Saturday, July 30, 2016

Photography is Truth - Is it?

Indian Bloggers

This statement rests on the fact that there is one 'truth' which can be reached, comprehended. Therein lies the fallacy of the statement. Although the context in which Godard put it must have been more challenging, and revolutionary (something I cannot cover in this post), let us focus on just the statement itself.

What is photography? To put it simply, it is a 'picture' taken of something - some object, or some person. In other words, it is a 'representation' of that thing or that person. 

When we speak of 'representation', we have already moved one step away from what we understand as 'reality'. Representation can be one part of truth. but probably not the whole truth, assuming that there is something called Truth. (I assume it because truth for me might not be truth for you.)

So, the context of the representation becomes important.

The context of the photograph becomes important. 

If we remove it from that context, the representation, or the truth that it represents will become irrelevant.

Consider photographing motherhood. Advertisers will hail motherhood as a period of celebration, and complete happiness. The photographs that will represent motherhood will probably show a calm and composed mother with a calm and composed child. But that is just one aspect of motherhood. This representation will hide the other 'truths' about motherhood too - the physical pain, the mental exhaustion, the bouts of depression many suffer from, the colic babies, the sleepless nights. 

Consider photographs of soldiers fighting in a war. Each warring army will represent their side as 'true', as 'correct'. But that representation will alter if the opposing army were to take the task of portraying their enemy.

Consider your own photographs. Consider your 'selfies'. Is that you reflected in that picture? Or is that you 'constructed' in accordance with certain 'shared meanings' in a society. (It would be helpful here to read Stuart Hall's essay on the politics of representation and views of post-structuralists.)

When we consider a photograph to represent reality or truth, we fail to understand that meaning circulates in a given context. To uproot it from that context would alter its meaning significantly.
Photographs are a means of constructing and imparting a certain sense of knowledge but that knowledge may just be only a part of the whole reality.

Meaning changes as perspective changes. Since a photograph's perspective is crucial to the making of its meaning, its meaning will change too with the shift in perspective.

As Ansel Adams rightly said, "You don't take a photograph. You make it."

What is your say on this? Do share your thoughts.

Linking to Write Tribe #writingwednesdays

Friday, July 29, 2016

Human spirit must prevail over technology - Einstein

Albert Einstein said, "Human spirit must prevail over technology." There was a time when we had no phone, no computers, no internet. That was the time of pigeon-carriers or postal mails. That was the time when we would ardently miss our loved ones. That was the time of hand-written letters. That was also the time of heart-felt joys and sorrows.

Gradually, things changed. Sometimes out of necessity, and sometimes just for convenience, the human mind invented things to make life faster, and to make distances shorter. Technology slowly took over. Snail mails were replaced by emails, and real emotions by emoticons. We became more virtual than real. Distances became shorter in terms of accessibility but ironically, the distances between the hearts grew wider.

But who is to be blamed for all this? Is it technology or the human mind that craves to go beyond the limit? Is it not our desire that wants us to have the latest smartphone or the latest cool gadget in the market? Are we not willingly wiring ourselves? Is it not the herd-mentality of ours that wants to take selfies, to post status about where we are, what we are doing, and what we are feeling at the moment? As if the world is dying to hear about it, about us.....How vain are we! When we like some post on FB, we also want our own presence to be 'engraved' in the technological space, so to say....not our footprint, but our virtual print. Just to be seen, to be noticed, to be praised. Technology aids in this, no doubt about that. But it aids because we chose it as our prop.

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In his novel, Guy on the Sidewalk, Bharath Krishna write,""Nearly everyone bid goodbye saying," You are on my Facebook anyway", or " You are on my WhatsApp anyway" as if Facebook and WhatsApp guaranteed relationships."  The problem lies within us. We want relationships without commitments. Technology helps us here. I wrote about this in another post We Need Each Other. We are scared to look in the eye. We recoil from gentle touch because we feel its strangeness, its unfamiliarity. We are afraid to be engaged in reality, so we pretend. Technology again helps in keeping up this pretense. 

And then we say, technology is ruining us. Is it really?

Is it not great to connect with your loved ones miles apart through FB or watsapp? Is it not a solace that the swiftness of message transfer has helped us stay in touch when we really really need to feel connected? The problem is not technology. The problem is our misuse of technology. The problem is our choosing mechanical, automated responses instead of earnest, warm feelings. 

Written for Indispire#128

Saturday, July 23, 2016

पापा की बेटी

बचपन से ही पापा की दुलारी बेटी थी।  प्रतिदिन सुबह पापा को उठ कर कचहरी के लिए तैयार होता देखती।  काला कोट न जाने कैसे सम्मोहित सा कर देता।  काले चमचमाते जूते टक-टक करते अपना संगीत सुनाते और मुझे मोह लेते।  जब तक गाड़ी आँखों से ओझल न हो जाती , मैं टकटकी लगाए दरवाज़े या खिड़की पर खड़ी रहती थी। जबसे स्मृतियां बनीं , जबसे चेतना जागी , मुझे बस एक बात याद है - पापा की तरह मुझे भी वकील बनना था ।  

सुबह-शाम सपने देखती कि मैं भी काला कोट पहन कचहरी जा रही हूँ। अदालत में अपनी दलीलों से सबको हरा रही हूँ।  कि पापा की तरह समाज में मेरी भी पूछ है , रुतबा है। 

आज जब सोचती हूँ तो लगता है कि वकील बनने से ज़्यादा मैं पापा की छवि चाहती थी।  पापा की लुभावनी छवि - मुस्कुराता चेहरा, बेबाक हंसी, निडर व्यक्तित्व , सकारात्मक दृष्टिकोण।  आखिर वही  तो था उनकी सफलता का कारण।  और मैं बचपन  की मासूम अनभिज्ञता में दोनों को एक समझ बैठी। 

 रातों-रात नहीं बना था पापा का  रुतबा।  न जाने कितनी रातें पापा ने जाग कर गुजारीं होंगी।  न जाने कितनी किताबें जो पापा के दफ्तर की शोभा में चार चाँद लगाती थीं, पापा ने पढ़ी होंगी।  और न जाने कितनी बार नाकामयाबी की ठोकर भी खायी होगी।  मैं तो बच्ची थी।  मुझे सिर्फ पापा की खनकती हंसी सुनाई देती थी।  मुझे बस मम्मी के स्नेहित स्पर्श हर्षाता था।  मुझे बस भाई के संग मस्ती भाती थी। 

पापा कभी कचहरी के किस्से घर पर नहीं लाते थे पर यह जग-विदित था कि पापा कि अपनी साख थी।  पर पापा ने बहुत संघर्ष किया था यहाँ तक पहुँचने के लिए।  और मम्मी ने उनका पूरा साथ दिया था।  मम्मी बताती हैं कि पापा ने वकालत शुरू ही की थी और मेरे दादाजी का निधन हो गया था।  पर पापा ने हिम्मत नहीं हारी।  दिन-रात मेहनत करते थे।  किराए के घर के पैसे चुकाने के लिए गुल्लक में पैसे रखते।  घर में गैस का पहला सिलिंडर मम्मी की आमदनी से आया था।  मम्मी कॉलेज में पढ़ाती थीं।  पापा के पास आने-जाने का साधन भी नहीं था तो किसी और के साथ जाया करते थे।  एक दिन उसने मना कर दिया।  पापा का मन आहत हुआ और पापा ने स्कूटर खरीदा। मम्मी और पापा जैसे उस दुपहिए वाहन के दो पहिए थे।  एक-दुसरे का मज़बूत सहारा।  एक के बिना दूसरा अधूरा। 

कहते हैं न कि सबको हीरे की बस चमक दिखाई देती है।  सब भूल जाते हैं कि वह कितना तपा है उस चमक के लिए।  ऐसा ही सफलता के साथ होता है।  सबको चका -चौंध दिखती है।  संघर्ष कोई देख नहीं पाता।  

बात सपनों की हो रही थी।  मैं धीरे-धीरे बड़ी हुई।  पर सपना अभी भी वही आँखों में बसा था।  वकील बन जाऊं , बस वकील - पापा की तरह।  लेकिन समाज में बहुत रुकावटें थीं।  या कहूं कि बहुत त्रुटियां थीं।  मम्मी को, भाई को डर था समाज की कुदृष्टि से मुझे बचाना चाहते थे इसीलिए मेरा सपना उनकी उलझन बढ़ाता था।  फिर भी उन्होंने मेरा साथ दिया।  लॉ कॉलेज की प्रवेश-परीक्षा भी दिलवाई।  साथ साथ एक और सपना भी पनप रहा था - मेरी मम्मी का सपना मुझे लिटरेचर यानि साहित्य पढ़ाने का।  उन्हें बचपन से ही इंग्लिश लिटरेचर रोचक लगता था पर उस समय उनके कॉलेज में साहित्य की डिग्री उपलब्ध नहीं थी।  पर मम्मी अपना सपना थोप नहीं रहीं थीं मुझे पे।  बस मुझे एक विकल्प दिया था की अगर लॉ कॉलेज में दाखिल नहीं हो पायी तो लिटरेचर पढ़ लेना।  किताबें तो जैसे मेरे जीने का सहारा थीं।  बहुत किताबें पढ़ती थी मैं - पापा अक्सर दिल्ली से लाया करते थे मेरे लिए।  तो बस, इंग्लिश होनर्स की भी प्रवेश परीक्षा दे डाली।  

अब किस्मत ने कहा की सुनो मुझे भी तो कुछ करने दो।  तो हुआ यूँ कि परीक्षा के परिणाम पहले लिटरेचर के आ गए।  आखिरी तिथि भी नज़दीक थी दाखिला लेने की।  समय कम था।  मन में उलझन भी थी मम्मी के।  पापा ने मुझे स्वतंत्र  चुनाव के लिए प्रेरित किया था।  पर समय की कमी मुझ पर हावी हो गयी।  और मैंने लिटरेचर में दाखिला लिया।  कुछ  दिन बाद लॉ का परिणाम घोषित हुआ और मुझे जीवन भर के लिए एक अफ़सोस  दे गया कि काश मैं थोड़ा रुकी होती तो आज मैं वकील होती। 

पर लिटरेचर ने बहुत सम्भाला मुझे।  अच्छे-बुरे समय में  किताबों ने बहुत ज्ञान दिया।  समाज की जटिलता , स्वभावों की पेचीदगी, विचारों की उलझन, निर्णयों की विवशता - कितना कुछ था किताबों में।  आज दुःख नहीं कि सपना पूरा नहीं कर पायी।  आज ख़ुशी है कि पापा कि  सकारत्मकता मुझ में  सम्मिलित हुई।  वो खनकती हंसी मेरी न हो सकी पर मेरे जीवन को पल-पल अलंकृत  करती रही।  मुझे कहती रही कि अफ़सोस मत कर, बस ज़िन्दगी जी ले। 

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Friday, July 22, 2016

किस्सा गाड़ी का

Math में था मैं थोड़ा weak
बस सौ तक गिनती आती थी 
पर competition था गाड़ी  का 
तो सौ से भी गिनती पार करी 

रातों को सपने आते थे 
टाटा की गाड़ी में बैठा 
मैं लम्बी सैर पे जाता था 
पर हाय री किस्मत धोखेबाज़ 
जब नींद से मेरी आँख खुली 
टाटा गाड़ी टा टा करके 
पतली गली से जा निकली 

हाथों में मेरे voucher है 
और दिल में मेरे है  anger 
quality post के चक्कर में
 हुई गाड़ी मेरी रफूचक्कर  

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This is a funny take on the present discussions going on in the forum of IB for Tata Tiago Marathon. Whatever the result is going to be, I feel many will have a heart-break. The reason is obvious - bloggers blogged crazily as is evident in the mammoth number of posts submitted and approved. But there are only two cars in question. Yes, there are vouchers but the grand prize is just for two. So, it is a no-brainer that tempers will run high. The results have also not been declared, which is another cause for growing restlessness among participants. This poem is only to make matters light. I do not intend to take anyone's sides here. I can understand the hard-work of those who participated and I can also see the difficult task of choosing the best among so many.

Whatever happens, dear bloggers, just stay happy. And keep blogging....

Friday, July 15, 2016

No Child's Play

It was just like any other day. The neighborhood that was quiet in the hot summer afternoon started bubbling with the lively chatter and laughter of kids. It was just like any other evening. The bigger kids came out with their bikes, scooters, bats and frisbees. Not-so-careful-about-appearance Mommies made their presence felt on the scene as the little ones trundled behind. Gently blowing breeze managed to bring down the temperatures a bit so it was a comfortable evening to play outside or to just loiter around.

'Hey, that's not how you throw the ball." A boy shouted. Another intervened in his support. Mommies looked and ignored as this was no serious matter. All the kids who were playing were wont to play their every single day. There wasn't a newcomer on the scene.

Arguments ensued, however. In the group of the bigger kids was one non-Indian child. I wish not to disclose the racial identity of that non-Indian child because of two reasons - One, I don't deem it necessary. Two, I do not want others to hold or form any prejudice for anyone whatsoever. So, the non-Indian child approached the Mommies and told him that the other kids were being rude to him and were singling him out. Then he said, " My mom doesn't like my playing with Indian kids. She asks me not to be around Indians."

This shocked me. I was speechless for a moment. My mind was looking for something right to say. I wanted to tell the little child that he was so young to be holding a prejudice of this kind in his heart. I wanted to tell him how utterly mistaken his mom was. But I did not want to belittle a mother in her child's eyes. So I was quiet.

Then I told him that it was not an appropriate statement to make. I explained to him in simple words that they were all children and no-body harbored any ill-feeling whatsoever for each other. It was momentary anger and if they talked the matter out, all would end well. He listened and so did the Indian kids. Apologies were exchanged and the play resumed.

But we Mommies were stunned. It was a shock that would take some time to get over with.

My heart felt sorry for the mom who was not just cultivating bias in her heart. She knowingly or otherwise, was starting to contaminate the pure heart of an innocent child. This world is already ailing, do we need any more diseases? I questioned myself.

I grieved in my heart, for what I had thought was a child's play could one day take an ugly form. I dreaded that.

As parents what is our first duty to our child? Is mere formal education enough? Giving them the opportunity to study in good schools and colleges, providing them good clothes to wear, healthy food to eat, a secure roof to live under - is that enough? Who will forfend the plague of prejudice from afflicting their lives? Who will nurture in them the qualities of fairness and equality? We try to save them from the 'bad' elements around us. We try to keep them away from violence in the media. Who will save them from our own faults? Who will shield them from our own turbulent mentalities?

Will it not be a colossal parenting failure if a strong foundation of an unbiased conscience is not laid?
What will we weep for when our kids flounder? Will we weep for our faults or their loss?

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Linking it to Day 7 of Write Tribe Festival of Words # 5

(Today is the last day of the seven-day Write Tribe Festival of Words # 5. It was my first time I tried posting every day in my blogging experience. I was able to post for seven consecutive days, and I tried to read and interact with most of the bloggers who had participated in this festival. In case I have missed you, I am sorry. All in all, the past week was very busy as I had my two kids who decided to fall sick on the very first day of the festival. But somehow, everything was managed and taken care of. With a sore back, and tired eyes, I also have a sense of satisfaction and utter joy. I wish to thank Corinne Rodrigues and all Write Tribers for encouraging me and making this a fruitful experience.)

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Pain of Sweet Memories......

Indian Bloggers

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I recently came across this poem by D.H.Lawrence. The novelist is famous for his exploration of repressed emotions and Oedipal conflict in some of his major works. This poem was a pleasant discovery. While I tried to locate Lawrence in the poem, my mind took me away to a time in future when I would be old and my son would remember the times when he was little and together we had played at the piano. It was nostalgia of a different kind.

Then my mind hovered back to my nest of childhood. I saw my mother singing ghazals. I saw my grandfather reading his newspaper while my grandmother opened her trunks to show me her crochet shawls she had done when she was young. I heard the hearty laughter of my father from the basement where his office was. The door to the basement stairs was ajar and I was spying to hear his joke and tell my mom. All I could hear was his laugh - energetic and unrestrained. I then saw my brother taking me back home from school. He was teasing me since once again I had failed to notice that our car was parked right in front and I had passed it and climbed the school-bus. He had honked but I was lost in my own world. I didn't hear and I didn't see. And he made a good joke out of it. Okay, I seemed angry at first but I joined him soon. He was so lively, how could his spirit not touch my soul. 

Just then, I felt my cheeks were wet. Ah, tears....they were so slippery, I could not contain them longer. Taking a deep breath, I wiped them and looked around. What was it about memories? They made us smile, they made us cry, and still we clung to them as if they were the oars that would help us sail in the ocean of life. We held on to them as if they were the wings that would help us fly when the stormy wind tried to lead us to unknown paths.

How far had I come, I thought. Physically, I could never touch my grandparents, my father and my brother any more. They were on unknown shores on unseen lands. I saw them sometimes in my dreams, but just like dreams, they vanished when I opened my eyes. I wanted to touch my mom but we sat miles away from one another. But her presence was a solace. Like a light-house she shines, guiding me from afar, frustrating my fears, encouraging me to sail on.

Was I happy at that moment? I cannot say. I was happy to relive the past. But it was gone now, and that gave me pain. I missed my brother the most for I could not say my good-bye to him when he departed. Since I could not talk to him, I wrote this for him. May be his soul can read it.

The Tales I Will Tell

I wasn't born just a daughter 
But a sister too - 
A sister to you....
To me you were
Part of my childhood,
My other essence
Like two buds of the same plant
We grew together
Fighting for sunshine and space
Blooming despite the stormy winds
Striding many paths
Crossing many hurdles
And then one day, I decided to uproot myself -
Landing on alien soil
I persisted
While you floundered 
On familiar grounds

I knew not you would wither away
Leaving me alone
You always called yourself 'big'
Boasted you would forever be elder to me
As you were born before me
But as I venture forward with my beating heart,
And age 
I search for you
Wanting to tell you
I have put more miles to my strides than you
Wanting to brag about my age
To show you I have more candles on the cake than yours
But also to tell you
I never wanted to be 'bigger' to you
That even when you are gone
You still remain and will forever be my 'Big' brother….
Our childhood has vanished
Just like you
But our memories will be carried forward
In the tales I will tell
About you and me
Tales of a little sister and her 'big' brother.....

Linking to IndiSpire Edition 126

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Auschwitz Mug

Indian Bloggers

A sip for meaningless survival
Hides my heritage
In danger of being looted...
Its sanctity concealed from prying eyes
A legacy sequestered by a fake layer
An heirloom meant to be flaunted but 
Not in times like these
A love that ought to be proclaimed loud but 
Spoken only in whispers here
A hope buried to protect it.
Ah the irony!
I wish you live even when I die.

Image Source

I wrote this poem after reading an article on Huffington Post - Heartbreaking New Discovery At Auschwitz As Jewelry Found Hidden Inside A Mug . The pictures of the mug seemed to speak to me distantly but distinctly. You can see read more on this and see more pictures here

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Lesson From the Seamstress

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My faith did not teach me to hate
My faith did not teach me to doubt
But I did both
Clouding my mind 
With unjust prejudices
Shrouding my heart
With unnecessary misgivings
When she smiled at me
I shied away, veiling myself
In curtains of aloofness...

But oft did I see from my window
Her bent head
Busy in stitching
She weaved clothes
While I spun suspicion....
You get what you give
I had heard that I know not how many times
But what I gave, she gave me not
And what she gave I refused to return
Her friendly gaze met my fake smile
Her amicable waves went unnoticed
Yet she persisted....
Yet I resisted....
Time passing by
I bloomed in health
Ready for things to come
Ready for a life
While her window was now ornate
With her beautiful creations
Which I admired
But acknowledged not
She was a seamstress 
Weaving magic on fabric
And what was I?
Oh ruthless me
What was I doing all that time
Disregarding and dubious
Locked up in twisted thoughts.....
It would have gone on like that
Had she not broken the ice
With a token of love
With a little gift of friendship....

That day when my window
Declared to the world
The arrival of my new-born
With a pink balloon
She came with a pink dress
Stitched for her unborn daughter
Who could not be born anymore
A dress she had stitched with much love
Her first ever dress 
For her only daughter now no more...
She gave it to me since my daughter was born
On the same day as hers was expected to come
A year ago...
It seemed like a sign
Her faith told her so....
What she gave was not just a gift
It was a re-birth for me
My mind released from restraining animosity
Unchained at last
I asked her why
Why... when I did what I did to her
(Yes, I could hold it no more
I confessed it all)
She said she was used to it
Many times in many places
Questioning glances, suspecting stares
Talks behind her back
All because she came from a different faith....
But she knew she could change it
Little by little
One by one
With love, with smiles
Her father had taught her so
We were all prejudiced puppets
Living in slumber
Dancing drowsy dances
Worshiping hollow faiths
With more than hollow hearts
She wanted to shake that torpor
With gentle vibrations of love
She wanted to rouse, to enliven
Those numb and frozen feelings
With ripples of affection....
I stood silenced
But at peace with myself
Liberated at last
Breathing fresh air
After ages it seemed
With an open and receptive heart....
She had learnt her lessons well
I learnt mine too that day
From the seamstress next door....
Unfettered and unburdened...
Hate weighs heavy on the mind and spirit
Faith, true faith, relies on love
It teaches not antipathy
It teaches not contempt
It endorses embrace
Towards one and all
It judges not 
By how one looks
It disapproves not 
Those who come from a place
Different from yours
True faith is the faith of love and respect
It binds, not divides
It integrates differentiation
It isolates not
The lesson from the seamstress
I will never forget.....

Monday, July 11, 2016

Make Success Your Way of Living by Ravish Mani

Indian Bloggers

Ravish Mani is well-known in the blogosphere. His insightful comments on blogs reflect his philosophical personality. His own writings are inspiration and food for thought. He has an acumen for reading in between the lines. If you want your work to be critically appreciated, you would want him to read it. And this is no flattery. I make this statement based on the comments I have received for many of the short fictional pieces and poetry I have written.

Make Success Your Way of Living by Ravish Mani is a compilation of personal anecdotes, examples and experiments from the animal world and quotes from famous people. The author philosophically reinforces his ideas by repeatedly stressing on the significance of adopting the right 'attitude' towards success. Doubt and failure are considered stepping stones rather than hindrances. Success is measured against failure, and not along with achievement. It is emphasized again and again that winning does not make you a winner just like losing does not make you a loser. 

The beauty of the central thought of the book is captured in the lines from Bhagwad Gita that serve as the epigraph to the book. Let me quote the lines here:

He who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction is wise among human; he is successful, who has accomplished what one has to. (Bhagwad Gita Chapter 4 Verse 18) 

Achievements are not defined necessarily by what the final outcome is. Success is a journey, not an end-point. Accomplishments are meant to be glorified in the way they came about, and not in isolation. Ravish throughout the book, by way of different examples, reiterates this point. True success is desire matched with integrity. What one really wants is important, but what is also important is modelling a correct conduct. The classic example Ravish gives in this regard is that of Reuben Gonzales who chose to lose his racquetball match in order to keep his integrity intact. That does not mean that one ought to fail to succeed. Failures are experiences. They are proofs of the hard work and the effort required to reach the final goal. One who does not strive does not learn.

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The author begins by telling about his own stint with success. No, he did not become a celebrity overnight. He did not achieve the glamour associated with stardom. But within a limited span of time, he was able to achieve something he desired. All he did was take the right steps. He was willing to take the risk, and with this willingness came the idea that helped him reach his goal. That was success to him in the true sense of the word. He did not do any "preparation" but was rather "prepared" to take action. Ravish aptly differentiates between the two:

"Preparation means mechanical activity while preparedness means conscious activity. Preparation is a state of sleeping, in which you do things unconsciously. You cannot do anything new. You can only do the things that you were taught while preparing for the situation. You cannot think out of the box. On the other hand, preparedness is state of awareness. It can think new solutions because your mind is alert." 

Success according to the author, is not just a record of goals achieved. It gels with a happy personality. Happiness is crucial for success because an unhappy heart can seldom reach success. An unhappy person cannot comprehend the meaning of accomplishment for he is not in harmony with his inner self. To be able to achieve goals that are worthy, one has to first adopt a healthy attitude.  Ravish writes:

"Success means having such a personality that every effort will lead towards the achievement of a worthy goal."

Ravish uses a haiku written by Kokila Gupta to explain how our interpretation of life, and the events that happen around us define us, or rather how we give definitions to the events around us, and hence to the life we live. I have a different interpretation for the haiku but the way the author describes two contrary meanings of the haiku reflect how we are tuned to think. The thought-processes we are habitual of often trap us and limit our scope. We ourselves enfeeble us and blame it to some external source. The truth is that we choose and we are the doers, no matter what. Our perceptions can become our traps.

"We can never know what others say; we can only know what we hear.”

Our fears are our allies too, according to Ravish. It is fear, as the author notes, which awakens our consciousness. There is a great example the writer gives which I would like to share here. A man had fear of heights. He went to a saint so that the latter could help him achieve a state of consciousness. The saint asked him to climb a tall tree or go home. The man despite his fear started climbing. As he was about to reach the top, the saint asked him to be brave. On his way down, as the man neared the ground, the saint warned him to be careful. The man was angry and asked the saint why when he was so near to the summit and to the ground did he feel the need to warn. The saint replied that when he was going up, he was fearful and conscious. But as he neared success, there was danger of going back to the state of  drowsiness and he might have quit. While coming back, he was overconfident and it might have been harmful to his conscious state of mind.

Through this example Ravish has clearly brought out the significance of remaining on a sound foothold even while succeeding. It might be the last but one illusive step that can be disastrous and cause our doom. Success comes to those who choose to remain awake.

Doubt has often been a stumbling block for many. It is a paralyzing force that slows us down and eventually makes us quit. That is what we feel. But for the author:

"Doubt is an indication of a somewhat disturbed belief system which needs immediate attention and some remedial action."

Doubt is that moment wherein questions need to be asked. It is a state of consciousness not lulled by blind faith but active interrogation. Hence it has power. It has strength which can be aptly challenged towards creativity. Ravish gives fine examples to prove his point. Towards the end of the book, he even quotes one of his reader who is an avid believer but is often assailed by doubt. The reader finds relief in the assertion that to doubt is not bad. Mindless following ought to be shunned.

In order to succeed, one ought to be ready to embrace everything one would usually not relate to success - fear, doubt, and failure.

The author ends his book asking his readers to dwell on the concept of the Penrose Triangle. It is a concept new to me. But after reading the book, I thought that the 'impossible' triangle is the metaphor for the thought process that seeks to achieve a state of harmony between the doer and the action - a harmony wherein both blend into each other inseparably, a state where they exist but they are not there. It lies at the root of Hui Neng's example cited in the book wherein the disciple on being asked, "What is enlightenment?", replies “There is no mind and there is no mirror, so where can the dust gather? One who knows this is enlightened.”

Success can come only in this state of purity.

I also asked Ravish to clarify his point of view on the Penrose Triangle in regard to his book. Let me quote what Ravish says:

"A defining characteristic of impossible object is that each part makes sense but the whole does not; local geometry is satisfied but the figure’s global geometry is ambiguous or contradictory, and the viewer must constantly revise their understanding of the figure as their eye travels over it."

I highlight the last part of the answer given because this is integral to our understanding of success too. What our mind perceives as success at one point of time might not when viewed as a whole be success in conventional terms. But if we take it apart, it might be success indeed. Viewed from different perspectives, success may appear as failure and failure may appear as success. It depends on where we position ourselves. 

The last chapter of the book is crucial to understanding the whole book for that matter, and it is difficult too. I am not very philosophically-grounded to comprehend all that Ravish has written. But the duality between the doer and the action, the requirement of harmony, the necessity to reach a point of unity so that the stage of 'no-consciousness' (see Post-Script as the end)is achieved are according to the author significant in understanding wherein lies success.

There is a lot to learn from the countless examples given, from the action steps provided at the end of each chapter and from the impressive quotes from various sources Ravish uses throughout the book. The book is not just about success, but about making a habit of success - a habit that comes as an individual develops a happy personality that is eager to live with passion and integrity. The classic example of the saint enjoying the strawberries while his death is ready to devour him is cardinal to the point raised by the book. Live in the moment with a fully awakened consciousness, and overcome failures and hindrances by negating their debilitating forces.

Those who love to read self-help books will enjoy reading this book. Those who like to learn from examples will find a lot in this book that is to their taste. 

My only concern is that it has not been edited well. I hope the author makes note of it and makes necessary changes. 

To download a copy of Ravish's book and to visit his blog, click

Post-Script - After reading the review, Ravish had a question as to what I meant by 'no-consciousness'. It was something he had never meant anywhere in his book. I need to clarify that by 'no-consciousness' I meant reaching a stage of, what the writer calls, 'no-thought', when all thoughts are shattered. It is a state of mind that is free of ego and its co-relates. It is the point at which ultimate harmony can be attained.

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पुस्तक समीक्षा - अमित अग्रवाल की चिटकते कांचघर

Tomichan Matheikal's The Nomad Learns Morality

Lata Subramanian's A Dance with the Corporate Ton - Reflections of a Worker Ant

Linking to Day 3 of Write Tribe Festival of Words # 5