Monday, 19 December 2016

How contributing to another comes around unexpectedly

Dear Reader,

A workshop participant shared this story of how contribution to someone else unexpectedly comes around:

In Crown Heights, there was a Jewish man named Yankel, who owned a bakery. He survived the concentration camps, and always said, "You know why it is that I’m alive today?"

"I was a kid, just a teenager at the time. We were on the train being taken to Auschwitz. Night came and it was deathly cold in that boxcar. The Germans would leave the cars on the side of the tracks overnight, sometimes for days on end without any food, and no blankets to keep us warm," he said.

"Sitting next to me was this beloved elderly Jewish man from my hometown. He was shivering from head to toe, and looked terrible. So I wrapped my arms around him to warm him up. I rubbed his arms, his legs, his face, his neck. I begged him to hang on. All night long, I kept the man warm this way.

I was tired, and freezing cold myself. My fingers were numb, but I didn’t stop rubbing heat into that old man’s body. Hours and hours went by until finally, morning came and the sun began to shine. When there was some light in the boxcar, I looked around to see the other people.

To my horror, all I could see were frozen bodies. All I could hear was deathly silence. "Nobody else in that cabin made it through the night. They died from the cold.

Only two people survived: the old man and me. The old man survived because somebody kept him warm...and I survived because I was warming someone else.”

When you warm other people’s hearts, you remain warm yourself. When you seek to support, encourage and inspire others, then you discover support, encouragement and inspiration in your own life as well.

May this story inspire you to experience the magic of priceless contribution to others.

Warm regards,

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Time to take that leap of faith - my personal experience

Dear Reader,

One of my all-time favourite quotes is:

Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation there is one elementary truth; the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans.

The moment one definitely commits oneself - providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can - begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
W.H. Murry The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, 1951

The last 18 months have been a live demonstration of this quote in our lives. Here is the experience:

In July 2012, my father, who lives in Jaipur, had a paralytic stroke. It left his right side and his speech impaired. My father is a heavy man, at 95 kg. He needed 2-3 people to move him in an ambulance. His illness sent my mother into depression. Life, as my parents knew it, came to a standstill.

My wife Ruchi, and I, stay in Mumbai. The news of my father’s stroke hit us hard. Both of us knew we had to reach out and act fast, but it was quite a dilemma. In our workshops, we recommend that people come to a closure on the issues they have with their parents, as those are the source of their present-day issues. And here I was, completely stuck. I work in Mumbai and have a life here. I couldn’t possibly relocate to Jaipur. Ruchi and I had no experience of taking care of a person confined to his bed and just couldn’t think of shifting my parents to Mumbai. But, that did not stop me from worrying about them.

Every time I visited them, I would either come up with some advice or start cleaning up things. Soon, everything returned to its former state. I felt both helpless and exasperated, and started avoiding the situation. I reduced my visits too. When I did, I counted the days left for my return to Mumbai. Once, I altogether skipped meeting my parents, while I was in Jaipur for a lecture. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do. Guilt cropped up. This was no way to handle the situation. I had to take a caring, positive step. I sent out my intention to do my best by my parents, to the Universe.  

Creation works in magical ways. In February 2015, I mentioned to Isha, a physiotherapist friend that this was one area in my life that I feel incomplete about. She asked me, “Why don’t you bring your father to Mumbai? I know a physiotherapist who specialises in neurological cases.”

I replied, “Are you out of your mind, Isha? With our busy careers, how will we handle it? We have no idea of what will it take. It will disrupt our lives forever!”

But, the seed was sown. The thought kept rolling in my mind. I had to make this decision jointly, with Ruchi. “Maybe we can bring them here for six months,” I suggested. “This can’t be a short-term step. Think of it as a forever step,” she replied.

To be honest, we were both quite scared. We wrote out all that could go wrong if we brought my parents to Mumbai. It was a long list, full of uncertainty and ambiguity and worst case scenarios. Doubts and uncertainty assailed us. Yet, an inner voice reassured me. “Do it. It will be okay!” it said. As it goes, I chanced upon the above-mentioned quote and we took the plunge. No big plans, no calculations. We asked for help from friends and relatives. It poured in from all quarters:
  • A college senior connected us to Jet airways to operationalise an in-flight stretcher, in March 2015.
  • Dad’s ward boy and physiotherapist agreed to accompany him to Mumbai.
  • In Mumbai, reference to hospitals, specialists came up promptly.
  • We found a ward boy who was an expert in handling overweight patients, by himself. He found a way to shift father to a car instead of depending on an ambulance. Dad sat in a car after three years of traveling in ambulances.

By May 2015, life was a lot easier than it had appeared two months earlier. But, the best was yet to come. In June 2015, another friend, Anand, referred us to The Health Awareness Centre (THAC), in Worli. THAC helped me recover from Urtcaria (a skin allergy), naturally, in five days flat (I’ve written a blog post on it). For father, THAC suggested some key changes in our diet, environment and sleep patterns. After incorporating those changes, in July 2015, under their guidance, we stopped all medications for both mom and dad.

It is November 2016 now, 16 months since my parents arrived to Mumbai. Our home has been medicine-free since then. There have been no ‘medical incidents’ either.
  • Mom is out of depression. Incredibly, at 70, she is growing new black hair. Her skin tone is three shades brighter.
  • Dad’s health has improved considerably. He has started playing and winning card games with one hand.
  • Our fear of death by illness has disappeared.
  • We are all positively glowing.

The quote has come alive for us. Most of our support stemmed out of our decision. It has been one of the most worthwhile decisions I have ever taken. Many unforeseen, delightful surprises have come our way.

Providence moved and how!

May this quote and our experience inspire you. May you take a relook at the most difficult challenges and pending decisions of your life. May you take that leap of faith. It will all work out beautifully. Trust me. Trust the Universe. It delivers!

Warm regards,

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

How my boss nurtured me despite a big mistake - a blog story

Dear Reader,

I came across this interesting blog story by Brian Gilham. You may want to read his other short articles as well.

Be Kind

One Friday afternoon, early in my career, I was wrapping up some new features for the back-end of a client’s Rails app. Simple stuff. Confident in my work, I deployed the changes, closed my laptop, and drove out of town for a weekend of camping with friends. I had just arrived when my phone rang. It was my project lead, Kevin.

   “The client’s site is down. What happened?”

Oh shit. F**k. I had no idea. I was three hours away with no laptop.

   “Don’t worry about it,” he said. “I’ll take care of it. Have a good weekend.”

Like that was going to happen. I’d let the team down. I’d ruined someone else’s weekend. I beat myself up for days. Come Monday; I walked into the office certain I was about to be fired. The project lead walked over.

    “Hey, Brian. How was your trip?”

He was smiling. There wasn’t even a hint of frustration or annoyance. “It was okay,” I said, waiting for the bad news. “Sorry about Friday. I completely blew it.”

“It’s okay,” he replied. “We’ve all done it.” He paused for a moment. “But what did you learn?”

I talked about the need for proper QA. About thoroughly testing my changes. About taking the time to make sure the job gets done right. After a few minutes, he held up his hand.

    “Great. It sounds like you get it. I know that you can do better.”

And that was the end of it. Kevin never brought it up again.

Kevin gave me the space to screw up, as long as I learned from it. He jumped in, with his years of experience, and helped me out when I needed it most. And still believed I was a competent developer, despite my mistake. He saw my potential.

Now that I’m the one leading projects and mentoring junior developers, I often think back to that day. And I remind myself to be kind and see the potential in people. Give them a break.

Just like Kevin did for me.

May this story inspire you to see and nurture potential in your people.

Warm regards,

Monday, 19 September 2016

3 simple ways to enhance our internal immunity to safeguard from illnesses

Dear reader,

Last few weeks, I heard from many friends about incidences of them or their family members having fever like viral, dengue or chikungunya. I was told that in Delhi, there was a waiting list for getting admitted in many hospitals.

Ever wondered why some people catch fever and others in the same household or locality do not? Can we say that those mosquitoes or viruses selectively chose these people? Is it linked to internal immunity? How do I improve my immunity instead being in fear or suspense of when my turn may come?

THAC – The Health Awareness Centre in Worli, Mumbai gave me an answer from basic principles.

If a seed is thrown on a tiled floor, will it grow into a plant? No. Why? Because it needs an environment that supports its growth. Similarly, dengue or viruses need an acidic environment to grow.

Our body is alkaline by design. If we maintain the alkaline environment in our body, even if any of these viruses enter our system, they don’t find supportive environment and body defence system eliminates them with ease.

If we have acidic environment in the body, it is ready recipe to allow these viruses to grow.

What increases acid levels?

1.     Food leaving acidic residue on digestion: Food items including processed foods, animal products, milk & sugar leave acidic residue on digestion.

2.     Lack of sound sleep: Body needs 8 hours sleep in darkness in line with the Circadian cycle. Body does its repair and regeneration work while we sleep. This work is at its peak in the duration between 8 pm to 4 am. Liver cleanses kms of blood capillaries neutralising toxins and acids. It works to its best when brain is inactive.

3.     Excessive stress, buzz, thrill: In all of these situations our body generates adrenaline, cortisol, other hormones which leave behind an acidic residue. The feel good of constant adrenalin rush can have consequences for the body.

We can strengthen our immunity levels by consciously balancing the acid causing activities in our life-styles.

1.     Adding foods that leave alkaline residue: Fresh fruits, vegetables, dry fruits, nuts & sprouts.

2.     Ensuring 8 hours of sleep in darkness, regularly. The sun sets slowly & our body follows a similar rhythm. Exposure to screens (phone, TV, Kindle, Computers etc.) hinders the sleep hormone melatonin from being generated.

3.     Balancing excessive buzz with spending quiet time, soft music, having aroma around you, dimming lights after sunset etc.

Some more understanding on fever, why it happens and how to assist the body to heal itself is given here on THAC FB Post on fever.

Wishing you wellness and strong immunity ahead.

warm regards,