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Dear All,


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Month Six

Wow. I'm really starting to show. I have seen so many pregnant women no the streets, but I have never really thought much about them, but this is a whole new experience. I'm pampered endlessly. All those on the streets give me sort of admiring looks, as if the whole pregnancy thing is pretty new. I'm basking in their adoring looks. Actually my present predicament has made me vulnerable I should say. Friends, colleagues and relatives keep asking me how I feel all the time. Surprisingly their patronizing tones or concerning looks does not rub me on the wrong side. I'm usually the independent one. Who does not like to be pampered once in a while? I'm no exception. Besides being pregnant had its perks:

1. I get to decide family outings. Normally I have to fight for my rights!!

2. I never have to stand in a queue. I'm always ushered first.

3. One sigh is all it takes to gather the attention of anybody sitting next to me. They fuss all over me asking if I needed anything.

4. I'm given a wide berth on my activities. For instance, I get to watch my favorite TV channel most of the time. 

5. Even if I start an argument with my sister, she is always the one getting told of. (Your sister should not get angry right now, they would tell her!) That is the best part I should say - getting on my sister's nerves.

Besides all this I'm constantly expected to give updates about the baby - Can you feel the kicks? Can you sense some movement? How much weight have you gained? It goes on and on.

The tiring part is answering the same questions to different people all throughout the day! But hey, who said being pregnant was easy?!


Month Four

I'm neither pregnant nor pregnant at this stage. My morning sickness has reduced a great deal and I start having my meals normally. I check my tummy once in a while but no, there is nothing visible to say I'm pregnant yet! Err.. probably excluding the black circles under my eyes. I'm waiting for somebody to tell me that I look pregnant, but that does not happen.

I feel good though. As if I have a little secret that the whole world is yet to know about. My colleagues give me suspicious glances. They keep telling me that I seem happier somehow. I think they are trying to wheedle out the truth from me. But they will have to wait for another two months to see for themselves. I hug myself with glee.

The days pass slowly, too slowly in fact. The cautious optimism that was there in the first three months has grown into a full-fledged confidence now. I'm out of the risk stage. The initial restraints of not travelling, avoiding certain foods and being extra careful are behind me. My life becomes normal once again. I find myself day-dreaming most of the time.

5 more months to go..Seems like an eternity.

Meanwhile the initial excitement at my home has gone down a little. One by one all my relatives get to know  that I'm pregnant. They are all very happy. My mother makes sure that I'm well-fed and well-tended to. Its nice being with my mother after such a long time.I'm looking forward to all the happy occasions yet to come.

Expectant Blues

I need not even have bothered to confirm my pregnancy. At the end of 8 weeks, started the typical onset of  sickness. Who termed the phrase'morning sickness' by the way? As far as I remember, I was sick the whole day and to top it all I was working for 14 hours a day. What a nightmare! Some of the strange things that amazed me were:

1. I hated Colgate toothpaste in the morning. (I had been using it for 25 years and never once did I notice its odour. Thanks to my baby I could not stand the smell or feel of it!)

2.I hated the crowded cafeterias with a variety of flavours and fragrances wafting all the time. (I'm naturally a foodie. I love food! I don't know what went wrong!)

3. I could not stand the strong odour of sauteed onions! ( Not that I noticed it before.)

4. I could not sleep for more than an hour at a stretch. My sleep had reduced a great deal.( I never had slept less than 8 hours in my life!No sir, I never compromised my sleep,not even for my board exams. It was previously a subject of envy with my friends.)

5. I had atleast 1/2 kg pickle during my pregnancy. ( It was the only food that I preferred.)

The intention of writing this is not to scare anybody but pregnancy is indeed a unique and amazing experience. All the small things that I easily took for granted made sure I took notice of them. I never knew what to expect and what not to expect. It was such a package of surprise that I'm sure that I would never forget it in my lifetime!

Happy Mom, Happy Family

Mothers being natural at multitasking are used to bearing responsibilities with out complaining most of the time. They need their well-deserved breaks once in a while to rejuvenate their system.  So here are some of the tips to keep them relaxed and happy.

1.Spend time with your mother. Let her open up once in a while. Most of the time, we take our mothers for granted that we fail to notice how she is feeling about certain issues.

2.Accompany her for grocery shopping or to the nearby store. It gives ample space and time for your conversation to flow easily.

3.Involve her in relaxing activities like meditation or massage once in a while.

4.Just like a mother makes the effort to know what her family likes or does not like, you should also make the effort to know what makes your mother happy or uncomfortable.

5.Discuss topics that your mother can relate to. For example, there is no use excitedly talking to her about latest gadgets if she has no clue about latest technology.

6.Occasionally take charge of a meal and give your mother a break from her mundane chores.


Mothers are too precious to be taken for granted. By following the above mentioned tips, you can show your mother that you care for her.

Oscar Wilde

Standing for what you believe in,
Regardless of the odds against you,
and the pressure that tears at your resistance,
. . . means courage

Keeping a smile on your face,
when inside you feel like dying,
For the sake of supporting others,
. . . means strength

Stopping at nothing,
And doing what’s in your heart
You know is right,
. . . means determination

Doing more than is expected,
To make another’s life a little more bearable,
Without uttering a single complaint,
. . . means compassion

Helping a friend in need,
No matter the time or effort,
To the best of your ability,
. . . means loyalty

Giving more than you have,
And expecting nothing
But nothing in return,
. . . means selflessness

Holding your head high
And being the best you know you can be
When life seems to fall apart at your feet,
Facing each difficulty with the confidence
That time will bring you better tomorrows
And never giving up,

. . . means confidence.

Oh Happy Day!

I'm pregnant'.. Oh my god!  I'm pregnant. I repeated this statement again and again in various emotions. I had just done the easy-to-do test kit for pregnancy at home. The two pink lines were the best parallel lines I had ever seen. My husband was in the hall waiting patiently yet expectantly. I was still in the bathroom trying to come to terms with this new development.

After three consecutive knocks, the knocks becoming frantic with each passing time( my husband must have thought I had fainted out of sheer joy or something) I opened the door slowly. I was happy yet I was in shock.

I looked into my husband's expectant face. I could see he that he was itching to know the result. But yet he wanted me to make the first move. Generally I'm a very lively person and my voice raises an octave on happy occasions. But today I was quiet. My husband was confused. I silently handed him the test strip. Two pink lines stared back at him. His face broke into a thousand smiles. We hugged each other tight. Excessive joy or sorrow needs no words. It just has to be understood. As I stood there in my husband's arms, I felt more than happy. Peaceful to say in other terms. "We are going to have a baby", my husband murmured more to himself than to me. Maybe he was bracing himself for fatherhood.That night we ordered a special dinner to celebrate the occasion. The suppressed excitement whirled around us. We were too excited to speak or even eat. We could not wait to confirm the news at the hospital the next day.

Next day..

Yes!Yes!Yes! I was eight weeks along. The doctor's expression was neutral as she delivered the news. I think it is because of the hundreds of similar news she must have delivered. Still a baby is always special. She could have at least managed a smile. But who cares! I'm going to be a mother. MOTHER! My husband and I were like two excited kids in an ice-cream store. By the time we reached home, half of ooty, coimbatore and chennai knew the news. My husband had taken the liberty to call friends, friends of friends, cousins of friends or so he said. Whenever I listened to him deliver the news, I noticed his enthusiasm mounting with each call. Our parents were beyond happy. After dinner that night I sat musing with my husband's soft snores for background. Seven more months to go.. I touched my tummy. Even amidst all that happened that day there was still a feeling of unreality. It was all like a good dream.



Introducing a New Column

A father is born when a child is born, but a mother is born as soon as she learns of her pregnancy. Motherhood is the next logical step for a happy married couple and I was no exception. The day I learnt that I was pregnant was one of  the most memorable days of my life. Motherhood is a huge responsibility and we need all the time to prepare for that herculean task. Perhaps that is why the gestation period is designed to be nine months. Nine months to learn to care and be patient. It is impossible to spend every single minute thinking about the baby in reality. For nothing has changed yet. It is too soon for change. There are times when the expectant mothers throw anger tantrums or get into arguments or cry for no reason. Some call it  the pregnancy hormones kicking in, but I call it the adjustment syndrome- getting rid of the old useless thoughts,cleaning of the whole system and freshening up for a new beginning that is to arrive at the end of nine months.

Pregnancy is not exactly a new concept. We have enough testimonies to show that it is as old as mankind itself. Even in a period of no fancy education or fussy doctors, babies were still being born everyday. The techniques have changed, the people have become more civilized but a baby does not care about all that for it sure knows that there are two special people(read as parents) waiting to take care of everything. the emotions and feelings that I underwent in the process of becoming and being a mother is what I want to share in these pages. I'm dedicating  a new column about pregnancy, babies and more. It is an invitation to all the mothers to recap what they went through and all the expecting mothers to enjoy the journey.

Nobel Lecture Speech by Mother Teresa


As we have gathered here together to thank God for the Nobel Peace Prize I think it will be beautiful that we pray the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi - Let us thank God for the opportunity that we all have together today, for this gift of peace that reminds us that we have been created to live that peace.
The poor people are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things. The other day one of them came to thank and said: You people who have vowed chastity you are the best people to teach us family planning. Because it is nothing more than self-control out of love for each other. And I think they said a beautiful sentence. And these are people who maybe have nothing to eat, maybe they have not a home where to live, but they are great people. The poor are very wonderful people. One evening we went out and we picked up four people from the street. And one of them was in a most terrible condition- and I told the Sisters: You take care of the other three, I take of this one that looked worse. So I did for her all that my love can do. I put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hand, as she said one word only: Thank you - and she died.
I could not help but examine my conscience before her, and I asked what would I say if I was in her place. And my answer was very simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself, I would have said I am hungry, that I am dying, I am cold, I am in pain, or something, but she gave me much more - she gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face. As that man whom we picked up from the drain, half eaten with worms, and we brought him to the home. I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die like an angel, loved and cared for. And it was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that, who could die like that without blaming anybody, without cursing anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel- this is the greatness of our people. And that is why we believe what Jesus had said: I was hungry- I was naked- I was homeless - I was unwanted, unloved, uncared for - and you did it to me.
Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do. It is to God Almighty- how much we do it does not matter, because He is infinite, but how much love we put in that action. How much we do to Him in the person that we are serving.
Some time ago in Calcutta we had great difficulty in getting sugar, and I don't know how the word got around to the children, and a little boy of four years old, Hindu boy, went home and told his parents: I will not eat sugar for three days, I will give my sugar to Mother Teresa for her children. After three days his father and mother brought him to our home. I had never met them before, and this little one could scarcely pronounce my name, but he knew exactly what he had come to do. He knew that he wanted to share his love.
And that is why I have received such a lot of love from you all. From the time that I have come here I have simply been surrounded with love, and with real, real understanding love. It could feel as if everyone in India, everyone in Africa is somebody very special to you. And I felt quite at home I was telling Sister today. I feel in the Convent with the Sisters as if I am in Calcutta with my own Sisters. So completely at home here, right here.
And so here I am talking with you- I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first. And begin love there. Be that good news to your own people. And find out about your next-door-neighbor - do you know who they are? I had the most extraordinary experience with a Hindu family who had eight children. A gentleman came to our house and said: Mother Teresa, there is a family with eight children, they had not eaten for so long- do something. So I took some rice and I went there immediately. And I saw the children- their eyes shining with hunger - I don't know if you have ever seen hunger. But I have seen it very often. And she took the rice, she divided the rice, and she went out. When she came back I asked her - where did you go, what did you do? And she gave me a very simple answer: They are hungry also. What struck me most was that she knew- and who are they, a Muslim family - and she knew. I didn't bring more rice that evening because I wanted them to enjoy the joy of sharing. But there were those children, radiating joy, sharing the joy with their mother because she had the love to give. And you see this is where love begins- at home.
Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love, and once we begin to love each other naturally we want to do something. So you pray for our Sisters and for me and for our Brothers, and for our Co-Workers that are around the world. That we may remain faithful to the gift of God, to love Him and serve Him in the poor together with you. What we have done we should not have been able to do if you did not share with your prayers, with your gifts, this continual giving. But I don't want you to give me from your abundance, I want that you give me until it hurts.
The other day I received 15 dollars from a man who has been on his back for twenty years, and the only part that he can move is his right hand. And the only companion that he enjoys is smoking. And he said to me: I do not smoke for one week, and I send you this money. It must have been a terrible sacrifice for him, but see how beautiful, how he shared, and with that money I bought bread and I gave to those who are hungry with a joy on both sides, he was giving and the poor were receiving. This is something that you and I- it is a gift of God to us to be able to share our love with others. Let us make that one point: That no child will be unwanted, and also that we meet each other always with a smile, especially when it is difficult to smile.
If we could only remember that God loves me, and I have an opportunity to love others as he loves me, not in big things, but in small things with great love, then Norway becomes a nest of love. And how beautiful it will be that from here a centre for peace has been given. That from here the joy of life of the unborn child comes out. If you become a burning light in the world of peace, then really the Nobel Peace Prize is a gift of the Norwegian people. God bless you!

The Infy Mentor - Narayana Murthy

At the New York University (Stern School of Business)

After some thought, I have decided to share with you some of my life lessons. I learned these lessons in the context of my early career struggles, a life lived under the influence of sometimes unplanned events which were the crucibles that tempered my character and reshaped my future.
I would like first to share some of these key life events with you, in the hope that these may help you understand my struggles and how chance events and unplanned encounters with influential persons shaped my life and career.
Later, I will share the deeper life lessons that I have learned. My sincere hope is that this sharing will help you see your own trials and tribulations for the hidden blessings they can be.
The first event occurred when I was a graduate student in Control Theory at IIT, Kanpur, in India. At breakfast on a bright Sunday morning in 1968, I had a chance encounter with a famous computer scientist on sabbatical from a well-known US university.
He was discussing exciting new developments in the field of computer science with a large group of students and how such developments would alter our future. He was articulate, passionate and quite convincing. I was hooked. I went straight from breakfast to the library, read four or five papers he had suggested, and left the library determined to study computer science.
Friends, when I look back today at that pivotal meeting, I marvel at how one role model can alter for the better the future of a young student. This experience taught me that valuable advice can sometimes come from an unexpected source, and chance events can sometimes open new doors.
The next event that left an indelible mark on me occurred in 1974. The location: Nis, a border town between former Yugoslavia, now Serbia, and Bulgaria. I was hitchhiking from Paris back to Mysore, India, my home town.
By the time a kind driver dropped me at Nis railway station at 9 p.m. on a Saturday night, the restaurant was closed. So was the bank the next morning, and I could not eat because I had no local money. I slept on the railway platform until 8.30 pm in the night when the Sofia Express pulled in.
The only passengers in my compartment were a girl and a boy. I struck a conversation in French with the young girl. She talked about the travails of living in an iron curtain country, until we were roughly interrupted by some policemen who, I later gathered, were summoned by the young man who thought we were criticizing the communist government of Bulgaria.
The girl was led away; my backpack and sleeping bag were confiscated. I was dragged along the platform into a small 8x8 foot room with a cold stone floor and a hole in one corner by way of toilet facilities. I was held in that bitterly cold room without food or water for over 72 hours.
I had lost all hope of ever seeing the outside world again, when the door opened. I was again dragged out unceremoniously, locked up in the guard's compartment on a departing freight train and told that I would be released 20 hours later upon reaching Istanbul. The guard's final words still ring in my ears -- "You are from a friendly country called India and that is why we are letting you go!"
The journey to Istanbul was lonely, and I was starving. This long, lonely, cold journey forced me to deeply rethink my convictions about Communism. Early on a dark Thursday morning, after being hungry for 108 hours, I was purged of any last vestiges of affinity for the Left.
I concluded that entrepreneurship, resulting in large-scale job creation, was the only viable mechanism for eradicating poverty in societies.
Deep in my heart, I always thank the Bulgarian guards for transforming me from a confused Leftist into a determined, compassionate capitalist! Inevitably, this sequence of events led to the eventual founding of Infosys in 1981.
While these first two events were rather fortuitous, the next two, both concerning the Infosys journey, were more planned and profoundly influenced my career trajectory.
On a chilly Saturday morning in winter 1990, five of the seven founders of Infosys met in our small office in a leafy Bangalore suburb. The decision at hand was the possible sale of Infosys for the enticing sum of $1 million. After nine years of toil in the then business-unfriendly India, we were quite happy at the prospect of seeing at least some money.

I let my younger colleagues talk about their future plans. Discussions about the travails of our journey thus far and our future challenges went on for about four hours. I had not yet spoken a word.
Finally, it was my turn. I spoke about our journey from a small Mumbai apartment in 1981 that had been beset with many challenges, but also of how I believed we were at the darkest hour before the dawn. I then took an audacious step. If they were all bent upon selling the company, I said, I would buy out all my colleagues, though I did not have a cent in my pocket.
There was a stunned silence in the room. My colleagues wondered aloud about my foolhardiness. But I remained silent. However, after an hour of my arguments, my colleagues changed their minds to my way of thinking. I urged them that if we wanted to create a great company, we should be optimistic and confident. They have more than lived up to their promise of that day.
In the seventeen years since that day, Infosys has grown to revenues in excess of $3.0 billion, a net income of more than $800 million and a market capitalisation of more than $28 billion, 28,000 times richer than the offer of $1 million on that day.
In the process, Infosys has created more than 70,000 well-paying jobs, 2,000-plus dollar-millionaires and 20,000-plus rupee millionaires.
A final story: On a hot summer morning in 1995, a Fortune-10 corporation had sequestered all their Indian software vendors, including Infosys, in different rooms at the Taj Residency hotel in Bangalore so that the vendors could not communicate with one another. This customer's propensity for tough negotiations was well-known. Our team was very nervous.
First of all, with revenues of only around $5 million, we were minnows compared to the customer.
Second, this customer contributed fully 25% of our revenues. The loss of this business would potentially devastate our recently-listed company.
Third, the customer's negotiation style was very aggressive. The customer team would go from room to room, get the best terms out of each vendor and then pit one vendor against the other. This went on for several rounds. Our various arguments why a fair price -- one that allowed us to invest in good people, R&D, infrastructure, technology and training -- was actually in their interest failed to cut any ice with the customer.
By 5 p.m. on the last day, we had to make a decision right on the spot whether to accept the customer's terms or to walk out.
All eyes were on me as I mulled over the decision. I closed my eyes, and reflected upon our journey until then. Through many a tough call, we had always thought about the long-term interests of Infosys. I communicated clearly to the customer team that we could not accept their terms, since it could well lead us to letting them down later. But I promised a smooth, professional transition to a vendor of customer's choice.
This was a turning point for Infosys.
Subsequently, we created a Risk Mitigation Council which ensured that we would never again depend too much on any one client, technology, country, application area or key employee. The crisis was a blessing in disguise. Today, Infosys has a sound de-risking strategy that has stabilised its revenues and profits.
I want to share with you, next, the life lessons these events have taught me.
1. I will begin with the importance of learning from experience. It is less important, I believe, where you start. It is more important how and what you learn. If the quality of the learning is high, the development gradient is steep, and, given time, you can find yourself in a previously unattainable place. I believe the Infosys story is living proof of this.
Learning from experience, however, can be complicated. It can be much more difficult to learn from success than from failure. If we fail, we think carefully about the precise cause. Success can indiscriminately reinforce all our prior actions.
2. A second theme concerns the power of chance events. As I think across a wide variety of settings in my life, I am struck by the incredible role played by the interplay of chance events with intentional choices. While the turning points themselves are indeed often fortuitous, how we respond to them is anything but so. It is this very quality of how we respond systematically to chance events that is crucial.

3. Of course, the mindset one works with is also quite critical. As recent work by the psychologist, Carol Dweck, has shown, it matters greatly whether one believes in ability as inherent or that it can be developed. Put simply, the former view, a fixed mindset, creates a tendency to avoid challenges, to ignore useful negative feedback and leads such people to plateau early and not achieve their full potential.
The latter view, a growth mindset, leads to a tendency to embrace challenges, to learn from criticism and such people reach ever higher levels of achievement (Krakovsky, 2007: page 48).
4. The fourth theme is a cornerstone of the Indian spiritual tradition: self-knowledge. Indeed, the highest form of knowledge, it is said, is self-knowledge. I believe this greater awareness and knowledge of oneself is what ultimately helps develop a more grounded belief in oneself, courage, determination, and, above all, humility, all qualities which enable one to wear one's success with dignity and grace.
Based on my life experiences, I can assert that it is this belief in learning from experience, a growth mindset, the power of chance events, and self-reflection that have helped me grow to the present.
Back in the 1960s, the odds of my being in front of you today would have been zero. Yet here I stand before you! With every successive step, the odds kept changing in my favour, and it is these life lessons that made all the difference.
My young friends, I would like to end with some words of advice. Do you believe that your future is pre-ordained, and is already set? Or, do you believe that your future is yet to be written and that it will depend upon the sometimes fortuitous events?
Do you believe that these events can provide turning points to which you will respond with your energy and enthusiasm? Do you believe that you will learn from these events and that you will reflect on your setbacks? Do you believe that you will examine your successes with even greater care?
I hope you believe that the future will be shaped by several turning points with great learning opportunities. In fact, this is the path I have walked to much advantage.
A final word: When, one day, you have made your mark on the world, remember that, in the ultimate analysis, we are all mere temporary custodians of the wealth we generate, whether it be financial, intellectual, or emotional. The best use of all your wealth is to share it with those less fortunate.
I believe that we have all at some time eaten the fruit from trees that we did not plant. In the fullness of time, when it is our turn to give, it behooves us in turn to plant gardens that we may never eat the fruit of, which will largely benefit generations to come. I believe this is our sacred responsibility, one that I hope you will shoulder in time.

Thank you for your patience. Go forth and embrace your future with open arms, and pursue enthusiastically your own life journey of discovery!

Steve Jobs - The Apple Icon

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything  all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Thank you all very much.

Chetan Bagat - At Symbiosis Institute, Pune

Good Morning everyone and thank you for giving me this chance to speak to you. This day is about you. You, who have come to this college, leaving the comfort of your homes (or in some cases discomfort), to become something in your life. I am sure you are excited. There are few days in human life when one is truly elated.  The first day in college is one of them.  When you were getting ready today, you felt a tingling in your stomach. What would the auditorium be like, what would the teachers be like, who are my new classmates – there is so much to be curious about. I call this excitement, the spark within you that makes you feel truly alive today. Today I am going to talk about keeping the spark shining. Or to put it another way, how to be happy most, if not all the time.
Where do these sparks start? I think we are born with them. My 3-year old twin boys have a million sparks. A little Spiderman toy can make them jump on the bed. They get thrills from creaky swings in the park. A story from daddy gets them excited. They do a daily countdown for birthday party – several months in advance – just for the day they will cut their own birthday cake.
I see students like you, and I still see some sparks. But when I see older people, the spark is difficult to find. That means as we age, the spark fades. People whose spark has faded too much are dull, dejected, aimless and bitter. Remember Kareena in the first half of Jab We Met vs the second half? That is what happens when the spark is lost.   So how to save the spark?
Imagine the spark to be a lamp’s flame. The first aspect is nurturing – to give your spark the fuel, continuously. The second is to guard against storms.
To nurture, always have goals. It is human nature to strive, improve and achieve full potential. In fact, that is success. It is what is possible for you. It isn’t any external measure – a certain cost to company pay package, a particular car or house.
Most of us are from middle class families. To us, having material landmarks is success and rightly so. When you have grown up where money constraints force everyday choices, financial freedom is a big achievement. But it isn’t the purpose of life. If that was the case, Mr. Ambani would not show up for work. Shah Rukh Khan would stay at home and not dance anymore. Steve Jobs won’t be working hard to make a better iPhone, as he sold Pixar for billions of dollars already. Why do they do it? What makes them come to work everyday? They do it because it makes them happy. They do it because it makes them feel alive Just getting better from current levels feels good. If you study hard, you can improve your rank. If you make an effort to interact with people, you will do better in interviews. If you practice, your cricket will get better. You may also know that you cannot become Tendulkar, yet. But you can get to the next level. Striving for that next level is important.
Nature designed with a random set of genes and circumstances in which we were born. To be happy, we have to accept it and make the most of nature’s design. Are you? Goals will help you do that. I must add, don’t just have career or academic goals. Set goals to give you a balanced, successful life. I use the word balanced before successful. Balanced means ensuring your health, relationships, mental peace are all in good order.
There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your breakup. There is no fun in driving a car if your back hurts. Shopping is not enjoyable if your mind is full of tensions.
You must have read some quotes – Life is a tough race, it is a marathon or whatever. No, from what I have seen so far, life is one of those races in nursery school, where you have to run with a marble in a spoon kept in your mouth. If the marble falls, there is no point coming first. Same with life, where health and relationships are the marble. Your striving is only worth it if there is harmony in your life. Else, you may achieve the success, but this spark, this feeling of being excited and alive, will start to die.
One last thing about nurturing the spark – don’t take life seriously. One of my yoga teachers used to make students laugh during classes. One student asked him if these jokes would take away something from the yoga practice. The teacher said – don’t be serious, be sincere. This quote has defined my work ever since. Whether its my writing, my job, my relationships or any of my goals. I get thousands of opinions on my writing everyday. There is heaps of praise, there is intense criticism. If I take it all seriously, how will I write? Or rather, how will I live? Life is not to be taken seriously, as we are really temporary here. We are like a pre-paid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need to get so worked up? It’s ok, bunk a few classes, goof up a few interviews, fall in love. We are people, not programmed devices.
I’ve told you three things – reasonable goals, balance and not taking it too seriously that will nurture the spark. However, there are four storms in life that will threaten to completely put out the flame. These must be guarded against. These are disappointment, frustration, unfairness and loneliness of purpose.
Disappointment will come when your effort does not give you the expected return. If things don’t go as planned or if you face failure. Failure is extremely difficult to handle, but those that do come out stronger. What did this failure teach me? is the question you will need to ask. You will feel miserable. You will want to quit, like I wanted to when nine publishers rejected my first book. Some IITians kill themselves over low grades – how silly is that? But that is how much failure can hurt you. But it’s life. If challenges could always be overcome, they would cease to be a challenge. And remember – if you are failing at something, that means you are at your limit or potential. And that’s where you want to be.
Disappointment’ s cousin is  Frustration, the second storm.  Have you ever been frustrated? It happens when things are stuck. This is especially relevant in India. From traffic jams to getting that job you deserve, sometimes things take so long that you don’t know if you chose the right goal. After books, I set the goal of writing for Bollywood, as I thought they needed writers. I am called extremely lucky, but it took me five years to get close to a release. Frustration saps excitement, and turns your initial energy into something negative, making you a bitter person. How did I deal with it? A realistic assessment of the time involved – movies take a long time to make even though they are watched quickly, seeking a certain enjoyment in the process rather than the end result – at least I was learning how to write scripts, having a side plan – I had my third book to write and even something as simple as pleasurable distractions in your life – friends, food, travel can help you overcome it. Remember, nothing is to be taken seriously. Frustration is a sign somewhere, you took it too seriously.
Unfairness – this is hardest to deal with, but unfortunately that is how our country works. People with connections, rich dads, beautiful faces, pedigree find it easier to make it – not just in Bollywood, but everywhere. And sometimes it is just plain luck. There are so few opportunities in India, so many stars need to be aligned for you to make it happen. Merit and hard work is not always linked to achievement in the short term, but the long term correlation is high, and ultimately things do work out. But realize, there will be some people luckier than you. In fact, to have an opportunity to go to college and understand this speech in English means you are pretty damm lucky by Indian standards. Let’s be grateful for what we have and get the strength to accept what we don’t. I have so much love from my readers that other writers cannot even imagine it. However, I don’t get literary praise. It’s ok. I don’t look like Aishwarya Rai, but I have two boys who I think are more beautiful than her. It’s ok. Don’t let unfairness kill your spark.
Finally, the last point that can kill your spark is Isolation. As you grow older you will realize you are unique. When you are little, all kids want Ice cream and Spiderman. As you grow older to college, you still are a lot like your friends. But ten years later and you realize you are unique. What you want, what you believe in, what makes you feel, may be different from even the people closest to you. This can create conflict as your goals may not match with others. And you may drop some of them. Basketball captains in college invariably stop playing basketball by the time they have their second child. They give up something that meant so much to them. They do it for their family. But in doing that, the spark dies. Never, ever make that compromise. Love yourself first, and then others.
There you go. I’ve told you the four thunderstorms – disappointment, frustration, unfairness and isolation. You cannot avoid them, as like the monsoon they will come into your life at regular intervals. You just need to keep the raincoat handy to not let the spark die.
I welcome you again to the most wonderful  years of your life. If someone gave me the choice to go back in time, I will surely choose college. But I also hope that ten years later as well, your eyes will shine the same way as they do today. That you will Keep the Spark alive, not only through college, but through the next 2,500 weekends. And I hope not just you, but my whole country will keep that spark alive, as we really need it now more than any moment in history. And there is something cool about saying – I come from the land of a billion sparks.

Thank You.

Indira Nooyi - Columbia University Business School, May 15,2005

Good evening, everyone.
Dean Hubbard, distinguished faculty, honored graduates, relieved parents, family, and friends, it's a distinct pleasure to be in New York City this evening to celebrate the biggest milestone to date in the lives of you, the young men and women before us: your graduation from Columbia University Business School.
It may surprise you, graduates, but as big a night as this is for you, it's an even bigger night for your parents. They may look calm and collected as they sit in the audience, but deep inside they're doing cartwheels, dancing the Macarena, and practically speaking in tongues, they're so excited. This is what happens when parents anticipate that their bank accounts will soon rehydrate after being bone-dry for two years. So, for everyone here this evening, it's a very special occasion. And I'm delighted to share it with you.
I am keenly aware that graduates traditionally refer to our time together this evening as the calm before the storm. Some graduates -- perhaps those who minored in self-awareness -- refer to the commencement address as "the snooze before the booze." However you describe my comments this evening, please know that I understand. It wasn't that long ago that I was in your place. And I remember the day well. I knew that I owed my parents -- my financial benefactors -- this opportunity to revel in our mutual accomplishment. Yet, as the guy at the podium droned on about values, goals, and how to make my dreams take flight, I remember desperately checking and rechecking my watch. I thought, "I deserve to party, and this codger's cramping my style!"
In one of life's true ironies, I am now that codger. Well...I'm the female equivalent. A codg-ette, I guess. And I now understand that values, goals, and how to make dreams take flight, really are important. So being a firm believer that hindsight is one of life's greatest teachers, allow me to make belated amends.
To that distinguished, erudite, and absolutely brilliant man whom I silently dissed many years ago: mea culpa. Big, BIG mea culpa!
This evening, graduates, I want to share a few thoughts about a topic that should be near and dear to your hearts: the world of global business. But, I'm going to present this topic in a way that you probably haven't considered before. I'm going to take a look at how the United States is often perceived in global business, what causes this perception, and what we can do about it. To help me, I'm going to make use of a model.
To begin, I'd like you to consider your hand. That's right: your hand.
Other than the fact that mine desperately needs a manicure, it's a pretty typical hand. But, what I want you to notice, in particular, is that the five fingers are not the same. One is short and thick, one tiny, and the other three are different as well. And yet, as in perhaps no other part of our bodies, the fingers work in harmony without us even thinking about them individually. Whether we attempt to grasp a dime on a slick, marble surface, a child's arm as we cross the street, or a financial report, we don't consciously say, "OK, move these fingers here, raise this one, turn this one under, now clamp together. Got it!" We just think about what we want to do and it happens. Our fingers -- as different as they are -- coexist to create a critically important whole.
This unique way of looking at my hand was just one result of hot summer evenings in my childhood home in Madras, India. My mother, sister, and I would sit at our kitchen table and -- for lack of a better phrase -- think big thoughts. One of those thoughts was this difference in our fingers and how, despite their differences, they worked together to create a wonderful tool.
As I grew up and started to study geography, I remember being told that the five fingers can be thought of as the five major continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. Now, let me issue a profound apology to both Australia and Antarctica. I bear neither of these continents any ill will. It's just that we humans have only five fingers on each hand, so my analogy doesn't work with seven continents.
Clearly, the point of my story is more important that geographical accuracy!
First, let's consider our little finger. Think of this finger as Africa. Africa is the little finger not because of Africa's size, but because of its place on the world's stage. From an economic standpoint, Africa has yet to catch up with her sister continents. And yet, when our little finger hurts, it affects the whole hand.
Our thumb is Asia: strong, powerful, and ready to assert herself as a major player on the world's economic stage.
Our index, or pointer finger, is Europe. Europe is the cradle of democracy and pointed the way for western civilization and the laws we use in conducting global business.
The ring finger is South America, including Latin America. Is this appropriate, or what? The ring finger symbolizes love and commitment to another person. Both Latin and South America are hot, passionate, and filled with the sensuous beats of the mambo, samba, and tango: three dances that -- if done right -- can almost guarantee you and your partner will be buying furniture together.
This analogy of the five fingers as the five major continents leaves the long, middle finger for North America, and, in particular, the United States. As the longest of the fingers, it really stands out. The middle finger anchors every function that the hand performs and is the key to all of the fingers working together efficiently and effectively. This is a really good thing, and has given the U.S. a leg up in global business since the end of World War I.
However, if used inappropriately -- just like the U.S. itself -- the middle finger can convey a negative message and get us in trouble. You know what I'm talking about. In fact, I suspect you're hoping that I'll demonstrate what I mean. And trust me, I'm not looking for volunteers to model.
Discretion being the better part of valor...I think I'll pass.
What is most crucial to my analogy of the five fingers as the five major continents, is that each of us in the U.S. -- the long middle finger -- must be careful that when we extend our arm in either a business or political sense, we take pains to assure we are giving a hand...not the finger. Sometimes this is very difficult. Because the U.S. -- the middle finger -- sticks out so much, we can send the wrong message unintentionally.
Unfortunately, I think this is how the rest of the world looks at the U.S. right now. Not as part of the hand -- giving strength and purpose to the rest of the fingers -- but, instead, scratching our nose and sending a far different signal.
I'd challenge each of you to think about how critically important it is for every finger on your hand to rise and bend together. You cannot simply "allow" the other four fingers to rise only when you want them to. If you've ever even tried to do that, you know how clumsy and uncoordinated it is.
My point here is that it's not enough just to understand that the other fingers coexist. We've got to consciously and actively ensure that every one of them stands tall together, or that they bend together when needed.
Today, as each of you ends one chapter in your young lives and begins another, I want you to consider how you will conduct your business careers so that the other continents see you extending a hand...not the finger. Graduates, it's not that hard. You can change and shape the attitudes and opinions of the other fingers -- the other continents and their peoples -- by simply ascribing positive intent to all your international business transactions. If you fail, or if you are careless, here's a perfect example of what can happen:
A U.S. businesswoman was recently in Beijing, China, on an international training assignment for a luxury hotel chain. The chain was rebranding an older Beijing hotel. As such, the toilets in the hotel had yet to be upgraded. There were no porcelain commodes, just holes in the floor. Until recently, this was the standard procedure in China.
Now, 8,000 miles removed from the scene, you and I -- and most Americans -- can shake our heads and giggle at the physical contortions and delicate motor skills necessary to make the best of this situation. We're simply not used to it. But to loudly and insultingly verbalize these feelings onsite, in front of the employees and guests of the host country, is bush league. And yet, that's exactly what this woman observed.
In the hotel's bar, the woman overheard a group of five American businessmen loudly making fun of the hotel's lavatory facilities. As the drinks flowed, the crass and vulgar comments grew louder, and actually took on an angry, jingoistic tone. While these Americans couldn't speak a word of Chinese, their Chinese hosts spoke English very well, and understood every word the men were saying.
And we wonder why the world views many Americans as boorish and culturally insensitive. This incident should make it abundantly clear. These men were not giving China a hand. They were giving China the finger. This finger was red, white, and blue, and had "the United States" stamped all over it.
Graduates, it pains me greatly that this view of America persists. Although I'm a daughter of India, I'm an American businesswoman. My family and I are citizens of this great country.
This land we call home is a most loving and ever-giving nation -- a Promised Land that we love dearly in return. And it represents a true force that, if used for good, can steady the hand -- along with global economies and cultures.
Yet to see us frequently stub our fingers on the international business and political stage is deeply troubling. Truth be told, the behaviors of a few sully the perception for all of us. And we know how often perception is mistaken for reality.
We can do better. We should do better. With your help, with your empathy, with your positive intent as representatives of the U.S. in global business, we will do better. Now, as never before, it's important that we give the world a hand...not the finger.
In conclusion, graduates, I want to return to my introductory comments this evening. I observed that as big a night as this is for you, it's an even bigger night for your parents. I ascribed their happiness to looking forward to a few more "George Washingtons" in their bank accounts. While this is certainly true, there is another reason.
Each of your parents believes that their hard work has paid off. Finally! They believe that maybe -- just maybe -- they have raised and nurtured the next Jack Welch, Meg Whitman, or Patricia Russo.
Don't disappoint them. Don't disappoint your companies. And don't disappoint yourselves.
As you begin your business careers, and as you travel throughout the world to assure America's continued global economic leadership, remember your hand. And remember to do your part to influence perception.
Remember that the middle finger -- the United States -- always stands out. If you're smart, if you exhibit emotional intelligence as well as academic intelligence, if you ascribe positive intent to all your actions on the international business stage, this can be a great advantage. But if you aren't careful -- if you stomp around in a tone-deaf fog like the ignoramus in Beijing -- it will also get you in trouble. And when it does, you will have only yourself to blame.
Graduates, as you aggressively compete on the international business stage, understand that the five major continents and their peoples -- the five fingers of your hand -- each have their own strengths and their own contributions to make. Just as each of your fingers must coexist to create a critically important tool, each of the five major continents must also coexist to create a world in balance. You, as an American businessperson, will either contribute to or take away from, this balance.
So remember, when you extend your arm to colleagues and peoples from other countries, make sure that you're giving a hand, not the finger. You will help your country, your company, and yourself, more than you will ever know.

Thank you very much.

Martin Luther King - By Indira Gandhi


New Delhi, India: January 24, 1969
Speech at the Presentation of the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding to Coretta Scott King


This is a poignant moment for all of us. We remember vividly your last visit to our country. We had hoped that on this occasion, Dr. King and you would be standing side by side on this platform. That was not to be. He is not with us but we feel his spirit. We admired Dr. King. We felt his loss as our own. The tragedy rekindled memories of the great martyrs of all time who gave their lives so that men might live and grow. We thought of the great men in your own country who fell to the assassin's bullet and of Mahatma Gandhi's martyrdom here in this city, this very month, twenty-one years ago. Such events remain as wounds in the human consciousness, reminding us of battles, yet to be fought and tasks still to be accomplished. We should not mourn for men of high ideals. Rather we should rejoice that we had the privilege of having had them with us, to inspire us by their radiant personalities. So today we are gathered not to offer you grief, but to salute a man who achieved so much in so short a time. It is befitting, Madam, that you whom he called the "courage by my side", you who gave him strength and encouragement in his historic mission, should be with us to receive this award.

You and your husband both had foreseen that death might come to him violently. It was perhaps inherent in the situation. Dr. King chose death for the theme of a sermon, remarking that he would like to be remembered as a drum major for justice, for peace and for righteousness. When you were once asked what you would do if your husband were assassinated, you were courage personified, replying that you might weep but the work would go on. Your face of sorrow, so beautiful in its dignity coupled with infinite compassion, will forever be engraved in our hearts.

Mahatma Gandhi also had foreseen his end and had prepared himself for it. Just as training for violence included learning to kill, the training for non-violence, he said, included learning how to die. The true badge of the satyagrahi is to be unafraid.

As if he too had envisaged the martyrdoms of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Rabindranath Tagore once sang:

In anger we slew him,
With love let us embrace him now,
For in death he lives again amongst us,
The mighty conqueror of death.

This award, Madam, is the highest tribute our nation can bestow on work for understanding and brotherhood among men. It is named after a man who himself was a peace-maker and who all his life laboured passionately for freedom, justice and peace in India and throughout the world. Dr. Martin Luther King's struggle was for these same values. He paid for his ideals with his blood, forging a new bond among the brave and the conscientious of all races and all nations.

Dr. King's dream embraced the poor and the oppressed of all lands. His work ennobled us. He spoke of the right of man to survive and recognized three threats to the survival of man--racial injustice, poverty and war. He realised that even under the lamp of affluence which was held aloft by science, lay the shadow of poverty, compelling two-thirds of the peoples of the world to exist in hunger and want. He proclaimed that mankind could be saved from war only if we cared enough for peace to sacrifice for it.

Dr. Martin Luther King drew his inspiration from Christ, and his method of action from Mahatma Gandhi. Only through truth can untruth be vanquished. Only through love can hatred be quenched. This is the path of the Buddha and of Christ, and in our own times, that of Mahatma Gandhi and of Martin Luther King.

They believed in the equality of all men. No more false doctrine has been spread than that of the superiority of one race over another. It is ironical that there should still be people in this world who judge men not by their moral worth and intellectual merit but by the pigment of their skin or other physical characteristics.

Some governments still rest on the theory of racist superiority--such as the governments of South Africa and the lawless regime in Rhodesia. Unregenerate groups in other countries consider one colour superior to another. Our own battle is not yet over. Caste and other prejudices still survive, but most of us are ashamed of them and recognise them as evils to be combated. We are trying hard to eradicate them.

While there is bondage anywhere, we ourselves cannot be fully free. While there is oppression anywhere, we ourselves cannot soar high. Martin Luther King was convinced that one day the misguided people who believed in racial superiority would realise the error of their ways. His dream was that white and black, brown and yellow would live and grow together as flowers in a garden with their faces turned towards the sun. As you yourself said, "All of us who believe in what Martin Luther King stood for, must see to it that his spirit never dies". That spirit can never die. There may be setbacks in our fight for the equality of all men. There may be moments of gloom. But victory must and will be ours. Let us not rest until the equality of all races and religions becomes a living fact. That is the most effective and lasting tribute that we can pay to Dr. King.

Exam 'Fever'

"Which chapter are you planning to study now?" Aliya entered my room. It was exam time. Organizational behavior was our next exam. We had exams continuously for a week and a half. I was currently in the third paper. I had just completed the second paper. After lunch, a mild head ache had started, which progressed to a steady nausea by the evening. In addition to it, I had a severe back ache too. I was in no state to study. I was new to the hostel. I did not know whom to confide in. My room-mate had gone to the nearby temple and was yet to come. Aliya was my neighbor. A cheerful girl who took studies and exams very seriously. She would spend most of her time on books when we spent it on idle chitchat or TV. NO wonder she was the topper of our class.

"Uh-huh. " I drowsily looked up. I was wrapped in a shawl and must have looked dreadful for Aliya's next sentence was " What the hell happened to you?"

"I'm not well. I think I should just sleep for a little while. Can you wake me up at six Aliya?" I croaked.

I still had to start on organizational behavior. Aliya tucked me in bed and returned to her room, promising to wake me up at six.

"Look what I bought" I could hear the high - pitched voice of my room-mate Dimple. Dimple was a very happy-go-lucky girl who took nothing seriously.

"Shhh.. she is sleeping. Poor thing.. not well. Don't wake her up" I could her Aliya's voice.

I slowly tried to open my eyes. My eyes felt hot and heavy. Exam exam.. my sub-conscious screamed. How am I supposed to study for the exams in this state? My back ached worse than ever. I slowly got up.

"How are you feeling Renu?" Dimple came to sit near me.

"I have a severe back ache. I think I should go to the hospital. Otherwise I can't sit for the exam tomorrow."

From then on, both the girls took charge. In less than twenty minutes, the hostel warden was informed, a special dinner for me was ordered and an auto was called.We were on the way to the hospital. At the hospital there was a long queue waiting for the doctor.

My friends made me sit in the waiting area and marched off to the reception to talk to the receptionist.

"We have to return to the hostel by eight. Please check our friend first." It was Aliya.

A nurse came to take my vital signs. My temperature showed a 105 degrees.
The next minute everybody were yelling at us, especially the nurse.

"Why din't you bring your friend earlier? She could have died of such a high temperature."

In joined another nurse, "You are educated. You should be more responsible."
I was immediately sent to the doctor. After explaining that we had exams the whole week, the doctor decided an injection was the best way to bring the fever down.

I patiently waited. The doctor instructed my friends to pin me to the bed.I did not understand why they had to do that. It was not as if I was scared or anything. Only then I saw the syringe. It was so big filled to the half with a bright yellow colored liquid, that I doubted whether it was even legal to use such syringes.

I started making protests. That was when my friends pinned me down and the doctor efficiently did her work. I was writhing in pain.

Half an hour later we were back at the hostel. I had so much to study. The back pain and the nausea had started reducing. Still there was no way I could cover the vast portions and pass the exam tomorrow. I was miserable. I had never failed an exam before.

After dinner, I settled with my book. In came Aliya nd Dimple with determined look on their faces.

Chapter after chapter they explained all the concepts alternatively, while I listened to them lying on the bed. I did not read a single page but by 3 AM in the morning I knew enough concepts to pass the exam.

We barely slept for four hours before the exam. I was accompanied to the exam hall.The exam was relatively easy but the effort of writing exhausted me. I came back to the room glad that it was over. Over the next few days, I got better.

As the results came I was surprised I managed to scrap a first class in all my papers. Aliya missed the first rank by four marks. Nevertheless both of them were happy that I had good marks. I could not thank my friends enough. They took care of me even when I did not ask them for any help. They came in unexpectedly and took care of me unconditionally. I vowed that I will always stand by them no matter what. It has been six years since that incident happened. Even today when they tease me about the injection that day, I  personally feel I would go through any number of injections like that to earn friends like Aliya and Dimple.


Roots & Wings

It is now the era of nuclear families. Our parents migrated to small towns leaving behind our native villages in search of means to provide for their family. We took it further by migrating to metropolitan cities in search of opportunities and a better life. Our supposed native became our parent's native and we became more acclimatized to the small town modernly referring them as natives. Our children go to hostels even before they enter college. Most of them even prefer foreign assignments. The end result will be this - We will be located all over the world, we would know all about the latest technologies and modern lifestyle but we will never get to know the treasure trove our great ancestors left behind.

In fact how many of us are today proud to say that we hail from a village which did not even have electricity two generations back? The fact that we have managed to come so far is undoubtedly a matter of pride, but what about the people who supported visibly or invisibly for all our efforts to bear fruits. Every culture has its own roots. For instance, my native mother tongue Badaga does not even have a proper script, which means there are no options for reading or writing. How it managed to survive all these generations is a great mystery. The customs, rituals, festivities and all the peripherals associated with my culture are still intact. I know a lot of facts about five generations starting from my great-grandparents to my son. I think it is possible, only because we as a community have managed to stay close-knit till now. But starting from my generation I can visibly see numerous families becoming smaller and smaller. Children going out for studying, parents not willing to settle down with children in an unknown land, youngsters shunning our land for better pay, the list is endless.

But whatever the reason we chose to go out from our natives, we must always remember that our roots are always there. Our native has given us the wings to explore the entire world but however far a bird flies in search of food, it must always return to its nest. That is the law of nature and the law of harmony. What we look down as a backward village is actually a place overflowing with love and values. Our native has generations of our ancestors blessings. Great legends lived there.Great love stories happened there. In search of material comforts, we must not lose what rightfully belong to us. In getting new wings to fly we must never forget the roots that managed to sustain us till we grew wings. We must learn to respect and value our native lands.

Utmost Belief

“Smitha, get up. We are going out. All of us are almost ready.” The excitement in my dad’s tone is unmistakable.
The best part about annual tours is you get to see a lot of amazing places, the worst part – getting up early to see those places.
“Dad, Can we go out tomorrow?”
Arushi chips in,” Oh come on Smitha. Don’t be a spoil sport. We will have fun.”     
I unwillingly pull myself up from the bed. Half an hour passes before I manage to look presentable. My family is eager to visit the famed Meenakshi Temple. As our hired taxi makes way to the temple, I notice the streets crowded with peddlers and pedestrians. The famous Madurai Tamil slang is a little threatening for the first time. The whole area is colourful and aromatic. Whichever direction I turn I can see atleast two ladies whose long braided hair was adorned with jasmine flowers – Madurai malli. I realise with a jolt that this is one of the few places today where long hair and a glass bangles are still in fashion and many young girls still prefer colourful half-sarees to the normal churidhars. Somehow the city sends out a positive and secure vibe. I feel a little at ease. The views of the gopurams are magnificent in the evening sun. They proudly announce the temple premises. The temple area itself is so huge. There are various entry and exits to accommodate the bustling crowd. People speaking different languages and a lot of foreigners throng the temple.
The architecture and grandeur of the temple hold me mesmerized. My mind is whirling now. I’m transported back in time. I can visualize the Pandya King (who ruled Madurai) come in to worship Goddess Meenakshi amidst the palace guards. I can feel the crowd thronging to get a glimpse of their ruler. I can see the King acknowledging the crowd and making special offerings to the goddess. The corridors are so huge that they could have easily accommodated a king’s chariot. I’m in my day dream till someone from the crowd stamps on my toes. Ouch! I’m back to reality. I gaze at the infrastructure. The sculptures are very intricate and expertly done. There are deities of various Hindu Gods in various forms and emotions very well captured by a simple chisel and stone. And in the centre garbagraha sits Goddess Meenakshi with the pride and majesty of a ruler. There is a large theppakulam on one side with a lotus pond where the devotees are spread everywhere in various stages of prayers. Some are sitting chanting mantras, while some are dipping into the holy rivers, while still some are facing the river and praying. There are a lot of fishes in the pond. Devotees are feeding them with puffed rice. There are various offerings of coconut, salt, holy ashes, kumkum, turmeric stacked in the premises. Annadhanam is happening on one side. All kinds of people are present. Newly married couples who have come to give their thanks, aged people who seek relaxation, people praying for the sick, people doing special poojas for children, the entire temple is crowded. There are historic writings about Madurai, the kings, the temple and goddess Meenakshi. The entry and exits are confusing since the temple is so huge. My entire family is in awe as we finally manage to exit the temple and locate our slippers.
“Oh my God. What a beautiful temple!” My mother is totally taken with the temple.
“Did you know it is considered one of the ancient wonders of the world?” There is pride in my father’s voice.
My thoughts drift..
Wherever we go, the place, the people, the food, the culture are vastly different. But what remains the same, is the basic principles like the utmost devotion to the almighty and the regular compassion extended to a fellow human being and what better place to experience both than a temple which has stood over a thousand years witnessing the changing times and the unchanging love and faith.

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