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Turn a New Leaf

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Two friends, Sudhir and Rajiv, meeting after a while, chatted through their journey.

On reaching the destination, Rajiv remarked, “Oh, I didn’t realise how fast the time passed.”

Sudhir was surprised, “Time would have passed anyway.”

Rajiv smiled, “But not so quickly.”

So, the year is coming to an end. To some, it has been a long drawn year. They have been counting the days, and it has ended, finally! To some, it’s a surprise. It seems as if the New Year had only just started, and it has ended, already!

Well it all depends on how you are using time. If you are using it well, it flies past. If not, then it appears to drag.

Time and you are the banks of the river life. Both are inseparable.

But isn’t that true for everyone? Then why is it that some manage to achieve much more even though they live almost to the same age. Why do some achieve more in a decade than others, or a year, or a month or a day even though each of us have the same three sixty five days in a year, the same twenty-four hours in a day.

Contrary to belief, time can neither be used nor be wasted. It runs its mechanical course. The variable is you. How much you put in, how much you give yourself makes the difference in how much you achieve in the same time period. And there lies the difference.

We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves. – George M Adams

The efficient and those hungry to achieve, see time as a stopwatch ticking away. They understand that time moves at the same pace for everyone. Knowing perfectly well that time is the one thing that cannot be redeemed, they give it their best. This approach makes them respect time, be frugal on its wastage; and end up being precise, purposeful, and productive.

Conversely those who are casual, callous, and complacent seem to be wondering what the fuss about time is. With a limited agenda, and an attitude to match, they presume others too have time in abundance. Their approach to time mirrors their approach to life: casual.

So we have two types of people: One who feel every opportunity should be utilized to do more, and the other who wonder how people could be enslaved to time. There are no prizes for guessing to which section the achievers belong. They have discovered this flair for time that makes them achieve more than their less successful counterparts.

What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year. – Vern McLellan

The time has come to replace the calendars. The year will once again be reset to zero. It is time to make a fresh start. No past regrets, no excess baggage of guilt. No bonuses of past glories, or the highs of the achievements of the year gone by.

It’s a brand new year. It will once again run its course. It will tick away the seconds, the minutes, the hours, the days, the months and it will complete its orbit around the sun.

But the variable is you. How much will you put in? How good will you make this year? The year has expectations from you.

Turn a new leaf before this one leaves.

Posted in: Celebrations, India, Motivational, Personal Development, Work Culture

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Olympic Dreams

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Many events occur in our lives. Some come and pass by innocuously, some make their presence felt while they are around, and some leave an indelible imprint on our lives.

Once every four years comes an event which touches in many ways. It is not a symbol of competition, achievement, or even excellence. It embodies the spirit of human existence.

Yes, it’s Olympics time.

I must confess that in moments of introspection, I do sometimes think about the never-ending flurry of activity in the world, the madness so to say, of people seeking to achieve more, and wonder whether there’s any need for it.

Nature has devised a wonderful process of self-sufficiency. There’s enough for everybody. The flora and fauna has an unrushed pattern of growth. Birds live a contented life and sing happily. The animals have a cyclical journey and seem to enjoy their existence.

Then why do humans, who have an option to peacefully live their lives, choose to push themselves higher: towards bigger goals, towards greater heights and aspire better benchmarks.

Let’s face it: What material benefit will the world derive if someone betters the mark by a fraction of a second?; how will it affect the world if someone swims the laps a little faster than the others; how would the weightlifter add some weight to the purpose of the world?; how will a team’s win add to the victory cup of the world?

Events such as Olympics provide the answers.

Humans differ from other living organisms essentially in one area – the spirit of achievement.

Humans alone possess the indomitable spirit to challenge themselves to bigger goals. They have dreams and desires and can dedicate their lives towards this purpose.

In pursuit of their dreams and desires, these achievers experience a sense of fulfilment, and it is this contagious spirit that forms the edifice of human existence.

They manifest that human life is not about survival but conquering new heights.

Though events such as these come after long intervals, they serve only as a reminder to all of us to reach inside us.

Reach inside and dig into that spirit that will set our sights on higher goals and in turn inspire others to pursue their dreams.

Posted in: Celebrations, India, Uncategorized

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Hues of Holi

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India’s cultural diversity punctuates the calendar with a variety of festivals. Some of them are celebrated for the welcome break they provide without realizing its significance, and some celebrated with zest and vigour.

Come March, and the colours on the faces will reappear as they welcome the festival of colours: Holi.

This free-for-all carnival of colours has mixed reactions, as this festival provides a license for a little indulgence that may make some uncomfortable.

Like most festivals Holi too has some legends that lend colour to it.

There is a symbolic myth behind Holi and it is celebrated as a festival of love. The Hindu deity Krishna, as a baby, developed his characteristic dark blue hue because the she-demon Putana poisoned him with her breast milk. In his youth, the blue hued Krishna despaired whether the fair-skinned Radha and other girls would like him. Tired of his repeated questions, his mother asks him to approach Radha and colour her face in any colour he wanted. This he does, and Radha and Krishna became a couple. Ever since, the playful colouring of Radha’s face has been commemorated as Holi.

According to another legend, King Hiranyakashipu, the King of Multan had earned a boon that made him virtually indestructible. He grew arrogant, thought he was God, and demanded that everyone worship only him. Hiranyakashipu’s own son, Prahlada, however, disagreed and remained devoted to Lord Vishnu. The infuriated Hiranyakashipu thus subjected Prahlada to cruel punishments, none of which affected the boy or his resolve. Finally, Holika, Prahlada’s evil aunt, wearing a cloak that made her immune to injury from fire, tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her. As the tongues of fire soared upwards, the cloak flew from Holika and encased Prahlada. Holika burned, and Prahlada survived. Hiranyakashipu was furious.  Unable to control his anger, he swung his mace which smashed a pillar. There was a tumultuous sound, and Lord Vishnu appeared as Lord Narasimha and killed Hiranyakashipu. The bonfire is a reminder of the symbolic victory of good over evil, of Prahlada over Hiranyakashipu, and of the fire that burned Holika.

The Holi festival, Phalgun, has further cultural significance, most prominently, it celebrates the beginning of spring. In 17th century literature it was identified as a festival that celebrated agriculture, commemorated good spring harvests, and the fertile land. People believed it was a time to enjoy spring’s abundant colours as they bid farewell to winter.

It is also a festive day to cleanse oneself: to end and rid oneself of past errors, to end conflicts by meeting others, a day to forget and forgive. People reset and renew ruptured relationships, end conflicts and rid themselves of the accumulated emotional impurities from the past.

Holi also marks the start of spring, and for many the start of the New Year.

Posted in: Brand News, Branding, Celebrations, Festival, Festivals, India

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Is love visible?

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It takes two flints to make a fire. – Louisa May Alcott

Love is in the air, but is it love visible?

Some wear their heart on their sleeve, and for some love lurks in the deepest crevices of their heart.

Brands are a composition of complex elements. Some visible, some invisible.

Brands toil to win customers, some effort is seen, some not.

Customers too are enamoured by the brands they love. Some express it, some hide it.

But you can be sure about one thing. You can’t start a fire without a spark.

Ignite relationships! Like diamonds, they are forever.

www.parichay-india.in

Posted in: Branding, Celebrations, India, Visible and Invisible Branding

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Kindle the Spark within

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Most Indian festivals are a spectacle of lights. They exhibit brightness, vigour and celebration.

For ages the lighting of a lamp has been a sacred symbol. A symbol to connect with the light within. The spark that keeps us lively, bright and healthy.

Darkness, on the other hand symbolizes depression, dullness, and decay.

So is life about stark light and dark, or the shades in-between?

Does light switch off one day to bring complete darkness and switch on another day to bring total brightness suddenly?

The distance between one end of brightness and darkness can be a lifetime, or a fraction of a second.

You may gradually achieve what you set out for and feel accomplished only towards your advanced years of life, or you could see your entire world crash to pieces in a matter of seconds.

So, what purpose do these festivals serve in our lives?

While it’s true, that each of us can find our happiness or sadness within, these festivals do create opportunities.

They provide an occasion to recharge, restart, or reboot.

While the external light provides the ray of hope, it doesn’t have the firepower to keep it burning till its next arrival.

The fire has to be kindled from the spark within.

Happy Diwali!

Posted in: Celebrations, Diwali, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Personal Development

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Tots, Teens, and Tycoons

Remember your childhood?

Pure, Innocent, and Energetic.

Full of beans, excited about life, waiting to conquer the world.

And then. You grew up.

What happened?

We begin life with a can of pure white paint. No opinions. No prejudices. No pre-conceived notions.

And then as we move along, we start tinting the pure positive white mind with the negativity that we gather from our experiences.

From hues, it takes on the shades of perceptions and prejudices. So much so that we are unable to recollect the colour we began with.

On this special day, rewind, recount, and revisit the glory of your childhood. The simplicity of life, the enthusiasm of making things happen, and the confidence of becoming what you had dreamt to be.

Don’t go through life. Grow through life.

Posted in: Celebrations, Children's Day, Festivals, India

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Tale Ten – Takeaway

The Navratri festival is probably the most vibrant festival of India. Spreading across the expanse of India it is celebrated in different hues in different parts of the country each imparting its own flavour.

This is the only festival that lasts nine days and culminates with Dushera. A celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

There are enough tales, plots and sub plots to keep an inquisitive reader engaged for months. Here is a selection of short stories. One story for each of these ten days, to learn more about what made this such an absorbing contest.

Tales of one who had ten heads, yet not a sound mind.

Tale One – Inspiration

Tale Two – Sita

Tale Three – Curse

Tale Four – Flamboyance

Tale Five – Lust

Tale Six – Antithesis

Tale Seven – Nostril

Tale Eight – Karma

Tale Nine – Guru

Tale Ten – Takeaway

Ravan was at the last stage of his life. Sri Rama asked King Ravan, “O Great King, you have been ruling all the three worlds with full powers. Tell me; what is the art and craft of efficient and effective state administration? I am a prince inexperienced. I am eager to learn from you.” King Ravan was gasping for breath – he was dying.

He explained: “O Sri Rama, you know everything about everything. Yet you ask me with humility, as a person who does not know! I had all the powers and wealth and also the blessings of Lord but still; I did not try to transcend my ego (ahamkara). On the other hand, I did everything that boosted my ego”.

“I had many plans to develop myself, and also my people to attain liberation (moksha), but I postponed those excellent plans and desired to have your wife, what a wretched thought it was. I made it my first priority and acted on it with full speed. O Sri Rama, you know what sufferings I went through and I am now paying for my mistake with everything I have, including my life.” “I learnt the lessons from you; it was too late though, I would answer your question about efficient and effective state administration”.

“Act today on your good thoughts, plans and projects. Do not delay for a moment. Postpone your evil thoughts for tomorrow. Both good and evil thoughts come everyday – such is the mind.”

This is why the leadership and management of mind is essential.

It is not the number of heads but the appropriate use of one that makes or breaks a person.

Posted in: Celebrations, Dussehra, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Navratri

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Tale Nine – Guru

The Navratri festival is probably the most vibrant festival of India. Spreading across the expanse of India it is celebrated in different hues in different parts of the country each imparting its own flavour.

This is the only festival that lasts nine days and culminates with Dushera. A celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

There are enough tales, plots and sub plots to keep an inquisitive reader engaged for months. Here is a selection of short stories. One story for each of these ten days, to learn more about what made this such an absorbing contest.

Tales of one who had ten heads, yet not a sound mind.

Tale One – Inspiration

Tale Two – Sita

Tale Three – Curse

Tale Four – Flamboyance

Tale Five – Lust

Tale Six – Antithesis

Tale Seven – Nostril

Tale Eight – Karma

Tale Nine – Guru

The story goes that after firing the fatal arrow on the battlefield of Lanka, Ram told his brother, Lakshman, “Go to Ravan quickly before he dies and request him to share whatever knowledge he can. A brute he may be, but he is also a great scholar.”  The obedient Lakshman rushed across the battlefield to Ravan’s side and whispered in his ears, “Demon-king, do not let your knowledge die with you. Share it with us and wash away your sins.”  Ravan responded by simply turning away.

An angry Lakshman went back to Ram, “He is as arrogant as he always was, too proud to share anything.” Ram comforted his brother and asked him softly, “Where did you stand while asking Ravan for knowledge?” “Next to his head so that I hear what he had to say clearly.” Ram smiled, placed his bow on the ground and walked to where Ravan lay. Lakshman watched in astonishment as his divine brother knelt at Ravan’s feet. With palms joined, with extreme humility, Ram said, “Lord of Lanka, you abducted my wife, a terrible crime for which I have been forced to punish you. Now, you are no more my enemy. I bow to you and request you to share your wisdom with me. Please do that for if you die without doing so, all your wisdom will be lost forever to the world.”

To Lakshman’s surprise, Ravan opened his eyes and raised his arms to salute Ram, “If only I had more time as your teacher than as your enemy. Standing at my feet as a student should, unlike your rude younger brother, you are a worthy recipient of my knowledge. I have very little time so I cannot share much but let me tell you one important lesson I have learnt in my life. Things that are bad for you seduce you easily; you run towards them impatiently. But things that are actually good for you fail to attract you; you shun them creatively, finding powerful excuses to justify your procrastination. That is why I was impatient to abduct Sita but avoided meeting you. This is the wisdom of my life, Ram. My last words. I give it to you.”

With these words, Ravan died.

Read Takeaway shortly

Posted in: Celebrations, Dussehra, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Navratri

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Tale Eight – Karma

The Navratri festival is probably the most vibrant festival of India. Spreading across the expanse of India it is celebrated in different hues in different parts of the country each imparting its own flavour.

This is the only festival that lasts nine days and culminates with Dushera. A celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

There are enough tales, plots and sub plots to keep an inquisitive reader engaged for months. Here is a selection of short stories. One story for each of these ten days, to learn more about what made this such an absorbing contest.

Tales of one who had ten heads, yet not a sound mind.

Tale One – Inspiration

Tale Two – Sita

Tale Three – Curse

Tale Four – Flamboyance

Tale Five – Lust

Tale Six – Antithesis

Tale Seven – Nostril

Tale Eight – Karma

Ravan abducted Ram’s wife, a crime for which he was killed by Ram himself. So says the Ramayan. The epic makes Ravan the archetypical villain. And since Ram is God for most Hindus, Ravan’s actions make him the Devil incarnate. This justifies the annual burning of his effigy on the Gangetic plains during the festival of Dushera.

But on the hills of Rishikesh or in the temple of Rameshwaram, one hears the tale of how Ram atoned for the sin of killing Ravan. Why should God atone for killing a villain? One realizes that, like most things Hindu, the Ramayan is not as simplistic and pedestrian an epic as some are eager to believe.

After slaying Ravan, Ram was informed by Rishi Agastya that Ravan was only half-demon: his father Vaishrava, was a Brahmin whose father was Pulatsya, one of the seven mind-born primal sons of Brahma himself. Ram, though God incarnate, was born in the family of Kshatriyas. In the caste hierarchy, Ram was of lower rank. As Brahmin, he was custodian of Brahma-gyan (the knowledge of God). Killing him meant Brahma-hatya-paap, the sin of Brahminicide.

So after killing Ravan, before returning to Ayodhya, Ram went to the Himalayas to perform penance and purify himself of the sin of Brahma-hatya or killing of a Brahmin.

Read Tale Nine tomorrow

Posted in: Celebrations, Dussehra, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Navratri

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Tale Seven – Nostril

The Navratri festival is probably the most vibrant festival of India. Spreading across the expanse of India it is celebrated in different hues in different parts of the country each imparting its own flavour.

This is the only festival that lasts nine days and culminates with Dushera. A celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

There are enough tales, plots and sub plots to keep an inquisitive reader engaged for months. Here is a selection of short stories. One story for each of these ten days, to learn more about what made this such an absorbing contest.

Tales of one who had ten heads, yet not a sound mind.

Tale One – Inspiration

Tale Two – Sita

Tale Three – Curse

Tale Four – Flamboyance

Tale Five – Lust

Tale Six – Antithesis

Tale Seven – Nostril

In the Rajasthani folk narratives of the Ramayana, we learn that in order to kill Ravan, Ram needed to liberate Ravan’s soul locked in the nostril of one of the horses that pulled the chariot of the sun-god. Only a celibate man could do this. Since Laxman was not married (the local version is ignorant of Laxman’s wife, Urmila, who he left behind when he followed Ram) he was able to shoot an arrow that struck the nostril of that horse which pulled the sun-god’s chariot. As a result, Ravan’s soul was no longer hidden and Ram was able to kill Ravan.

In some versions, it is Laxman, not Ram who kills Ravan showing the influence of Jains who believed Ram, being perfect, followed non-violence.

Read Tale Eight tomorrow

Posted in: Celebrations, Dussehra, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Navratri

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