Month: July 2007

Birthday Pledge

Birthday Pledge

On my 25th birthday,
I solemnly pledge that I shall

  1. resist judging
  2. sleep enough
  3. meditate
  4. write more
  5. cultivate empathy
  6. accumulate friends
  7. eat right
  8. keep fit
  9. act spontaneously
  10. spread joy
  11. defy guilt
  12. continue dreaming
  13. appreciate nature
  14. smile often
  15. be childlike
  16. maintain faith
  17. elude hatred
  18. stand firm
  19. trust intuition
  20. promote peace
  21. see faraway
  22. remain authentic
  23. stay on path
  24. love unconditionally
  25. serve others
Infinite soul

Infinite soul

My lifespan is not eighty or ninety
…but eternity
‘Cos I am an aspect of God’s beauty
…and infinity

The Earth is simply a playground
…it’s unsound
My purpose here is not time-bound
…but profound

As I live here with a body and a mind
…not inclined
My soul knows the task it’s assigned
…all defined

~© Manoj Khatri~

25 till I choose

25 till I choose

My lifespan is not eighty or ninety
…but eternity
‘Cos I am an aspect of God’s beauty
…and infinity

Today is my birthday and I turn 25 yet again. When I tell people that I stopped growing at 25, they think I am either joking or have lost my marbles. Neither is true. The truth is I choose to be 25 and I know I can.

The great advantage of such a choice is because our bodies are subservient to our minds, when I choose to be 25 in my mind, my body looks and behaves like 25. Isn’t that great? Also, someday I may decide to start growing. But right now I am happy being 25 and will continue to be so for a few more years.

On a more serious note, chronological age doesn’t apply to me anymore, because time is no more a recognisable factor in my life. While in everyday affairs, time has its significance, and it will continue to do so till I live and interact with others, the idea of life being time-bound does not appeal to me. I can’t get myself to do everything according to a designated time-table. I am an eternal soul disguised as a human being. My lifespan is eternity… Because, my life is not enclosed in birth and death—they just happen to be two milestones in my eternal life.

Petty Politics

Petty Politics

So finally we have the first woman president of India.

Shiv Sena declared that it supports the candidature of Ms Pratibha Patil because she is a Marathi woman. So now we choose presidents based on their mother tongue. And I thought India was a secular country, where things like caste, creed and religion didn’t matter.

The UPA chose Ms Patil as their presidential candidate because she would be the first woman president of India. So now we also choose presidents because of their gender.

And NDA did not support Ms Patil because it simply did what every opposition party always does—it opposed the candidate of the ruling alliance!

What about merit? Does that feature anywhere in the decision-making process?

If a meritorious candidate who is elected as President happens to be a woman from a specific region/religion, it is a matter of pride for the country—that we do not let gender/caste/language come in the way of merit. Unfortunately, the other way around seems to be happening. We’re letting issues like gender and caste overshadow merit. Will our politicians ever rise above petty politics?

In search of myself

In search of myself

One day I went missing
As I began searching
I kept reminiscing
Where was I last seen perching?

I knew I needed help
So my friends I sought out
But no one heard my yelp
Could no one hear me shout?

I looked everywhere I could
All corners I explored
But my efforts were no good
How could I be so ignored?

I turned to the last resort
And started praying to God
Maybe He’ll be my escort
Did He and I make a good squad?

When we finally traced me
I was sitting in HER heart
Cosy, smiling and free
Can’t I live here and never depart?

Can’t I remain lost?

~© Manoj Khatri~

Humility versus modesty

Humility versus modesty

Oliver Herford said: “Modesty is the gentle art of enhancing your charm by pretending not to be aware of it.” I have always believed that modesty is pretentious. Acting modest is like pretending to be less than what you really are. However, I do believe in humility, which should not be confused with modesty. Modesty consists of belittling one’s own talents and accomplishments for the sake of receiving praise or adulation from others.

Modesty often poses as humility. But such humility is false as it is usually social in context and hence external. True humility, on the other hand, is an acknowledgement to the self of our limitations and hence it is an internal concept.

I am aware of my gifts, talents, abilities and I see no reason why I shouldn’t declare them as such. At the same time, I am also aware of my weaknesses and do not mind acknowledging it to self and others. Being humble is being authentic to self. Being modest is being inauthentic to others. C.S Lewis once said, “Perfect humility dispenses with modesty.” So aim for perfect humility.

Decisions in business

Decisions in business

As an entrepreneur, a key lesson I have learned is about the importance of making decisions. It is not bad decisions that are the bane of business but indecisiveness. We are faced with so many different dilemmas almost everyday of conducting business, and each of them requires us to make decisions. Being unsure, we avoid making decisions and in the process end up losing time, money and opportunities.

Fear of wrong or bad decisions can keep us needlessly immobilised — because when we make decisions, we can never be certain of the outcome. We can, at most, make a calculated guess because there are a multitude of factors influencing the outcome of any business decision, and most of them are beyond our control.

Risk is inherent in any business. Even random probability tells us that 50% of all our decisions will be wrong. But the remaining 50% would be right. And that’s good news, right? By making no decision, we effectively forfeit this 50% chance of success.

Another advantage of making prompt decisions is that if it turns out to be unfavourable, you can salvage the situation faster. The biggest and most successful businessmen attribute their success to prompt decisions – not right decisions.

Another thing about decision-making is that you get better with practice. The more decisions you make, the sharper your business acumen becomes. Warren Buffet says, “In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” Or as someone once said, “Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.”

Writer’s block

Writer’s block

Words are absent
Doubts are present

Ideas disappear
Thoughts interfere

Pages remain blank
Feelings play a prank

Mind is confused
Actions are refused

Soul’s lost its voice
Left with no choice

Life seems locked
I’m positively blocked!

~© Manoj Khatri~

A letter to Ms Sanghamitra Chakraborty

A letter to Ms Sanghamitra Chakraborty

Sanghamitra Chakraborty
Editor
Prevention (India Edition)

Dear Editor:

I was taken aback on reading your note in the latest (July 2007) issue of Prevention magazine (India Edition).

Here’s an extract of the note that I found particularly startling:

“I know of a man who had devised a simple way to sort his laundry. He would fling them on the wall in front of him. If they stuck, thanks to the grime, they were ready for a wash. If they didn’t, he would use them until they did.”

From this you conclude that “men are wired differently” and that “men don’t waste their time fussing about cleanliness”.

You also go on to call the July issue of Prevention a “user’s guide to men”. You seem to have decoded men in entirety.

I am sorry to say but this is the worst kind of gender-based over-generalisation I have read in my life.

First, you have simply declared that “men” care little about cleanliness.

Ms. Chakraborty, just because you happen to know an unkempt, scruffy man who doesn’t wash his clothes till they become “sticky” doesn’t mean that all men do the same. Far from it…in fact there are as many men out there who fuss about cleanliness as there are women.

Then, you mention men not being interested in “cooking elaborate meals”. I would like to draw your attention to an interesting statistic: 79 percent of all lead kitchen positions including chefs are men; and these guys cook nothing if not elaborate meals. Not that it makes any difference. Chefs or not, if you ask me, cooking elaborate meals is a matter of personal interest and has nothing to do with gender.

If I sound like I am writing in defence of men, then I am not. I am only writing against gender-based over-generalisation.

To prove my point, let me give you an example of another common and absurd over-generalisation – this one stacked against women:

“Men are better and safer drivers than women”.

You’d be pleasantly surprised to know that in 1998, American women caused only 27 percent of fatal crashes while American men caused the rest. (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, USA)

Moving on, the article you refer to in your editor’s note (Steal His Routine, Prevention, July 2007) is equally absurd. It says:

“Guys go from fast asleep to ready for work in 20 minutes flat.”

Are you kidding? It takes me at least, and I mean at the very least, an hour to get ready for work from the time I wake up! I prefer two though. I know many of my male friends who need similar timelines to get ready in the mornings. On the other hand, some of my female friends are quicker to get ready.

Any kind of over-generalisation only reflects prejudice. Physiological differences are all right. But behavioural differences between men and women are not rules. I think it is unbecoming of a magazine like Prevention to take such a biased view of half of the world’s population. I hope you prevent such a prejudiced view of the world in your future editions.

Unbiased,
Manoj Khatri

When I first saw you

When I first saw you

When I first saw you,
My soul ran to hug yours
Though I kept staring,
Worried about social uproars

When I first saw you,
My heart skipped a beat or two,
While I looked poised,
I kept thinking what to do?

When I first saw you,
My mind rejected my heart’s plea
But my soul knew
I was born to love you amply

When I first saw you,
I knew it wasn’t the first time
As my soul remembered
memories from another lifetime

~© Manoj Khatri~