Iota of Sense

I went to a Nursery today, to buy some plants. Not sure about other cities, but here in Hyderabad we have these nurseries set up on roadside empty spaces. I got a couple of plants and was making my way out to the Scooter. There were two guys who had just come over on a bike. Should be in their twenties.

As I was arranging the plants on my vehicle, heard – “ Anna, mask compulsory”. I looked back, the nursery guy was saying it to one of the two guys who just got into the nursery. The non-mask guy dint heeds him. But the nursery- guy stood his ground. Then the non-mask guy retorted in Telugu, “ ikkada kooda mask avasarama” ( is mask needed even here ? )

The nursery guy calmly replied – “ corona ki avanni teliyadhu kadha anna” ( Corona doesn’t know all these / it doesn’t differentiate).

The guy had to walk out of the nursery. The pathetic thing is that he was not even carrying one. By the expression of his friend, one can make out that they did have this conversation earlier and this fellow seems to have ignored it.

If we, in all likeliness experience Third-wave and other waves, it’s because of idiots like the young guy who came on the bike. Somehow if we manage to avert that, it would be thanks to people like the nursery guy. He was ready to lose his customer but not compromise on the safety. Don’t know if he was a worker there or runs the nursery, his actions are much appreciated.

And there are few entitled idiots, who are quick to comment that Covid-19 spreads because of the lesser literate folks.

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An expression of gratitude and an expereince to ponder over.

It was the day I started my own business. A friend of mine, who is also a networking consultant was helping me out in setting up the IT infrastructure at my office. We went to CTC in Secunderabad to buy a few desktops for the workspace.

After visiting a few vendors, we finalised the purchase of the desktops. With an intention to save on the transportation expenses, my friend suggested that we do self-transportation of the Desktops rather than asking the vendor to deliver them.

He went out to hire a means of a conveyance while I got the desktops hauled downstairs. By the time we did it, my friend was able to find an Auto-Rickshaw. After placing them in the auto, decided that I would accompany the desktops back to the office in the Auto. He told me that the process was already fixed and to pay the Autowallah 70 Rupees, or that was what I felt I heard.

On my way back, I was pondering whether it was 70 rupees or 170 rupees that I heard. I tried reaching my friend but to no avail. I did not want to embarrass myself if it was 170 and I offered only 70. At the same time, I did not want to ask the Auto driver because I felt if I told him my conundrum, he would pick the higher number of 170. My earlier experiences with the Auto guys was not the best of ones.

As we approached my office, my mind was flooded with thoughts of how to handle the minor situation I landed up with. I finally decided upon what had to be done.

I had this habit of rounding the fare to the nearest hundred if the fare fell short by 10-20 rupees. So, I decided to place a hundred rupee note in my shirt pocket beforehand and draw the note out while paying him. Based on his reaction, I would take out the wallet and give him the additional amount if the amount was supposed to be 170 rupees.

Once the desktops were unloaded, I proceeded to enact the plan. I drew the 100 rupee note from my shirt pocket and gave it to him. Even before I could signal him to keep the change, he proceeded to pull notes from his pocket to hand me over the change. So it was 70 rupees after all.

With remorse already kicking in seeing him trying to give the change, I signalled him to keep the change. His reaction was something that I would remember for a long time. My words would fail to carry the exact emotion he displayed. He did not doubt elated. With a feeling of gratitude large writ on his face, he folded his hands and proceeded to bow down. I knew what was coming and quickly stopped him in his tracks. I bid farewell and took the stairs.

I never imagined that 30 rupees would evoke so much emotion in someone. Might be he was already frustrated with all the haggling people do while hiring an Auto that even he did not expect that someone would ask him to keep the change. Or it could be that my friend was quite adamant about fixing the fare at 70 rupees that this came as a surprise for him.

Nevertheless, the showing of gratitude did shake me up. It was only a short time earlier that I was not even comfortable with clarifying my doubt about the fare with the suspicion that he would take advantage by saying it was 170 rupees.

The notions we carry.

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Every bud has to blossom

I see him nearly every day, at the tea stall collecting and cleaning all the used tea glasses, giggling with his acquaintances or going about calmly and seriously with his work. Appears to be all of 10 or 12 years, lean frame, not so maintained face and lost eyes. A sense of helpless feeling grips me whenever I see that kid. So does it happen whenever I see a child working, for I always believed it is not the right age for them to work irrespective of what the situation is, depriving them of basic education is something I always helplessly despised. 
But the other day something else pricked me. As usual, I was relaxing and having my tea and there were a couple of kids playing with a cricket ball. This Kid was going about his usual chores and suddenly signalled to the two kids to throw him the ball waited for a fraction of a second and then went back to his daily chores. The enthusiasm on his face when he asked for the ball and that expressionless face after a few moments pricked me deeply. I was looking at this kid and do not exactly know if those two kids denied or ignored his request or that he himself remembered his work and suppressed his little urge to catch the ball, but that moment etched in my memory and really makes me restless.
What really hurt me was that apart from the fact that this kid is already deprived of Eduction, he is being deprived of something more basic and more important, His Childhood. It is really not the age that you suppress your urge to play since you have the work on hand. I do not know whom to blame, the Tea stall owner, his parents, my helplessness or the system as a whole. But what I do know is it is not right. The fact that this kid is just a specimen representation of a much larger population makes me restless. ” Today’s Children are Tomorrow’s Citizens” was a maxim that I heard from my dad while growing up, if this is the case the future looks bleak.
Unfortunately, I really am unable to do anything except to vent my frustration so do I believe are many others who are moved by this but are caught in their own vicious Life cycle. The solution is a complex one, as there are many factors that contribute to such situations and each story is diverse.

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Life beyond faith in God.

The concept of God has been an experiment since childhood for me. Thanks to the ever-changing beliefs of my father in pursuit of exploring the idea of God and faith, I have been exposed to various belief systems including Hinduism, Christianity, non-religion etc. The good part of all this has been that my dad was not inclined to be absorbed into any particular ritual or dogma and sort of in a continuous state of exploration. This unique dichotomy of believing in something and yet questioning it had a profound impact on the way I started looking at things. All through these experiences, the constant has been the belief that there does exist a supreme being, who is the source and the very reason for the existence. The name of the God in question changed, but the belief in the existence of a supreme being continued.

The purpose of existence and the thought about the very origin of the whole universe has been a reason for continuous thought and exploration for me. While these bigger questions linger, there was something else that continued my association with the belief of the existence of a supreme being, “Faith”. This faith did not require a specific deity or a form of worship but a faith that there exists someone who is watching over and guiding me towards the path that I need to journey. This has been a crucial aspect for me especially during some critical phases of my life, where I had to deal with the unexpected loss of parents one after the other. All through these travails, there was this belief that someone is watching over and I would at some point be able to overcome the travails thanks to the justice to be provided by God. There have been continuous setbacks despite my best efforts ( or might be I could have tried better), and all through this, it was the faith that someone is watching and I would have my reward. which made me survive and hope for the future.

Meanwhile, my exploration and experimenting on different ideas about God, Humanism and others continued. There isn’t any particular incident or a reading which made me to question the concept of God, but it was summation of all the experiences that I started to question this concept and in turn my faith. Belief in any religion or practice was something I long overcame in my younger days, but questioning the existence of God and my faith in that aspect was a new experience that i started having. It was particularly tough to not believe in the existence of God, especially with concept of faith which happens to be the bedrock of what I believed in. The thought that there might not be anyone who is actually watching me over and it has been me all alone who have been fighting all-through and would need to continue fighting all alone, was sort of unsettling. It was as if something is snatched away from me, and I am suddenly left without having anything to continue with my life. Honestly, I might not be still open to the absolute fact that God does not exist, but I have started coming terms to the aspect that it does not matter if God exists or not and my survival is very much up to me. This thought, as I said is quite an unsettling one.

It was out of this unsettling feeling that I happen to find faith in something new, myself. Removing away the faith in someone actually helped me to start having faith in myself. Now there is no one else, that I could throw the responsibility on or wait for deliverance. If I am expecting a solution, I better start working on it. This sort of enabled me to start having more focus on myself, of identifying where I am doing wrong or where I am actually being good. Diverting the faith from God, and building upon the concept of faith on self has been an enriching one for me so far. The possibilities that me , as a human can achieve does seem to be more feasible especially with the realization that there are no unknown factors that influence. each and every occurrence now can properly be analyzed, understood and corrected upon to try and  improve on it. This possibility make me more optimistic and I do feel empowered that it is me who can make things happen.

Yes, life does exist beyond the faith in God.