Navigating universal currents…..

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It’s common consensus that GPS is one of the best things ever invented. You can find your way to places you have never been to before and also don’t have to resort to the confusing directions people give. But the first time Rahul used GPS, it wasn’t so easy for him. He went round and round in circles the first time. He visited three McDonald’s because his desired location was ‘above McDonald’s’. He kept doubting and second-guessing himself, constantly wondering if he had made the right choice.

In a sense, all of us are Rahul. We broadly know our destination and we do have the perfect equipment. Our willpower is also not weak. But then, we doubt our choices. We don’t trust our own sense of direction. And then we get lost.

In Costing, we have a concept called Opportunity Cost. It is not a real cost.

A wants to start a business by investing Rs 1 lakh. He estimates that the profit of the first year will be Rs 20000. If he keeps the same 1 lakh in a bank, he will receive an interest of 6% i.e. Rs 6000. He is losing out on Rs 6000 if he starts the business. That is his opportunity cost.

What are you losing out on if you don’t choose option A but go with option B?

Costing is an aid for decision-making. And that is it. Once you make the decision, the opportunity cost vanishes. Poof! It doesn’t, can’t exist.

“My dear child, nobody is allowed to know what would have happened.”

Aslan to Lucy, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Narnia series

And why do we keep thinking of this always? Wondering if we made the wrong choice? We simply cannot reach the destination if our mind, our attention is divided.

In Twilight, Bella falls in love with a vampire. She makes the choice after a certain amount of deliberation, and then stands by it. Throughout the series, that is the only wonderful character trait Bella exhibits. Is it a silly decision? Maybe. Does it land her into a lot of trouble? Absolutely. But because she sticks to her decision, she does get her happy ending.

Coming to the part where it is necessary to reconsider your decision, wait, you know yourself better than anyone out there. You know when it’s plain laziness, lack of effort, a bad day or when the decision is really wrong. Whatever be your decision, again, stick to it.

When Rahul figured it out, he began to use the GPS a lot more successfully. He didn’t think of the routes he should have taken, the paths he could have chosen. He accepted the path he was on was going right where he wanted it to go……

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Why India will change

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I had a lady rickshaw driver escort me home last night. I have certainly never felt that safe before, coming home at 9 in a rickshaw. As I smiled at myself in the rear-view mirror, I had this thought with the utmost certainty, “This is exactly why India will change. We may go ten inches back every time we try to go one foot forward, but inch by inch we are going to get there.”

When the Greek ambassador Megasthenes came to India in the fourth century BC, he was amazed by the honesty and humility of Indians- he thought that Indians had an almost inherent goodness-all their actions were motivated by their desire to follow the path of goodness. It is indeed very surprising that we have evolved in a way that we feel the authority over us is here to exploit us but when given power we would leave no stone unturned to cheat those under us. This is completely in contrast to the concepts like RamaRajya where the king treats his subjects as children and they, in return revere him as God.

If we point a finger towards invaders for causing a decline in our value system, four fingers point towards us: Why weren’t we strong enough to stop the invasion? Why didn’t we bury the hatchet with our internal enemies and round up against the outsider? Despite having great intellectual resources, why couldn’t we come up with superior technology?

The truth is that what makes you stronger in one respect also makes you weaker in all other respects. If traditions and cultures preserved the social fabric of our country, overdependence on them also prevented more unorthodox ways of thinking. When you accept one idea, it is not necessary to abhor all others. Thus playing the blame game is pointless. Tu Tu Mein Mein only results in one thing: creating an extremely bad impression of all parties involved.

I remember sitting in a taxi in Singapore, on our way to the airport for departure. When the taxi driver asks us to visit Singapore again, my father says to him,” You should visit India too.” “I hear that India is really unsafe for women. The number of rape crimes is very high. Is that true?”And a really uncomfortable silence ensues. I remember my own insistence that if we are going to do skydiving, let’s not do it in India, let’s do it abroad, it will be safer there. In both the cases, we are relating India with lack of security, dishonesty and untrustworthiness which are completely opposite to the idea India was founded on.

But then why did I feel that India is going to change? Why did I feel a glimmer of hope in a sea of discouragement? Because I remembered that it is the individuals who make up a nation more than the other way round. When a woman gets escorted safely to her home, it is India who wins. When you are about to throw a candy wrapper on the ground but you suddenly stop and catch yourself, it is India who wins. When a timely rehabilitation from PAL rescues a lost little puppy, it is India who wins. When a soldier takes a bullet for his motherland,when Sachin Tendulkar gets lots of cheers at any stadium in the world because of his dedication and humility, when Srinidhi Ramesh Shetty wins Miss Supranational for being friendly and helpful as much as for being beautiful, when Kailash Satyarthi receives the Nobel Prize ,it is India who wins. I see so many people working with full dedication towards a cause they are willing to invest their every breath in. If you are working in the office long hours for your livelihood, if you work with sincerity and honesty, pat yourself on the back, you have worked towards India’s GDP. Whether we are recognized or not, appreciated or not, how can we forget that it is little acts that when summed up, amount to greatness?

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We are a resilient bunch, we Indians. We have seen bad times and we have seen good times and we are working towards the best time ever. The right action of even one individual can inspire millions or as seen in the movie Jai Ho, can start a chain of goodness. I see so many individuals trying to make a difference, bring about change. Along with seeing the developing economy tag transform into a developed economy one, we would be equally happy to regain the trust of the world and most importantly, our own. And that makes the transition of India not only probable, but inevitable.

Note: The images are taken from Pixabay.

History on a paper napkin!

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While the seasonal bout of cold and cough has us all hassled, while the advent of GST has succeeded in completely taking over our minds, let us discuss something completely irrelevant: the significance of a paper napkin on the events which went down in history.

Yes, the environmentalists have been clamouring that the traditional napkin be replaced by our own handkerchiefs, in the interests of the environment, of course. So here’s to a future which is paper napkin-less but of course not without giving the napkin it’s due.

  1. Sign it fast, Messi!
Messi and Antonella at the wedding

Firstly, hearty congratulations to the newly wed Messi and his amazing wife Antonella Rocuzzo, always giving couple goals in style. While Messi is currently in the news for the wedding of the century and is always in the news because of the debate who is the greatest player in the world: Messi or Ronaldo, how many of us know that the first major event of his success story was being signed on by Barcelona, where he went on to make history? And that contract was signed on a paper napkin? Barcelona’s sporting director was so impressed by the 11 year old prodigy, that he wasted no time, making Messi sign the contract on a paper napkin, thus ensuring his transfer to Barcelona. I and my brother often joke that it was definitely not a haste is waste situation, rather a stitch in time saves nine one. For the then manager of Manchester United, Alex Ferguson would definitely have come to know about Messi, and then Messi would have been in Manchester United. Today, Messi has perhaps been the most valuable player ever for Barcelona, winning for them eight La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies.

Barcelona Legend
  1. We don’t need an Excel Sheet
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An ad for MakeMyTrip

The interesting Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh Ads may have acquainted you to MakeMyTrip. Or you may already have used this online travel planning company to plan your whole trip. Innovation and improvisation are not new to this company. The initial calculation of the investment amount and equity dilution took place on a paper napkin by Deep Kalra sitting across from the managing partner of a Venture Capitalist firm, eVentures. In 2014, the annual revenue of the company crossed US $ 250 million and it also was successful in pioneering the ecommerce trade in India.

  1. Words have power!

We can very well imagine the situation of Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The American Civil War had just ended. The countrymen killing each other, the wounds that hurt the most. He is expected to give a speech, but his heart feels heavy. There is deep sorrow in his heart. And the words that he writes on a paper napkin come directly from the heart, with only the necessary consultation with the mind.

‘But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’

Abraham Lincoln

The Gettysburg Address did not attract the much deserved attention during Lincoln’s lifetime but it did inspire and motivate the youth of the country in years to come.

 

  1. The Choice Of Nobel Prize winners
Revolutionary idea

I wonder if this is seeming like a long drawn advertisement of paper napkins, but one incident I have to put here is one concerning Paul Lauterbur, who while having dinner, scribbled the first plans for Magnetic Resonance Technology on a napkin while having a hamburger. Leaving the important mystery aside (can one think of anything else while having a burger?), let us focus on the idea, which was instrumental in saving thousands and thousands of lives.

Friends, so next time you are throwing a paper napkin away, do take a long look at it. Is this the key to the success you have been searching for? Just kidding. It is just another classic example of the fact that inspiration can come from anywhere, the equipment can be anything but the drive has to come from within.

Note: The information has been taken from the book Click, the article on www.prnewswire.com and www.abrahamlincolnonline.org and the images are taken from Pixabay and Google.

It’s bang on, Amish!

 

A cosy winter night, huddling into blankets around Grandma as she regaled us with tales from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata is a fond childhood memory of many of us.

And then Lord Hanuman increased his size and took a giant leap across the ocean…’

‘Across the ocean!!!!!How big was he, nani?’

The Ramayana and the Mahabharata is a part of the Indian psyche. These tales have engaged, entertained and inspired so many across several generations, that they are an essential part of India’s fabric.

Recognizing this, Amish Tripathi of The Immortals of Meluha fame has come up with a Ram Chandra series chronicling the lives of the Ramayana characters. The series is written in a multilinear narrative, meaning that the first book was from the point of perspective of Ram, the second one will be from Sita’s perspective and the third one will be from Raavan’s.

Coming almost 2 years after the first book The Scion of Ikshvaku, what strikes you first about the Sita: Warrior of Mithila is the fabulous book cover. It is, as Amish says, one of the most fabulous book covers ever seen.

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In Amish’s Ramayana, Sita is a warrior princess and later the Prime Minister of Mithila. Shown to be a headstrong and short-tempered girl when small, she grows to be an intelligent and capable woman fit to take on the mantle of her mother. Guru Vishwamitra recognizes these qualities of a leader in her, perhaps the very leader India needs to take on the grave problems the country is facing and trains and educates her well. But somewhere far away, as Sita knows, Guru Vashishta has chosen his disciple, Rama to assume the same role of the leader who will vanquish Raavan (The King of Lanka who has imposed huge taxes on the trade in India because of a war which he won) and Sita must decide her destiny.

The most interesting part of the book, hands down is the ideologies the author presents in order to bring prosperity and stability to India. According to the author, there are 2 types of societies- masculine and feminine. The masculine form is the rigid and law enforcing one while the feminine one allows a lot more freedom. Both types of societies have their positives and negatives and a perfect society always remains out of reach. However, the author explains the way this model can be used to stray very close to perfection. This idea of his is extraordinary and stimulates the thought process when you read it in detail.

In many ways, the author uses the book to show us a mirror of the present-day problems our country faces, why crimes against women escalate and why outside forces can only be the symptoms of the problem while the true problem lies within.

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Amish Tripathi

Sita’s character is that of a small, spirited girl who evolves to understand her responsibilities towards her kingdom and the nation at large. She makes her own decisions and nobody can use her as a pawn.

All the other characters are also crafted with care. A few like Sita’s powerful mother, her father; who is more driven towards knowledge, her sister; Urmila, her police chief Saimichi, Guru Vishwamitra stand out. As always, the detail in every fight sequence or description of architectural marvels is unparalleled.

If there need be any criticism, then it is the fact that the story we already knew from Part 1 of the Ram Chandra series is repeated. But suspense is not why we are reading this book and the author knows it.

Read this book to enrich yourself with beautiful, thought-provoking ideas and myriad emotions. Wonder Woman is smashing all the records in the theatres and this is another book with a female protagonist who would be an ideal role model for small girls. Times change, people change and stories have to change a bit too. This is the Ramayana the future generation needs.

#amishtripathi #ramchandraseries2 #sitawarriorofmithila