Onam Ramblings – 1

You can’t feel anything but blue, for Onam is just two days away. Thanks to Eid break, I do have holidays too. Airlines to India have an uncanny knack of doubling, trebling or as of now, quadrupling air fares during summer, holiday and festive seasons. Though the governments, state and centre, eagerly welcome remittances (the more, the merrier – much valued foreign currency!) everyone including the national airlines milk expats high and dry, with mercurial rise in airfares. So love as much as I would, I don’t think I will go home despite holidays. So, what will I do for Onam? Reminisce, I suppose is in order. And nostalgia is going to be the predominant mood.

If there is a festival that cuts across barriers of caste, creed, community, religion and gender, that is Onam. While most festivals in various states of India, based on the lunar calendar, are celebrated in different names mostly on same days, Onam is one that is entirely different. For example, Vishu in Kerala is the new year celebration which is known in other states in varied names – Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Bihu,  Baisakhi and so on. To my knowledge, (I could be wrong – if there is, do let me know) there’s no other festival similar to Onam. It is nonpareil! 🙂

Onam is the festival that celebrates the annual return of the Asura King, Mahabali. Myths celebrate the rule of Mahabali (Maveli) as one of absolute bliss and prosperity. A particular song that describes the times translates to:

During times that Maveli ruled
Equal were all people treated
Times were of happiness
No one had to face travails
Sorrows, diseases weren’t there
Children’s deaths were unheard
No baddies were ever spotted
The land only had the good
No thefts and deceptions
Nor did any speak lies
All (measuring) weights and scales were right
And there was no chicanery.

If this is not an Utopia, what is? Probably, Mahabali was the first socialist leader! He was benevolent, wise, judicious as well as extremely generous. So much so that the Gods felt quite envious and insecure about his popularity. The mother of Gods, Aditi, approached Lord Vishnu (the Preserver in the Hindu Trinity and whom Mahabali was an ardent devotee of) and sought His assistance. Being of very charitable disposition, Mahabali was approached by Lord Vishnu in the guise of a brahmin dwarf or Vamana. The Vamana requested for some land. Mahabali gladly gave what was asked. The King’s preceptor, Shukracharya, sensed the identity of the visitor and warned Mahabali. But his word was sacred to Mahabali. Vamana grew in size and with his first step measured Heaven. With the second, he apportioned the Netherworld. The third step would be the earth and knowing that this would destroy the Earth, Mahabali offered his head as the last step. Pleased by the King’s humility and integrity, the Vamana granted him a boon. Mahabali is said to requested that he be permitted to visit his subjects every year in the lunar month of Chingam (falls in August – September). Onam marks the visit of Mahabali’s homecoming.

onappookkal

Onappookkal – Onam flowers (from top left clockwise): Mukkutti (Sikerpud), Hanuman Kireedom (Red Pagoda Plant0, Thumba Poo (Slitwort)

No wonder then that the Onam continues to be a festival celebrated by all alike, irrespective of faiths! While there are concerted efforts at celebrating Vamana’s birthday (Jayanthi) in place of Mahabali’s visit, from some quarters, I strongly believe that it will always be a celebration about Mahabali, than Vamana. Sometimes even in losing, you win! That’s what happened to the genial Mahabali. He lost his Kingdom and got relegated to the Netherworld, yet, he gained eternity. The rains are over. Nature beckons. The blue skies, the lush greenery, the enchanting landscapes and the smiling flowers all seem to be decked for the festive time. And the eager populace (Keralites) to this day await his visit with much joy and celebration!:)

P.S: My next post will be about how Onam is celebrated at home… How I miss being home!! 😦 

The Four Agreements

It’s not every day that one reads a life-impacting book.
One that inspires. One that galvanizes you to reflect. Look within.
One that goads you to unlearn whatever you have learned so far in the journey of life.
One that exhorts you to take on a new trajectory by following a new set of agreements that will emancipate you from all self-limiting beliefs and fears.
One that helps you to be free from being a judge of oneself and others.

That is how The Four Agreements impacted me. Some books change lives. Forever.

Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of this book of timeless wisdom, is a nagual* from the Eagle Knight lineage. Toltec wisdom, is distilled and collected in the crucible of this amazing little book. Toltec philosophy is a path that teaches us to transcend our self limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging behavior patterns so that we may live a fulfilling and authentic life.

It’s is seemingly simple to follow the four agreements.

the-four-agreements

However it is when one starts practicing it that one realizes how deeply our self-limiting thoughts, fears, assumptions and beliefs are entrenched. No doubt it is a powerful code of conduct for anyone who aims to improve oneself day after day. If you want to live your own truth, Don Miguel suggests we align ourselves to these: being self aware, being receptive to change and to nurturing the intent to make that change happen.

On hindsight it is remarkable to notice that two of the most amazing books I have read are little ones!  One is The Alchemist. The other is this one.

5 stars for this book. I will go back to it again and again. Loved it.

P.S: Just because I loved it you don’t have to read it. If you are on that path of self-discovery, am sure that the book will find its way, for when the student is ready, the teacher appears!

* Naguals (pronounced “nah*wahl”), native American masters capable of transforming minds are people with knowledge of the higher realms.

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

Mitch Albom’s books have always interested me. That’s how I picked up his latest book, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, from the school library. And when I began, I kind of lost interest. I started listening to English music only in the 90s when my daughter was growing up listening to and singing English songs. And therefore my awareness about bands, musicians and songs is pretty pathetic.

I remember reading Markus Zusak’s book The Book Thief where the Narrator is none other than Death. The author here cleverly uses Music as the Narrator. Music says, “However well used, I am a loan, not a possession. You give me back upon departure.” (Page 4) It simply can’t be truer! And what a hypnotic pen picture Music paints about how talents are bestowed at birth. “Before newborns open their eyes, we circle them appearing as brilliant colours, and when they clench their tiny hands for the first time, they are actually grabbing the colours they find most appealing. Those talents are with them for life. The lucky ones choose me. Music. From that point on, I live inside your every hum and whistle, every pluck of a string or plink of a piano key.
I cannot keep you alive. I lack such power.
But I infuse you.” Magical indeed. Speaks volumes for the master story teller Mitch Albom is.

the-magic-strings-of-frankie-presto

The story is the life of a great guitarist, Frankie Presto. The narration alternates between Music and the reminiscences of the who’s who of music including singers, song writers, instrumentalists and others like Darlene Love, Burt Bacharach, Roger McGuinn, Lyle Lovett, Paul Stanley, Tony Bennett, John Pizzarelli, to mention a few, about Frankie Presto. It suffices to say that I thought Frankie Presto too was a real person. Only later did I realize that the central figure is completely fictional and his life is beautifully blended with real life events, giving it an authentic feel. Therein lies the success of the author and the book.

Some of the lines of Music are vintage Mitch Albom.
All humans are musical. Why else would the Lord give you a beating heart?
Everyone joins a band in this life. Sometimes, they are the wrong ones…
Everyone joins a band in this life. One way or another, the band breaks up…
Everyone joins a band in this life. Sometimes they reunite…
Everyone joins a band in this life. And what you play always affects someone. Sometimes, it affects the world…
Every loss leaves a hole in your heart…

Music’s chastisement of humans is so very apt. “You humans are always locking each other away. Cells. Dungeons. Some of your earliest jails were sewers, where men sloshed in their own waste. No other creature has this arrogance—to confine its own. Could you imagine a bird imprisoning another bird? A horse jailing a horse? As a free form of expression, I will never understand it. I can only say that some of my saddest sounds have been heard in such places. A song inside a cage is never a song. It is a plea.” Loved that last line!

Timeless wisdom from another very powerful character, El Maestro: “This is life. Things get taken away. You will learn to start over many times – or you will be useless.”

I am glad I persisted in reading. And my interest in the story gathered momentum. The lucid magic of Albom’s language is enchanting like the magical strings of Frankie’s guitar.

Loved the book and will give it 4 stars. This is only because I did not know many of the musicians. Aficionados of English music are likely to give it a 5-star rating. So if you are one, you will probably enjoy it.

When Breath Becomes Air

It is from Mohanlal’s blog, The Complete Actor¹, that I read first about Dr. Paul Kalanithi and his book When Breath Becomes Air. I had decided then to get the book and read it during summer holidays. Thanks to Amazon (I must say a ‘Jai ho’ to the e-commerce giant for their tempting offers for book aficionados like me.) I was able to get the hard bound Random House copy of this book priced at Rs. 669/- for Rs. 339/-! It’s an absolute pleasure to get the books that you want at discounted prices delivered at home. Ah, it’s bliss!!! 🙂

Imagine this: You are a brilliant neurosurgeon. You also are a post doctoral fellow in neuroscience. You dabbled in English Literature, Human Biology and Philosophy and then decided to go ahead doing medicine at the prestigious Yale. You have a flourishing career. You are a compassionate person, rooted in values with a deep calling for medicine. You have a young and equally brilliant wife. And when life and it’s dreams are aligned to fruition, you take ill. And the prognosis? Stage 4 lung metastases. How would you handle this cruel fate? That’s exactly the sum and substance of Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s deeply moving, intensely disconcerting memoir about his journey towards Death.

When Breath becomes Air

The last 22 months of his life was spent in writing the memoir and undergoing cancer treatment. The prologue of the book that went on to be a best seller for 75 weeks, begins: “I flipped through the CT scan images….” and goes on to give graphic details. But it is the last line in the first paragraph that is a stunner that takes one’s breath away: “But this scan was different: it was my own.” From then onwards, the book moves on in a gripping fashion, laid threadbare with flowing prose, with references to many gifted writers and their works and dealing with the existential question – how meaningful can we make our life to be in the face of certain and fast approaching death. There are pages that will leave you choked and with a lump in your throat. It is poignant that he stops with a message to his young daughter, who was born at a time when his life was fading, wasting away and yet he was facing it bravely and with integrity. The last days of his life are written by his wife, Dr. Lucy Kalanithi in the form of an epilogue. Dr. Paul Kalanithi passed away on 9th March 2015 at a very young age of 37 and after that the book was published by Dr. Lucy, fulfilling the word she had given to her husband.

It was painful reading the book for it was heartbreaking; yet, it was enriching and inspiring. Death is considered morose, morbid and macabre  – people shy away from talking about palliative care, physician assisted dying and death. The openness with which he deals with the “other side” – that of death – shocks the reader. When Dr. Paul Kalanithi sent his best friend an email in May 2013 revealing that he had terminal cancer, he wrote: “The good news is that I’ve already outlived two Brontës, Keats and Stephen Crane. The bad news is that I haven’t written anything.” An ardent lover of Literature, he couldn’t have put it across more succinctly. When his carbon dioxide levels rise precariously, and vestiges of hope diminish, he even says to his wife, “I am ready.” In the epilogue, Dr. Lucy enciphers it: “Ready, he meant, to remove the breathing support, to start morphine, to die.” The camaraderie that the family displays when the icy hands of death strikes their beloved  ‘Pubby’ is paradoxically heartwarming.

This book will change your life. Read it. It will leave you with a lot of thoughts. Of living and of dying. At the same time, let me also tell you – it is not a tragedy, though it can be tragic when a brilliant doctor is lost to Cancer – he would have done a lot more to the living and dying, had he been alive.

  1. http://www.thecompleteactor.com/articles2/2016/03/gods-letter-2/

Dying to be Me

Near Death Experiences (NDEs) have fascinated me ever since I started reading books of Raymond Moody and Brian Weiss. The latter’s Many Lives, Many Masters, Message from the Masters and Only Love is Real were read with great interest and curiosity. I would like to believe that there are so many things that we do not know about. NDEs are of that realm. Besides, some of the accounts have been experienced and narrated by respected physicians that it is not only hard to ignore but is also scientifically intriguing.

Dying to be Me is another book that deals with the near death experience of Anita Moorjani. When diagnosed with Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, Anita underwent everything that a normal human being undergoes: denial, distress and then a gnawing, overpowering fear. She tried everything possible other than chemotherapy – many of which were conflicting practices that worsened her cancer. In the book she documents her journey through cancer, her near death experience and her miraculous cure which she attributes to the shifts within her that accelerated her cure. I found the book quite an interesting read.

Dying to be Me

What are the takeaways for me from this book and its reading?

1) Acceptance. Whatever you are faced with accept it and go with the flow. Yes, it is a tall order, especially when one faces trials and tribulations but it is good to cultivate the feeling that everything that happens is for one’s highest good.

2) Self-love. It is essential to be kind, compassionate and have empathy for oneself. This is most therapeutic – for, if we can’t love ourselves how can we love others? It is essential that we love ourselves unconditionally. Never be judgmental – of us or of others. Realize that each one of us is truly magnificent and never nurture feelings of inadequacy. No one is better than or worse than me. We are equal and there is an underlying connection amongst all of us in this universe. Yes, we are all connected.

3) Remove fears. Remove all kinds of fears that cripple and paralyze us for most of our fears are quite unfounded. They are limiting in nature and stand in the way of expressing our magnificent selves. It is essential that we just pay attention to whatever feels right at the moment and act accordingly. For this we have to train ourselves to listen to our intuition.

4) Change: To change ourselves, we have to start with our belief systems. A belief is an energy and when we allow our true spirit to shine through, we can create transformative shifts within us. And that opens ourselves to infinite possibilities.

5) Be authentic. Being a people’s pleaser or seeking approval from others at the cost of one’s own interests can have a disastrous effect on our authenticity. So is saying ‘yes’ when we actually want to say ‘no’.

5 stars for this book. I hope you read the book. 😀

Our Iceberg is Melting

‘Our  Iceberg is Melting’ is an interesting fable of how a colony of penguins overcome a looming threat, and a perplexing problem – the iceberg on which they live is melting – and find an effective new solution to counter it. It aims at helping readers change and succeed under any conditions through the tale of the penguins. 

Fables have captivated human minds from times immemorial. Within its simple storyline that is easy to remember is embedded profound truths and wise lesson(s). ‘Our Iceberg is Melting’ is no different and conveys quite graphically the modern day essentials of problem solving and the resulting change management. And when the fable is co-written by John Kotter,  the leadership and change management guru at the Harvard School of Business, it makes a compelling read. 

The book made me think about whether I was living on a melting iceberg or one that could melt. The authors, John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber say,  “Melting icebergs come in dozens of forms: product lines that are aging, schools that are becoming irrelevant, services that are decreasing in quality, a business strategy that makes little sense, a new strategy whose implementation is sinking into the ocean.”

Key takeaways from my reading of the book is the eight fold path that Kotter has come up with – distilled from his research on successful change management. 

The Eight Step process of successful change

Set the Stage

1.Create a sense of urgency : This refers to helping others see the need for change and the importance of acting immediately.

2. Pulling together the Guiding Team: A powerful team needs to guide the change.  The team should have in them leadership skills, credibility, communication skills, authority, analytical skills and a sense of urgency. 

Decide what to do 

3. Develop the Change Vision and Strategy: Clarify how the future will be different from the past, and how it can make that future a reality. 

Make it Happen 

4. Communicate for Understanding and Buy in: Make sure that as many others as possible understand and accept the vision and the strategy. 

5. Empower others to Act: Remove as many barriers as possible so that those who want to make the vision a reality can do so. 

6. Produce Short-term Wins: Create some visible, unambiguous successes as soon as possible. 

7. Don’t let up: Press harder and faster after the first successes. Be relentless with initiating change after change until the vision is a reality. 

Make it Stick

8. Create a New Culture: Hold on to the new ways of behaving, and make sure they succeed, until they become strong enough to replace old traditions. 

The Role of Thinking and Feeling 

Thinking differently is essential to help change behaviour and lead to better results. 

  • Collect data, analyse it. 
  • Present the information logically to change people’s thinking. 
  • Changed thinking can, in turn, change behaviour. 

Feeling differently can change behaviour more and lead to even better results. 

  • Creating surprising, compelling, and,  if possible, visual experiences. 
  • The experiences change how people feel about a situation. 
  • A change in feelings can lead to a significant change in behaviour. 

Analysing a problem / intended change in four columns using the eight steps is a powerful tool for reflection. 

More tools for making change happen is available at http://www.ouricebergismelting.com http://www.theheartofchange.com http://www.johnkotter.com

Amazing changes can happen when all stakeholders are convinced and are on the same page with respect to change. 

This book is a must read for all including professionals and students. So, what is your iceberg? Is it melting? What’s the way forward??  Read, think and reflect – and embark on your journey to confront your problem and come up with ways of doable and practical problem solving. 

🌟🌟🌟🌟 is my rating for this book. 

The Wondrous Charms of Nature

Born and brought up in verdant Valparai in the Anamalais and then nurtured in enchanting Kerala, I grew in Nature’s lap, so to speak. However, I learned to observe and experience the wonderful charms of Nature only when I joined as a teacher in picturesque Munnar.

The gurgling streams, cascading waterfalls, the lush greenery, the myriad kaleidoscopic hues of evening and morning skies, the bluish green mountains around, misty valleys, azure skies, the chirp and chatter of birds, the brilliance of flowers, the majesty of trees especially Flame of the Forest and Jacarandas in full bloom – all have made me a pagan worshipping these delights. The memories of the days that we – my precious friend Sam, my darling daughter Aathira and I – went on long walks, soaking in the lush beauty around fills me with deep gratitude. Not only did they make me fall in love with nature, but also cherish the relationship with these special people in my life.

The monsoon brought rains that slashed and winds that whistled incessantly. The strong pitter-patter pelted the tin roofs and created a compelling cadence. The gusty winds threatened to blow roofs away. Water gushed and rushed, lightning streaked and claps of thunder reverberated all around. It revealed the awe inspiring power and fury of Nature. To this day whenever there’s a strong gush of wind, my heart beats wild and a gnawing fear settles in.

In winter during the biting cold the enchanting pastime was to stand in the sun savouring the warmth that crept into every pore of one’s being.

The magic of fireflies glowing and that of a star studded sky on dark nights were entrancing. Squeals and trumpets of elephants, the barks of deer and grunts of wild boars made our nights exciting. The love for wild life and Nature stoked then continues to burn brightly making me live the philosophy of live and let live.

Freedom in Exile

Freedom in Exile is the autobiography of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I had read this book five years back but felt drawn to it again. The Dalai Lama has always captured my attention as a revered spiritual leader. A keen interest in Buddhism which was cemented by experiencing and practicing Vipassana (a meditation that has its roots in Buddhism)  has further fortified my deep regard for this amazing soul. Some books teach us new perspectives each time we read it. Well, to me this book was one of that kind.

True to all memoirs, Freedom in Exile chronicles the life of the Dalai Lama. And what makes it different is the remarkable frankness of the narrative along with glimpses of the Dalai Lama as a human being, yet, with values firm and steeped in the principles of Buddhism. Named Tenzin Gyatso, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama at the tender age of 2. He describes the very interesting process of how the reincarnations are found out through a traditional process of discovery which makes an interesting read. Thus at the age of 7 he went on to become the spiritual leader and at 15, the head of state.

Freedom in Exile

The story extraordinaire reveals the multifaceted personality of the Dalai Lama – his childhood days growing up to be the revered spiritual leader, youthful days which were spent with tutors, his love for repairing watches, the snapshots of Communist China and her encroachments into the sovereignty of Tibet, the rebel uprising, his exile and the travails of leading a government in exile, how he continued to inspire his countrymen even in the face of difficulties galore, his compassion and love for peace – the last being instrumental in receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989.

Reading the book made me feel so very good that India gave the Dalai Lama asylum. And to the Dalai Lama India is what he calls Tibet’s ‘Arya Bhumi’, or a land of inspiration. Today Dharamsala is where he lives when he is not travelling all over in India and abroad for talks on a variety of topics. Grateful for the warmth and friendliness of India, he is said to have described himself the ‘Son of India’ and has often been referred to as ‘a Tibetan in looks, but an Indian in spirituality’.

As an expatriate, I understand the innate longings one will have time and again for one’s motherland. Each time you go home, you come back refreshed, rejuvenated and inspired. Imagine then a life of being the spiritual leader and head of state of Tibet and not being able to go there at all – in fact, live elsewhere as a refugee! Yet, what captivated me most is that in the midst of all this, he stays positive. Tall order indeed.

So what is the significant takeaway for me from this book?  Be humanitarian. Serve the whole community. Practice the values of forgiveness, compassion and love to all sentient beings. True happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, cultivated through altruism and by eliminating anger, ill will and greed. “We need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share, based on a good heart and awareness” (Page 298) says the Dalai Lama, and this is the only way to resolve the problems we humans have created for ourselves.

Needless to say I enjoyed re-reading the book. 5 stars for this one! If you lay your hands on this book, do read it.

Letting Go

Today’s world is rife with problems of multifarious kinds, be it professional or personal. Stress at work and damaged relationships at personal fronts have maimed us and led to dis-eases of the body, mind and spirit – resulting in a vicious cycle in which we are helplessly trapped. How do we combat this and snap out of the distressful and self-damaging vortex?

To me the answer seems to be mindfulness. Break away from the inordinate haste that prevails over us. Where are we rushing to at a frenetic pace? The pursuit of material wealth that we are after, will that be a panacea to make our lives contented and peaceful? Lives of the rich and might show that it does not. Yes, money is needed for us to live a dignified, decent life. But that does not mean that we must worship the Mammon.

My first brush with Mindfulness was over two years back when I went on a ten-day hiatus of Vipassana Meditation. Till this day, I believe that this has been the best decision I have taken in personal and spiritual growth. After that, practicing Vipassana, and reading scores of books and innumerable articles on Mindfulness, I believe that it has helped me be a better person than before. Every day I believe I am evolving.

Mindfulness requires one to be compassionate first – not only to others but also and most importantly to oneself. Let go of the regrets of the past and dreams for the future. Live in the present authentically and the future will take care of itself. And the best fallout is living a life free of stress. Thus it rejuvenates and revives the body, mind and spirit making us vibrantly ‘alive’  human beings.

Sharing a very meaningful infographic about how to counter work place stress to go with this post. I hope using any of these techniques, one of which is cultivating mindfulness, you will be able to be a handle some of the issues you may have.

May you be happy…
May you be peaceful…
May you be free from anger…
May you be free from ill will…
May you be free from animosity…
AnichchaAnichcha… Anichcha…

This infographic was produced by Unum. Unum helps employers manage stress at work.“>

Earth Day Thoughts

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Today is April 22nd. The world around me brought to me by the print, visual and social media is crying hoarse about the Earth Day. While it is appreciable that there is a dedicated day that is observed for the last 46 years to protect the earth and conserve her resources, one wonders if the impact it has had is enough. In today’s instant fix world and life, it is no wonder that we have one Earth Day, and not every day. Look at the following shocking facts to realize that a catastrophe awaits us, a ticking time bomb.

  • 2015 was globally the warmest year since records began in 1880, according to NASA and NOAA. The average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.62 F (0.90 C) above the 20th century average.
  • Fifteen of the 16 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001.
  • In the 10,000 years before the Industrial Revolution in 1751, carbon dioxide levels rose less than one percent. Since then, they’ve risen 37 percent!
  • By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed regions.
  • Almost 800 million people lack access to clean safe water every day.
  • Compared to today, five times as much land is likely to be under “extreme drought” by 2050.
  • The global middle class will surge from 1.8 to 4.9 billion by 2030, which will result in a significant increase in freshwater consumption.
  • By the year 2040 there will not be enough water in the world to quench the thirst of the world population and keep the current energy and power solutions going if we continue doing what we are doing today.
  • By 2050, 1 in 5 developing countries will face water shortages says UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • The first of the 10 top endangered animals in the world is our national animal  – the Tiger. 😦
  • The polar ice caps have melted faster in last 20 years than in the last 10,000. A comprehensive satellite study confirms that the melting ice caps are raising sea levels at an accelerating rate.
  • Every year sees humans using over 300 million tons of plastic out of which only 10% or less is recycled or reused.
  • Even in a developed country like the US only 20-25% of e-waste is recycled. Large amounts of hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium leach into our air and water, contaminating our community resources.

As I dig up more and more data, there is more and more reason to feel depressed and pessimistic. So I reflect on this wonderful palindrome poem by Jonathan Reed – Lost Generation. (Thanks to Sir Christopher Stone, Senior Vice President GEMS Education, who introduced it yesterday while addressing us at school.) This 2011 poem is about cynicism and optimism. Read to the end, then read in reverse starting from “There is hope” and continuing upward. Check it out:

I am part of a lost generation
and I refuse to believe that
I can change the world
I realize this may be a shock but
“Happiness comes from within.”
is a lie, and
“Money will make me happy.”
So in 30 years I will tell my children
they are not the most important thing in my life
My employer will know that
I have my priorities straight because
work
is more important than
family
I tell you this
Once upon a time
Families stayed together
but this will not be true in my era
This is a quick fix society
Experts tell me
30 years from now, I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my divorce
I do not concede that
I will live in a country of my own making
In the future
Environmental destruction will be the norm
No longer can it be said that
My peers and I care about this earth
It will be evident that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic
It is foolish to presume that
There is hope.

And all of this will come true unless we choose to reverse it.

There is hope.
It is foolish to presume that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic.
It will be evident that
My peers and I care about this Earth.
No longer can it be said that
Environmental destruction will be the norm.
In the future
I will live in a country of my choosing.
I do not concede that
30 years from now I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my
divorce.
Experts tell me
that this is a quick fix society,
but this will not be true in my era.
Families stayed together,
once upon a time.
I tell you this –
family
is more important than
work.
I have my priorities straight because
my employer will know that they are not the most
important thing in my life.
So in 30 years I will tell my children that
“money will make me happy”
is a lie, and
“happiness comes from within.”
This might be a shock,
but I can change the world!
And I refuse to believe that
I am a part of a lost generation.

Yes, and I refuse to be believe I can do nothing. I can do something and make a difference. So what am I going to do to make my carbon footprints less each day and show compassion to the only living place we have? I am proud to say that I have only relied on handkerchiefs. So, it’s wash, use and reuse. I have already made some difference by not using tissue papers. They may be soft tissue papers, but they are hard on the environment.
Now going forward, it’s these that am going to embrace:

  • Resist the urge to open and close my fridge doors as and when I please. Each time I open it, cool air escapes and the compressor is forced to use more power to cool it down again.
  • Reduce the use of plastics bags as much as possible. I have taken this pledge that I will never use plastic spoons from today. I believe in my small way I can make a difference. Wherever I go, I will carry with me a stainless steel spoon which I can wash or if not possible, wipe clean.
    http://grnpc.org/Ig2yu

So it’s official. I am a Spoon Washer from today. Care to join me?

Sustainable development should be the mantra for governments world over. Conserving, afforesting, recycling, reusing and reducing – if we don’t remember these actions each and every day it would be too late to undo the damage already done.

Am reminded of the profound Cree Indian prophesy:

“Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish been caught, and the last stream poisoned, will we realize we cannot eat money.”

The question is should we wait till that time???
Let’s make each day an Earth Day.
We owe it to posterity, don’t we?