologically, emotionally, professionally and socially. Some of us take the self destructive path of addictions, fixations, obsessions and compulsions . So the battles continue- internally and  with external forces.

We succumb  very easily  because  we think we  are weak ,vulnerable, susceptible. More so we consider ourselves as victims of circumstances or destiny. 

One thing we must understand and accept  is that all the events  of life , whether positive or not,  are beyond our control.  The way we respond and react to these events is what makes the difference.
And the other thing we must realize that each one  is strong, powerful  with infinite potential and possibilities.

But how do  we deal with life now?  We deal  on a  physical and mental level  ( ego and feelings) so its but natural we feel betrayed, hurt and destroyed.
So how else can we deal with life?

By dealing with life from a higher plane
By being Aham Brahmasmi- the power

Lets change what we can with determination and grace.
Lets accept what we can’ t with resilience and grace .

An Aham Brahmasmi:

Recognizes ,accepts  and utilizes  the immense potential;  infinite possibilities and absolute power  bestowed by the Almighty

Realises , discovers and uses inbuilt gifts, capabilities and abilities.

Functions perfectly  well independently and fearlessly.

Is  powerful, free and liberated

Leads a beautiful and blissful life

Is his own  master

DO YOU WANT TO BE 'AHAM BRAHMASMI'?

Becoming Aham Brahmasmi
First of all we need to be Conscious and Aware of our thoughts, words, actions, responses and reactions. This will put us in charge of our life and we CHOOSE to live positively and  with enthusiasm. Only then can we celebrate , savor and cherish every moment of life living for NOW.

Tools needed
 Your Body and Mind what you already have
Your  spirit- the inner energy- what you are abundantly blessed with.
Your guides- who will  share the secrets and take you through the process assisting you to be Aham Brahmasmi.

The Process

Creating  a strong foundation  or a base. You have to be rooted and  grounded  firmly so you can evolve and fly as high as you want.

Connecting to the Body , Mind & Spirit and integrating and synthesizing  it into a perfect balance.

Body- Making it strong , energetic and flexible through movements, positions and balance. A semi detox diet to cleanse it.

Mind-  Making it conscious ,calm , still and clear through breathing techniques and practices. Making it  strong through application of logic. Finally using the freewill.

Spirit- Discovering your inner  energy ( through chakras)   and synergizing  it with universal energy

Establishing an easy and intimate relationship with your deeper self so you can choose and guide  your thoughts , words, actions and responses with a deeper level of consciousness

Synergizing the internal balance with the external forces

 Charging, maintaining and sustaining  the inner balance under all circumstances through a very  simple everyday  process

Living a life of Health, Peace, Harmony ,Bliss  and personal Freedom.

And all this happens in  THREE days  residential weekend retreat

No gurus, no gyans, no fundas, no philosophies, no drama, no rituals, no past, no future, nothing abstract, no promises in the air, no rocket science - just  honest, straight and direct with a simple, easy and fundamental process .It is all about now, what you have , what you can feel, see and what you are in control of.

Embark on  an exciting  journey within -awakening, changing and transforming through the integration and balance  of Body, Mind and Spirit.

Be liberated from pain and suffering by  wisely using the  unlimited power and natural abilities you  possess. We just guide you through it.

Persona

Allow us to guide you to experience Conscious Living – Sat ,Chitha, Ananda ( Truth, Consciousness , Bliss) through a simple process of  the “Aham Brahmasmi

About us

Persona is a transformation hub that enriches, elevates and empowers people. The sensitive and expert team led by Digvijay Singh and Babita Madhwaraj work in perfect synergy  guiding  people . They stay with you as you explore within  and establish a beautiful, strong and conscious   relationship  with the SELF. They leave you feeling empowered and liberated  thus completing the process of “ Aham Brahmasmi”




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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ode to my father

This isn't a fairy tale ( though you may think it is) Its a true story. The story of a legend who lived here- a legend who I call my FATHER.

Malpe is a sleepy , quaint fishing hamlet near Udupi, on the coast of the Arabian sea inhabited by simple, kind , hardworking fisher folk with a  smattering of privileged families. One among them were my father, Malpe Madhwaraj's family- educated, wealthy, sophesticated, close knit and progressive. He lost his father at the age of 24. As the eldest son, he kept his flock of 11 siblings together and bonded. This was easy for him considering he was sensitive, caring,  selfless and just .His mother Sundari was his weakness right till the day she passed away.

I had the privilege and good fortune to have him around for 16 years of my life and I thank God everyday for that.

His mission in life was people and more people. When I was little I thought  Malpe was his kingdom and he was the king. In every sense he was- be it settling matters, meting out justice, taking care of his people- he no doubt was the uncrowned king- trusted and loved by all. So to say, we didn't even have a police station in our village. With my dad around we didn't need one.

A business whiz, he took the fishing industry to another level altogether, putting Malpe on the world map; at the same time giving gainful employment to hundreds. Apart from that, he worked really hard for the upliftment and betterment of everyone here; and he could do it pretty easily, considering his connections in the length and breadth of India. No one would refuse him. They couldn't. Because whatever he  asked was for others.

He married a girl from a smaller village, who was straight out of school, with no exposure whatsoever, plain and naive. He gave her a home, 7 children and all luxuries anyone would ever want. But what he gifted her was her own path, individuality, identity and recognition all over India. With his unstinting support and guidance she became a MLA and later on a minster, which meant she had to move to Bangalore, leaving her brood behind with her husband. He didn’t mind a bit, neither did we, coz life with him was totally chilled out. She led such a hectic life, attending  cabinet meetings, addressing public rallies, inaugurations and what not. But did my dad mind? Not once. I remember seeing a picture of him handing over  a bouquet to her in a function where she was the chief guest and he was just an invitee. Did he feel inferior or insecure? Never. ( he had a larger than life, simply sparkling and powerful personality of his own which was way above anyone else’s) He took immense pride in her achievements, from a insignificant village girl to a stylish, well travelled,  worldly wise and accomplished woman. When my mother felt guilty and told my dad that she wants to quit politics to take care of her family, his words were " In a state of 5 crores people,  only 2 women are in the cabinet and you are one of them. Stay there'.” Do you know  any man like him? So selfless and giving?

Though he left her a widow at the age of 42, he made sure , apart from wealth, she was  well positioned,  independent and  empowered -personally and politically. Something, no money or power in this world can buy .

Though we were born with the proverbial golden spoon in our mouth, at no point of time, we were allowed to feel superior to or better than others. ( today when I see the nouvaue riche showing off I am so amused). Though we had some privileges, like traveling to school in a car, we had to remain down to earth and simple; more than that respectful and polite to all, including domestic help. 

Our house, aptly named Swagatham, had streams of people flowing in all day long- some for help, some to chit chat, settling issues and a hundred other reasons. Not one was turned away or left unattended. Beverages were served to every visitor, whether he was the chief minister , royalty or an ordinary labourer. No discrimination, no  special privileges- everyone in my fathers kingdom, were  equal and second to none.

Though his busy schedule left little time for parenting, he led by example, he showed through his actions; he taught us by his deeds. Every single day was a reinforcement of kindness and lending a helping hand.

A simple  man , who wore just white; sandals most of the time, went around in an Ambassador car sitting in the front with his driver ( again a sign of equality), did not eat without feeding , did not take without offering , did not enjoy without sharing .

He did not compromise on his ethics, principals, integrity, values, beliefs, duties and responsibilities.

I realised the truth and  magnitude of my father’s  nature, generosity and selflessness  when I was campaigning for my mother’s election two years after his death. There was not a SINGLE house where ( as I was informed) that he did not help- be it for education, medical, marriage, building of the house, justice given, visited socially, comforted, supported, protected, shared. I had NO idea about this colossal level of altruism  until then . He gave even when he had so little. What his right hand gave, his left  didn't know. He did not talk about it or let anyone else proclaim it to the world. He kept no account, had zero expectations, wanted absolutely nothing in return. He gave- because he wanted to, he loved to. Because that was what made him what he was.  The more I heard about him, the more I was in awe of this man who sired me.

He left us at the young age of 52 even though his mission in life wasn't complete. Even in his death, he gave. He ensured we lacked nothing. The standards he set -be it personally, professionally or socially are impossible for me to reach. The legacy he left  is way beyond me to carry it forward. Maybe I can do justice to it in another life.

But the richest, most meaningful  and the best compliment I receive often from the people of my village is when they  tell me- “ You are so much like your father” , though I am not even half the person he was. He was just one in a millennium.



Sunday, July 14, 2013

India not safe for women

Today this is has become the topic of discussion everywhere.TV, radio, newspapers,blogs ( now mine), twitter, Facebook. Why are women not safe anymore in India? ( I know this is  a terrible cliche)

I was sitting on the Assi Ghat in Varanasi on the bank of the Ganga and a small group of youngsters land there with portable mikes and speakers, set it up and  start their protests vide fiery speeches. ( most of them dialogues from Hindi films) Of course, their effort and concern is commendable. It was all about the Nirbhaya rape case in Delhi. ( very unfortunate and tragic)

The speeches were the same we hear everywhere ( but these were with real feelings and passion)
* Not enough security for women
* Laws are not strict enough
* Investigations are slow and sluggish
* Indifferent governments
* Mothers responsible for weak sons /men
* Society that creates the male/female discrimination- men superior of course
* No self help groups
* Women activists should get more aggressive

So on and so forth. I sat there watching and hearing the young college students. Then they packed up and left..as abruptly as they came. There were not many who were paying attention to them as it is.

This got me thinking- main facts

* There is no fear factor at all . Thanks to our weak and ineffective judiciary system. How come there are no rapes in Saudi Arabia? Every man knows the repercussions which is instant and permanent. India and democracy gives men the freedom to do anything they want and get away with it!

* Society filled with indifferent people who dont care and who dont want to get involved ( two nights ago my maid who is a single mother with two daughters had some vagrant men come to her house at midnight. she went out and shouted at them. and not a SINGLE neighbor bothered even to put on their lights).

There are many more. But enough of platitudes and blame games. What can WE do to avoid such brutal offences?Forget the aftermath. How do we prevent it from happening? Pretty simple:

* Make martial arts ( self defence techniques) compulsory in every school and neighborhood from class 1.. This will strengthen the body and the mind.
* Each one of us should educate one girl child somewhere in the country. Only with education there will be financial security ( and less dependency on men)
* Provide with life and personal skills ( confidence, self esteem, self worth, communication) which will ensure that everyone is supremely confident and self reliant
* Have local self help groups that provide the much needed support system.

This should change the position of women in the country. Only when women are confident, stable, self reliant, courageous , educated and smart can we envisage a safe environment

Lets not wait for our government and our country to do anything! We have seen what has been happening so far. and its only getting worse!

Let us do our bit today! Lets start by educating ONE girl child. Its time!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Selfishness Vs Selflessness

Selflessness is a virtue! Agree? But who has ever found out??? Coz at the end of the day EVERY human being is selfish and the sooner we accept that the better it is for us and for everyone around us.

Humans are not engineered or even capable of loving anyone more than themselves! Maybe as much..but never ever more!

When I started my talk with this truth to a group of women, there was chaos! Utter and complete chaos!! They all said they love their children the most and they would do anything for their child! One of them gave an example of how if she had one apple and her child asked for it she would happily give it! ( i would give it any child whether they ask for it or not) ,  another said her child's happiness is greater than hers ( provided of course if it suits her at that point of time) yet another said the most bonded  and precious relationship is that of a mother- child and a mother would do ANYTHING for that child! " Hold it there" I said.".by anything you mean anything"? One said" yes, even give our lives"! Bingo!

I posed the next question- If mothers are willing to give their lives, then how come we don't see any mother dying when her child dies'?  ( rare exceptions are the mentally disturbed ones) There was a long silence and everyone were squirming in their seats. They had no answer because there are NO answers! Life does go on with or without anyone! 

Agreed!  Mothers are  the most selfless of the lot! But most of it is done for self gratification, the desperate need to feel needed and wanted, to feel indispensable at least to someone!  I do need to add here even this is as long as the child does what she wants it to do! We often see when children grow up and have their opinions and sometimes disagree or contradict their moms, then some things change ( and not necessarily for the better!!  and not to mention the incessant chanting of how MUCH they are doing for their family! Tchh tchh..But then this is a different story altogether!

To put it in a nutshell! What is the moral of the story? Accept the fact that you need to have a life for  yourself  (at least a little- without feeling guilty or miserable) at least for an hour in a day do something just for yourself- dance, sing, start a hobby, do something productive ( watching soaps and chatting on the net dont count), balance your life and most important GET A LIFE! You will be a happy person and you will die a more contented person.
Zindagi rocks- selfish or selfless! :)