Is there a Problem?

Most often we miss the problem while looking for a solution. Problem solving is the ability to identify and recognize the elements of disharmony at the initial stages. Most people tend to ignore the primitive signals.More importantly we fail to acknowledge the fact that we could have problems in our lives because we are either fearful or too obsessed with the lives of other people. I believe it is the fear of knowing the unknown that prevents us from encountering our fears.

How often do we confront our fears? How many of us willingly admit our limitations? Whoever takes pride in recalling one’s defeat or highlights a moment of weakness?

As a communication expert, I regularly meet people from various walks of life. Some of these are scholars, college professors, administrators, policy-makers, management professionals and housewives. More frequent interactions are with the students who generally become the victims  of my rehearsed lectures on communication skills and personality development.

What I observe in most of these delightful encounters is that we as humans are quick to notice the failures of our friends, neighbors and acquaintances and are more eager to offer ready – made solutions to them. When it comes to issues plaguing our personal lives we simply refuse to acknowledge them until the time  they ramify and start casting their ominous shadows on our brightly lit universe. Problem is a universal phenomenon. It occurs in multiple forms and numerous ways. There could be a health issue, a family conflict, a legal tussle, an identity crisis or a financial matter.  The issues could also be linked to attitudinal or behavioral problems. It is indeed very reassuring to believe that nothing can go wrong in my life. So sometimes when problems arrive we just shut our eyes and remain oblivious to the many vital signs that warn us of the forthcoming troubles. We seem to have easily caught up with the cliche ” Don’t worry , be happy”. Before you get me wrong , let me clarify that I am not contesting the goodness of the expression nor questioning its credibility. However, ignoring the primitive signs of breakdown or passing the blame on to others is just like blindfolding yourself to avoid seeing what you do not choose to see. Hiding or escaping is not a solution. Living under the illusion will not prevent the catastrophe. Procrastination only worsens it further.

Nobody likes a problem. Nobody does. Since our childhood we are instructed , ” Do not see the problem, find a solution” while some others advice, ” Problems do not last but tough people do.” With  due reverence for such unflinching optimism, the only point that needs to be addressed is how to make these people tough? How not to see the problem and still keep the optimism? Do we have a choice to avoid becoming victims to situations  and circumstances? No, but we do have a choice to deal with such situations. To solve a problem we need to first identify the problem. Identification should be followed by acceptance.  If an individual is born with disability, the disability is not a problem, it is the non-acceptance of it that is the real problem. There are debilitating diseases that need care and prevention. Social stigmas attached to several  medical,social  and religious issues hold back people from confronting them. It is the fear of  public ridicule, of losing honor, dignity, ego, friends or loved ones that makes us feeble.  It is the fear of criticism, the fear of desolation or even the fear of giving that blurs our vision. We are a race obsessed with the idea of success. We feel ashamed and let down if things are not as per our liking  or if we are not in  an advantageous position. So we create a myth of wellness, of perfection of flawless existence. Is it self-deception that magnifies the problem? Knowing ourselves is the key to knowing the unknown.

We cannot thrive on false hopes and unrealistic expectations. In the process of solving a problem we need to see a problem as it is without any coloring of the situation. It is time to confront the truth; truth that is guided by a clear stream of reason. The sooner we accept the better. Indifference causes potential harm. The quality to observe, recognize and understand  the gravity of a situation is what essentially draws the line between good or bad decisions. In other words the power of decision making is directly related to our ability to sense the world around us, to feel and visualize. There is no external inspiration or any prophetic vision, it is the response to our inner sensations that can lead us to find logical answers to our problems. It is not the impression of perfection that we give to others but the factual analysis of our situation that would assist us to arrive at right decisions. One who conquests ego and vanquishes fear is the man who wins.

Let courage be your guiding light and actions be your sheer delight!

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Who is dada?

Dada was just an year old when I was born. Once he started going to school , I too demanded a bag and a tiffin. I wanted to goto school because dada was going.  The beautiful frilled frocks and laced tops never fascinated me. I thought shorts and t-shirts were the most befitting attire for me just because they were worn by dada. I was even happy to wear the old ones that no more fitted him. Dada was a role model. Imitating him and his gestures came naturally to me without force or effort.

So while I copied most of his actions certainly we had our individual identities.  We were dissimilar in many ways. Dada was quiet, gentle, serene while I was loud, impulsive and playful. Being the younger sibling I enjoyed taking liberty.

By the time we reached primary school, Dada demonstrated great capability for sports. He was a bright student, brilliant who could easily grasp concepts of science and mathematics.  Never studious nor a book worm but one who was genuinely interested in understanding the principles of life.  A prolific reader and a spontaneous writer , he particularly enjoyed playing with words. I can still recall the cricket commentary that he would deliver. It was mesmerising, the imagery that he drew through his fluent and flawless linguistic expression would at once bring alive the entire match. Cricket was his favourite game. He had great skills with bat and the ball as well. Football, badminton , basketball occupied most of his attention while he was also the unbeaten champion in 100 meters sprint.

For me dada was perfect in all aspects. It was he who inspired me to participate in sports  and excel in studies ; for like I mentioned I wanted to be like him: intelligent, all rounder and everyones favourite.

Apart from the fact that he was thoughtful, caring and mature we shared a relationship like any other.  We fought , played competed against each other , played and shared moments of immense fun and laughter. I remember how he was fond of sweets and ice _ creams.  We often kept an eye on the last piece of sweet in the refrigerator.  The coke was a luxury we used to enjoy only twice in a year and that was after the completion  of the annual exams. Though I was not very keen on consuming the drink , yet I  did not want to miss the opportunity to taste it. Dada would eagerly wait to see me leave it half finished so that he could gulp the remainder. When it came to ice_ creams they were too frozen a treat for my milky teeth and I could rarely eat them . Very politely Dada would enquire me, ” Can you finish it ?” Then would follow his moment of delight.

As we entered junior school we had created our own circle of friends and activities. We were also acquiring our new set of skills. Papa taught him to ride a scooter . When I joined judo classes he took pride in taking me on his scooter to them. Very rarely did mother leave us alone at home but when she did Dada would act like a guardian . Sometimes he used to make simple butter or jam sandwiches . The idea of doing things on our own was exciting.

Then one day , Dada was not there. He was just nowhere. I suddenly found myself alone as if I was groping my way in darkness. Everything , everyone was silent. As painful as it was to exist without his presence it was the truth that Dada would never return. Dada left us forever on his solo journey. The Lord has his own ways of communicating with us. So it was.

I felt week , miserable.  It was hard to reconcile with this bitter truth. It was terrible the silence, the pity the notes of sympathy.  Why ? Why did this happen? Many said he was a saint.

To me he was a friend,  a mentor , an inspiration.

Life without Dada was no life. But life never stops. So it moved on and we moved on too with his memories in our heart.

After all these many years I  sometimes ask myself who is Dada ? Where is he? Is he a dream a reality?

No he is not pain, nor grief no sorrow. He is the hidden treasure of endless joys of childhood pleasures, he is the creator of many a dreams that we saw together, the first competitor ; who taught me the art to win with grace and the skill to accept defeat with dignity.

Truly he is the  inspiration for life. Dada is always with us for he lives in our hearts.

Spontaneous Sparks

Where is My Strength?

Where is my strength? Where is it?

In the flowing waters of the holy river, in the gilded pillars of eternity

Or the buried bones of the long dead?

Oh the name engraved on my soul! the age old sagas of courage and battle fierce told and retold;

The heroic wars and bloody trails;

Towns plundered , thousands slaughtered,

The golden crown dazzled with honour?

Or the words of wisdom ,the verbal fencing matches that chastised and subdued many a victims…

Hurts and humiliations hurled at them, through nasty abuses and newly found slang.

With books and pen, tools of learning and temples of education

The bridges I made, the hurdles I laid

And forgot the ingredients of which I was made

The chains of civilization…where are they?

The tools of modern technology,

the Googles, the Twitters and Facebook

Millions sharing the common platform

Or being an island with ocean all around?

The armors of gold, the palatial  chambers,

Is it the number of cards I hold, the My possessions,

My luxuries, indulgence as never foretold…

Or the  shallow praises and false applause

As I drive across those barren fields;

I dash,  I dive, I jump , I glide,

I fall, I rise…

The speed is my strength

If I could bridge the rift and prevent the conflict

Relive my journey, trod the path and miss the goal

Behold ! what I see, the blossoms in my hand

grief in theirs…

The hunger-stricken children, the ailing millions

the disillusioned youth, the ailing generation,

Empty vessels, Extinguished hearths

Unfinished dreams, uninspired wings!

But to me , my glory, my life , my desire

Ah ! victory, I am the emperor

Rest is a lost Empire.