Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The end or new beginning?

The most beautiful people in our lives are our parents: our mom and dad. Our parents have known suffering, struggling, and they worked hard to make ends meet. My father was born fifty years ago, and he passed away recently. Nobody knows the reason for his demise; neither our experienced medical doctors nor the religious pundits or sadhus. 

I cannot fully conceive the idea of his passing away. Relatives and neighbors say he died because of unknown causes. In his demise, I sense loneliness and utmost grief. My mother is on her own. I feel that nobody can replace my beloved dad, a mathematical genius. I loved his charisma and the way he did mathematical calculations. In his school years, he was among the brightest and smartest students in his class. During those times, he could not afford the university schooling because of lack of resources. He fulfilled his study dreams by bringing up his sons. We had mutual trust, and often used to meddle on hot societal issues e.g., Nepalese/world politics, society, education, science, climate change, etc. 

The little things we discussed and the jokes we shared are plain, simple memories. The time we spent together and chit-chatted hours together cannot come back. 

My relationship with him was less like a father-son duo and more like that between best-friends. At other times, he would patiently wait (for me) to enjoy dinner together, also during late-nights. 

Our time is limited, and we don’t recognize it till the end. Every moment is precious, and we should cherish those moments. Despite our humanly limitations, he stated that life is a personal journey. Nobody can predict the end of life or the end of the world precisely. This is a natural process. We are born, and we must die. There is no escape from this vicious circle of life and death. 

In retrospect, I learned that he was neither fond of treasures nor material goods, he was in himself a real treasure and honest example of a free spirit and a true father. 

My dad was the best and brightest (a son can dream of) in inspiration and life lessons. Simply, because he had known suffering, struggling and loss and had enriched himself with beautiful experiences. He encouraged learning from mistakes and loving contemporary human beings. 

Human life is fragile and the end is sure but with a gleam of hope for a newer beginning. As the end of the year 2012 is near and the start of the fresh new year 2013 is around the corner, I wish a merry Xmas and a happy new year to all.

Published: The Himalayan Times

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Art of Failure

Success in life, relationships, education, job, and many other social, or the political system is defined by people. Some people are very good at doing stuff, and some are not. I am like those types of person who is more interested in failures because I believe there is lot to learn from failure than from success. A burgeoning question that needs an explanation has popped up in my curious mind: how much failure can a person handle?

Art of failure shows true color and limitation of humans, and might even sometime hit us hard in this mere mortal life. We humans are fragile, and cannot handle failure(s) competently. We just learn the way through the failure. Some are ready to surrender, and some are not. How should we overcome failures?

Success encourages and motivates a person to move-on in life. However, failure gives us more room for improvement.  If we are serious about the stuff that we are doing, we have to fail frequently. Failure might last longer, and will be more painful to handle than success. 

I think many people agrees on this: “must love what we do.” If we do not love what we are doing, we will abandon hope and might be more exposed to more failure. I think we cannot overcome failure by merely surrendering easily. We have to fight back and keep loving what we are doing now. So, the persistence is the key, and the success, the door. Those people who are keen to unlock the door of success might become successful anyway. 

Although, our idea of failure is somewhat limited. The society sometimes does discriminate between those people who are successful and those who are not. The society we live in is run by very successful people and these successful people (or whatever you want to call them) are not ready to shake their hands with bunch of failures. These people have worked extremely hard to become successful. Once you learn to fail, you will learn to find success. 

There are many examples of successful people who failed several times; eventually, to end up becoming successful in their lives. Take for example, Einstein whose parents thought that he was mentally sick or Gogh who only sold one painting in his entire lifetime. Many famous authors (e.g. J.K. Rowling and Grisham) manuscript got rejected several times, and Walt Disney first animation company went into bankruptcy. So, don’t worry the failure, rather worry the steps taken to improve it. As Edison states, “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” Thus, there is no magic formula for becoming a successful person in the eyes of society. The mantra is very simple: fail hard, and learn the art of failure i.e. do not just fail once or twice, fail repeatedly. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Trees by Hesse

For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. 

Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the haredest and nobleest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts. Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.


Monday, July 9, 2012

I am busy. Really?

How busy is too busy? I have been struck with this thought lately. People often say that they are, “busy,” “too busy,” and “extremely busy.” Are we really so busy that we do not have few minutes to think about “important” issues in life? Now, the question might arouse what is important? The task you are doing presently might be more important than the task in question. If the task in question is of least important, you might want to ignore that task and you may rather say, “I am working on something important, I will look into that thing later.” How about saying, “I am working on something...” instead of simply throwing stupid balls of being too “busy”? 
I think those people who state that they are busy are not really busy. They are simply trying to “avoid facing the real problem(s).” There might be no denial that these types of people are, “Overloaded with work.” Undoubtedly, they have plenty of work at their disposal to stand daily. A simple suggestion: hire more people instead (to help you get done with your work). 
Furthermore, they should not convey, a negative vibes among their colleagues and friends of stating or being, “Busy” (You may wonder, why negative vibe?). Stating or being too busy is somewhat negative vibe. Not only this habit shows that you are being ignorant and overloaded with tons and tons of work but also gives a negative impression of your abilities and capabilities (things that you can do as a human species, possibilities, ‘khubility’). 
There are smarter and intelligent way to deal with this type of behavior. Similar to solving a math problem, one could simply say, “I am really working hard on this issue (step), I will come back at that (step) later” or, “I have some very important things happening right now...” etc. 
Prioritizing the task will ease out the common trouble between being busy and not-so-busy. If you don’t know how to prioritize the task, ask in your inner self, perform cost-benefit analysis, do simple soul searching on task or tasks. What is important is NOT how much effort you put into solving a problem but how many problems you can solve in limited time. Because our time is limited and we are not here forever. You will not be judged by how much workaholic you are/were, but how much collaborative and supportive you can be, also by examining vast and wide range of problem(s) in parallel.  This is also called in plain simple English, productivity. The more productive you are [with people], not with task(s), the better you as a person become. Because it’s the human connection that matters, everything else is secondary. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Been a Long Road

It's Been a Long Road

Getting from there to here But my time is finally near

And I will see my dream come alive at last
I will touch the sky
And they're not going to hold me down no more
No they're not going to change my mind

'Cause I've got faith of the heart
I'm going where my heart will take me
I've got faith to believe
I can do anything
I've got strength of the soul
No one's gonna bend or break me
I can reach any star
I've got faith, I've got faith
Faith of the heart

By Diane Warren

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dark side of the Internet

Imagine you are in a room with a fly. If you are a spiritual person like me, you would probably mediate during some point in a day. Can we agree then that meditation is a process of gaining peace with the mind? The whole idea of meditation is to focus (on objects or things). Let us move forward, this time we are really meditating. Imagine now that now and then a fly comes along and sits on your lap. You are not disturbed; you still meditate. However, this fly is enjoying a room, searching for food; aimlessly moving around, having fun. Will you get irritated with this fly or not?

An ordinary person is most likely to get irritated because the primary function of the person in a room was performing mediation and not thinking about a fly. This is what the Internet is for the present day society. I am not saying that the Internet as a technology is bad. 

Like a fly, the Internet is not bad or good. It’s all in our 

mind. Some people might 

think this is bad for them because they were focusing on something else (e.g. meditation) and not on a fly itself. 

The Internet with various web services (e-mail, spam messages, viruses, security vulnerabilities) is like a fly that will constantly interrupt you. For example, if you have your social networking site notification active, imagine receiving notification e-mail of every activity that occurs. Like a fly interrupting a meditating man, we might also constantly get interrupted on the Internet. 

Remember clicking on social networking sites ads? Recently, one became public and there is amazing data which showed it earned $9.51 per user in US and Canada alone. From Asia and other parts of the world, it earned around $2 in ad revenue. Multiply this amount with 900 million active users on monthly basis that is the money companies like this social networking site are making out of the tiny sips of online conversation (our virtual friendship). How is that?

This is not a big deal for an ordinary user. We all want to be feel connected. We don’t care much how companies make profit out of our friendship activities online (from the realms of our friend’s activities, our posts, likes, photos, videos, comments and status updates). Furthermore, the world of social media and the Internet generally has become crowded maybe too crowded, and my intention is not to say that this crowded “Internetosphere” is bad or good. 

My intention is to remind you in your room with a fly, remind you that now you are again meditating with not just a single fly but tens of them, hundreds of them, and even thousands. I don’t know what you will do, but I am still meditating.

Source: The Himalayan Times

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blue Dot

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

-- Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On studying abroad or not

My very close friend went to UK for his undergraduate studies very recently. I had mixed reactions over his departure. First, I felt sad, simply because I lost one very close friend from my neighborhood. Secondly, I felt happy for his future career and cognizance that he might gain from foreign studies. Thirdly, I too felt like doing the same.

A very recent news report cites that more than one thousand people depart for foreign countries every day from Nepal. Well, that is a huge number, isn’t it? Maybe my friend is one among them. Given the situation in Nepalese villages, nobody seems to want to stay back home. Everybody is searching for safety, security, high-paid jobs, and various services (with no power-cuts, water problem, lack of security, privacy, and medical or health benefits). Therefore, I would rather not decry ordinary people or my dear friend. In-fact, such a trend seems to be growing more each day.

Twenty years ago, people use to ask their children, “What will you do, when you grow up?” They were much likely to choose a high adept profession such as “doctors and engineers”. Today a kid replies, “I would rather study abroad in UK/USA.” Based on my informal observation, apparently a trend of sending your kids abroad for study is also rapidly growing in my poor little neighborhood. The only downside is that I am left alone with very few friends to play cricket with. There is no such thing called, “free-lunch.” 

To study in US/UK, one has to pay large sums of tuition fees/college fees, in pounds and dollars. I think, it is like gambling with one’s life. If you are successful, then you will be rewarded with a foreign degree, which might provide you a secure job for your lifetime. However, not all this works in your favor. In my neighborhood, as I see it, some uncle and aunties are building their backyards/ homes. They boast that their children have sent a handful of cash in US dollars or pounds, which are many times more than the Nepalese currency, how is that?

My grandfather used to say, “Money can’t buy you happiness but it buys you some luxury which in-turn bestows some limited pleasure.” Well, I do not know whether I too will join my very close friend to study in UK but I do know for now that life is not like “bed of roses.” To be honest, my dear friend, I love my neighborhood so much so that I will not be able to join you in UK. There may be an inner desire but weighing the pros and cons it would be better to stay back in this humble setting to be near with the family. Good luck to you my dear friend, and all who are thinking to travel abroad for pursuing further studies.

Published: The Himalayan Times

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Trayvon Martin and Limitation of Man Made Law

Don't you ever judge people with color, creed, race, clothes, behavior, lifestyle, and whatnot? We as human beings are very quick in judging our fellow humans. We can get trap into dogma and believing that everything what we do is good and what others are doing to us is bad. Before making any political judgment about others, we need to understand where do we stand. There have been recent examples of political pundits all fighting over the case of Trayvon Martin.
I don't know whether you have heard about this case, but this case has bought national outrage in United States (A country where they feel proud of their judicial system); but not anymore.
A black teenager gets killed by some local watchdog. How? Why? When? Where? All these questions are based on human curiosity. Like everybody else, I too was curious to find out the answers. The most curious are the parents of the 17 yr old teenager. They have not had an answer yet simply because the law that human made is under close scrutiny ("stand your ground") law. Under this law, a person has rights to kill anyone and claim that he was defending himself/herself. What a law? Wow. The borderline is if someone comes to attack you inside your house, then you might defend yourself by using this law but if someone goes outside to buy "bag of skittles and iced tea" then you are not allowed to kill that very person. But, this can only happen in "United States of Amnesia."
Come on dudes, we all are human beings and someday we all have to die. There is no point to deny the fact that we shall live forever. There is also no denial of the fact that it will be hard for the killer to sustain living because the dead is already gone. Here, the living person (George Zimmerman) will have more nightmarish life then a dead (Trayvon Martin).
The country which proclaims to be the land of diversity and great nation has fallen apart. This case is nothing. There are many other cases where the racial divide is bought to popularize the human syndrome of injustice, divide, and so-so.
Our 15 minute fame syndrome has become reality nowadays. Thousands of YouTube videos have been created and thousand of article have been written here. However, I think this case and many other only suggest that "we are limited in our own understanding of making man-made laws"; we are limited in appreciating the human life; we have become morons; killers (They have taught us to love violent video games and kill enemies besides that we see the examples of this in real life). As a human being we must be responsible for our "action"; whatever we do, think, feel, love,... we must be responsible for that. If we are not responsible for our action, then we are slowly and gradually changing ourselves into devolution (we might go back into our caves, someday).
In a country where there are large ammunition and gun industry run, undoubtedly this is just a beginning of new era (where people will stand their color, clothes (e.g. hoodies here has been popularized), and whatnot.
Do we stand in the top of mountains? Of course, we do not stand on the top of mountains. We stand on the top of this mother earth. On this very earth, we are never alone. There is the wide range of diversity all across our borders and throughout us. There is variety in what we do; there is variety in what we wear; there is variety in what we think; or the way in which we spend our lives in this planet. Now, you see the man-made law is falling apart. This has to change.
Even if the teenager were responsible to scuffle with this neighborhood watchdog man, he has no authority to take someone's life. Who gave him such authority? This neighborhood watchdog overestimated and thought that, "This teenager looked suspicious." What for? Looking suspicious is the sign of judging (without an authority and killing contemporary human being is brutal crime).
Stop killing and start loving each other. Stop judging and start appreciating. Stop giving personal judgments over a human death and start reflecting on human soul. Stop being a victim of power control and "military-industrial complex."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Facebook addiction

Like it or not, this is going to be terrible
few lines that you are going to read
Not because I don’t know how to write
But, because you don’t feel like it, do you? (I don’t think so)

Like a sleepy young man typing in front of his computer
In late Easter spring morning
Like a lonely wife awaiting for his man to arrive
And is begging that he should someday
develop hate-hate relationship
With [this] tiny screwy machine of some sort

But, you know this is not going to happen, right?
Yes, you know this is not happening
since this young man is 
Suffering, maybe each one of us are also 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Secret

I saw an empty box, inside another box
Ten thousand miles, scribbled on its top;
And to my amaze ’twas greenly washed out
As I started to touch it
’Twas sighing away from me
Like a mystery showering machine of some sort
Revealing herself

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Robert Pirosh wrote on wanting to become a Hollywood screenwriter

A letter that copywriter Robert Pirosh wrote on wanting to become a Hollywood screenwriter.

Dear Sir:

I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave "V" words,such as Svengali,svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land's-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.

I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went toEurope for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around.

I have just returned and I still like words.

May I have a few with you?

Source: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/ggu6u6 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Phobia of a sort

Each morning, when I wake up, there is a passionate desire and energy in my veins to improve the world and enjoy zillion moments of so-called simple human life. But, it is extremely difficult to make successful plans on any given day and not everything is in our control.

It was bright, and sunny, clear blue sky above somewhere very high in the sky. Looking outside my glassy window, I was just thinking if I would ever make it to the earth and, whenever the whisper was “maybe”, I felt much more terrified. 

This morning was different as I woke up thousands of feet above the ground level hovering, within my airplane’s back seat. There was a flight entertainment system that displayed distance to destination and estimated arrival time, and I was simply looking at it. As a Nepali engineer, the problems that I am trying to solve might not create ‘ripple effect’ in the entire universe, nor will it be covered by major media outlets, and who cares if I am simply terrified 5,000 feet above the ground level. 

I know nobody cares, but I do care about my fear. While flying, I cannot simply hover around and look at the scenic beauty of clouds, but I always find myself mixed between these non-linking thoughts. There is a sense of anxiety while flying, which I was trying to smoothen with my life’s uselessness. Not only am I filled with ‘what if’ questions but also with the sense of tremendous fear and lonesomeness. Some alarming questions that pop-up in my mind: what happens if I die flying; what if I will never land on the ground; what happens to my life’s earnings; what happens to my poor family; who will take care of my beloved wife and what not.

No way, it was not my first flying experience. Many people suffer from the fear of flying. People say that they are fearful when they are inexperienced and when they travel more, it just transforms into a habit, and then they feel less anxious. However, my journey into the air has always just been the opposite. Unlike those who never fear flying, I have been most fearful while flying. There are unnecessary thoughts and feelings that are extremely difficult to eradicate. No one is left alone, either in the sky or on land. Everybody is part of this big Mother Nature, and we have to adjust our feelings based on the changing circumstances and requirements. Some consolation comes from reading recent flight traffic data: more than 30 million people fly every day. Indeed, I am not alone. 

Roosevelt once pointed out that the “only thing we have to fear is the fear itself.” But every time I think of flying modern commercial airlines, I feel humankind has transformed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Life’s like that

JAN 03 -
When I was a child, they told me that Nepal had big potential in hydropower. Now when I am adult, I realise that what they teach in theory and what is realised in practice are quite contrary. In a country where there the sun smiles all around the year, power cuts and load-shedding have aroused only problems for all. I am frustrated with power cuts. My resolutions are like dark empty muddy vessels. They contain neither water nor air; they are filled with subjective experiences of humankind such as dreams, hopes and aspirations.

Some of my friends have said that they may give up smoking or alcohol, which seems to be rather good news. They also wish to visit luxurious holiday spots like Pokhara or Chitwan. As far as I am concerned, I do not necessarily have any plans. What would I do with my personal plans when problems associated with me and my country are increasing every day? Many can use power backup systems such as inverters, batteries and generators to solve the energy crisis. But for those who cannot afford them, they just have to wait patiently and pray for a miracle.

If you go over religious books, darkness in every scripture is regarded as evil. Darkness is not only mere absence of light, it is presence of light unseen by our eyes. Moreover, what our eyes do not see is always hard to believe. How am I supposed to believe that someday my motherland will have no crisis? Many scholars, scientists and researchers have taught us to live on a moment and enjoy life. The Buddha taught that suffering is inevitable; no one escapes from the burden of suffering. Einstein said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

I think I should go rather easy on whatever comes along in my life. In my opinion, problems and people associated with one’s country are the same. It is important to note that we are not only facing electricity problems but also many social, economic and technological problems. We cannot avoid the problems of our country or our individual problems. I hope that during the year that has just started, we can see some light in the darkness.

A friend asked, “What do I wish for the new year?” And I said, “I wish to learn effectively that life is short so that I will love unconditionally, smile regularly, regret nothing, listen carefully, laugh aloud, live strongly, burn candles, share happiness and waste no time. Most importantly, I also wish the same for everybody and their motherland.”

Posted on: 2012-01-04 09:59